The Seven Days Wellness Issue, 2020 | Wellness Issue | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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The Seven Days Wellness Issue, 2020


  • Kym Balthazar | Rev. Diane Sullivan

It's two weeks into 2020, so we've gotta ask: How are those New Year's resolutions to get in shape shaping up? Are you hitting the gym daily, cutting carbs, and enjoying the mental and physical clarity of Dry January? Or did you go to the gym once, get discouraged, and seek refuge in a bowl of spaghetti Bolognese and a bottle of merlot?

If you've managed to set a fitness regimen for 2020 and stick to it, we here at Seven Days salute you. Keep up the good work!

If, however, like most people, you haven't quite been able to hit those lofty goals, don't fret. There's no reason to get down on yourself and do something rash like give up — or run off to join a cult. (And no, CrossFit is not a cult.)

OK, we're being a bit cheeky. But it turns out that cults are more pervasive in modern society than most folks realize. That's according to cult awareness educator Gerette Buglion. She's a former cult member who runs a refuge in Hyde Park called Dream Haven of Vermont, where she helps other cult victims heal from their emotional trauma.

Healing is one of the many goals of Burlington startup OVR Technology. It's developing an olfactory virtual reality system that introduces the sense of smell into the visual and auditory world of virtual reality. Much like VR itself, the potential applications of OVR are practically limitless and could be used in everything from increased realism in videos games to therapy for people dealing with PTSD.

Healing is also a goal for Katie McCurdy of Pictal Health. She's a graphic designer who works with people who have mysterious and/or chronic illnesses to map out their symptoms and medical histories. The idea is that visualizing someone's overall health makes it easier for both patients and doctors to understand, well, the bigger picture.

A foundation of good health is a healthy diet. That's why students at the University of Vermont have started a food pantry and other programs to help deal with food insecurity on campus. That's a problem faced by one in five students at the college, which is among the most expensive public universities in the country.

If that news gets you down, you might lace up your skates and hit the ice. As our resident figure skater Margot Harrison writes in an essay on skating coach Grayce Lombard, not only does old-school figure skating burn calories, it "fosters a meditative quality that's not unlike yoga."

You see, sometimes the best remedies are the old remedies. That's the philosophy guiding the Yerbary, a Charlotte-based company putting a modern spin on an old-time classic remedy: fire cider. Bottoms up.