Take a look at WNC’s past, and you’ll learn it’s been a health and wellness mecca for more than 100 years: By the late 19th century, the area hosted several sanitariums for tuberculosis patients, as it was commonly thought that the clean air and pleasant environment did them some good. One of those patients was Edwin Grove, who built the historic inn. And George Vanderbilt, creator of the Biltmore Estate, may have first visited the area on a trip with his ailing mother. With the patients came doctors, and over the years many others have followed, expanding on our reputation as a healthy retreat.
The legacy lives today in our thriving medical community, from the reputation of our hospitals to the bounty of alternative practices and practitioners. From yoga to runners, Western medicine to Eastern, Asheville offers an unparalleled environment for getting healthy and staying that way. Given that environment and the challenge of staying healthy in hard times — with health costs rising and the economy squeezing everyone and everything — Xpress offers this Wellness issue, the first of two parts, to explore just a few of the ideas, possibilities and people.
In this issue, you’ll find an interview with Asheville’s first licensed acupuncturist, Cissy Majebe, whose practice was raided in 1990 but now finds herself one of many such practitioners in the city and state. There’s also a commentary from Leslie Boyd, whose son suffered and died because he lacked health care. We have an article about the Asheville Project, an innovative health-care initiative that started in 1997 when city officials aimed to cut costs and help their employees get healthier. There’s a piece on stress management and another that recommends “an ounce of prevention.” Next week, we’ll offer another round of Wellness articles, including one on healthy eating.