Holistic Hoedown

Celebrating your whole self

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

It should come as no surprise that over the past few decades, as health insurance providers became more and more restrictive in their willingness to cover alternative therapies and preventive supplements, that a groundswell of alternative practitioners offering goods and services to heal the mind, body and spirit would arise. 

These practitioners have emerged ready to serve the “not covered” and those desperate for answers that Western medicine is not providing, as well as health-conscious and often adventuresome consumers looking for wellness and ready to explore.

Health and wellness expos, “fairs” and venues catering specifically to the “whole” person have sprung up around the country and in our area—and with some impressive results. Find out for yourself at a “Mind, Body, Spirit Fair” taking place from 10am-4pm Sat., July 15 at Bellingham’s Center for Spiritual Living.

The array of practitioners who will be on hand at the inclusive event include everything from a lecture by local nutritional coach Tom Malterre, infant cranial/sacral massage, energy healing treatments like reiki, color therapy, doTerra essential oils, pet partners, toddler music, face painting, yoga for different ages (including prenatal yoga) and much more. A family stage will feature music and storytelling. There will also be a nursing/napping quiet area for new moms.

We recently spoke with two practitioners who offer complementary or “functional” medicine, as it is now called, to get their take on this trend. Dr. Woody Bernard and Mary Bellue are participants in this weekend’s event.

Cascadia Weekly: Woody, you are a well-known and beloved chiropractor in Bellingham. Aren’t chiropractors covered under most insurance policies?

Woody Bernard: Absolutely; most insurance companies allow a set number of visits per year for chiropractic. But therapies that provide outstanding results for some of my patients, like cold laser treatments, are typically not covered. This is particularly true for those on Medicare. And as our population ages, these therapy options are steadily being disallowed even though they provide great results and lasting benefits. And the sad part about this is that many people do not even know what is available unless they discover these options at a health fair or expo.

CW: Mary, you offer a unique service called BEMER Physical Vascular therapy. What is that? And is it covered by insurance?

Mary Bellue: BEMER positively influences the way blood flows through the tiniest blood vessels (capillaries) in the body. It also optimizes your immune system by stimulating circulation. It can be used in humans and animals and is particularly wonderful in working with the body’s own self-healing mechanisms.

BEMER is not covered by insurance and, as Woody mentioned, getting the word out on complementary therapies is my job since people won’t typically hear about it through their regular medical providers.

CW: Do you think these expos and fairs are a sign of the times or just smart marketing opportunities?

MB: Well, both. For me, I enjoy the opportunity of showing people what my services do and having them have a direct experience. We actually have people use the therapy during the fair—it’s great! It takes the mystery out of the process and gives people a chance to ask questions. And, yes, I think it is a sign of the times and shows that people are much more willing to seek their own answers in health and wellness.

WB: I agree. Many of my patients have taken the responsibility for their health into their own hands and want what works.

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