Ten Days at the Jindal Naturecure Institute : A Retreat for Health and Rejuvenation

Posted: October 23, 2022 in Uncategorized

Some of you may have heard of the Jindal Naturecure Institute (JNI) located in Bangalore, India. It has been around for more than 40 years now, and is a place associated with naturopathy-based treatments for various diseases and chronic problems, as also a place where one can go for general body cleansing, detoxification, and health rejuvenation.

My parents had gone for such programs to JNI many years back, and I had a kind of general perception around what the program was like, how it worked, etc. However, it was only a perception, and while the JNI website had some more information, the details of what exactly happens there, how it works, how is it for a person who enrolls there, was not much known to me. But I had enrolled for the program all the same, basis the strong reputation of JNI that gave me a conviction that it will be good for detox.

Having been through the program now, I am penning some notes on what I went through, as much for serving as a reference for me, as to share with anyone else, who may be interested to consider the JNI program.

Before I get into the treatments and the program itself, here’s some other general facts.

JNI as I mentioned earlier, is a 40+ years old institute, located in Bangalore and spread over a sprawling campus. The campus is beautiful, with amazing horticulture – fabulous large trees, plants, flowers, and fruits of various types, extremely well maintained. There are a variety of birds also, on the campus, and every morning, as one walks around, one is treated to variety of bird sounds. Across the large campus are also fruit orchards and other open spaces, and as you take your walks around those areas, you also spot the many peacocks that are part of the habitat there. The complex is situated just beside a huge lake, and which makes for a most spectacular view, especially as the sun and the clouds play to give many different hues, making for a fascinating visual of the landscape. And the “regulars” who have been coming here for years informed that there is always some expansion or development that they have seen, as the campus kept growing with new things there. While I was there, I saw work going on, for example, on a health museum. I can only imagine how they probably are creating a place to explain various facets of health and wellness, via displays and commentary, perhaps.

The campus also has services like laundry, library and a store providing the many essentials. This sells stuff that you may need while you are there (like I forgot to carry a swimming costume and purchased one there) to stuff that you might like to purchase and take back with you (some “products” based on naturopathy that they have created) to even a large range of books that they publish themselves. I particularly loved and purchased a coffee table sized book explaining the fundamental approach of naturopathy and the various treatments they have there, in a simple, single-page description.

On campus are also sports facilities like for badminton, tennis, basketball, etc., a swimming pool etc. Daily evening post dinner there are programs that one can attend, which include a mix of entertainment (antakshri, movie screening etc.) to knowledge sessions (talks by their experts, or about healthy recipes by their experts, etc.).

Across this large and beautiful complex are well-maintained walking tracks that you can use, at all times of the day. They are mostly flat, easy to walk on, with very small inclines. Amongst the many residents who are staying there at any point, often, the point of discussion would be as to how many steps or km each person had walked that day!

Speaking of residents, in fact, a very integral part of the stay is the opportunity to meet and mingle with many others who have enrolled for the program. There are many points in the day, be it when you are consuming one of the 4-5 juices that you are advised to, at different times of the day, or perhaps at lunch or dinner time, when you spend time with other residents. It is very natural to strike up a conversation, starting with the favorite parts of where one has come from, and how many days they are going to be here, etc. You end up finding people you connect well with, and they become your regular “hang-out” partners, thereafter. You can easily strike up friendships here, that would go beyond the course of your stay here.

People come from all around India, and all around the world as well. In my stay, people I met came from far and wide places like Mumbai, Delhi, Bellary, Lucknow, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Pune, Bangalore (locals), as well as Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Australia, London, the USA etc. Most of the people from outside India were NRIs, but there were a few “foreigners” as well. Clearly, the reputation of the place has spread far and wide and draws people from around the world.

Also, most people that I met were repeat visitors. Of course, there were few first-timers like me, but several were people who had come maybe 2-3 times or 4-5 times, or some who had come 15-20 times also, before their current visit. They had made it a routine of sorts, to make maybe, an annual rejuvenation trip, or some, even doing a half-yearly visit! And people were also of all ages. Some very young, say in their 20s, and all the way to senior citizens in their 80s. Some of the people that I saw looked so fit, I was wondering what brought them there. On asking the question to such people, the responses I got were that “x years back, they were heavier and after coming to JNI, they saw the change happen, and have been coming back frequently thereafter” or “that they suffer from diabetes or some such thing, so even though they look fit, they need the chronic issue addressed, and they prefer doing it the natural way”, or that “they are convinced about the natural way as being a holistic way to wellness and hence visit here”. All of such conversations made me feel even better about my own decision to have enrolled there for a program, and if anything, I felt that I should have come here, a few years earlier!

JNI also has a very large staff strength – from qualified doctors, yoga teachers, physiotherapists, acupuncture experts, masseurs, a team of coordinators helping participants with their programs, to the regular hospitality kind of team, such as kitchen and F&B staff, housekeeping, maintenance, horticulturists, etc. And the one thing to say about them is that all of them were fabulous in terms of their service levels, their dedication, their commitment to the work, their eagerness to help, their skills, etc. The service and maintenance levels were perhaps better than what you’d see in a good 5-star hotel! The extent of personalized service that one took, e.g., the number of massages, say, there would generally be a tendency to tip such service providers. But they don’t take a tip! And yet, they serve with a smile and with complete dedication. Some of the tasks that they performed were particularly “personal” such as giving enemas or the hydro colon therapy (more about these later), and these were also performed with a lot of dedication and care.

At the time of your check-in, your data is taken, and then you are to consult a few doctors, including a main naturopath who is assigned to you, as your consulting doctor, for your entire stay, and then a yoga specialist, a physiotherapist, an acupuncture specialist etc. Based on your case, your specific issues if any, your health constraints if any, your objective for the stay there, a fundamental program is created for you. Specifically for yoga, it spells out certain yoga sessions that you should do, certain asanas that you should avoid. And similarly, a basi program is spelt out for you, for acupuncture and physiotherapy.

The main consulting doctor that you are assigned to takes a more exhaustive health history of yours, records the initial parameters including height, weight, BMI, blood pressure etc. And makes some broad notes on the approach and starts you off for the first day or two of actual diet and treatment. In case he needs you to take any tests, such as blood test etc., he may ask you to get those done too, for him to assess your condition that much better. Thereafter, you are to meet this doctor every day, and basis your feedback and whatever other observations he draws, he keeps tweaking both, your diet and your treatment on a day-to-day basis.

The tariff for the program is based on two factors: a) the type of stay that you opt for (there are various levels at different price points) and b) the different types of treatment that you take or that you need to take, such as the different massages and other such treatments.

Basis the kind of room you have opted for, you get an access badge, and besides that you get another smart card. Both of these, you are supposed to carry around with you, most times that you are going anywhere on the campus.

I was particularly very impressed by the smart card. It is connected to your record and all you need to do is to swipe the same, at various places, for them to know what you need to be doing next. For example, you swipe the card in the lunch room and it will tell the persons there, what food you are supposed to eat in that meal, you swipe the card at the therapy center, and they know what massage you are supposed to have at that time, you swipe the card at the juice place, and of the many juices offered at that time, they will tell you exactly which one is meant for you. All this data is available on a phone or an iPad, to the attendant at each place. Of course, the doctors also have the same information when they see your record, as the information is all centralized. This tech was very impressive, I thought.

Beyond this general information, let me share something about the specific diets and treatments:

The typical day’s program:

The typical day’s program is supposed to start by around 5.30 am. With minor differences, most people have this common morning schedule, viz. one takes maybe a 15-20 min walk, then heads to what is known as the Kriya Centre. Here, I was prescribed a first thing where two drops of ghee are put in my nose, and then the nose is massaged, and this is to clean up the nasal track. Thereafter, there is salt-water gargling, and then cleaning the eyes using eye cups filled with a liquid. Once these are done, one heads to the amphitheatre, where yoga mats are laid out. The program starts with meditation for a few minutes. Post-meditation, there is a laughter therapy session, followed up pranayama. After that, there is yoga, where for the first two days that one is there, you’d follow a learner’s yoga session, and beyond that, you’d join the general yoga session. In each of these, you may not do all asanas, if the yoga teacher has marked those out for you, basis your health constraints, if any.

Post this yoga session, by around 7.30 am, you get to have your first intake. Typically, it is a juice of some kind. In my case, most of the days, it was a warm water with jaggery and a little lime. When you are not “fasting”, you would get a small helping of sprouts with a little pomegranate too, along with the liquid.

Once you are done with this morning schedule, you’d either go and see your consulting doctor for the daily appointment (they are available from 8 am onwards) or maybe done another walk for 30-45 mins, or maybe go back to your room.

Other activities planned for you during the day could include an acupuncture session (generally 30 min duration), a physiotherapy session (also around 30 min duration), some packs that are put on you like a mud pack or a castor oil pack or an abdomen pack, kidney pack etc., which can happen at different times of the day, and are anywhere from 15 min to 45 min each, and 1-2 massage or enema or such sessions, planned in the course of the day.

Beyond that, there are evening yoga sessions for specific purposes like for diabetes patients or for anyone with hypertension or cardiac problems, there is also a yoga for eyes session, there is an aqua yoga session that happens in the swimming pool, there is a relexology area where you can go and “walk” barefoot over pebbles, sand etc. There is also a vibration place, which is this large platform hung over a large tree, where maybe 10-12 people could go and stand and then, the entire platform is subject to vibrations, even as you stand on the platform, for about 8 minutes.

Beyond these, there are always options to keep doing walks across the campus.

Juice breaks happen further around 8.45 am, 2-30 pm, 4.45 pm and post dinner at around 8.30 pm. Lunch is around 11-12 in the morning and dinner is around 6-7 pm in the evening.

A typical day, if you are going through a few of the treatments, has you busy for large parts of the day, especially as you rush around from one place to another, where the different treatments happen, and where meals and juices are served.

Diet Program:

Sensing my issue being largely one of being overweight, my diet program was catered accordingly.

The first 2-3 days, I would have some solid food like fruits (pineapple, papaya, watermelon etc.) along with steamed vegetables and sprouts, along with soup, for lunch and dinner. At different times of the day, I would have liquid intake like warm jaggery water with ginger or lime, kokum juice, tender coconut water, some mixed fruits smoothie etc. The post-dinner night liquid was always cold coconut milk with chia seeds, for me.

For 4 consecutive days in the middle, I was put on a fast. Those 4 days, I had all the liquids intake, but no solids. So, no sprouts early morning, no solid fruits, no steamed vegetables or sprouts at lunch or dinner. Lunch and dinner were just one bowl of soup, in fact.

Massages and other treatments:

Over the time that I was there, there were many different massages and other treatments that I needed to take. Sharing details of some of these:

  1. Enema: This is administered in your room itself. And is a first process to get your bowels cleaned. I was administered this for a couple of days, right in the beginning.
  2. Oil therapy massage: This was like a basic oil massage and perhaps, one to just get you started on massages. After that, many other, more intense and specialized massages happened. Post oil massage, one sits in the steam room for 10 minutes, before taking a shower to get the oil off!
  3. Kairali massage: The next massage was the Kairali type, also an oil massage, but done the Kairali style. With two masseurs, working your body, in synch, so that the two sides of your body get synchronized massaging. This is also followed by steam and shower.
  4. Deep Tissue massage: This is also an oil massage but where the masseurs put more pressure, going deeper on the muscles.
  5. Herbal Therapy massage: This is a very interesting massage. They use freshly ground and mixed herbal powder to spread over your body and rub it in, with a certain pressure, to give you a massage. After extensively doing this on all of your body, they clean out the powder as best as possible, and then follow up with a regular oil massage, and then steam and shower. This is supposed to be very effective, and I had this massage a couple of times, over my 10-days stay.
  6. GIB Bath with Epsom Salt: This is where you are in a tub filled with warm water and there is a lot of Epsom salt mixed, and the masseur rubs all of it over your body. It is part of the overall detox process.
  7. Hot Stone Therapy: This is a very interesting massage type. Again, there are two individuals who work together, to give this massage to you. There is extensive use of round, flat stones, pre-heated, along with oil. So, the body is oiled out and then it is rubbed with these hot stones. Hot stones are also kept on the body for certain periods of time, and allowed to provide the therapeutic treatment, from those.
  8. Salt Glow Therapy: This is a natural treatment using salt and oil, mainly focused on improving the skin, ridding it of dead cells, getting the pores opened up, mainly for purpose of detox, again.
  9. Hydro Colon Therapy: This is a very interesting therapy, kind of like enema, but with the idea of using pressurized warm and cold water, for purpose of cleaning the large intestine, specifically for waste that has accumulated there, for a long time. The equipment used has a display unit, where you actually see the waste coming out!!
  10. Vibro Therapy: This therapy uses a variety of vibration heads and same are applied across different parts of the body, to provide an exhaustive and holistic vibration across the body.
  11. Jet Hydro Therapy: This is where you are asked to stand towards a wall, and a person using a high pressure jet of water sprays water across various parts of your body, in a concentrated manner. The pressure makes it seem like sharp objects are being shot on to your body, but again, this has a therapeutic purpose.
  12. Whirlpool Bath: This is where you are asked to lie down in a jacuzzi kind of tub, and sharp streams of water are coming out, below the water surface. You are asked to move specific parts of your body, specifically the ones where there are fat deposits, such as your tummy, abdomen, thighs, etc. close to those jets, and get a strong hydro massage in the process. Like a typical jacuzzi, this is a circular shaped tub.
  13. Under water therapy: This is somewhat similar to the whirlpool bath, except that the tub is like a proper bathing tub in shape, and most of your body, except the head, is below the water and you are lying flat (you would also turn around and

have your back on the top and chest below, as you lie flat on your tummy, under the water). Water jets come in across the tub and the person helping you, also rubs on your immersed body, giving a massage.

While I saw some of the people who were coming to the place, repeatedly, making some choice on the treatments that they choose to take or not take, I, going there for the first time, chose to simply submit myself to the entire program, as envisaged by the doctors there. I followed their suggestions and tried to follow as much of the prescribed schedule set for me, as I could.

Even after doing this once now, and seeing the immense overall benefits, I am not able to pinpoint which of the parts contributed less or more, to my final results. So, I am not sure if I can really pick and choose even the next time that I go there.

Speaking of the “next time”, I am quite convinced about the relevance and benefits of the program and feel that a 7 to 10 days stint at JNI should become a part of the year’s agenda, each year. I hope to be able to do so.

Overall, I found the entire experience excellent, and I would highly recommend anyone considering the same, to take the call and enroll!


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