Canadian doctors are now being encouraged to prescribe for their patients a new kind of supplemental treatment that doesn’t have any side effects: a relaxing trip to an art museum.
Back in November 2018, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) teamed up with the Médecins Francophones du Canada (MFdC) to develop a plan that encourages physicians to write out art therapy prescriptions for their patients—and they included some great motivation.
Ordinarily, adult admission into the museum can cost as much as $31—but a doctor’s prescription will allow up to two adults and two children to enjoy the museum together for free.
Doctors participating in the program are given a pad of 50 free admission slips to dole out at their discretion. Since the initiative launched last year, the museum has filled over 185 prescriptions in the greater Montreal area.
The program, which is being called “the first of its kind in the world”, is also being used to conduct further studies of the effects of art therapy on a variety of physical and mental conditions, including anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiac arrhythmia.
“I am convinced that in the 21st century … the cultural experience of art will contribute to health and well-being as much as the practice of sports,” Nathalie Bondil, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the MMFA, enthusiastically said of the program.
“For skeptics, remember that a hundred years ago, it was said that sports distorted the body and threatened the fertility of women! Today, doctors prescribe exercise!”
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