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The pandemic and mental health ecosystem

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Beena Gupta, Pranic healer and Trainer and Founder -Ojas Wellness in an interaction with Express Healthcare talks about the impact of COVID-19 on mental health ecosystem

Everyone is facing mental health issues escalated by COVID-19. How can healing help minimise the problem?

Undoubtedly, the devastation of the pandemic — millions of deaths, economic strife and unprecedented curbs on social interaction — has affected almost everybody’s mental health. Here, energy healing accelerates the body’s ability to heal at all levels — from physical, emotional to mental as well as spiritual. The traditional healing system restores the balance and flow of energy throughout our body, mind and soul. This works directly with the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of well-being. In simple terms, mental health issues are similar to that of a knot in one’s body. Spiritual and energy-based healing helps in untying that knot, which holds one back from achieving mental peace and happiness. This is beyond the realm of modern medicine. It is used to treat several medical conditions, especially the ones related to mental health. It addresses problems caused because of aggravation of the energy stream in the body. It is believed that when the energy flow gets fixed, the individual naturally gets relieved.

Market Analysis of the Industry – facts and figures. What according to you are the forthcoming trends in the industry?

According to a recent study by Grand View Research, an India and US-based market research and consulting company, the global complementary and alternative medicine market size is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.03 per cent from 2021 to 2028, which was valued at USD 82.27 billion last year. The alternative medicine market includes Ayurveda, yoga, meditation, healing, acupuncture, and other related techniques. People these days don’t rely only on allopathy but prefer to take a more holistic and integrated approach towards physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing, involving alternate medical techniques. Certainly, the trend of mental wellbeing programs is significantly rising among youth and people suffering from chronic diseases with no proven cure in allopathy. The high cost of conventional medicines is another major reason for the rise in the popularity of alternative medicine techniques. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic also accelerated the adoption of the same as many people underwent psychological stress during the time.

The market is set to gain momentum in the forthcoming years. This is, perhaps, due to the changing scenarios coupled with robust government initiatives, resulting in the establishment of strong transnational connections across healing pathways, linking global, national, and local movements with regards to alternative medicine. Indian regulatory authorities are investing in the development and standardisation of these alternate medicine techniques. Pranic healing is one such that has been legally sanctioned in the sense of being recognized, regulated and approved by the Government of Indian. Owing to these growing trends and increasing popularity among people, this sector has attracted a lot of VC funding in recent years.

Tell us about the product and services offered by Ojas.

The idea to establish Ojas was conceptualised in order to provide a single platform to bring the expert healers, recognized tutors, sincere practitioners as well as other patients under one umbrella. We at Ojas provide a myriad range of services. These include different kinds of meditation, yoga for mental wellness, several energy healing programs such as Pranic healing, Reiki, palm healing et al. Then, there comes healing using senses like art, dance, music, visualization and guided imagery. In addition, we also provide diet and herbs to achieve an overall happier outlook and an improved ability to focus.

What is your vision for emergency services in the context of preparing India’s mental healthcare and wellness ecosystem for future pandemics and disruptions?

Directly jumping to the solution, I feel that we need to have 100s and thousands of trained spiritual and mental wellbeing professionals for a vast country like India. These expert healers can help millions of people in battling mental health issues, which modern science hasn’t been able to address to date. We need to crank up our efforts on mental healthcare as a country, especially during the times of crisis such as the deadly 2nd wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which made people lose their loved ones, accelerated layoffs, and destroyed nearly each and every other business.

For India to grow into a developed country, we need our youth to contribute to the development of the nation. We have the biggest youth population; thus, we need to harness this in the right direction. If we are able to do so, then no one can stop India from being in the same league as most of the powerful nations of the world today. Buddha has rightly put it into words, “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” One cannot agree more with it. Hence, for harnessing the youth in the right direction and to raise our collective consciousness as a society, the necessity is to inculcate the importance of battling with mental health issues and make people understand the positive impact of mental wellness programs.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs venturing into the wellness space?

Mental wellness is a fast-growing industry. There is a lot of scope for young professionals in the sector as the lack of mental health services has become a pressing issue, especially amid the ongoing pandemic. Individuals opting for it as a career can get to actually create an impact and help the people in need. It’s also a profitable segment as from a business standpoint, there is no major capital expenditure involved. Right from counselors, social workers to psychiatric nursing aides, there are several opportunities in the healthcare system for the ones who wish to contribute to alleviating the effects of mental illness. My piece of advice to someone entering this industry would be to learn the art and science of wellness and create a positive impact by helping millions to overcome — anxiety, depression, paranoia, bipolar affective disorder and many more such mental health issues — which otherwise holds people from achieving their full potential.

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