HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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Patrons can get a variety of massages, depending on their needs and goals. As massage licensure is now mandated by the state and the level and expertise of therapists have climbed, there has been across the board a greater respect for and interest in massage. The Bookers have certainly been instrumental in lifting massage therapy from its stained past.


“Massage is so wonderful for the mind and body,” Bill Booker said. “Everyone should have the opportunity to experience it to its fullest.”


You can check out the programs at the Lexington Healing Arts Academy on its Web site (www.lexingtonhealingarts.com) or call (859) 252-5656 for more information.

It was 1999 when the Lexington Healing Arts Academy was first established here in Lexington. Up till that time, people who practiced massage therapy had only community education classes, word of mouth and one-on-one mentorships to develop their craft and business. In those days, the legitimacy of massage therapy was still very much in question as the lines between true healers with good intentions and the late-night parlors that once adorned Winchester Road were as yet blurred in the public eye. It was the task of a handful of people to change this primitive view of massage and the unfounded comparison and bring these ancient arts into their proper place.


Bill Booker and his wife, Debra, had just moved to Lexington when they purchased the academy in 2003. It has been under their watchful eye ever since. As executive director, Bill Booker said, “We wanted to do something new and different at the time. We had just moved here from Boulder, Colo., and we were very much immersed in the culture there, which had a lot to do with healing, health, exercise, etc.”


Twenty years ago, Lexington had only a handful of massage therapists, most of whom had gone elsewhere to a massage program or just started practicing, as there was no state licensure at the time.


“We’ve graduated close to a thousand therapists since that time,”

LEXINGTON HEALING ARTS ACADEMY

Booker said. With the school’s growth and the increase in therapists came the need for regulation, which the state provided a little over 10 years ago. “Along with the obvious state licensure, we jumped through a lot of hoops to get accreditation from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools,” Booker said.


Many graduates of the academy go into business for themselves. Some get into doctor’s practices, physical therapy groups and chiropractic offices or go to work for bigger massage organizations such as Massage Envy. The academy allows people to pursue their dreams and provide a valuable service, all under the umbrella of legitimate health services.


As the massage program grew, the Bookers decided to add yoga and personal training to their offerings. “We have one of the finest yoga certification programs in the country,” Bill Booker said. “The personal training program is great as well and can set people up to work in a variety of situations.


The academy offers not only the training required for these certifications; it also offers massage and the other disciplines the Bookers teach to the public.

CHARLES SEBASTIAN

Charles Sebastian is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

more articles by charles sebastian