Boca hospital melds western, eastern medicine

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By: Marisa Gottesman Associate Editor
Boca businesswoman, philanthropist and author Barb Schmidt has studied the art of mindfulness, meditation and spiritualness with experts Thich Nhat Hanh, Deepak Chopra, Scott Peck and the Dalai Lama.
Now, she is bringing what she has learned through a wellness series “Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life” to Boca Raton Regional Hospital.
The program, which is held twice a month at the hospital’s Christine E. Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Institute. is designed to empower women to live life fully by connecting the mind with overall wellness.
Each class is open to the public and costs $15 for an hour and a half session. Two classes can be purchased for $25.
Schmidt said the courses are open to the public. A goal of the program is to be able to open the world of mindfulness and meditation to people interested in learning about it at an affordable price. She said hospitals are more than places for people who aren’t feeling well to go, they are also places that offer preventative options to help people live their best lives.
“It’s open to everyone, the community, doctors, nurses, the staff,” she said of the classes.
Once a month Schmidt teaches a class and the other class is led by a local expert. Recently, an acupuncturist taught how the practice can relieve stress.
“I wanted everyone to experience what I have experienced,” Schmidt said of the program, which began in June. “I am a firm believer that we can’t have health until we bring our mind along.”
For more than 30 years, Schmidt has embarked on more than 100 retreats related to meditation, mindfulness and other modalities to improve inner-health.
She said she first learned how to meditate and practice yoga when she checked herself into rehab in 1984 after she developed an eating disorder.
She said she owned six McDonald’s restaurants and had everything externally she could want, but she developed bulimia.
“I learned how to bring my mind, body and spirit together,” she said of her time in rehab. “I kept learning and inspiring myself. It’s been my practice and I want to share my practice with others.”
She said learning how to relieve stress helped her and she hopes it can help others dealing with sadness, addiction or other health issues. She said people who try the class should come in with an open mind and expect to learn a lot.
So far, she said participants have been extremely receptive to the classes.
Ideally, she said she would like the class to be live-streamed to patients in every room at the hospital through the hospital’s television channel.
She said it would be great for a patient to learn how to relieve stress by doing a yoga pose from a chair.
“We want it to be the cutting edge thing of the country,” she said.