The health humanities is a rapidly rising field, advancing an inclusive, democratizing, activist, applied, critical, and culturally diverse approach to delivering health and well-being through the arts and humanities. It has generated new kinds of interdisciplinary research, knowledge, and communities of practice globally. It has also acted to bring greater coherence and political force to contributions across a range of related disciplines and traditions.

In this volume, a formidable set of authors explore the history, current state, and future of the health humanities, in particular how its vision of the arts and humanities:

  • Promotes creative public health.
  • Opens new routes to health and well-being.
  • Informs and drives better health care.
  • Interrogates relationships between ill health and social equality.
  • Develops humanist theory in relation to health and social care practice.
  • Foregrounds cultural difference as a resource for positive change in society.
  • Tests the humanity of an increasingly globalized health-care system.
  • Looks to overcome structural and process obstacles to cross-disciplinary ventures.
  • Champions co-construction, co-design, and mutuality in solving health and well-being challenges.
  • Showcases less familiar, prominent, or celebrated creative practices.
  • Includes multiple perspectives on the value and health benefits of the arts and humanities not limited to or dominated by medicine.

Divided into two main sections, the Companion looks at "Reflections and Critical Perspectives," offering current thinking and definitions within health humanities, and "Applications," comprising a wide selection of applied arts and humanities practices from comedy, writing, and dancing to yoga, cooking, and horticultural display.

chapter |8 pages


Global health humanities and the rise of creative public health

part 1|228 pages

Reflections and critical perspectives

chapter 1|7 pages

The health humanities, genealogies of health care, and the consolation of understanding

Towards a critique of “recovery” in mental health

chapter 4|6 pages

Visionary medicine

Race, health, power, and speculation

chapter 6|6 pages

The palimpsest

Black and ethnic minority perspectives in health humanities

chapter 8|6 pages

Post-conflict resolution and the health humanities

The Warrior Chorus program

chapter 10|6 pages

Medicine within health humanities

chapter 11|6 pages

A health humanities sublime

chapter 18|14 pages

Inventing Edward Jenner

Historicizing anti-vaccination

chapter 19|14 pages

Selling the de-pharmaceuticalization of insomnia

Semiotics, drug advertising, and the social life of Belsomra

chapter 20|15 pages

The problem with “burnout”

Neoliberalization, biomedicine, and other soul mates

chapter 21|10 pages

Medical poetics

Representing global health humanities and the case of 心

chapter 24|8 pages

Finding the subject in the objectified

Problematizing the dependence on metrics for patient care in the United States

chapter 25|11 pages

Establishing, promoting, and growing the health humanities in Japan

A review and a vision for the future

chapter 26|15 pages

Australia AND New Zealand

A circuitous path to health humanities

chapter 27|7 pages

Imaginations of health humanities in African contexts

The development of existing critical consciousness and perspectives

part 2|216 pages


chapter 28|5 pages

Intervention theater

chapter 29|4 pages

Gallery and museum visiting

chapter 31|7 pages


chapter 32|5 pages

Fashion and textiles

chapter 33|4 pages


chapter 34|5 pages


chapter 35|6 pages


chapter 36|5 pages


chapter 37|5 pages


chapter 38|4 pages


chapter 39|6 pages


chapter 40|9 pages


chapter 41|6 pages


chapter 42|7 pages

Making music

chapter 43|6 pages

Shared music listening

chapter 44|5 pages

Clay modeling

chapter 46|5 pages

Digital storytelling

chapter 47|7 pages

Heavy metal music

chapter 48|5 pages

Graphic medicine

chapter 49|5 pages

Horticultural arts

chapter 50|5 pages

Choirs and singing

chapter 51|5 pages

Ancient texts

chapter 52|4 pages


chapter 53|5 pages


chapter 54|7 pages

Kundalini yoga

chapter 56|5 pages


chapter 58|5 pages

Visual arts

chapter 59|5 pages


chapter 60|5 pages

Therapeutic filmmaking

chapter 61|7 pages


chapter 62|6 pages

Aesthetics of space

chapter 63|5 pages


chapter 64|4 pages