When Lori Ives-Godwin graduated from Cornell University and jumped into the corporate world as a business consultant, she never imagined that, 18 years later, she would leave it behind to promote the benefits of psychic mediums, reiki masters and yogis.
Today, Ives-Godwin, 50, who lives in Davidson, is the founder of SHIFT Charlotte, an annual expo that gathers many of the community’s experts on alternative practices under one roof.
Now in its sixth year, SHIFT Charlotte will be held on March 13-14 in University City.
Like many, Ives-Godwin first turned to alternative medicine to heal an ailment after trying traditional methods with limited results.
“When you’re in pain, you try different things, and one thing leads to another,” she said of her attempts to find relief for a chronic back condition. “I went down a path that led to learning more about acupuncture, chiropractic and massage, and that led to learning more about energy healing, reiki, and other disciplines.”
Rebuffed by scientists who cited a lack of proof about its benefits, alternative medicine has gradually earned more acceptance. It’s not as rare for doctors to suggest homeopathic and other alternative healing approaches as compliments to traditional Western medicine.
People have begun turning to alternative methods in higher numbers. A recent study from AARP showed that 53 percent of Americans older than 50 have reported using some form of alternative medicine.
More than 600 people attended SHIFT Charlotte last year – numbers that caused organizers to move the event to a larger venue this year.
The expo will begin Friday evening with a series of 20-minute talks from homeopathic, naturopathic, chiropractic, energy healers and spiritual faith healers in the community. Topics will range from finding happiness through meditation to the benefits of thermotherapy.
“Friday night is like speed-dating meets TED Talks meets the workshop world,” said Ives-Godwin.
Saturday’s lineup will feature discussions on healthy relationships, tapping into intuition and examining the connection between spirituality and science, among others.
At least 60 vendors and 20 practitioners are scheduled to attend the event. Their areas of expertise range from reiki to psychotherapy, energy healing to spirituality.
It’s not like a traditional expo, where visitors listen to marketers sell their products and services, said Ives-Godwin. Speakers have been given topics to discuss in advance.
“It’s not an infomercial. It’s not about them selling a book or their product or their service,” she said. “They are there to give you a piece of information that you can use in your life and take with you when you leave. It’s more like a retreat.”
Ives-Godwin hopes those who attend will find relief she did years ago when she first started on her journey of healing through alternative medicine. At the least, she hopes they realize there’s more options available.
“People need additional ways to seek help,” said Ives-Godwin. Whether it’s through nutrition, whether it’s through supplements or whether it’s through chiropractic types of services.”
Lisa Thornton is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Lisa? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to go?
SHIFT Charlotte will be held on March 13-14 at the Oasis Shrine Headquarters Facility in University City. Tickets for the two-day event range from $25 to $70 and can be bought online or at the door. To buy tickets or for information, go to www.shiftcharlotte.com.