An advocate of the healing power of nature, Mariam Abdulla Ketait is an Emirati family doctor working in Dubai who believes medicine should not simply focus on a patient’s physical body, but also on their mental, emotional and spiritual state. As she states on her website: “My approach to a healthy lifestyle starts from your thoughts, because healthy thoughts lead to healthy states of being.”
In true dedication to this ethos, Ketait created a meditation chair she called the Alrowaiha, a name derived from the Arabic words aloh, which means the soul, and alraha, or to rest. The chair, which features a comfortable basket atop a wooden sailboat, is intended to help people find a space to rest and reconnect with the rhythms of life.
Here Ketait, who is also a big believer in the power of nature, gives us five ways that Emiratis use nature to help heal.
The sun: “Expose yourself to sunlight and enhance your wellbeing and vitamin D levels.”
The beach: “Take walks and synchronize your breath with the sound of the waves. Research shows that walking by the sea reduces blood pressure and enhances wellbeing. Walking 30 minutes a day can keep your body in shape and your joints and muscles healthy.”
The sand dunes: “Walking on the hot sand dunes, also knowns as Alramdha, has been found to alleviate pains and aches in the body and to boost bodily functions.”
Dates: “You are as healthy as your gut is. Dates are not only rich in fiber but also have been found to aid in digestive health.”
The moon: “I personally enjoy meditating with the moon cycle, not only does it remind me of the ebb and flow of life… but amid the fast pace in Dubai, it reminds me that we all go through phases.. of growth and learning and relearning. Meditation and mindfulness are important tools that help in reducing stress and enhancing sleep.”
Featured photo: Ferran Fiexas/Unsplash
Ashleigh Stewart is a New Zealand journalist, who has spent much of her career on the health beat, focusing most recently on mental health and wellbeing. She has worked in Japan, Indonesia, America, and has spent the last two years in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. She's also an avid outdoorswoman and runner, having completed her first marathon in Dubai in 2017.