DOCTOR PRESCRIBED ART
What can dispel autumn depression and recover calm and peace? After all, alcohol is not the best remedy. There are more effective tools to restore composure. So far these tools have been officially recognized only in Canada. At the beginning of the 11th and the most depressive month in a year, doctors began to advise visiting museums as a kind of therapy. In fact, this method was first implemented in French-speaking province of Canada, Quebec. This was a joint initiative of the Canadian Medical Association and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, MBAM). So far it will be functioning for one year as a pilot program. However, Natalie Bondil, director of the Montreal Art Gallery, is confident that this project has great potential and soon will spread all over the country. The price of a ticket to the Montreal Museum is 23 Canadian dollars, which may not be paid with a medical prescription. A doctor participating in the program can issue up to fifty prescriptions, each of them allowing visiting the museum by two adults and two children under 17 years old. A family art therapy, isn’t it? There are many proofs that art therapy positively influences human physical health. It increases cortisol and serotonin levels. Visiting a museum we secrete hormones, which are responsible for our good health, says Dr. Helen Boyer from Quebec. She also added that visiting museums is not only useful for overcoming depression or psychological problems, it also benefits people with diabetes and chronic diseases, and elderly people over 80 years old. Doctors think visiting museums is also useful for people with high blood pressure. Another positive factor with art therapy is that it has no side effects. In addition to fine art studies the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts researches the effects of art on human health and has already conducted ten clinical studies in this field. They confirm that beholding artworks improves the neural connection, that is mandatory for psychological stability, positively affects attention and memory, stimulates complex neural activity. In general, it helps to retain high spirits, common sense and good memory. The latter, however, is everyone’s individual choice.