Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Health festival proves to be medicine for visitors

Health festival proves to be medicine for visitors

MORE than 750 people attended the first Henley health and wellbeing festival on Saturday.

There was a wide range of activities, workshops, demonstrations and talks in the town hall and outside in Market Place.

The festival was organised by the town council and the Bell Surgery in York Road and featured local healthcare practitioners, charities, gyms, walking groups, alternative medicine and self-help groups.

The theme was healthy body and healthy mind.

The day began with a zumba class in Falaise Square led by instructor Jennifer Benavidez-Glasspole, from Shiplake.

She encouraged people to join in as she performed a routine to the sound of Crocodile Rock by Elton John.

As a crowd began to gather, she said: “Good morning, Henley-on-Thames. Are you feeling good today? A good-looking man just walked past. Maybe he’s a potential dancer.”

Afterwards, she said: “It’s good that Henley has events like this. I really believe in community and everyone can learn to dance even if they are nervous sometimes.”

Fitness Space, off Station Road, offered fitness and nutritional advice and also measured people’s body mass index.

An exercise class was on offer for people aged 50 and above alongside skeletal alignment checks and a workshop called “Sing your pain away”. Sue Turner, of Candela Clinical Hypnosis in Reading Road, spoke about hypnotherapy and neuro-linguistic programming.

Rekha Kapoor, of Inspire Health Knowledge in Sonning, demonstrated mindfulness techniques and gave a free mindfulness workshop.

A meditation session took place at Henley Practice in Greys Road car park, to mark International Day of Peace.

Other events included a talk on social prescribing by Age UK Oxfordshire and Henley and Goring Ramblers offered a walk.

There was a pranic healing taster session, massage therapy, an acupuncture stall, podiatrists, energy healing and eye health advice, .a stall about counselling and information on prostate cancer, strokes and homes for the elderly.

Louise West, who leads the Bell Surgery’s patient participation group, said: “It was about reaching out to the community and trying to help signpost people to services and organisations that might be able to help, particularly with issues around mental health.

“Older people often turn up to see the doctor without a real need. They see them as someone who will listen to them. This event is really about trying to support people who need help because they are lonely.”

She added: “Sue Turner was very good. She has an amazing way of talking to you and is incredibly interesting. I was able to talk to someone who had received her help and it was amazing.

“I loved Jennifer, too, Fitness Space were very good as well. It was incredibly interesting and quite an eye-opener because there’s a lot to know. Fitness is not just as simple as going to the gym, there’s a lot more to it. It was good to see so many different people and those I spoke to really enjoyed it. Those that went into the town hall were impressed that there was so much going on.”

Helen Barnett, town and community manager, said: “It was really good and we are pleased. Obviously the weather helped boost the numbers of people coming into town.

“There was a really good variety of medical and complementary stalls and it worked really well to organise the event in partnership with the Bell Surgery.

“The objective was to educate people as to what was available for the community in town.

“I did the zumba with Jennifer and had a body mass index check. You put on some things that look like electrodes and it puts a current through you and provides information about your muscles, fat, hydration and body mass. It was very interesting.

“I also did a pranic healing session, which was amazing. It’s all about energy healing and takes away the bad bits that you don’t need anymore.

“We are always having thoughts and they are not always positive, so the healing takes away the bad thoughts that fester inside us.

“It was also really exciting to have IVF Babble there. It is based in Nettlebed and helps with nutrition and offers support to people going through IVF. 

“The singing workshop was really good as well. That was quite a popular demonstration.

“I hope the visitors will now be able to help themselves as that was what it was all about.”

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