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Creativity Heals: Healing art is in her hands

As a licensed medical massage therapist, Kimberly Curtin-Marino fully understands the healing power that comes kinesthetically through moving your hands.

Curtin-Marino has come to realize that the same healing process happens whether the muscle movement takes place while painting, doing calligraphy or performing massage.

Curtin-Marino was an artist from a young age. A passion for painting, drawing and calligraphy led her to study graphic art in college. Curtin-Marino’s life path has been a circuitous one with various jobs, raising a daughter and starting her medical massage practice.

One common thread is that art has always been a part of her journey.

“Various small commissions of painted objects have kept me working as an artist, as a side business, over the years,” said Curtin-Marino. “A few years back, when The Lighthouse commissioned me to paint a mural at their Groton location, it created a shift that led to more work as an artist.”

For some, juggling two gig businesses would be stressful. For Curtin-Marino, it is joyous because she understands the synergy of her two occupations.

“Massage and art are very connected. They are both hands on, creative and kinetic.”

As such, Curtin-Marino’s evolution as an artist and healer has felt natural. Both activities use the same side of the brain.

“Everything feels so organic for me,” Curtin-Marino said.

Curtin-Marino shares her artistry through small classes and sip-and-paint-style events. Curtin-Marino coaches students and participants through each art project. She sees a transformation with each person as they work.

As the process unfolds, stress dissipates as happiness and joy take its place.

“There is fear at first. I say, ‘don’t worry, play.’ Art is play. Art brings joy,” said Curtin-Marino.

The similarity to massage is clear. Someone recovering from an injury or medical condition may be experiencing fear and bodily stress. Whether it is art students or massage clients, Curtin-Marino meets them where they are.

“You can’t tell someone how to go on their journey, how to heal nor how to draw,” said Curtin-Marino.

Instead, Curtin-Marino can facilitate the process.

“With both, I can be a guide on their journey to healing,” Curtin-Marino said.

Emma Palzere-Rae is Associate Director for Artreach, Inc. and founder of Be Well Productions. If you have a story about how creativity has helped you heal, please contact


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