Center gets people moving

Published 9:41 am Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Turning Point Healing Retreat Center is completing a six-week course on using an approach to help those with arthritis that does not require pills or prescriptions.

The center, set to be located on Double Bridges Road, is in the process of completing its Combating Arthritis Pain (CAP) program.

The program, according to the CAP website, began with a physician, Dr. Teresa Moore, offering a medical evaluation for the participants, as well as testing for range of motion, grip strength, how quickly they could stand up and sit down and other abilities.

The program, which began Sept. 5, has taken place three days a week at 1.5 hours per day. The same physician is set to check back in with the participants and assess them at the end of the six-week period.

“There is a growing need for non-drug related therapies to combat pain and activity limitations experienced by individuals diagnosed with chronic arthritis,” the website cited.

Ruth Brown, an organizer of Turning Point, said the program began with nine participants. Two did not attend classes and one dropped out after the first day, bringing the class to a core group of six.

She said the program starts with more low key exercises and stretches sitting down, (called chair yoga) that gradually grow in intensity to walks, stretches and other activities.

On Mondays and Wednesdays, the group trains in a few of the classrooms at the community center.

On Fridays, they do exercises in the gymnasium that include using kettlebells and walking in between cones. Brown said they also go outside and take laps around the park.

“Every single person has gotten better in every single category,” Brown said. “There has been change in every single category.”

Brown said she had one person who could barely walk through the door on the first day of the program.

“He was actually dancing down the hall when he left the other day,” Brown said.

“This is the magic that we have,” Brown said.

She said the key is the gentle but persistent movement. The class is set to have a graduation ceremony and potluck Friday.

“They’re a team,” Brown said about the camaraderie formed between the participants during the program. “They’re a group. They really support each other.”

Pat Israel, of Lunenburg, said while her arthritis affects her hands, her reasons for taking the class were broader, including improving balance, coordination and mindfulness.

“There are no seemingly impossible yoga poses, none of the ‘exercises’ are overly taxing,” Israel said about her experience in the program. “But keeping the body moving in a way that strengthens it, integrates mind and body, and reduces pain is what makes Turning Point so wonderful for our community.”

Brown said the organization applied for a grant with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). She said the CDC recommended Turning Point for a grant, but Turning Point did not receive it.

The program was free to everyone who signed up, which means that Turning Point funded the trial, the equipment and renting the facilities straight from its pockets.

Brown said she hopes that if the results from the beginning of the trial versus the end are favorable, it could give the organization a second chance to receive grant funding.

Turning Point currently teaches chair yoga and a sit-fit class on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Kenbridge Community Center. The center is also looking to start what are called Fun Fridays, geared toward seniors that provide low-intensity but fun workout routines that create a sense of community while also giving people the chance to get moving.

Turning Point has a plot of land and is in the process of funding a building for its own location.

Brown said the organization is also eying the gymnasium to potentially purchase it for the center and activities that could not only benefit those with arthritis, but everyone in the community.

“That’s our mission,” Brown said. “It’s to teach people that they can get better and show them how to do it.”

Brown said the organization is currently seeking participants and business sponsors to help fund programs. To learn more about Turning Point or CAP, visit or To learn more about classes, call Turning Point at (434) 808-1575 or the Kenbridge Community Center at (434) 676-2452.