Starting this month, some doctors are prescribing art museum visits for selected patients and their families or caregivers. By agreement with the Médecins francophones du Canada (MdFC, French-speaking physicians of Canada), the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts admits up to two adults and two children free of charge for one visit per prescription.
Clinical research confirms the medical value of art. According to the museum/MdFC press release, “The studies stipulate that the arts stimulate neuronal connectivity that supports psychological resilience; that they have a positive impact on attention and working memory; and that they promote relaxation, and richer, more complex neural activity.” Like music, dance, and poetry, paintings shift levels of vital hormones and neurotransmitters. Art museum visits can help against pain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart conditions, mobility issues, and shortness of breath.
Culture is right in there with exercise, sleep, and social interactions in promoting good health. As for whether your insurance will ever cover it, I won’t venture to predict.
I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.