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Visual Wellness

by Jessica Timberlake

How Does Art Improve Your Wellness? 

At a recent visit to the Portland Art Museum, I found myself skipping (well, not literally) through certain collections, or stopping to sit and admire others. Leaving the museum, I felt refreshed, energized and inspired. Having spent hours dedicated simply to looking at beautiful creations, my mind felt settled and my heart felt full. The feelings were identical to those I experience after a wonderfully memorable spa visit. 

This set me to wondering, What is it about art that people inherently love? Why are we drawn to certain pieces? And what does the art we are compelled to see reflect of ourselves—or what we are seeking? 

Having spent over a decade operating luxury resort spas, wellness is now an inherent part of my mindset. Noting how, after visiting the museum, my emotional state was similar to an extraordinary spa day, I delved deeper to understand what each experience involved. In the spa environment, we are treated physically, through the sense of touch, and secondary senses of smell and taste, if our visit incorporates aromatherapy or a healthy, mindful meal.  Our visual sense, in the spa environment, is often directed to turn off, by closing our eyes or with the weight of a lavender eye pillow placed gently over our brows. 

Sunflower Sunrise

In our constantly over-stimulated world, an hour spent awake to receive a spa service with our eyes closed, is so necessary. We must reset vision, as our most dominant sense, to be able to intake new, healing, therapeutic images. This will allow us to treat ourselves, bettering our wellness through our most powerful sense. The brain receives over 90 percent of information translated visually. We’ve all heard, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” And those thousand words are vastly different to you, me and any other viewer. because of the way we see ourselves reflected in the piece. 

How does art improve our wellness? Art (in any form) presents a new, different, yet congruous path on our wellness journey. Recognize what you need to harmonize within yourself, and use vision, your paramount sense, to bring that into balance. Revisit your favorite art pieces and discover the meaning behind the work.  Look at the art. What is it about that piece that speaks to you? 


One of my favorite works is this vibrant Sunflower series. Captured at an organic farm in White Rock, British Columbia, the day was warm, the mood was light, the landscape was flourishing. The Sunflower radiates energy from the sun, inspiring happiness. This hearty flower is loyal, and blooms season after season, encouraging longevity. Happiness, longevity, and wellness—through art. 

Jessica Timberlake is an artist with over 10 years experience operating luxury spas. She blends her expertise in wellness with her passion for photography to produce art that soothes, relaxes and heals. Connect with @SpaJess on Instagram and Twitter.

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