The time has come to recognise the powerful contribution the arts can make to our health and wellbeing. Montreal physicians will soon have a new possible prescription for their patients: fine art.
A doctors' organisation and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) are partnering to allow physicians to write prescriptions for free museum visits.
The initiative is being billed as the first of its kind in the world.
The museum says patients will be able to have a "relaxing, revitalizing experience, a moment of respite" browsing their collection.
The project launches 1 November.
Physicians members of Médecins francophones du Canada will be able to register, in the initial phase of the project, to issue up to 50 prescriptions for a visit to MMFA collections and exhibitions as a complement to more traditional treatment options.
Nathalie Bondil, the museum's director general, is behind the initiative and believes that cultural experiences will soon be recognised, like physical activity currently, for their health benefits.
She told the BBC that the "neutral, beautiful, inspiring space" of a museum can boost mood, improve wellbeing, and give patients a chance to explore experiences and senses outside of their illness.
Ms Bondil hopes if the initiative is a success it will be picked up by museums around the world.
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