Monday Medical: Find your balance at Saturday forum

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Eat well, move more and live longer. Sound good? Yampa Valley Medical Center’s Finding Balance Forum on Saturday aims to give you the tools you need to do just that.

Featuring Steamboat Springs cardiologist Dr. William Baker, internist Dr. Charlie Petersen and Integrated Health Director Angela Melzer as keynote speakers, the forum provides a rare opportunity to hear from multiple health care providers in one day.

“Each speaker is an expert, and our goal is to promote wellness,” Melzer explained. “The three pillars of the day are nutrition, movement and stress reduction. The powerful combination of these elements will stimulate the mind, body and spirit.”

The forum is the brainchild of Baker and Petersen. Many of their patients have expressed an interest in being healthy instead of being treated for illness.

“Too often in health care, we concentrate on disease,” Melzer said. “This forum is concentrated totally on health. It offers a great mix of movement and learning and is very experiential, giving people an opportunity to try a variety of techniques.”

“It is so much better to prevent disease,” Petersen agreed. “Achieving an active and healthy lifestyle as we age doesn’t occur by accident. It requires a conscious effort.”

Petersen will encourage attendees to learn to eat mindfully in his discussion called “You Are What You Eat.”

“Too often, people think the word ‘diet’ is a negative, an elimination,” he said. “I want people to get an abundance of the good stuff, because it matters. Good health comes from the grocery store, not the pharmacy.”

In addition to the keynote speakers, six health care professionals will present breakout sessions. The day is set up to allow participants to choose three of nine topics to be offered.

Session leaders are registered dietitians Laura Stout and Cara Marrs; licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist Kelley McDaneld; Old Town Hot Springs Fitness Director Simonne Oliver; registered yoga therapist Lynda VanTassle; and massage therapist, Qigong healer and Qigong instructor Sarah Freese.

Although the topics vary from healthy diets to mindfulness meditation, the speakers have a united goal of helping participants learn helpful information and healthy techniques.

“We’re looking at the bigger picture of health and how it all ties together,” Melzer said. “This forum will give people the tools to get healthy and stay healthy.”

Despite an impressive track record of presenting numerous health-based programs, YVMC has not planned a Saturday seminar in many years. For those who are hesitant to give up part of the weekend, Melzer is confident that the outcome will warrant the time spent.

“As one of my clients put it, ‘Spring is the perfect time to look at the opportunity to initiate change,’” she said. “Spring represents growth, and summer’s coming, when we all want to be more active.”

No matter where you are in readiness to change, or if you already are on the path to wellness and want to go to the next level, Melzer and Petersen think the Finding Balance Forum will answer your wishes.

“Some people who are looking to make a change end up going to multiple places and providers,” Melzer said. “At this forum, you can get that exposure to many experts and ideas all in one place, and you get to pick what you most want to learn.

“Wellness is not a fluffy word — it really does prevent illness and disease. It takes emotional and physical readiness to embrace wellness, but it may not require as much as you think. Wellness is reachable.”

The forum will be held at Colorado Mountain College from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. A continental breakfast and lunch are included in the $45 cost. Details are available at www.yvmc.org/balance.

You may pre-register by calling Integrated Health at 970-875-2731 or emailing yampavalleyintegratedhealth@yvmc.org.

Christine McKelvie is a writer/editor at Yampa Valley Medical Center.

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