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Korea, In Love With Healing

2013/08/11 | 624 views | Permalink | Source

Korea, In Love With Healing

The well-being movement once so popular in Korea has recently been eclipsed by the new trend of "healing". Where well-being focused largely on physical health, the concept of healing extends to mental wellness and freedom from anxiety, a notion especially appealing to today's fatigued and stressed populace searching for a healthy work–life balance.

This trend - manifested through healing-themed TV shows, books, travel and food - has recently reached something of a fever pitch in the nation.

Healing in the Media 

Television shows perhaps best reflect the public appetite for healing. The SBS show Healing Camp: Aren't You Happy(힐링캠프: 기쁘지 아니한가) has grown steadily in popularity since it first aired in July 2011, while as other healing-themed shows including Talk Show Do Dream(이야기쇼 두드림) and Lecture 100ºC on KBS have also emerged as ratings winners.

The shows share a theme of candid conversation with celebrities about their private lives. The therapeutic effect of frank discussions in which the personal struggles and pain behind their fame are revealed has resonated deeply with the viewing public.

Healing Camp is based on the concept of bringing together guests and hosts with open hearts and minds in relaxing, natural surroundings where everyone - including the viewers - can experience a sense of healing. In January last year even the president of Korea, Geun-hye Park, appeared on the show.

Healing Travel

The healing trend has also made an impact in the travel industry, with many travelers now preferring to stay longer in one place, relax and appreciate the surroundings, rather than cramming as many destinations as possible into hectic travel itineraries.

Temple stays - involving spending time at a traditional Korean temple, observing and experiencing the daily lives of Buddhist practitioners, and finding one's own inner peace - are a perfect example of healing-themed vacations.

An official from the Korea Centre for Buddhist Culture explained, "The Temple Stay program used to focus on the cultural aspects of traditional temples, such as Zen meditation and tea ceremonies. However, with the recent surge of interest in healing, temple stays are now more about self-discovery and cater to people who travel for relaxation and leisure".

In another illustration of how the trend is affecting the industry, last year saw the launch of Nomad Healing Travel, which as its name implies shuns traditional sightseeing tours in favor of healing-themed travel packages focused on mind-body wellness. 

Books About Healing

Books are essential for self-contemplation and healing the mind.

Walk into any Korean bookstore nowadays and you will find a section dedicated to healing. While largely devoted to literature on psychological healing, these sections now extend to collections of essays written monks such as Things You See Only When You Stop (멈추면, 비로소 보이는 것들) by Hyemin, and It's Okay Even If You're Wandering (방황해도 괜찮아) by Beopryun. Titles such as these and We Are Young Because It Hurts (아프니까 청춘이다) by Nando Kim have proved best-sellers with the young generation.

Considering the possible reasons behind the spread of the healing trend, experts cite three contributing social factors.

In the first place, the healing trend can be viewed as an extension of the wellbeing trend and an expression of the public's desire for an improved quality of life less focused on performance and materialism.

It can also be interpreted as a reaction against the modern age of mass production, rapid change, and increasingly fast pace of life.

Finally, it also represents a desire to pursue higher values through eco-friendly products and lifestyles.

True healing starts with love and care for one's self, through which can hope to regain lost meaning in our lives and lead happier and more fulfilling existences.

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