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Chronic pain? Anxiety? Depression? People can easily research and convince themselves to stock up on supplements and medications to live a healthier lifestyle.

Yet medical professionals increasingly agree that not every remedy comes out of a medicine bottle. While you certainly want to follow the instructions regarding pharmaceuticals for your ailments from your doctor, there’s more that you can do that’s effective, less expensive, more enjoyable, and readily available over the counter.

The writing is on the wall, and it’s telling us that fine and performing arts are impactful in improving physical, social and mental health.

When people consider the term fine arts, it is often envisioned in tandem with curly white wigs, orchestras playing, and sometimes, an intimidating culture that can feel inaccessible to the average person. However, fine arts can range from cooking classes, gardening, specially curated music playlists, outings to museums and professional performances from any number of genres.

A National Endowment for the Arts’ research study showed older adults attending cultural events, experiencing better mental and physical health than those who do not. The experienced lower rates of hypertension and cognitive decline and better physical functioning.

Hospitals have begun to refer pulmonary patients to singing sessions, and individuals with concentration or communication difficulties to dance lessons. Nearly ninety percent of recorded participants have reported improvements in both mental and physical health due to attendance.

The National Council of Biotechnical Information (NCBI) in Bethesda, Maryland, has published a report citing chronic ailments including cardiovascular disease and diabetes as a national burden, impacting more than 20 million Americans. They have identified a strong connection between music engagement, visual arts, movement-based creative expression, and expressive writing with positive health outcomes with these and other diseases.

In England, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has launched a stroke rehabilitation program called Strokestra which fosters music making with professional musicians to drive recovery in stroke patients. The journey to recovery is faster and certainly more enjoyable.

A movement joyful program has been used to help with fall prevention and museum visits have been found impactful for lowering blood pressure. Neurological research shows that creating art can produce new neural pathways, improving cognitive function.

The list for the health benefits of the fine and performing arts goes on and on, and is growing every day.

The greatest benefit of fine arts as an extension to medicine is that it is a social outlet for people of all ages. From learning to dance the waltz to sharing a stage with a community chorus, there is very little that cannot be enjoyed with a group of friends and loved ones or even complete strangers.

In Naperville, there is no shortage in the arts scene to either take in or become a part of! The Naperville Fine Art Center and Gallery offers breathtaking exhibits and adult classes for sculptors and illustrators alike. The talented DuPage Symphony Orchestra performs at the magnificent Wentz Hall at North Central College! BrightSide Theatre performs major plays and musicals each year and in the summer, Concerts in Your Park brings free, family-friendly entertainment to parks throughout the community.

Within our own walls, Monarch Landing offers abundant opportunities to participate in and/or enjoy fine arts through our Artist Series concerts, Monarch singers, line dancing class, play-reading group, arts and crafts offerings and more.

So be creative, and be healthy!