The smells of essential oils drew visitors into a large room, where spiritual healers, health practitioners, jewelry and candle makers, yoga teachers and many other businesses showcased their services.
At the fifth annual SHIFT Charlotte health and wellness event, a variety of Charlotte-based alternative healing businesses, as well as local integrative health practitioners, presented their work to the public March 15-16 at the Oasis Shrine Temple off J.W. Clay Boulevard.
“One of my imperatives is to show the larger population good complementary practices to the other things we do,” said Lori Ives-Godwin, owner of Your Community Connector, which hosted the event.
Ives-Godwin became interested in alternative medicine after suffering from a chronic back condition in 2001. She said her condition improved with chiropractic care and Reiki energy healing.
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Reiki healing is a Japanese technique for stress-reduction and relaxation that is said to promote healing, according to www.reiki.org, the website of the International Center for Reiki Training. Reiki is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through people.
Ives-Godwin started Your Community Connector in 2006, she said, to put natural-living devotees in Charlotte in touch with the businesses and service providers who align with their ideals and needs.
She said her experience as an industrial engineer and business consultant helped create the social-professional network that convened for the event.
More than 450 people of various ages, income levels and lifestyles attended classes, interacted with healers and perused the 80 exhibition booths during the event.
Some wept in the arms of loved ones and healers; others smiled as they moved from booth to booth. Many studied their information packets and planned itineraries for the day: class, lunch, spiritual/medium session, chair massage, class, Reiki session, booth visits and more.
One woman coaxed her granddaughters to meet spiritual healer Leslie Wells for a five-minute reading after listening to her talk, “Be the Author of Your Own Life.”
Wells is a chiropractor, ordained minister, medicine woman certified in the Native American Nemenhah tradition and owner and facilitator of Bridge Holistic Healing. She grew up in Charlotte, left for 30 years and moved back three years ago, she said, to share her passion for healing and spiritual ascension with her hometown.
“Being a part of the natural-living community here is such a blessing and is so refreshing,” Wells said. “It means that the city I grew up in is moving from the surface layers of life into the heart of itself. … Charlotte is going deeper to self-awareness, interpersonal connections and connections to God.”
Robyn Albaum, business development and marketing manager at Elemental Healing Charlotte, said the wellness center and event venue has served 25 independent practitioners for four years. She said their work and events like this “expose people to the possibilities” beyond traditional medicine.
Elemental Healing Charlotte’s website – http://elementalhealingcharlotte.com – says it offers guidance in creative artistic expression, energy medicine, hypnosis, massage therapy, meditation, mental/emotional health, metaphysical/spiritual/intuitive healing, movement, nutrition/health coaching, sound therapy and women’s health and wellbeing, among other services.
Ives-Godwin, 49, of Davidson, the host of SHIFT Charlotte, said the event was a “toe-in-the-water, lighthearted experience” for those who are unfamiliar with natural living practices.
Joanna Lindenbaum, a life coach and owner of Soulful Coaching for Busy Women, gave step-by-step instruction on overcoming negative self-talk. Wendy Swanson, acupuncturist and co-owner of Be Yoga and Wellness, discussed the elements of Chinese medicine.
Visit www.shiftcharlotte.com to learn more about the event, Your Community Connector and the presenters and businesses involved in the natural-living community.