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Friday, May 24, 2024

Holistic Health Fair raises money for Gainesville charities

After numerous experiences getting her "energy" read at psychic fairs, Maria Minno was inspired to hold a fair that exhibited her interests.

"I'm more of a down-to-earth person than a psychic person, and I wanted to do something with alternative medicine," said Minno, a massage therapist and nutritional practitioner.

The second annual Holistic Health Fair, coordinated by Minno and her friends, included topics such as acupuncture and crystal healing.

The fair was about twice as big as last year's, Minno said, with more than 100 practitioners, vendors and entertainers. She estimated about 300 people attended at the United Church of Gainesville.

Proceeds from the $5 admissions fee raised more than $1,000 for Habitat for Humanity, Harvest of Hope and the Gainesville Breast Milk Fund.

The fair dealt not just with physical health but emotional, mental and spiritual well-being also.

Hara Marshi held a seminar on laughter yoga, which she said was invented by an Indian doctor.

"He always knew laughter was the best medicine, but how do you write a prescription for your patients saying, 'Go get some laughter?'" Marshi asked.

Others practiced healing through higher powers.

"I think we all have angels, and they're there just waiting," said Theresa Konieczny, who uses a combination of cards and massages to give saints and angels permission to heal her patients.

Luke Tia, a former UF student, said he came to the fair because he is interested in natural foods and is considering a career in acupuncture.

"It's a little crazy," Tia said of the fair. "You have to be careful to have at least a little critical mind."

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Debbie DeLoach, a holistic healing enthusiast for seven years, said while she thought the fair's organizers were careful about who they let in, sometimes fake practitioners can be a problem.

The fair is a good way to catch up with trends in the holistic world, DeLoach said, but she often has to restrain herself from trying new methods.

"The hard part once you start discovering things is deciding what you can do, because you can go flat broke," she said.

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