The Magic Of The Therapeutic Forest
On Saturday, 24 October, Daddy & I had the pleasure of launching our book about the therapeutic forest. Of course, when I refer to our book, it’s really his book. After all, Professor Kua Ee Heok has been studying the relationship between mindfulness and the therapeutic garden for many years. This branched (pun intended) off to projects on mindful walking in the therapeutic forest. Other than medical papers for healthcare professionals to appreciate the data analysis, Daddy’s team conceptualised this wonderful book for the every man. Finally, all the hard work bore fruit (pun alert) and we launched “Nature.Health.Happiness” at the Hort Park.
Nature. Health. Happiness
Nature And Mindful Awareness Study
This book is a compilation of perspectives from professionals who have an avid interest in nature. The Nature and Mindful Awareness Study (NaMAS) indicates that walking mindfully in the therapeutic forest can enhance well-being and mental resilience. Numerous other studies corroborate this truth. They demonstrate that living near a green environment helps people live longer, healthier and happier lives.
The Urgent Call To Action To Save The Therapeutic Forest
Unfortunately, rapid urbanisation leads to most of us city dwellers losing our connection with nature. The need to protect the therapeutic forest for future generations is urgent and important. Dr William Wan, General Secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, says, “This beautiful book teaches us to be kind to ourselves, family, friends and the forest.”
The Ecology Of Resilience
Resilience Of The System
Other than enhancing well-being for healthy individuals, the therapeutic forest has medicinal value for those with physical and mental ailments. One of the most feared diseases of old age is dementia.
Why is it frightening? Not only does it change the person, but the stress on the caregiver is enormous. A poignant play on this savage disease was put up by Pangdemonium. Read about it here in Forget Me Not . So what is the value of the addressing this illness? While we do not expect to prevent all dementias, a reduction in incidence or delay in onset by 10% is a great success to the patient and caregivers.
Age Well Everyday Programme
The Age Well Everyday (AWE) programme exemplifies the ecology of resilience. Through voluntarism and philanthropy, the community rallies together to enhance the resilience of seniors. Ten years ago, philanthropists enabled us to change the paradigm of research by anchoring the dementia prevention study team well within the community. The latest research aims to study the concept of ageing in place in a public housing estate with inter-generational bonding and community support for seniors.
For the next step into translational relevance, our partners are the People’s Association and the National Parks Board. Now the AWE programme is enriched by the afore-mentioned NaMAS. Green urbanism is a vital aspect of a resilient and liveable city.
These initiatives fulfil the raison detre of the AWE programme. Its North Star is preventive medicine in the community by the community for the community. This is why we are so proud of the book, which is a tribute to the community.
And so last weekend, our book really was a milestone at the end of years of research, in the middle of some and will hopefully inspire new initiatives. Despite the doom & gloom of the global pandemic, we celebrated with social distancing measures in place. Only a limited number of people could physically attend the book launch. However the event was broadcast live to the public. They saw & heard the welcome address delivered by Professor John Wong, Director of the Mind Science Centre. Then Daddy, or shall I say, Professor Kua Ee Heok, delivered the Wee Sin Tho lecture named for a philanthropist and dear family friend.
After the launch, our Patron, Mrs Teo Poh Yim, presented a copy of the book to our Guest of Honour, Mr Desmond Lee, the Minister for National Development. Finally, expert panelists took questions from the public. I particularly enjoyed the answers given by Mrs Wee Sin Tho who had also taken us through a mental mindful walking experience.
The wonderful thing about mindful walking and therapeutic forest, is that they are freely available for all to enjoy. That is, as long as we don’t destroy it with our ironic need for the city’s growth and development. Let’s not forget the inner work we must do with our personal growth and the bigger picture when it comes to the development of the community. So try it this weekend! Take some time to experience mindful walking and enjoy the therapeutic forest. You deserve it.