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367. Cure One's Heart with Food, Food Art

Lee, Ju-eun 기자2017.09.11 02:01:48



Currently, a number of people living busy lives are suffering from mental disorders such as depression. To take care of these problems, a new method called food therapy has appeared. In this article, the writer will examine what food therapy is, and interview a food therapist for in-depth information.


What Is Food therapy?

 Food Therapy is a method of treatment which uses the features of foods to improve one’s health. By using grains, vegetables, fruits, and tea, which are natural ingredients, therapists help their patients to recover healthy physical and mental states.

 Food Art? What is it?

Food art is expressing one’s mind with diverse ingredients which can be easily found around us. By expressing themselves through food, people can draw out their inner potential energy. Through making foodart, patients are able to concentrate on their emotions. Then the therapist helps the patient to convert their negative thoughts into positive ideas. Since this therapy makes people to use their five senses, (smell, sight, touch, taste and hearing) to create something, it can be more effective than other psychotherapies such as music and drawing, which mainly use one or two senses. In addition,  “storytelling ” plays a primary role in this therapy, because patients can express their feelings through making works of art with food ingredients. To find out more specific information about food therapy, the reporter interviewed food therapist Mrs. Kim, Hae-Kyoung who has worked in the World Organization of Cooking for Children, the representative of Go-Yang City, for about 2 years.

 How did you started to work as a food therapist?

Three years ago, I suffered from Breast Cancer. During the anti-cancer treatment, I met a teacher who worked as a food therapist. This was my first encounter with food therapy. Since I was suffering from cancer, I needed to take care of my health more, looking for healthy foods and ingredients such as vegetables or fruits. That was the reason why I became curious and wondered about finding the therapeutic elements of different foods. Moreover, I was attracted by the idea of expressing the patient’s feelings through diverse ingredients.
 Are there any special qualifications needed to be a food therapist? 

 There are no formal academic courses needed for becoming food therapist yet. Nowadays, however, many people can experience food therapy through special lectures or certain courses in the Department of Child Education in university. In addition, people who want to work as food therapists can study to get a certificate at the completion of their studies. Q Could you tell me the purpose of food therapy? A The main purpose of the food therapy is to improve one’s self-esteem and creativeness by expressing one’s own story freely in works of art. In this way, people can easily learn about themselves, and find out what kind of person they are. Since they concentrate on their inner side, their sense of achievement can be improved as they complete a work of art. Furthermore, this activity requires them to use more of their tactile senses, and it can help to prevent dementia in older people as well as helping children to develop their five senses, and their brains to relieve stress.
How can the therapist earn money through implementing the curing process?

Unlike the other teachers working in school, food therapists’ earnings are flexible, based on the working periods and the amount of effort they put in. Since their working place is mostly community welfare centers or facilities, they tend to be volunteers rather than focusing on earning a great deal of money. Therefore, people who work as food therapists should want to make others happy by helping patients to look at their inner sides.
What kind of aspects of food therapy do you think need to be developed ? 

 Food therapy started when cooking classes for children were introduced as a source of entertainment. Nowadays however, through connecting this field with psychology, food therapists are able to understand the human mind better, and can help to heal the mind through applied psychology. In contrast, the working environment for food therapists is inferior to that of other teachers who help to prevent child suicides or who educate in the humanities. I think people should know that food therapy education requires participating experiences which needs more money to prepare the diverse ingredients. Thus, considering the current poor situation that food therapists are now facing, it is necessary to increase the counseling costs and get financial aid from governments.
Can we experience food therapy in Daegu?

The availability of food therapy depends on the teacher. It does not rely on the location. Counseling does not rely on a specific place, because most food therapists travel to places convenient for patients. So if you contact a food therapist you can experience the therapy wherever you want to take it. For instance, food therapy is usually implemented in afterschool classes in some middle schools or high schools and childhood cancer facilities.
What are your most impressive moments while working as a food therapist?

Working as a therapist in an orphanage, I was able to treat  kids who lacked parental care. Whenever I saw kids laughing I feel my heart getting warmer. Since this therapy requires participants to make their own works of art, unlike other types of psychological cures, it does not require any competition. For example, lower-income and disabled kids would like to play instruments but these are usually expensive to purchase and difficult to play without the non-disabled two hands. However, food  therapy can help kids from lower-income classes as well as disabled kids. So I’m going to make a food therapy course in a Korean cancer center for kids suffering from pediatric cancer. I think food therapy can be a rewarding and effective method to cure mental disorders.

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