Wellness Expo

Wellness Expo garners wide appeal from community

                  MARTIN POIRIER                                Times & Transcript               



    Gloria Gallant from the Wellness Centre Art of Balance performs reflexology to Waterside resident Veulah Michelin at the Moncton Wellness Expo.Photo: MARTIN POIRIER/TIMES & TRANSCRIPT

Jean Richard starts running healing energy through his body and out of his hands over Jill Melvin’s lying body.

After about 20 minutes, Melvin sits up from the therapy table.

“I’ll be very honest. I don’t know what’s really happening, but I know I feel better,” said the Saint John resident. “He uses crystals to get toxins out, to clear my body of any harmful feelings.”

Melvin has just experienced an energy healing session.

“I’m feeling so refreshed. I could go have a nap.”

“I’m sending positive healing energy to release negative energy.” Richard said.

Richard was one of many people practising holistic therapies at the ninth annual Wellness Expo held on the weekend at the Moncton Coliseum.

The 90-plus exhibitors and vendors at this year’s Expo ranged from nutrition to eco-friendly clothing, and health food stores.

“It’s similar to Reiki,” said the part-time energy healer and full-time computer programmer. “But more freestyle where I develop my own techniques and borrow techniques from other modalities.”

He’s been doing it for about 14 years and learned it by accident.

“My wife at the time had migraine headaches and I would visualize them leave. She said it worked.”

Richard noted he was sceptical at first but always helped with her headaches. Ten years later, a psychic medium told him he had healing energy, and when he looked into it, he was doing the exact thing before he knew what it was.

“There wasn’t so much information before and not many people knew about it,” Melvin said, noting that holistic therapies seemed like witchcraft in the past.

“It’s just so much more mainstream now,” She said.

Shivaraj Ishaya teaches meditation and stress reduction. He also started the Wellness Expo 10 years ago and runs two exhibitions a year in Moncton, one in Halifax, and is now looking at Saint John. Last year, he received about 1,500 people at the Moncton Wellness Expo.

“A Wellness Expo has a wide appeal to people,” Ishaya said. “It can be wellness of your body like nutrition and fitness, wellness of your mental health, financing and personal life coaching and spiritual well being.”

Ishaya’s purpose with the expo is to introduce new people to holistic living, healthier lifestyles and services offered throughout the city for fitness.

People at the expo are encouraged to fill out surveys.

“About 70 per cent of our attendees are women between the age of 30 to 55.” Ishaya said. “Women seem to be more proactive than men with their health in general. When we first started it was 85 per cent.”

Shannon Edgett and Marise Cormier are trying a shot of Red Beet Crystals, a pure concentrate of certified organic beets that can be mixed with smoothies, milk products and soups.

“Beets are my favourite vegetable,” Edgett said. “They’re full of iron, which is something I’m on the low scale of. I look for things that aren’t full of chemicals and haven’t been manipulated excessively.”

Elaine Mandrona has been doing massage for 23 years. She works for Myocare clinic in Moncton. Her co-worker and employer, Josanne Landry, is giving a Swedish massage to a client who is sitting in a special chair and has her head resting in a cradle, looking down towards the floor.

“It’s a basic chair massage,” Mandrona said, commenting on Landry’s kneading and compression techniques. “It’s only been since the last 30 years that it’s gained popularity.”

Madrona said a person with arthritis can takes a lot of Aspirin and it can be hard on the stomach. Massage can help alleviate some of the pain so they don’t have to take so much.

They also specialize in baby and pregnancy massages.”

“When I give a person their first massage, they say why have I not done this before. There’s a huge interest in alternative healing and healthier ways to live,” she said. “People are just hungry for the information. This Expo has gone from a small exhibit at the Moncton High School to now, the Coliseum.”

Veulah Michelin came from Waterside, near Fundy National Park, to see what was available and it was the first time she had visited the Wellness Expo.

She got the pressure points of her feet worked on by Gloria Gallant, a Foot Reflexologist from the Wellness Centre Art of Balance in Dieppe.

“She said she had back pain and hip pain,” Gallant said. “So I worked more on the left side where the pain was located. Foot reflexology manipulates pressure points under the feet, so it can go up through the meridian of the body to balance it out.”

Gallant said she also does face reflexology for people who have a lot of tension in the head, jaw line, their temples and back of the neck which  can cause a lot of headaches.

“Makes you feel good and more relaxed,” Michelin said after her session. “I feel like I could go to sleep now.”

The Expo also had two lecture rooms reserved for a large roster of speakers and seminars.

The first 150 people that attended the Expo Saturday and Sunday received an eco-bag full of gift certificates and coupons for products and services.

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