November Meeting

Spotlight on Acupuncture

November 8, 2023

The medical industry is gradually embracing acupuncture for pain management. It is now accepted as a complement to standard Western practices. According to a 2017 article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, acupuncture resulted in “lower pain intensity” for both acute and chronic low back pain. Medicare recognized this, and the government website states that “Medicare Part B… covers up to 12 acupuncture visits in 90 days for chronic low back pain.”

But what exactly is acupuncture? How does it work? What conditions can it address?

Elissa Gonda will provide an honest overview of the practice. She’ll explain what happens during a typical treatment, and describe the principles of health therapy. Whether you’re a curious beginner or a seasoned enthusiast, you’ll leave the session with a newfound appreciation for the topic. As you delve deeper, you’ll discover how this age-old practice is more relevant than ever in today’s fast-paced world.

Elissa’s interest in acupuncture stemmed from her lifelong battle with asthma, allergies, and sinusitis. She and her business partner opened Dane County Family Acupuncture in 2010. With an advanced degree, active advocacy, and over a decade of experience, Elissa is a wealth of knowledge in holistic wellness.

Here is Elissa’s contact information:


October Meeting

The Art of Self-Care: A Hands-on Workshop

October 11, 2023

Give yourself a fall tune-up to ignite a brighter, healthier future. Here are a few things you’ll learn:

  • Breathing exercises: Explore deep breathing to enhance oxygenation, reduce stress, and improve mental clarity.
  • Self-massage: Target key areas to ease muscular discomfort, promote relaxation, and enhance body awareness
  • Pressure points: Apply acupressure to specific locations to address a range of physical and emotional issues.

Jo Anne Lindberg, a 30-year veteran of Asian medicine, will be your guide. Working in small groups, you can experience and practice these self-care techniques, or simply observe.  Next, Jo Anne will invite you to take part in a one-month challenge to make these concepts part of your daily life. As a traditional shiatsu practitioner, Jo Anne works with clients to improve the quality of their lives at all ages. She is certified by the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia and a graduate of the Ohashiatsu program.

September Meeting

Feeling Stuck? Listen to a Horse

September 13, 2023

Have you ever felt stuck or uncertain about the next steps in your life? Unable to access transformational growth and healing? Imagine a unique partnership between a horse and a human coach, working together to guide you toward a more fulfilling life journey. Horses, with their majestic presence and gentle nature, might hold the key to unlocking feelings of awe, grounding, peace, and hope within us. Dr. Stacey Bean will introduce you to the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method (EGCM) and explain her coaching services and workshops that are part of the process. As a physician, fitness instructor, and nutrition expert, she boasts ample designations:

  • Medical Degree from the University of Vermont, School of Medicine
  • Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of California, Berkeley
  • Multiple certifications from the Institute of Integrated Nutrition
  • Certified EGCM practitioner
  • Owner of Indigo Trails, LLC

Dr. Stacey offers a fresh and holistic perspective to coaching the “whole” person. Discover how she can help you achieve a sense of balance and purpose. Join us.

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August Meeting

Active Parks, Healthy Cities

August 9, 2023

Fitchburg’s parks department manages roughly 90 areas totaling 830 acres of parkland. This includes 38 parks: five community parks, eight area parks, and 25 neighborhood parks. The city park system also maintains natural plant and wildlife habitat regions, special use spaces, and major trails and paths. These areas encourage physical activities, such as walking, jogging, or cycling. They serve as outdoor hubs, fostering a sense of community and social connection. And they contribute to a healthier environment for us and future generations. Learn more from Scott Endl, Fitchburg’s Director of Parks, Recreation, and Urban Forestry. He’ll discuss:

  • the function of his department
  • current projects in the works
  • city ordinances related to park development
  • summer recreation program offerings

July Meeting

How to Nurture Urban Wildlife Habitats

July 12, 2023


Your yard is for the birds… and the squirrels… and the rabbits. Yup, wildlife is present everywhere, even in the densest of cities and suburbs. Do you want to preserve biodiversity while reducing property damage? Then you must cooperate with urban animal communities and their ecosystems. Support a diverse range of native species; make conscious choices about landscaping; and favor environmentally friendly practices. David Drake, Professor and UW-Madison Extension Wildlife Specialist, will help you make a difference. His expertise in wildlife and wildlife damage management in human-dominated exceptional.

Learn how to create, enhance, and manage wildlife habitats in ways that are beneficial to both your property and to the overall ecosystem.

Presentation follow-up

During his presentation, Professor Drake provided tips and recommendations for supporting urban wildlife. He directed us to the Urban Wildlife Project website for more information.

June Meeting

DeCoDiNg Hypnosis

June 14, 2023


Struggling with self-imposed limitations? Frustrated by obstacles to health and fulfillment? Hypnosis might be the solution. It’s not just a silly stage act; it’s a powerful tool to harness your subconscious. Nobody knows this better than Barry Callen, a certified hypnosis expert who used the power of his mind to lose 60 pounds in two years by kicking a lifetime addiction to Coca-Cola. He has helped others conquer their stage fright, reclaim their creativity, and reduce their perfectionistic worrying. Discover how hypnosis might help you help yourself.
    Handout from June Meeting.
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May Meeting

Healthspan: Live Better, Not Just Longer

May 10, 2023

Last year, Dr. Zorba Paster spoke to us about his five spheres of wellness, emphasizing the importance of a holistic approach. This month’s program follows that line of thinking. Tina Hallis, Ph.D., author of Sharpen Your Positive Edge, and advocate for the Terrain Approach to Health, knows from experience the importance of an integrative approach. Her background in both bio-organic chemistry and positive psychology led her to her unique position in health coaching. But it was her own health journey where she dove into the latest science on health and nutrition that made her realize that everything she thought she knew was backward. She recognizes that the best road to well-being is disease prevention rather than disease suppression. Her mission “is to help empower, educate and support others on their health or healing journey.” That requires catering to each person’s individual needs and goals, and to a recognition of the whole person. During this informative presentation, Tina will help you go beyond focusing on your lifespan to focusing on your healthspan.

Here are Tina’s handouts from the May meeting.

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April Meeting

60 is STILL the New 40, IF…

April 12, 2023


According to Pew Research, there are over 71 million baby boomers (as of 2019) living in the United States today. This group of “seniors” hasn’t conceded to the stereotypical view of aging or even of retirement. You’re likely one of them, and John Vardalas has some advice. He’ll help you shift your mindset from retirement to reset and renewal. He’ll give you some ideas on how to spend the rest of your life in the future so that it’s enjoyable and fulfilling. As John has said, “When our dreams become memories, we’re grown old.” John is the founder and CEO of The American BoomeR Group, dedicated to addressing the needs of and to inspiring baby boomers to live more fulfilling and meaningful lives. Whether you’re a pre-retiree, a novice retiree, or a seasoned retiree, John offers tips to help you navigate this phase of your life.

Here are the materials from John’s presentation.

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March Meeting

Building Big Dreams Based on Literacy

March 8, 2023

Low literacy is a national, regional, and local crisis. It affects children not only in the classroom but also throughout their future lives. Academic, social, and civic success depend on literacy. The earlier we can intervene, the greater the impact we can have. And it starts with reading, the very foundation of all future literacy. For Rowan Childs, who spent her childhood on the move because of the relocations required by her father’s career, reading was a lifeline. She later recognized the link between reading literacy and poverty, and established the nonprofit Madison Reading Project. With the Big Red Reading Bus, the Books for Educators program, and the events to provide books directly to children, Madison Reading Project has worked to foster literacy in Dane County and the rest of Wisconsin. Since 2014, the organization has provided over 300,000 books to nearly 200,000 kids. Join us as Rowan shares the services and achievements of this organization. You’ll also be able to sign up to visit Madison Reading Project’s operation.

February meeting

Badger Rock Neighborhood Center Meets Fitchburg

February 8, 2023

The cities of Fitchburg and Madison recently absorbed the town of Madison. As a result, Badger Rock is now a neighborhood center, urban farm, and community gardens across the street from Fitchburg. As a project of the nonprofit organization Rooted, Badger Rock is committed to increasing equitable access to land, fresh food, and learning opportunities. Hedi Rudd, the Deputy Director of South Madison Programs and Director of the Badger Rock Neighborhood Center, will introduce us to their diversity and inclusion work in community outreach, the educational programs about urban agriculture and cuisine, the multigenerational activities, and the community market. Through her impressive background in community organizing and photography, Hedi will provide a unique lens on these diverse topics.