Beauty is a great painkiller. We all know that, but its nice to see some science behind the theory.
From Maxim Institute’s Real Issues
“the plainest part of it”
Research has emerged from the University of Bari in Italy showing a connection between pain relief and beautiful art. The study by Dr Marina de Tommaso looked at the link between people’s responses to pain and their contemplation of art. When people were looking at art they found beautiful, they experienced substantially less pain than when the same painful stimuli was given to them while looking at art they found ugly. The research demonstrates a clear connection between aesthetic beauty and pain relief, reminding us that the human being is complex and interconnected…
This research builds on what has been known for a long time. Diversional therapy is a field that is dedicated solely to the notion that distracting a person’s attention away from their pain or anxieties makes life more pleasant. However this study goes further by showing that beauty is not merely a distraction, rather it changes the level of pain a person actually experiences. This has implications for the way patients suffering pain are treated. Whilst medication can be useful in treating pain, it may also be helpful for aesthetics and beauty to be incorporated into the way that hospitals are built and patients are treated.
It also has more general implications for the way life is understood, beckoning us towards an understanding of health as intrinsically connected to what is often termed our “quality of life.” It seems that health is about more than just survival, it is shaped by the environments that a person is a part of and the beauty that they do or do not see around them.