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Natural Awakenings Bucks and Montgomery Counties PA

Community Spotlight: Lotus Health and Wellness Center

Nov 01, 2012 04:00AM

Lotus Health and Wellness

A Smart New Business Model for Prevention and Wellness

by Linda Sechrist

Now that it’s universally obvious that our current health crises can’t be solved with yesterday’s disease-care solutions, visionary business leaders are stepping up in communities across the U.S. to apply their “big picture” expertise to create fresh approaches. As author Roger von Oech suggests in A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative, although a creative person never knows when their ideas might come together to form a new idea, they search for ideas and play with their knowledge and experience. This trend particularly applies to Barry Shapiro, co-owner of Lotus Health and Wellness Center, in Newtown, whose personal and business experience not only provides a smart business model but also a prevention-oriented solution to health and wellness.

Shapiro has always been a self-employed business owner. He owned and sold a sports memorabilia company, a communications company and eventually stepped into co-ownership of a full-service durable medical equipment company, which his father started. “We built up the business and then sold it two years ago, which left me in the market for another business to create or invest in,” says Shapiro, who is also a trained chef who worked at Buddakan in Philadelphia for nearly three years. “I considered opening a restaurant but decided that wasn’t meant to be because every time I put a bid in, someone else bid higher,” he recalls.

While in between businesses, Shapiro helped his father by researching possible solutions for dealing with his devastating symptoms of vertigo, the result of an asymmetric dysfunction of the vestibular system in the inner ear. Associated with a feeling of motion even when stationary, vertigo is a balance disorder that causes difficulties standing or walking. “The side effects of the prescription medication were as debilitating as the vertigo, so dad was happy to experiment with the natural holistic ways I found,” advises Shapiro.

Aromatherapy, vitamin and herbal supplementation, and chiropractic sessions, which included Precision Muscle Therapy on a Flex Factor machine, proved helpful in reducing the frequency of vertigo. “Initially, we were so excited at the results that we wanted to sell the machines because they helped vertigo by working on a key muscle that affects the inner ear canal,” advises Shapiro, who decided instead to open a wellness center that would include two prevention-oriented chiropractors who could work with patients based on a philosophical approach that had become blatantly obvious: educate people about how their bodies work for prevention and long-term comfort rather than temporary relief of symptoms. “If you know how your body works, then you can avoid misusing it and reduce the re-occurrence of many ailments. My dad is a good example because now that he knows how to help his body, he hasn’t had a bout of vertigo in more than a year,” notes Shapiro.

A plan for combining particular therapies began to take shape. “I wanted massage because to me chiropractic and massage are like peanut butter and jelly; they go perfectly together as does acupuncture and herbal therapy,” quips Shapiro, who posted an ad at a nearby college of acupuncture as well as a massage school. “I already knew a great health coach, who helps to instill positive lifestyle changes in individuals seeking wellness, as well as a master herbalist, who has helped me sleep better and my son to overcome his allergies,” says Shapiro.

Since opening the center, he has added spa services. “We were focused primarily on health issues until I got to thinking about how women, who feel good on the inside want to reflect that on the outside. We added facials, waxing and permanent makeup,” remarks Shapiro.

When queried regarding why a business owner with no experience as a health practitioner would open a wellness center, Shapiro is quick to answer. “You don’t go to Wendy’s to get your tires changed,” he says jokingly. “It’s better for me to do what I do best, run a business, and let the health practitioner’s focus on what they are good at - helping people get well and stay healthy.”

Lotus Health and Wellness Center, 505 Washington St., Newtown. Call 215-968-5900 or visit, November 2012

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