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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Holding the Vision in 2021

Welcome to 2021 and our annual health and wellness issue, which marks Natural Awakening’s 27th year of publishing. When we launched in 1994, life seemed simpler. While many of the topics we discussed then continue to challenge us today, new issues have emerged, too. The good news is that there is hope. In this edition, we delve into the challenges and opportunities of a new decade as we move forward with renewed resolve. 

In our feature story on integrative hospital care, Marlaina Donato highlights the natural healing therapies that hospitals are increasingly incorporating into their medical models in response to emerging research and patient interest—from acupuncture and aromatherapy to touch therapy, biofeedback and yoga. Learn more on page 28. 

Another advancement is the number of pediatricians that self-identify as integrative, which has grown from a dozen 30 years ago to 400-plus today, spurred by a growing numbers of childhood chronic conditions and Google-savvy parents interested in gentler, non-pharmaceutical approaches. Read more in “Healing the Whole Child,” by Ronica O’Hara on page 32, and our interview with local holistic pediatrician Brian Thornburg on page 34.

Fitness clubs and boutique studios are making significant changes to address pandemic concerns and keep up with industry trends, as reported by Marlaina Donato in “Staying Fit in 2021,” on page 24. Look for safer workout environments, virtual fitness sessions, streaming websites that offer yoga and muscle-building subscriptions and wearable fitness apps to measure all the key metrics. 

Among the most notable fitness changes is the emphasis on better health and inner peace over weight loss. April Thomas explains the wisdom of replacing unsustainable or faddish diets with long-term eating habits that include fewer processed foods and more plant-based option in “Lose Weight without Dieting” on page 26. 

We weren’t discussing climate change in the 90s, but today that topic is front and center. As natural disasters proliferate, more and more people are realizing the severity of the problem and experiencing anxiety fueled by fear and uncertainty. In “Climate Anxiety,” on page 46, Sandra Yeyati describes the power of facing these unsettling feelings, coming together in community and leading the environmental fight with creativity and love. 

With the introduction of genetically modified organisms into our food and environment, overuse of medications, out-of-control consumption of processed foods and the runaway stress levels of modern life, we’ve created fertile ground for a whole new host of autoimmune diseases. Terry Wahls, the author of a groundbreaking diet and lifestyle protocol, brings hope for millions suffering with such conditions on page 40.

We couldn’t have imagined this new world we live in when we greeted 2020 a year ago, and who knows what 2021 will bring? It's more important than ever to strengthen our immune systems, hone our minds and keep our hearts open. Everything and anything is still possible if we join together, hold our highest visions and take action to create the kind of world we know is possible.  

Here’s to a bright New Year!

Sharon Bruckman