Visual art tours could lower stress hormone levels, study finds

Published 26.04.2016 00:00

Taking historic art tours, visiting exhibitions or making art yourself can reduce the stress hormone cortisol, which is said to be public health enemy number one, according to a recent scientific study conducted at the University of Bologna in Italy.

The study shows that looking at artwork decreases cortisol levels by around 60 percent, BBC Turkish reported. Professor Enzo Grossi of the University of Bologna and his research team gathered 100 participants to test the effects of art on health. The group took a culture tour around the city of Cuneo, Italy, and paid a visit to Santuario di Vicoforte, a church in Cuneo. To closely examine the church's frescoes on its dome, the group was taken to the top of the church.After a two-hour tour, a number of tests were conducted on participants, including a saliva test.

Around 90 percent of the group said they felt better, and the findings show that cortisol levels are associated with a number of psychological and physiological diseases including depression and gastritis. Grossi said the use of art as a form of therapy is not something new but it is the first time that they have witnessed concrete measurements which reflect the positive effects of art on our health.

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