BERLIN — When Dr Jeff Michael and Terri Street inaugurated the Berlin Holistic Health fair last year at “The Ray” in the Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services building they were able to convince about 10 other companies to participate. On the heels of last year’s success, this week the event was held at the Berlin Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center drawing more the 20 health-related companies and at least 300 attendees.
Michael, who is a chiropractor, said the event was originally conceived as a way to begin dispelling myths and misconceptions about his and other less-conventional approaches to health and well being.
While it is true, for example, that a chiropractor can help a person who has suffered a back injury recover, a person need not wait until they’re back hurts to begin chiropractic therapy. It is an often misunderstood and under-used method to treat more ailments than most people consider including foot pain, some kinds of arthritis and even general malaise or discomfort.
Street, a masseuse who spend the petter part of the day performing free demonstrations, is another partitioner whose expertise is often misunderstood. While it is true and maybe a bit obvious that massage can be used to deepen relaxation and remove tension, it is also a therapy that can be successful in addressing a range of health concerns and problems.
“We got the chance to educate a lot of people,” Michael said of the event. “It keeps getting bigger every year.”
Drs. Michael and Errin DePalma of DePalma Dental were among those who attended the event as vendors. Although dentistry isn’t often though of as a kind of holistic practice, the DePalmas were in attendance because it gave them the opportunity to speak with health conscious people about a potential health problem with which some people may not be familiar: many metal fillings contain mercury. Although it is not commonly used, adults who have had amalgam fillings often prefer to have them removed if possible. The DePalmas were on hand to speak about the procedure for removing mercury fillings and replacing them with safer materials.
Since mercury is highly toxic, special precautions have to be taken so airborne mercury that might be released during the procedure neither enters the doctor’s nor the patient’s lungs. So in addition to specialized apparatus that extracts the mercury fillings without expelling them into the patient, the doctors wear and provide small air filters that keep any airborne mercury from being inhaled.
The tables and presentations stretched the full length of the Chamber building though into the gallery section. While several of the resident artists were on hand to show their work, others had ceded their spaces to presenters. The few vacant galleries were also used as display areas.
Diane Armstrong, who owns the Serenity Shoppe in Snow Hill, provided introductory Reiki treatments to those who were interested. Reiki is a Japanese stress reduction technique that focuses on the exchange of energy from the provider to the recipient. In addition to improving the feeling of wellness many believe it has restorative healing powers as well.
Among the Main Street Businesses that were present was Go Organic, the organic grocery store that took the peach shed in the Municipal Parking Lot for its home base earlier this year. Beth Gorley, the shop’s owner, said the event was an excellent opportunity for her to meet with potential customers and help get out word about her shop.
Suzy Taylor, who owns Ayers Creek Adventures, said the event was worthwhile for both her business and her knowledge. In addition to being able to speak with the attendees about the health benefits of kayaking — her company leads kayak tours along the creek and back bays — she was able to take advantage of the chance to network with other small local businesses in attendance. It is expected that the Holistic Health Fair will become another of Berlin’s annual events.