Nature: The Magical Healer
Centuries ago Hippocrates the father of Modern medicine, said: ‘Nature cures, not the physician’. According to Dr. Jean Larson, professor of University of Minnesota, ‘Nature is a force, accessible and equitable means to well being for all.’ It is now scientifically proved that nature has a profound power to tranquilize our minds and nurture our bodies and lift our spirits. Nature’s ability to renew, rejuvenate and revitalize us, is accepted by doctors and they have started prescribing nature as a cure for stress, anxiety, and depression. Let us, therefore, discuss the healing powers of nature.
It is a popular saying ‘If you care nature, nature will cure you’. You can activate yourself and absorb energy from nature through your five senses. Actually, nature heals us through different forms of therapies like colour therapy, music therapy, aromatherapy, sun therapy, thalassotherapy etc. The famous American naturalist, John Burroughs disclosed; ‘I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order’.
Nature’s Color Therapy
When you open your eyes to nature you see the vivid colours and beauties around; the trees, plants, flowers, the mountains the flowing streams, the ocean, the blue sky, and greeneries. The most common colours in nature are green and blue. What is the effect of these colours? According to colour therapy, green and blue are the most tranquilizing colours and they will calm your mind. Red colour has got the power of energizing you and the red flowers do the same. Each and every colour in nature will be influencing your mind in a particular way.
Yellow colour can stimulate your nerves and orange colour makes you extremely enthusiastic and energetic. It is roughly estimated that there are seven million colours in nature and each colour has its own role in healing and influencing the individuals. Nature, thus plays a big role in the healing process as a colour therapist. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: Nature always wears the colours of spirit.
George Santayana, the American, thinker, and poet, said; ‘The earth has its music for those who will listen’. When you listen to the various sounds of nature, you feel the soothing music of nature which is extremely powerful to lift your spirits. The chirping of the birds, the ‘gla gla’ of the flowing streams, the soothing sounds of the ocean waves, the rhythm of the rain, the rock music of the frogs in the paddy fields and the crows on the trees and each and every sound you hear from nature are all powerful to influence your brainwaves and your mood positively and become part of the music therapy of nature.
Ancient Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras was aware of this power of nature and hence advised.
Learn to be silent,
Let your quiet mind
Listen and absorb
The soothing and invigorating scents of the flowers, plants, and herbs can play a major role to activate your brain cells and lift your mood. The natural oils extracted from flowers, barks, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of plants are used to enhance the physical, psychological and emotional well being. These extracted oils are called ‘essential oils’ and the aroma from these oils are inhaled in aromatherapy. Jasmine, lavender, and peppermint are the best for treating depression, anxiety, and stress. Sage oil is commonly used for boosting memory. Eucalyptus, sandalwood, and rosemary are powerful for healing headaches and raising mood.
Nature, with its various kinds of aromas, can be a powerful and effective healer for many illnesses.
Nowadays people are afraid of sun rays, thinking that they will harm their skins and darken their complexion and damage their beauty. The healing power of the sun rays has been scientifically proved. The sunrays falling on our skin can produce vitamin D. The VIBGYOR colours of the sun rays can activate the 7 chakras of the body from crown chakra to root chakra and the various hormonal glands and help to restore any hormone imbalance. It is scientifically proved that sun rays can help to eliminate toxins and increase hemoglobin and level of calcium and phosphorous in your blood. Dr. Harry Benjamin recommends sun gazing for improving eye sight and healing the common eye diseases. Hira Ratan Manek from India showed that he could live without food for years by absorbing energy from the sun through his eyes. Even the Scientists of NASA witnessed the Hira Ratan Manek effect. It is believed that the sun rays falling on the eyes activate the brain cells and pineal and pituitary glands. The healing sunbath is very common in natural treatments.
The medicinal plants and seeds can act through our taste buds and heal many illnesses. The extracts of basal, brahmi and other medicinal plants are used for curing many diseases from common cold to asthma. In short, nature here acts as a herbalist with its highly potent herbs and medicinal plants.
The beauty and serenity of the sea and seashore are extremely invigorating and tranquilizing. The sea bath is a remedy for many skin problems and a way of relaxation for your nerves. Many spa centers are near the sea and the healing power of salty sea water is made use of. Nature here becomes a thalassotherapist.
Around 1600 AD, poor patients were allowed to work in gardens attached to hospitals & pay their hospital bills. It was a surprise that they recovered quickly. So the hospital authorities started to use this as a therapy for faster healing. This was the origin of horticulture therapy. Now horticulture therapists use plants and horticulture activities to improve social, educational, psychological and physical adjustments of patients, thus improving their body, mind, and spirit. Horticulture therapy is presently taught in many universities and used in hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, day care centers and schools the world over. As Richard Louv asserted; ‘Now, more than ever, we need nature as a balancing agent’.
Ecopsychology is now considered as a branch of psychology. This term was first coined by Theodore Roszak, the founder director of the Eco-psychology institute in America. Eco-psychologists are utilizing the healing powers of nature and helping people to reconnect with nature as a part of treating mental problems, anxiety, depression etc. They conduct researches to find out the wonderful powers of nature to heal the psychological problems and illnesses. A 2001 study at the University of Washington found that 8 hours of walking outdoors for 20 minutes daily lowered depression and increased self-esteem among woman aged 19 to 78.
In a landmark study conducted at Pennsylvania hospital, researchers found that rooms with a view of the beautiful outdoors can lower recovery time and reduce pain and depression.
In Japan Shirin-Yoku (forest bathing) is used for curing many illnesses. It is proved that a walk in the forest or park, can lower BP and pulse rate and enhance the activity of anti-cancer proteins.
As the American writer, Richard Louv rightly pointed out, modern humans have become disconnected from nature and this disconnect leads to negative consequences in terms of mental & physical health problems. Studies show that people with modern ailments such as ADHD, anxiety, and depression feel better with exposure to nature. Nature’s wonderful ability to renew, rejuvenate and revitalize and heal our body mind and spirit is well accepted by the scientific community also. Now doctors have started prescribing to reconnect with nature for curing many diseases.
Some psychologists have started eco-psycho therapy. Some are arranging wilderness trips and tree hugging, meditation under trees, green gym etc. Annie Day an alternative therapist reveals, “The energy of trees can help any mind, body or spiritual problems. It’s also a deeply relaxing experience’.
The Japanese philosopher, famous for his natural farming and ‘ one straw revolution’ once said; ‘When we are close to nature, we are closed to god’. The famous U.S Lawyer and politician Frank Lloyd Wright wrote: “I believe in God, only I spell it nature’. According to Norwegian philosopher and the proponent of‘ Deep Ecology’; ‘Self-realization is the reconnection of human individuals with nature’. The Himalayan Sherpa culture considers mountains as sacred and godly.
The ancient spiritual leader Gautama Buddha was aware of the spiritual powers of nature, especially trees. He got enlightened during his meditation under a banyan tree. His main advice to his disciples was to plant at least five trees in their lifetime. The famous English Poet and Artist Dante declared: ‘Nature is the art of God eternal’. So, a reconnection with nature is the holistic solution for the physical, mental and spiritual problems of modern man
According to Vedas, the great five elements of the human body are water, earth, fire, air, and space. These elements are components of nature also. So when you embrace nature, you are nourished and nurtured by these five elements. Actually, when you are watching nature, you are watching yourself. When you alienate from nature, you alienate from your‘ Self’ and it’s painful and distressing. When you do harm to nature, you do harm to yourself. When you nurture nature, you nurture yourself and heal yourself. So a harmonious bondage with the nature and the universe is the best way for your health, wellbeing, and happiness. As Anne Frank rightly pointed out; ‘Nature brings solace to all, in all troubles’.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. JOHN MUZHUTHETTU is a Human Resource Consultant, National Trainer, and Counselor. Formerly he was the Deputy Chief Engineer, Kerala State Electricity Board and is still working as an external faculty of HRD Programmes of KSEB. He is also a faculty of Department of Management Studies, Mar Augusthinose College, Ramapuram, under M.G.University, Kerala. He is the PG course-coordinator of MHRM.
He is a columnist in several Magazines, like ‘Business Deepika’, ‘Creative Business’, ‘Donbosco’ etc. His articles have been published in many magazines and journals. His several speeches have been aired by All India Radio. His interviews on various subjects have been telecasted by Power Vision TV. He is the author of five best-selling books:
- ‘Stress-Manassasthra- Aathmeeya Pariharangel’. (Current Books, Thrissur) 4th Edition
- Vijayiyude Vyakthithwam (Current Books, Thrissur)
- Jeevitham Santhushtamakan, Nithya Yauvanam Nedan.(css,Thiruvalla)2ndEdition
- Emotional Intelligence-Jeevithavijayathinu (CSS, Thiruvalla)
- Vijayarahsyangal (Current Books, Thrissur)
As a trainer, he has conducted more than thousand seminars and workshops for teachers, parents, students, executives and others, on several subjects like Stress Management, Time Management, Personality Development, Emotional Intelligence and Spiritual intelligence for Excellence, Communicative Skills, Assertiveness, Motivation, Study Skills, Effective Parenting, Counselling Skills etc. He is an external training faculty of Power Engineers Training and Research Centre of KSEB. He is an external faculty of IMG Cochin. He is also the Secretary of Upasana Cultural Centre, Thodupuzha.
- PhD in Psychology
- M.Phil Degree in Psychology
- Masters Degree in Psychology (M.Sc Psy)
- Masters Degree in Human Resource Management (MHRM)
- P.G. Diploma in Guidance and Counselling (PG DGC)
- P.G. Diploma in Yoga (PGDY)
- Degree in Electrical Engineering (B.Sc Engg.)
Read More: Managing Stress- A Holistic Approach