Girija Kaimal, Kendra Ray, and Juan Muniz recently published their findings in Art Therapy of a fascinating new study measuring cortisol levels and participants responses after making art.
Our pilot study provides preliminary evidence for the use of art making for lowering cortisol, a proxy measure of stress, among healthy adults. To the best of our knowledge this is the first study to demonstrate lowering of cortisol levels after a short session of art making structured to be similar to an art therapy situation. In our sample, reduction of cortisol was not related to gender, type of media used, race/ethnicity, or prior experience with art making, although it was related slightly to age and time of day.
Recently, I turned to art as a means to relax and relieve stress. I have no idea what I'm doing, like some people in this study, but I enjoy putting ink on paper. I hope the researchers continue to follow their course of study and expand their research further.