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LAUREL – County citizens learned ways to live a healthier lifestyle at the second annual City of Laurel Health Fair on Jan. 28.
From noon to 4 p.m., community-based health organizations of all kinds from across the area set up shop in the Laurel Armory as visitors sampled everything from health shakes to essential oils.
Hospitals and health centers took up 12 of the booths, with Laurel Hospital alone using five of them. Non-traditional treatments were well-represented at the Health Fair, such as Reiki, a Japanese healing modality. Reiki Master Reka Davis, operator of Angels of the Soul in nearby District Heights, has practiced the form for two years.
“You use the energy of the universe, and it comes through me as a vessel, and it goes out of my hands to be able to heal things such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, childhood trauma, joint pain and things of that sort,” Davis explained.
Fitness centers were also well-represented, including BAM’s Martial Arts Academy on Sandy Spring Road. Willie “The Bam” Johnson, six-time world kickboxing champion, serves as chief instructor at the academy and is co-owner with wife Kimber. Despite the modern-day image of mixed martial arts as a popular combat sport, Johnson insists that what he teaches is purely a means of self-improvement.
“We teach a wholesome approach to helping kids learn how to develop confidence within themselves,” said Johnson. “Once you understand how to fight, you less likely want to fight. Most people that talk about fighting…that’s because they go through the stage of wanting to prove how tough they are.”
Other exhibits were focused on what to do to preserve health in emergencies. Five of the 40 booths were reserved for government agencies in Laurel and Prince George’s County, including Laurel’s Community Emergency Response Team, who distributed “activity kits” for children in order to educate them on emergency management.
“We provide 100 of (automated external defibrillators) here to the City of Laurel,” said AED Consultant Rory Crawford. “We’re probably the largest distributor of AEDs on the East Coast.”
RescueOne showed off their line of lifesaving equipment, which included automated external defibrillators and bleeding control kits. The company also held a “Stop the Bleed” presentation in the Armory’s dance room, advising visitors on how to dress wounds in a dire emergency.
Visitors received a checklist of the fair’s vendors at the front door. Anyone who visited at least 20 booths and attended two presentations were eligible to receive a cooler containing healthy snacks, including a bag of Skinny Pop gluten-free popcorn.