I've gotten used to the concept of art as therapy. I have friends who have led poetry workshops in homeless and battered women's shelters, and I once attended a reading in England by a woman who had been abused as a child and passed out poetry pamphlets with a hotline to report domestic abuse.
Making art can definitely heal emotional wounds. What's rarer is using it to heal the body — especially since tapping at a keyboard or stooping over an easel don't typically qualify as forms of exercise.
But for Long Beach resident Paula Josef, whose work will be for sale this weekend at the Coastline Art Gallery in Huntington Beach, creating art did serve as physical rehabilitation. The Philippines native began creating blown-glass sculptures more than a decade ago while suffering from the aftereffects of lupus, a disease that severely weakened her muscles, and she credits her creations with helping her to walk up stairs and open bottles again, among other things.