Doctors can soon prescribe visits to Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Eat healthy, exercise, and…express yourself creatively?

There’s a good chance that last piece of advice sounds a little different from your typical visit to the doctor. But if a new initiative in Montreal proves successful, a prescription for art may become a new standard medical practice.

Starting on November 1, physicians in Montreal will have the ability to send their patients to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for a free visit.  According to the museum, this one-year pilot is the first of its kind in the world.

“In the 21st century, culture will be what physical activity was for health in the 20th century,” said MMFA director general Nathalie Bondil.

The medical community is just as eager to pilot the program. Dr. Hélène Boyer, vice-president of Médecins francophones du Canada and the head of the family medicine group at the CLSC St-Louis-du-Parc, remarked, “There’s more and more scientific proof that art therapy is good for your physical health.” Here Dr. Boyer notes that while the impact of creatively on mental health has been well-tracked, there’s equal promise in the research that demonstrates how expressing or experiencing creativity can increase cortisol and serotonin levels. That potential impact on physical health, she believes, offers new options for treating people with diabetes, people in palliative care, and patients with a chronic illness.

Curious about art and health?

Check out our library for more stories and research about creativity, health, and wellbeing, and contact us if you’ve got your own news to share.