India just got its first forest healing center, which opened to the public on Sunday at Kalika near Ranikhet, Uttarakhand. The healing center is focused on the idea of making people well and taking them back to nature based on Japan’s Forest Bathing Idea.
The center includes signs at the entrance that warn people to embrace trees, stroll barefoot on the lawn, lay on their backs and smile at swaying trees, or look at the skies above to soothe their senses. Pretty, small wooden pillars, called tree platforms, have also been set up to provide tourists with a natural atmosphere for meditation.
Reports indicate that the healing center was established after a thorough analysis of the revitalizing effect of forests on human health by the research wing of the Uttarakhand Forestry Department and taking influence from the Japanese technique of forest bathing ( Shinrin-Yoku).
The center is distributed over 13 acres and was inaugurated by well-known environmentalist Ranikhet Joginder Bisht. As for the activities that tourists can enjoy in the center, Chief Conservator of Forest Sanjiv Chaturvedi said that it had been found that tree-hugging has a very positive effect on raising the amount of feeling good hormones in the body, such as serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine.
He added that the rationale behind establishing a healing center in a pine-dominated forest is that experiments have shown that conifers such as pine trees release certain oil compounds, called phytoncides, to protect themselves from various diseases and microbes. Further, as research has shown, these substances help to multiply natural killer cells in our blood, allowing our body to resist pathogens and improve overall immunity. When there, guests can find a register where they can share their experiences.
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