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Holistic health conference focus is mind-body connection

March 15, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Candace Pert, a pioneer in understanding the biology of mind-body communication and its link to health, is slated to be the keynote speaker at a holistic health conference April 1 on the Western Michigan University campus.

Pert, professor of physiology and biophysics at Georgetown University Medical School, will speak at 9 a.m. on "Mind-Body Physiology: The Role of Emotions." A question-and-answer session will follow. She is one of nearly 40 speakers at the daylong "Holistic Health: Science and Practice" conference that will be held in the new College of Health and Human Services facility on WMU's Oakland Drive Campus.

Pert is the author of the book "Molecules of Emotion: The Scientific Basis Behind Mind-Body Medicine." She also is the creator of a guided imagery CD, "Psychosomatic Wellness: Healing Your Body-Mind." Pert conducts research in so-called "new paradigm" healing, which seeks to understand the complex communication network of proteins and other molecules that control human health and physiology. Her work fuses Western science with Eastern philosophy to promote new ways of optimizing health.

Sponsored by WMU's Holistic Health Care Program, the April 1 conference offers state-of-the-art information, discussions and activities led by local and national authorities. The goal is to integrate holistic theories and practices into day-to-day professional and personal lives.

Participants may select from late morning and afternoon sessions that include meditation; tai chi; peace dances; labyrinth, which is a walking meditation; yoga; sound healing; guided relaxation; self-massage; and feldenkrais, a method of effortless movement. Participants are urged to wear comfortable clothing for the various activities.

Afternoon talks and panel discussions will be offered on a wide variety of topics that include drawing for relaxation; health, humor and play; holistic approaches to parenting; alternative paths to healing; spirituality, health and healing; and integrative medicine.

Speakers will include Molly Vass-Lehman, former director of WMU's Holistic Health Care Program; Rob Lehman, Fetzer Institute board chairman; Jon Robison, author of "The Spirit and Science of Holistic Health;" and Mark Nepo, poet and author of "The Exquisite Risk."

The conference cost is $35 for students, $75 for people age 62 and older, and $85 for others. Further details are available by calling (269) 387-4174 or going to the conference Web site at www.wmich.edu/hhs/holistichealth. Continuing education credits are available. The registration deadline is March 20.

Besides WMU, other conference sponsors are Borgess Integrative Medicine, Deep Lake Institute, Battle Creek Health System, Southwest Michigan Wellness Directory and the Greater Kalamazoo Community Wellness Coalition.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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