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Think Less, Feel More; Let the Forest Heal You

By implementing India’s first 'forest healing centre' in Uttarakhand, Indian Forest Service Officer Mr. Sanjiv Chaturvdi is giving an altogether unique and blissful experience to the visitors.

That nature has the power to heal is not just a popular saying, in so many cultures and languages, but there is a lot of truth in it. It’s truly rejuvenating to the human body and soul. It’s said that the great English poet William Wordsworth came out with the construct of some of his best-known poems- including the Daffodils- while taking long walks in the unspoiled outdoors. Just a barefoot walk on wet grass in the evenings helps one in calming down the mind; the smell of fresh wet mud after a rain shower feels like pure bliss, and listening to the chirping birds’ song in the early hours of morning makes you feel rejuvenated.

Keeping the many benefits that nature provides us, in mind, IFS officer Mr. Sanjiv Chaturvedi decided to come up with a healing center for the public, where nature itself is both the doctor and nurse.

The forest is surrounded by pine trees

FOREST HEALING CENTER

Located amidst perfectly serene mountains and spread over an area of 13 acres, India’s first forest healing center has come up at Ranikhet in Uttarakhand. In collaboration with the Research Wing of Uttarakhand Forest Department, the research center was developed after research on the healing properties of the forests and its revitalizing impact on overall health and well-being.

Speaking about the center, the Chief Conservator of Forest (Research), Mr. Chaturvedi said, ”It draws inspiration from Japanese technique of forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) and ancient Indian traditions and the basic theme is, be silent, go slow, think less and feel more.”

It’s a place to heal yourself with the help of nature

BENEFITS OF THE FOREST

This healing center has been established in a predominantly pine forest as it has been found in various studies that coniferous like pine trees release certain oil compounds to safeguard themselves from various microbes and pathogens, which are called phytoncides. It has been found in various researches that these compounds help to multiply natural killer cells in our blood, which help in fighting infections and cancerous growth and enhance overall immunity.

The forest involves a number of activities such as forest walking, tree-hugging, forest meditation and sky gazing.

According to Mr. Chaturvedi, “It has been found that because of typical molecular vibration patterns of trees, tree-hugging has a beneficial impact on the increase in the level of feel-good hormones like oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, which creates a pleasant effect on our minds.”

It gives you a walk through nature

CALM AND HEALING ACTIVITIES OF THE CENTER

An important activity that takes place in the center is Forest Meditation. This is distinct from the traditional meditation system of controlling thoughts or concentrating the awareness on some particular point. Forest Meditation, on the other hand, focuses on immersing oneself in silence and the ambiance of the forest without making any extra effort.

Another beautiful activity here is sky gazing. This involves having a gaze at the swaying canopy above and the ever-changing sky. “This uncommon view offers a new perspective as well as deep relaxation,” said the officer.

Upon entering this forest, there are several self-explanatory signboards, explaining the activities in a simple language. It instructs you to leave behind your phones, camera, or any other distraction and also resist talking if people move in groups. For forest meditation and sky-gazing exercise, tree platforms have also been created. The healing center also maintains a register in which visitors can share their experiences.

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