From Aerobics To Qigong: A Publisher's Plight For Wellness In Hawaii

Char Ravelo's "Inspiration" Magazine Amasses Wellness in Hawaii

From Aerobics To Qigong: A Publisher's Plight For Wellness In Hawaii

At some point in the early 1980s, this thing called "Aerobics" swept the nation. Americans, as a whole, had become machines meant for caloric consumption-that is, until someone thought something needed to be done about it. Exercise was the answer. Lines were drawn in the sand, and then crossed. We're not talking about whether to buy fluorescent spandex leotards and braided terrycloth headbands; the country was divided between those who cared enough about their well-being to do something about it, and those who simply did not. Shortly thereafter, "California cuisine" became a "thing" that people ordered during non-exercise time, in order to feel better about themselves when walking away from a dinner table.

These two simple enough events, believe it or not, launched the U.S. in to a 3-decade (and still going) trend that opened consumer's eyes-if only a little bit wider.

Cut to the fact that two-out-of-three Hawaii residents currently subscribe to holistic or non-traditional wellness experiences on a regular basis in lieu of Western medicine practices. We thought it was high time we speak with an expert on the subject-and how Hawaii became one of the leading wellness states in the U.S.

Enter Char Ravelo, president of the Kauai Health and Wellness Association and founder of Inspiration wellness journal. At one time an aerobic instructor, personal trainer and health club owner, Ravelo has remained on the forefront of the wellness community throughout the State of Hawaii.

Below, health and wellness correspondent Abby Royce shares the results of her sit-down with Ravelo. Read on...

Abby Royce, for B on Hawaii: Let's start at the top. What's your mission, between heading up Kauai's Health and Wellness Association, as well as publishing Inspiration"

Char Ravelo: Like everything, my goals for Inspiration and the Association have evolved over time. They started off small. I just wanted to legitimize those offering unique and professional alternative wellness treatments here in Hawaii, and weed out those who were the fly-by-nighters just out to make a quick buck. But now my mission is to bring traditional medicine and complementary wellness practices together for a healthier Hawaii.

B on Hawaii: How do you achieve this through the publication?

Char Ravelo: Inspiration was created to provoke people to think about their health. The idea was that the articles would motivate people to participate in their own well-being, instead of leaving it up to others. So many people wait for something to go wrong to address health issues, and if you think about it, that's a terrible time to start thinking about changing your ways!

By reading about and exploring new ways to care for yourself, it cultivates a mindful awareness, which leads to a lifestyle that greatly impacts your overall health.

B on Hawaii: I think what many of the readers would like to know is, how do you practice mindful health? What's your ritual?

Char Ravelo: First thing in the morning I enjoy a large glass of water. Then, over a nice cup of tea I'll practice my morning meditations. I prefer casual visualization work. Like, I'll picture how I want my day to play out, yet in a non-judgmental and open capacity. I keep it loose, but peaceful. It helps start the day off on a smooth track, although it doesn't always end up that way. It's a start.

My daily workout routine includes cardio, weight training and LOTS of stretching.

B on Hawaii: Have you seen a shift in the wellness industry in Hawaii since you launched Inspiration in 2003?

Char Ravelo: I've seen it bring about a cohesiveness and professionalism in the industry. We make a point of verifying our advertisers and provide them with a platform in which to grow their business. It keeps the limelight on established practicioners, makes room for new ones and weeds out the "fake-a-bakes"-which is what I call fly-by-night healers.

We also hold the annual Wellness Expo here on Kauai, where practicioners speak, lecture and promote their businesses to the public. The prices are nominal [$3 - $5 at the door], which makes it accessible for everyone to experience the myriad of health options available today.

B on Hawaii: Is there any direction to the health and wellness market in Hawaii? Or is it all based on trends and the appearance of new philosophy?

Char Ravelo: Hawaii is unique in that all of our cultures-the Hawaiians, Filipinos, Japanese, etc.-generally prefer holistic medicine, like massage, herbology and acupuncture, over Western medicine. I see it blending and melding traditional and non-traditional healing. I also see the wellness industry getting stronger. Possibly taking over tourism as the leading industry throughout Hawaii.

B on Hawaii: What about a melding of the two? Wellness Tourism is getting hotter by the day...

Char Ravelo: I definitely see Wellness Tourism growing by leaps and bounds in Hawaii. The most interesting thing is, people don't even know why they come to Hawaii; they just know that they feel better when they leave!

B on Hawaii: Any recommendations for readers who are just beginning to explore the various facets of the wellness industry"

Char Ravelo: Pick up as many different magazines and books as possible. Grab whatever feels right for you. If it looks to "out of your realm", leave it be. Grab something that connects, if only a little bit.

Also, ask a lot of questions... Don't be afraid! If everyone interviewed all the teachers, massage therapists and doctors, they would all need to take more responsibility and provide you with the care you're paying for. Most importantly, by educating yourself and asking questions, you'll learn how to listen to your own body.

Inspiration journal can be found throughout Hawaii at most health food stores, libraries, YMCAs and holistic doctor's offices.

Visit www.inspirationjournal.com for more information.

"Wellness Tourism is growing by leaps and bounds in Hawaii. The most interesting thing is, people don't even know why they come to Hawaii; they just know that they feel better when they leave!" – Ravelo