Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Danville’s New Public Labyrinth a Resource for Stress Reduction and Healing

Danville’s New Public Labyrinth a Resource for Stress Reduction and Healing

(Danville, IL) – A tool that has been used for centuries for stress reduction and healing is now freely available with the creation of Danville’s first public outdoor labyrinth. The labyrinth, located at Central Illinois Natural Health Clinic (CINHC) at 1012 W. Fairchild Street, is a pattern painted on the ground, forming a twisting path. People walk along this path as a form of “moving meditation,” to calm the mind and spirit.

A labyrinth differs from a maze in that it has a single path to follow from the edge to the center, and back out again; there are no branches or dead ends. In the center, people often choose to spend time in reflection, prayer, or contemplation before moving out. Walking the path of the labyrinth can symbolize many things: the twisting journey of life, the back-and-forth inner debate about a problem, or the constant chatter of the mind. Whatever the interpretation, the very act of navigating the labyrinth has a calming effect on the mind and spirit.

In the past, labyrinths were located in churches, cathedrals, and other sacred locations. Walking the labyrinth was an external symbol of a spiritual journey. Modern Americans have been rediscovering this ancient tool for personal and spiritual transformation in recent years. According to Dr. Lauren Artress, author of Walking a Sacred Path, the labyrinth can be used for different purposes. Some walkers have the same goal as seekers in the past—focusing on the soul. Others find that the reduction in stress is a valuable part of dealing with grief, pain, or physical health issues. Still others use it as a key to unlock their creativity and potential.

“I am very excited to be able to provide this tool freely to our community,” says Dr. Andrew R. Peters, chiropractor and naturopathic physician with CINHC. “I have walked other labyrinths in the past, and have always found it valuable for calming and centering the mind. I wished that Danville had a labyrinth, so we decided to make it a reality.” The next closest outdoor public labyrinth is located in Crystal Lake Park in Urbana.

“I think that having this labyrinth so close to Provena United Samaritans Medical Center is important,” Peters adds. “Dealing with serious illness is very stressful for staff and family members of patients. This is just one more means to help with coping day by day.”

Dr. Peters provided the space for this pattern, which was designed by Jim Griner of Hoopeston. He based the design upon the thirteenth-century labyrinth at the Chartres Cathedral in France. The circular outline, in the southwest corner of the clinic’s parking lot, measures about twenty-two feet in diameter. Following the path to the center and back out again takes about 30-40 minutes at an easy pace.

The labyrinth was created on May 31, 2007, by Griner, of Hoopeston, Peters, Susan Dancing Star of Danville, and Virginia Smith of Danville. CINHC has books and articles about the labyrinth, its meaning, and its use, available during regular office hours (Monday through Friday 8:30am-5:00pm; closed Thursday).

For more information:

Artress, Lauren. Walking a Sacred Path. New York: Riverhead Books, 1995.

Central Illinois Natural Health Clinic: www.illinoisnaturalhealth.com; info@illinoisnaturalhealth.com

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