An Art Piece A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

By Kris Ash,

Given our societal obsession with health, it is no wonder that we are always on the lookout for another way to increase our wellness. Endeavors such as regular exercise, massage therapy, proper diet, and meditation are important in maintaining optimal health. One physiological benefit of these choices is increased blood flow – a factor that is crucial in boosting daily health and elevating one’s mood. And, did you know that gazing for a few moments at a work of art you consider beautiful can also add to this increase in blood flow to your brain?

Since I’ve first held a crayon, I’ve always enjoyed art. But, despite this appreciation for the creative process, I’d always thought that people who spent money on art were idiots. But, that all changed for me when I actually saw the painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grand Jatte” by Georges Seurat at the Art Institute of Chicago. Seeing this massive canvas of tiny dots of brilliant color, I was literally moved to tears. The emotions that coursed through me were vibrant and stirring, and I understood at this point the power that art possesses.

I experienced first hand what scientists in the field of neuroaesthetics have recently been documenting. It seems that the intense pleasure one has at the sight of a beautiful piece of art is cognitively equivalent to gazing upon a loved one. Professor Semir Zeki, chair in neuroaesthetics at University College in London, noted that when participants viewed works of art considered to be beautiful, the blood flow in the medial orbitofrontal cortex (the part of the brain associated with pleasure and desire) increased by as much as 10 per cent – the equivalent of gazing at a loved one. One can conclude that art can induce a feel good sensation within our brains.

Personally, I’ve often wished that any gift that I might give would continue to produce pleasure for them year after year. I’ve rarely seen that happen with most of the gifts I’ve given. But, since experiencing the power of art when viewing Seurat’s work, I’ve vowed to fill my life and my loved one’s lives with works of art to touch their hearts and stimulate their brains. We all want the lives of our loved ones to be full of health and happiness. Given what we know about the relationship between beauty and health, a gift of art is a gift of well-being.

Pablo Piccaso once said, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Filling one’s life with art, or simply giving it as a gift of love and celebration, is pure nourishment for the soul.

For more information contact Kris Ash at Karma-Naturals, 126 South Central Ave, Eureka, MO 63025, www.karma-naturals.com, 636-549-3635.