Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just take a walk in the forest or swim in a lake to get cured of our stress, anxiety or even some chronic heart condition? Well, in a recently published report, it is mentioned that doctors from Shetland, Scotland are now prescribing birdwatching, rambling and beach walks to treat chronic illnesses, like diabetes, heart disease, stress, and other conditions. These legit ‘nature prescriptions’ urge patients to walk up a hill or collect shells on the beach or spot long-tailed ducks and lapwings in the picturesque Shetland islands and get cured with the help of nature. While Scottish medical experts are exploring the benefits of nature, we speak to Indian doctors and find out what they have to say about these offbeat therapies.
According to medical experts, all diseases have a common cause. Except for traumatic and environmental conditions, the cause of all disease is due to the accumulation of morbid matter in the body.
Dr Alok Bhatia, consultant at Eden Integrative Wellness, explains, “The human body itself has the healing power to prevent disease and regain health if unhealthy. There are countless therapies that use natural ways to heal the human body and these have gained significance lately. For instance, there are various kinds of aromatherapy, crystal therapy, past life regression therapy, magnet therapy, mud bath, colour therapy and hypnotherapy, etc., where no medicines are used to treat a patient.”
These days many doctors recommend opting for simple yet effective natural methods instead of popping pills. Dr Amit Kohli, chief physiotherapist at Aqua Centric therapy, points out, “Modern medication and therapies have their roots in nature. Therapeutic properties of warm water have been used to treat various ailments since centuries. Hot water also helps improve blood circulation and reduce joint stiffness.”
If you are wondering how simple chores like gardening, sitting under a tree or walking barefoot can heal someone, then think about all the positive effects of the outdoor activities that you did as a child. When a doctor tells you to walk barefoot on pebbles, he or she is using the principles of reflexology to apply pressure on the foot, which has different nerve endings or reflexes that help heal different organs and systems of the body. Dr Mashoo Neil Dubey, consultant radiologist, feels that despite the advancement of modern medicine, doctors still swear by the natural ways of healing. She says, “Many patients with anxiety disorders, especially patients on chemotherapy are advised to be close to nature. Not just patients, but even doctors benefit from these activities.”
In many places, doctors have designed special tracks and zones that use the principles of nature for treating patients. Dr Sofia Mudda, chief naturopathy consultant at Naad Wellness, mentions, “We have designed a reflexology track to form the symbol of yin and yang with soft, smooth, pebbles of different sizes. The pebbles act as stimulants and massage the feet gently, thereby releasing stress and increasing focus. We also prescribe ‘earthing’ to our patients, which means walking barefoot on a natural surface such as sand, grass or soil to reduce stress. It helps patients with a history of diabetes and insomnia.”
Many doctors prefer treating patients with nature-based therapies under naturopathy, as they provide a long-term and sustainable solution to lifestyle induced problems. Dr Rukamani Nair, founder of BNCHY Wellness Medispa, says, “There is also a lot more acceptance of offbeat treatments that can improve our health. One of the most interesting therapies that we prescribe to our patients is the Tibetan Singing Bowls, an ancient brain entrainmentmethodology for healing and meditation. They create a range of sounds to restore the normal vibratory frequencies of diseased and out-of-harmony parts of the body, mind and soul. It is used to reduce stress and anxiety, control anger and blood pressure. We also recommend chakra balancing to stimulate the immune system and help patients with fibromyalgia and psoriasis.”