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FRANKLIN COUNTY (Aug. 19, 2019) — Health care providers are often known for their healing hands but through a delicate web of intricate design, one WellSpan Summit Health provider showed her artistic hand, while lending a hand to her co-workers.

“Henna gives you an opportunity to spend fun and quality time with your friends and family. It helps you bond with people as well,” said Dr. Shalanki Baiswar, WellSpan Hospitalist.

Dr. Baiswar wanted to share her Indian culture and Henna designs with co-workers who often noticed the beautiful designs on her hands.

 “Henna is a significant part of my culture and I have had it on my hands for as long as I can remember,” said Dr. Baiswar.  “I wanted to share the fun experience of Henna with my co-workers.”

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Henna is a paste made from dried leaves of the henna plant. Traditionally used as part of a wedding celebration, henna is considered very auspicious in weddings — especially for the bride.

Lessons in giving and selflessness

Dr. Shalanki Baiswar, WellSpan Hospitalist, paints designs in henna on co-workers hands. (Photo courtesy WellSpan Summit Health)
Dr. Kanika Shanker paints designs in henna on co-workers hands. (Photo courtesy WellSpan Summit Health)

Henna paste is made from dried leaves of a henna plant. When applied to the skin, the paste leaves a temporary tattoo. The evolution from plant to body art also has significance to Dr. Baiswar, as a lesson in giving and selflessness.

“When it’s a plant, it contributes to the environment. When the leaves are applied on the hand, it washes away to nothing but leaves its beautiful color and fragrance for us to enjoy for a long time. It gives you all its qualities and fades away, but you remember it for the beauty it has given to you.”

Selfless giving is engrained in the culture of WellSpan Summit Health, where an assistance fund helps employees who may need temporary help due to a financial setback.  Money raised on Henna Day was donated to that fund.

Dr. Shalanki Baiswar, center, with coworkers. (Photo courtesy WellSpan Summit Health)
Dr. Shalanki Baiswar, center, with coworkers. (Photo courtesy WellSpan Summit Health)

“The turnout at the event was amazing,” said Beth Stephey of the WellSpan Development Office. “This shows our employees are not only interested in learning about new cultures, but their hearts are very big and they’re willing to help one another when in need.”     

Henna, according to Dr. Baiswar, has some other benefits too.

“It has a cooling effect that helps in soothing stress, headaches and fevers according to Indian Medicinal literature.  It helps to cool the body and keeps the nerves free from stress and tension.”

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