A medical revolution has begun worldwide: doctors are being granted the ability to prescribe art as treatment. This is beyond exciting, and it’s should be celebrated as a breakthrough in modern medicine. As a henna artist I have seen firsthand how art can benefit health.
Yes, we specifically participate in programs that provide henna art for cancer patients as the henna itself is both cooling to the skin and provides physical beauty in a time when the patient may feel very unhappy with their physical body. But there are also easily recognizable benefits of our everyday clients, be those birthday parties or convention attendees. Our clients leave our table with a little more spring in their step, a wider smile on their face, and an obvious delight that wasn’t there moments before. Even just our conversations are uplifting.
Canada and the UK have recently begun localised projects granting doctors the ability to prescribe art for medical treatment, with plans for major growth. In the UK government terms it “social prescribing” as the available prescriptions include a vast array of art, cultural, hobby, and social activities aimed to give patients a solid grasp of how good art can be for their body and mind. The article from the Smithsonian cites a study that documented positive results of stroke patients who engaged with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra that had participants playing and conducting. How fun would that be?! No Incorporate Art For Healthy Life Style FBexperience required, just get out there and do it!
In Canada we’ve recently had 2 stories come about with this exciting news. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is working with local doctors to provide prescriptions for patients – and a guest or 2 – to enjoy the museum for free. As this CTV article reports, the museum’s team is so convinced that arts and culture will be recognized as integral to a healthy life, they are involved in several research projects recording the effects of arts on health. Fantastic!
In Toronto a summer test run in one neighbourhood has birthed a full-on pilot project allowing health care providers and social workers the ability to refer patients to social and cultural activities. The big news right now is that the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) has stepped forward providing 5000 referral admittances of up to 4 people per referral. That could be 20,000 free visits to the ROM at the urging of a medical care provider!
Anyone who engages in an arts or cultural activity can tell you that it feels amazing, but it can be difficult to explain exactly why. The arts affect everyone differently, but when you find something that speaks to your mind, you can literally feel stress lift and hope revive. Add to that the social aspect – even taking up a solo hobby like knitting opens the door for conversation and group activity. Community centres, including libraries and schools, all over are getting involved. So what are you waiting for? Learn to knit, go to the symphony, finger paint! Meet new people and hone skills that challenge your mind and soothe your heart. It’s good for your health!
Consider Mandalas the next time you are ready to try out art therapy – no doctor’s note required, just give us a shout! Email or Call to book at (519) 741 7007!