Alternative medicine in spotlight at fair

The event on Saturday is expected to attract several hundred residents.

Published: Friday, January 29, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 10:36 p.m.

Maria Minno was frustrated.


Holistic Health Fair planned on Saturday

What: Fair will feature health demonstrations and classes, food, music, dance, art, shopping and children’s entertainment.
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Where: United Church of Gainesville, 1624 N.W. Fifth Ave.
Admission: $5 entry fee for adults is donated to local
For information: contact Maria Minno at 375-3028

She says she was suffering from chronic mercury poisoning, and there seemed to be nothing doctors could do to help her. Tired, sick and desperate for change, she turned to the world of alternative medicine.

She says she has never looked back.

Through Gainesville's alternative health community, Minno said she found both relief from her illness and a new passion, and for the past four years she has been giving back to the community that healed her and attracting mainstream attention through the Gainesville Holistic Health Fair.

This year's Gainesville Holistic Health Fair will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the United Church of Gainesville, and it's expected to attract between 50 and 100 alternative health practitioners and likely several hundred curious Gainesville residents.

Minno said the fair will be an opportunity for visitors to learn about all types of complementary and alternative medicine, which experts often refer to as CAM. It will also be a chance for practitioners to network and showcase their skills.

CAM includes a wide range of healing practices, some of which date back thousands of years, but Mary Ann Burg, an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Florida, said that there are a few main categories.

The most prominent CAM practices are holistic healing, or the treatment of mind-body systems; biological therapy, or the use of herbal supplements; manipulative therapy, such as acupuncture; and energy healing practices like Reike.

All these techniques and many more will be on display at the fair.

JoLaine Jones, a nutritionist and wellness life coach, will be showcasing her business for the second time this year, and she said she is looking forward to the fair's fun atmosphere and the chance to meet potential clients face to face.

She also encouraged Gainesville residents to come out to the fair and get exposed to practices that they might not be familiar with.

"People will look at some things and say, 'Oh, that's too far out there,' but some things they will look at and say, 'Yeah, that makes perfect sense,' " she said. "It's always good for any of us to look at new things with an open mind and an open heart and see how it speaks to us."

Theresa Rizzo-Ovia, an acupuncture physician and certified herbologist at Gainesville Community Acupuncture, has represented her business in the health fair for the past three years, and she said the fair is a tool for the city's alternative medicine community to come together and build mainstream credibility for their practices.

"(Alternative medicine) has to go through the hoops of people understanding and knowing about it, and understanding that it's not quackery," she said.

"It's very scientific and it's very effective, and I don't think that people understand that until they know a little bit about it."

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top