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Indy Health Expo: Ride the water snake!

You really don’t want to know what this machine was doing:

Cleansing waters

Honestly, even I don’t know what this machine was doing, and I was too afraid to ask for fear they’d try to pressure me into trying it too. All I know is that the machine wiggled that man back and forth, making him do a human snake impression. This happened last weekend at the inaugural Indy Health Expo at the state fair grounds.

Indy Health Expo

When I saw the fair advertised on Twitter, I thought the $10 entry fee and $3 parking fee would be well worth the potential blog material. And it’s a tax write-off too! The expo consisted of almost 100 booths where exhibitors displayed their wares and/or services. There were also four “stages” set up at the corners where some exhibitors were scheduled to do presentations during the day.

There was a real range of people there, including chiropractors, yoga practitioners, massage therapists giving back rubs in their booths, martial artists, plastic surgeons who had assistants so impeccably groomed they frightened me, dentists bleaching people’s teeth on site, natural health practitioners, cancer prevention programs, Wii Fit demonstrators, Vitamix people who annihilated a pound of fruits and vegetables with their powerful blender, life coaches, and Mary Kay and Avon ladies giving away catalogs. There were also people selling balloon rides, home baths, insurance, and bedazzled hats and shirts. I don’t know how that fit into the health theme, but I guess it fit into the unofficial “make money off of the visitors” theme.

Healthy Chocolate

The first exhibit I saw upon entering was the “Healthy Chocolate” booth, either because of its positioning near the door or because of my innate ability to hone in on any free chocolate samples in my vicinity. The chocolate is “healthy” because it contains acai berries. Interestingly, several of the other exhibitors had bowls of candy set out in their booths and didn’t even bother to pitch it as health food. I suppose they wanted to lure people in with fun-sized Snickers bars before convincing them to get their colons cleansed.

Farm Fresh Delivery

My Farm Fresh Delivery peeps were there too. They gave me a free pear and didn’t mention my colon. I also saw a Nutrilite stand, which reminded me of my recent trip to their Optimal Health Center. I passed by a booth where a woman was selling magnetic jewelry, which was pretty but would probably murder my laptop. At the end of one of the rows there was a hyperbaric chamber, which I was curious about, but fearful to inquire about. I didn’t have a buddy with me to accompany me to the emergency room after any hyperbaric accidents.

Hyperbaric chamber

Near the end of my loop around the booths, I made eye contact with one of the exhibitors for a second too long and she pulled me into a pitch about Sahaja Yoga Meditation. She told me that I could make energy blossom out of my head like a flower and balance my energy so it shot out my fingers which would allow me to control aspects of my life…or something like that. I just kept nodding politely and then made my getaway as soon as I saw an opening. When I typed the word “Sahaja” into Google, one of the suggested searches was “Sahaja yoga cult,” which makes me glad I got out of there while I could.

I was particularly fascinated by the human dynamics of the exhibition. There were some booths that had mobs of people around them, usually because the exhibitor was giving away something free that had perceived value. This could be a prize awarded through a random drawing at the end of the day (provided you submitted your mailing address) or a coupon for a free service at their location. The other popular booths were giving away free trinkets and schwag, although there was one booth for insurance that had lots of free schwag and no mob around it. There were also some booths that were totally unmanned, and simply had pamphlets and brochures for the company that rented the booth. There were some booths there were manned, but the person working the booth was obviously not into it and was reading a book or just chilling out instead of pitching. Then there were the booths where the worker looked very anxious that no one was approaching them and would try to grab someone to talk to. I was also somewhat disgusted by my own behavior, in which I would scout the booths as I walked up and down the aisles, trying to assess if they had any free stuff worth my time. It was very predatory of me, but I somehow can’t help falling into this behavior whenever I attend exhibitions like this.

Concessions menu

On the bright side, the concession stand offered a few healthy food options on top of their regular pizza and nachos. I entered a lot of the free drawings and won nothing, though I am now probably subscribed to a lot of kooky mailing lists. I did get to “spin the wheel” at two booths after entering their drawings and won a free facial at a spa clear across town and a $5 gift card to Ritters, an ice cream store, which I will probably never use.

When I emptied my baggy at the end of the day, I saw that I had gotten free toothpaste, floss, a chip clip, a bottle of acid-reducer tablets, a combo brush/mirror/sewing kit, a notepad, a lens cloth, a band-aid dispenser, a pear, a Paradise Café coupon, and a Kotex sampler packet. I also got leads on a few services I might actually be interested in checking out. However, the price of admission was worth the pure entertainment value of the fair alone, even if I didn’t ride the water snake.

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
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16 Comments

Rebecca • January 28, 2010 at 9:46 am

I don’t get it. How can you do colon hydro-therapy with pants on? Are there like, special pants? With a hole in the right place? So strange.

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Carbzilla • January 28, 2010 at 9:55 am

Thanks for the tour! I LOVE shows like this. I’m a sucker for a free chip clip! I’m also confused about the pants but I don’t really want to know.

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psychsarah • January 28, 2010 at 10:22 am

I agree that ignorance is bliss with respect to the “water snake”. I enjoyed your reflections on human behaviour at these shows. My company participates in a trade show once a year, and it seems like an excuse to run around to the other booths to get the free stuff, enter the draws, and go home. People very rarely talk, network etc. I feel kind of guilty getting free stuff from places I know I’ll never send business to or utilize, but it’s like a hunter/gatherer instinct-I come home with a ton of crap I’ll never use (barring the pens and sticky notes-I adore sticky notes).

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Lauren @ Eater not a runner • January 28, 2010 at 11:19 am

Kinda wish you did try the water snake, just for comedic value!

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TOWR • January 28, 2010 at 1:13 pm

When I hear the phrase “ride the water snake” paired with a sign advertising colon hydrotherapy, I get a very vivid mental picture that looks nothing like the picture you posted. I would have run, not walked, away from that booth.

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sixxfan • January 28, 2010 at 2:23 pm

And I can’t help but notice the person wearing pants riding the water snake in your photo is NOT relaxed – his/her toes are pointed decidedly downward like a prima ballerina.

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Rahim • January 28, 2010 at 3:55 pm

That Vitaeris 320 contraption looks like a big sunglasses case:-)

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Kat • January 28, 2010 at 4:07 pm

HAAAAAA haaaaa! Love the colon cleansing machine!

P.S. – I’ll totally take that Ritters certificate off of your hands :) Not that I NEED it but let’s be honest, Ritters is good for the soul!

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lulu • January 28, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Bit of a marketing blunder, having the lifeless remains of a previous snake-rider lying there as if waiting to be carted away.

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Becky • January 28, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Ha! You’ve picked a topic I actually know something about! The set up under the colon cleansing sign is not a water snake machine. No funny pants required. The thing that the person’s feet are resting on is called a Chi Machine, and the things that are arched over them are some sort of UV thing, I think. You put your feet in the Chi Machine and it wobbles you back and forth. It’s supposed to, er, balance your Chi or something. I have one. I don’t know about my Chi, but it did help to loosen some of the tightness in my butt and lower back. I haven’t used it in months, because between my weight and the Fibromyalgia it’s very hard to find a place and position where I can do it comfortably. The floor’s too hard so that’s really painful. The machine is too low and has to be elevated or it causes a painful arch in my back. The best I ever worked out was to lay on my bed, with my aerobics step at my feet and the machine on top of the step. That’s why it’s living in the closet- too much hassle. But I think it did help a little bit when I remembered to use it.

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Laura Pugh • January 28, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Ok, just seeing the sign for the colon hydrotherapy made me a little queasy. I mean, I’m all for a clean colon and all, but isn’t that something you should do in private?

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PastaQueen • January 28, 2010 at 10:54 pm

@Becky – Thanks for the clarification! And sorry to hear about your pain :(

ETA: Look, a video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf7bvKyWHsQ

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ChrissyS • January 29, 2010 at 11:58 pm

I wonder why you have to hide in a claustrophobic looking dryer vent hose thingy to have your Chi balanced? [or whatever is being done to the feet] Becky’s description above didn’t make it sound like she needed to hide.

Jennette, thanks for the expo, I love when u take us on field trips! So fun! So educational! So entertaining! thanks again.
ps – get well soon so you can take us on an international trip again! =) And bc we want u to feel well too of course.

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Deanna - The Unnatural Mother • January 30, 2010 at 12:04 am

People watching at it’s finess!

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Leah • January 31, 2010 at 3:26 am

So how can they charge you $8 for Bringing Your Own taco salad?

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Michelle • January 31, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Sounds like you had an interesting day, it was a tax write-off AND you got free stuff to boot!

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

Man looking into telescope

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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