Art “eases constipation” – Swedish research

Viewing and discussing art not only soothes the soul, it also helps cure ills like high blood pressure and constipation, a Swedish researcher said on Friday.

Britt-Maj Wikström of the Ersta Sköndal University College in Stockholm had 20 women of around 80 years of age gather once a week for four months to discuss different works of art.

“The result was positive. Their attitudes became more positive, more creative, their blood pressure went in the right direction … and they used fewer laxatives,” she told AFP.

A control group of 20 women who met to discuss their hobbies and interests once a week instead of art did not experience the same effects, she pointed out.

“There was a significant difference between the groups,” she said, adding that the art group had continued to show positive effects many months after their last discussion.

Wikström has been studying the effects of art on people in different settings since the 1980s, including a study of how museum art hung in offices impacts on the employees working there.

“It’s all about using art in a structured way,” she said.

To lower your blood pressure and ease your constipation, visit the National Museum’s latest exhibition, The Dutch Golden Age, running until 8th January 2006

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