News from the AllianceAuthor: Rankeshwarnath Sanjay Mishr
Date: 07 March 2021
The first forest healing centre of India was inaugurated on 7th March 2021 at Ranikhet in Kalika Uttarakhand. The forest healing centre has been developed by the Research Wing of Uttarakhand Forest Department after research on the healing properties of the forests and their revitalising impact on overall health and well being. It is spread over an area of around 13 acres.
“It draws influence from Japanese technique of forest bathing (Shinrin-yoku) and ancient Indian traditions, and that primary premise is, stay silent, go slow, think less and feel more,” stated Sanjiv Chaturvedi, Chief Conservator of Forest (Research). He went on to say that it entails a variety of activities such as forest walking, tree-hugging, forest meditation, and sky gazing. He explained that it has been discovered that tree-hugging has a beneficial effect on the increase in the level of feel-good hormones like oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, creating a pleasant effect and that in countries like Iceland, the forest department has been working to facilitate this activity for the benefit of local citizens’ health.
This healing centre was built in a pine-dominated forest since it has been discovered in numerous research that conifers, such as pine trees, exude specific oil compounds called phytoncides to protect themselves from various bacteria and infections. Various studies have discovered that these substances aid in the multiplication of natural killer (NK) cells in our blood, which aid in the fight against infections and malignant growth, as well as improve overall immunity.
Forest meditation, which differs from standard meditation systems of controlling thoughts or focussing consciousness on a specific location, is another essential activity at this therapeutic centre. This technique focuses on simply immersing oneself in stillness and the forest’s environment without exerting any additional effort.
Sky-gazing is another hobby that includes looking up at the swaying canopy above you and the ever-changing sky. This unusual vantage point provides a fresh viewpoint as well as deep relaxation.
The healing centre keeps a log in which guests can record their experiences. At the entry, there are many self-explanatory posters detailing these four activities in basic language, as well as advice for leaving behind the phone, camera, or any other destruction, and for resisting talking if people walk in groups. Tree platforms have also been built for forest meditation and sky-gazing exercises.