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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Alternative Approaches to Health and Wellness for Seniors

In the fall of 2008, Wellness Workers participated in a Camden Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program for seniors entitled, Reconnecting Friends, Family and Community, a grant program through the Department of the State Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. The program provided wellness classes, including yoga and individual bodywork sessions at churches and community centers within the city.

Many holistic health practitioners from the community have helped to provide these services and make this program possible. They include Susan Sydell Fries from Cherry Hill, providing reflexology and massage; Karen Bianco of Angel Essence Massage in Cherry Hill, providing self-healing bodywork classes and massage services; Elsie Kerns, stress specialist, teaching classes on Emotional Freedom Technique and Eden Energy Medicine; Jeannie Francis, herbal and plant expert from Cinnaminson, teaching classes on holistic nutrition, organic gardening and food preparation; Lisa O’Brien from Collingswood Bliss Body Yoga, teaching yoga as well as classes on meditation and nutrition awareness. Other topics include aromatherapy taught by Julia Gandy; music and healing with Michele Heffernan; and energy work and lifestyle ways of eliciting the relaxation response and care of the mind/body spirit taught by Ann Marie McClintock. Most presenters are connected with Wellness Workers, a network of holistic teachers and practitioners.

Program plans are developing for the spring of 2012 and the organization is looking for ways to bring more seniors to the program. While a steady and regular group participates in the activities, Wellness Workers would like to reach more seniors. Tentative plans include going into the housing complexes, neighborhood centers and local churches but the organization is interested in additional ideas from the community.

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