Originally published in The Weekly Packet, July 3, 2014
Third annual Women’s Wellness Fair offers full spectrum of health choices
Stormi Wentworth, left, speaks with Sally Clinton of Ayushri Yoga about healing methods at the Women’s Wellness Fair hosted by Blue Hill Memorial Hospital on June 26 at the Bay School’s Emlen Hall.
by Anne Berleant
Blue Hill Memorial Hospital drew its largest crowd ever to the third women’s health fair on June 26. Over 275 women participated, “which is a lot more than we’ve ever had,” said BHMH Community Relations Manager Kelley Columber.
Held at Bay School’s Emlen Hall, women of all ages moved, elbow to elbow, between vendors and exhibits, to learn about traditional and alternative health options from local practitioners. They also registered for raffle and door prizes, and sampled reiki, acupuncture, massage and reflexology.
“I think it’s so cool that someone gets to try reiki or [acupuncture] needles for the first time, something they wouldn’t ordinarily try,” said Columber.
Well over 30 vendors were on site, plus booths hosted by the hospital from its cardiovascular, diabetes, rehabilitation, pre- and postnatal care and other departments. While many vendors fell into the alternative healing camp, there was plenty of information on sleep disorders, hearing and eye health and cancer care, along with tables hosted by Blue Hill Heritage Trust, Island Nursing Home and the Blue Hill YMCA.
But the focus was squarely on women and their health concerns, with raffle prizes such as a menopause emergency kit from Many Paths to Healing, exhibits on state-wide sexual assault services, family planning information and beauty products vendors.
“There’s a lot of little tidbits” of information, said Courtney McIntire, who brought one of the few males in sight, 3-month-old Ronan, who mainly slept. “After having [a baby], you don’t do anything for yourself, so it’s nice to come here.” One of the vendors McIntire visited was the Beauty Counter, and owner Kayte LaCasse, for some postpartum skin care tips.
The fair also helped alternative health practitioners connect with each other, said Sally Clinton of Ayushri Yoga. “It’s great to meet other practitioners—and people in the community,” she added, after advising one attendee on yoga therapy options for degenerative joints.
Bernadette Dempsey, a registered nurse with the BHMH Cardiology Center, offered free blood pressure checks and alerted women to risk factors and symptoms of diabetes and heart disease. “Prevention is key,” she said.
And there was food, from the green or pink smoothies that greeted women as they entered, courtesy of Healthy Peninsula, to the individually wrapped chocolates at many exhibits. Dede Sylvester of BHMH Dietary Services kept platters full of fruit kabobs, tea sandwiches, bottled water—and chocolate cupcakes.
“You need a treat now and again,” she said, and most of the women attending appeared to agree.