The Feldenkrais Method was developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, a Russian-born Israeli who earned degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering, and a D.Sc. in physics at the Sorbonne in Paris. He subsequently worked for a number of years in the French nuclear research program.  Physically active, Feldenkrais played soccer and, in 1936, became one of the first Europeans to earn a black belt in Judo. A chronic knee injury prompted Feldenkrais to apply his knowledge of physics, body mechanics, neurology, learning theory and psychology to the body and mind.  His investigations resulted in the formulation of a unique synthesis of science and aesthetics, known as the Feldenkrais Method.

The Feldenkrais Method is an approach for improving both physical and mental functioning through the exploration of body movement patterns and the use of attention.  It is based on the brain’s innate capacity for learning and the potential for lifelong development and growth.  Movement is used as the medium toward understanding habits and identifying, learning and acquiring alternatives that promote ease and well- being. The applications of the Feldenkrais Method range from reducing pain, improving neurologically-based difficulties and learning disabilities, and increasing mobility – to enhancing performance of professional athletes, dancers, musicians, and actors.  The Method’s two main modalities use movement as the means to promote changes in patterns of thinking, sensing, feeling, and interacting with others: Awareness Through Movement lessons are group sessions in which participants are verbally led through a series of structured movement sequences that utilize attention, perception, and imagination. As lessons progress, participants become more aware of their movement habits, affording new patterns of behavior. There are more than a thousand different lessons with movement ranging from developmentally based patterns to innovative configurations. The movements are usually done lying down or sitting, and in a manner that recognizes each participant’s own pace and range of motion. Comfort, ease, and the quality of movement are the main criteria used as one is developing more inner authority.  The other modality, Functional Integration, is a one-to-one, hands-on interaction specifically designed to meet the needs of an individual.  Through the use of noninvasive and interactive touch, practitioners guide students to a new and more varied use of themselves. Students usually lie or sit and are comfortably dressed.

Students of the Feldenkrais Method report results of increased vitality, enhancement of self-image, better breathing and posture, greater flexibility and range of motion, and reduction of pain. By bringing attention to the process of movement, students usually feel lighter and more graceful, and have greater ease and effectiveness in turning their intentions into actions.



Copyright 2007 Raquel Lazar-Paley

Alexander Technique

F.M. Alexander (1869-1955) developed the Alexander Technique more than a century ago. An Australian actor who lost his voice while reciting, he observed misuse of the body as a fundamental cause of maladaptive functioning. The approach he created to solve his own physical problem focuses on correcting misuse of the interrelationship and neuromuscular activity of the head, neck and spine.

The Alexander Technique has been beneficial to people with a wide variety of neurological and musculoskeletal problems. The Technique provides an index for observing and improving human movement and a means to gain proficiency in basic movement skills such as walking, bending, squatting, lunging, moving in bed or transferring to and from seated surfaces. The Technique also addresses habits of muscular response by offering a unique approach to neuromuscular re-education. The result is a more upright posture and less muscular tension in the neck, back and shoulders. In the case of repetitive stress or traumatic injury, a primary benefit is that students learn proper use of the peripheral joints involved in the injury. Most importantly, they learn a unique self-management process which directly affects the function of those joints: an understanding of balance and dynamic postural control.

The Technique has been found to significantly reduce pain, improve overall functional strength and mobility, modify stress reponses and enhance breathing coordination.  In a process of psycho-physical reeducation, the teacher uses specific clinical skills, including manual guidance and verbal cues, to improve each student’s postural and movement patterns.



Copyright 2007  Raquel Lazar-Paley


The cells in our bodies are built from the raw materials we eat. The more suitable our food choices are to our specific requirements, the better cell structures we can build.  Nutritionists provide guidance to individuals or groups on food selection and preparation and food supplements (vitamins, minerals, enzymes, glandular concentrates, proteins, essential fatty acids, etc.).  They educate clients about the benefits of a sound nutritional program to encourage the body to heal itself. They evaluate a client’s food intake, usually over a given week; particular attention is paid to the proportions of protein, fat, starches, sugars and fiber consumed.  They design a program specifically for each client taking into consideration such factors as height, weight, age, sex, level of exercise or physical activity, dietary goals, food preferences, sensitivities to specific foods, and dietary habits in respect to their diet and nutritional deficiencies.

People generally seek nutritional consulting for weight normalization, pregnancy or lactation, sports nutrition, convalescence, understanding the use and abuse of food supplements, understanding the consequences of specific food choices, and learning how to make choices more appropriate to their needs.



Copyright 2007 Raquel Lazar-Paley


Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

NLP is a set of models of how communication impacts and is impacted by subjective experience, and consists of techniques based on those models.  Developed in the early 1970’s by Richard Bandler, Ph.D., an information scientist, and John Grinder, Ph.D., a linguist, NLP began as an exploration of the relationship between neurology, linguistics, and observable patterns of behavior. Bandler and Grinder were interested in how people influence one another, and in the possibility of being able to duplicate the behavior – and therefore the effectiveness – of highly influential people.  What made their search special was their use of technology from linguistics and information science, combined with insights from behavioral psychology and general systems theory, to unlock the secrets of effective communication.  Much of early NLP was based on the work of Virginia Satir, a family therapist; Fritz Perls, founder of Gestalt therapy; Gregory Bateson, anthropologist; and Milton Erickson, a hypnotist.

See the Conscious Woman program, NLP: A Birth Model for Change with Kathy Welter-Nichols!

Heavily pragmatic, NLP is more of a collection of tools than an overarching theory.  During their early studies, Bandler and Grinder developed a unique system of asking questions and gathering information that was based on the fields of transformational grammar and general semantics. Later they and their colleagues discovered certain minimal cues people give that indicate very specific kinds of thought processes. These include eye movements, certain gestures, breathing patterns, voice tone changes and even very subtle cues such as pupil dilation and skin color changes.  NLP is this gathering of information to make models, based on the internal experience and information processing of the people being studied and modeled, including the part that is outside of their conscious awareness.

The actual technology, or methodology, that Bandler and Grinder used is known as human modeling; actually the building of models of how people perform or accomplish something. This modeling process actually means finding and describing the important elements and processes that people go through, beginning with finding and studying a human model. To do this well means to actually study the structure of people’s thought processes and internal experience, as well as their observable behavior. NLP has several techniques for diagnosing and intervening in certain situations: There is a phobia cure, a way to detraumatize past traumas, and ways to identify and integrate conflicting belief systems that keep people from doing things they want.

Performing NLP techniques is a skill that requires a significant amount of training to be employed properly.



Copyright 2007 Raquel Lazar-Paley

Network Spinal Analysis (NSA)

NSA is an evidenced-based approach to wellness and body awareness practiced exclusively by Doctors of Chiropractic.  It is applied to the body through a series of gentle contacts, called “spinal entrainments”, along areas of the spine referred to as “spinal gateways,” which range from the bottom of the skull to the tailbone.  “Entrainments” cue the frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex (the part of the brain associated with conscious choice and higher human thought) to develop new strategies for the dissipation of stored tension and energy.  The release of tension in the nervous system, accompanied by a greater awareness of breath and body movement, facilitates better adaptation to change and to life’s stressful events.  This manifests in the form of oscillation in the body, a rhythmic movement called a somatopsychic (body-mind) wave, which tends to produce a meditative state and the ability to focus on internal cues – and the adaptive response – rather than on one’s cultural and habitual defensive reaction to the world.  Greater self-awareness and conscious awakening of the relationships between the body, mind, emotion, and expression of the human spirit are realized through this healing work.

NSA, developed by Dr. Donald Epstein, has evolved over the past 30 years.  During his early years in private chiropractic practice, Dr. Epstein noticed that certain chiropractic techniques worked better in some areas of the spine than others.  He also noticed that some adjustments did not work at all.  Consequently, he observed that if the order of the segments adjusted was performed in a particular sequence, the body was better able to process the adjustments.  Dr. Epstein proceeded to network many existing techniques and developed a new practice that consists of properly sequenced adjustments that are more effective than improperly timed techniques or ones that are not suited for a particular body.  Extensively researched, Dr. Epstein’s discoveries have been found to be repeatable and predictable.  The result has been the creation of a wellness modality that promotes the body’s natural rhythms, natural movements, and the natural unwinding of its own tension and interference patterns, without exercises or the use of therapeutic machines.

A retrospective study of 2,818 patients receiving Network care around the world has demonstrated that this modality is associated with profound and statistically significant improvements in physical, emotional and psychological well being, changes in lifestyle, and overall improved quality of life.  Respondents reported having less pain, improved spinal flexibility, more energy and less fatigue, fewer cold and flu symptoms, fewer headaches, a decreased need for prescription medications, more positive feelings about themselves, decreased moodiness, improved temper, fewer angry outbursts, less depression, more interest in life, improved ability to concentrate, less anxiety, greater ability to cope with daily problems, improvement in relationships, better ability to adapt to change, improved job satisfaction and work performance, openness and compassion, interest in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, improvement in physical appearance and self-awareness, and greater overall health and general well-being.




Copyright 2007, 2011 Raquel Lazar-Paley


Naturopathic Medicine, or Naturopathy, is a system of medicine that uses natural substances to treat the patient and recognizes that the patient’s mental, emotional, and physical states must all be treated for a lasting effect. Though the term Naturopathy was coined in 1895, this type of medicine has been practiced for hundreds, if not thousands of years.  In the mid- and late-1800s in the United States, the standard medical schools taught herbal, homeopathic, and nutritional medicine. Gradually, the pharmaceutical direction to isolate components of the herbs created more potent (but potentially more toxic) drugs and the slower, more gradual effects of Naturopathic medicine almost pushed it into disuse by the early 1900s. The current resurgence is due to a recognition of the limitations of the current medical system and the efficacy of Naturopathic medicine.

The foundation of Naturopathic medicine is the vitalistic philosophy of the healing power of nature.  This means that within every human organism there is a healing energy, which includes our immune system in the fuller sense of both the physical and the psyche, which is responsible for our wellness and our ability to heal and maintain health. The therapies used to support and stimulate this healing power of nature must be the gentlest, least invasive, and most efficient possible.  In addition, Naturopaths do not simply treat the manifestation of a disease but rather search for the cause and treat it. To accomplish these goals, Naturopathic medicine incorporates many therapeutic modalities: herbal medicine, homeopathy, nutrition, hydrotherapy, food, exercise therapy, physical therapy, manipulation of the bony and soft tissues, lifestyle and counseling.  Naturopathic medicine treats the patient from the preventive stage through to serious, chronic and debilitating disease.



Copyright 2007 Raquel Lazar-Paley


The term homeopathy comes from the Greek words homeo, meaning similar, and pathos, meaning suffering or disease.  Homeopathy takes a different approach from conventional medicine in diagnosing, classifying, and treating medical problems.  Homeopathy seeks to stimulate the body’s defense mechanisms and processes so as to prevent or treat illness. Treatment involves giving very small doses of substances called remedies that would produce the same or similar symptoms of illness in healthy people if they were given in larger doses. Treatment in homeopathy is tailored to each individual person. Homeopathic practitioners select remedies according to a total picture of the patient, including not only symptoms but lifestyle, emotional and mental states, and other factors.

In the late 1700s, Samuel Hahnemann, a physician, chemist, and linguist in Germany, proposed a new approach to treating illness. This was at a time when the most common medical treatments were harsh, such as bloodletting, purging, blistering, and the use of sulfur and mercury. At the time, there were few effective medications for treating patients, and knowledge about their effects was limited.  Hahnemann was interested in developing a less-threatening approach to medicine. The first major step reportedly was when he was translating an herbal text and read about a treatment (cinchona bark) used to cure malaria. He took some cinchona bark and observed that, as a healthy person, he developed symptoms that were very similar to malaria symptoms. This led Hahnemann to consider that a substance may create symptoms that it can also relieve. This concept is called the “similia principle” or “like cures like.”

In the fourth century B.C., Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, observed that large amount of certain natural substances can produce symptoms in healthy people resembling those caused by the disease, while smaller doses of these same substances can relieve those symptoms.  Another way to view “like cures like” is that symptoms are part of the body’s attempt to heal itself–for example, a fever can develop as a result of an immune response to an infection, and a cough may help to eliminate mucus — and medication may be given to support this self-healing response.  Hahnemann tested single, pure substances on himself and, in more dilute forms, on healthy volunteers.  He kept meticulous records of his experiments and participants’ responses, and he combined these observations with information from clinical practice, the known uses of herbs and other medicinal substances, and toxicology, eventually treating the sick and developing homeopathic clinical practice.

There are over 2000 homeopathic remedies, which are made from naturally occurring plant, animal, or mineral substances and such exotic sources as bee stings, snake venoms, arsenic, gold and silica, and even compounds from diseased tissue.  Persons using homeopathy do so to address a range of health concerns, from wellness and prevention to treatment of injuries, diseases, and conditions. Studies have found that many people who seek homeopathic care seek it for help with a chronic medical condition.

The World Health Organization noted in 1994 that homeopathy had been integrated into the national health care systems of numerous countries, including Germany, the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Mexico.



Copyright 2007 Raquel Lazar-Paley

Ayurvedic Medicine

Ayurveda (meaning “the science of life”) is one of the oldest systems of natural health care.  Having evolved among the Brahmin sages of ancient India some 3,000-5,000 years ago, Ayurveda and variations of it have also been practiced for centuries in Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Tibet.  Now considered one of the leading forms of holistic medicine available in the West, Ayurveda addresses all factors that influence our quality of life.

The principles of Ayurveda state that nothing exists in isolation, so that everything you interact with, your diet, family, work or relationships, has an effect on your health and well being. One guiding principle of Ayurveda is that mind and body are connected and that the mind has a profound influence over our health and well-being. While conventional Western medicine is still grounded in the paradigm of mind-body separation, Ayurveda holds that health is more than the absence of disease; it is a dynamic state of balance and integration of body, mind, and spirit.  Ayurveda focuses on establishing and maintaining balance of the life energies within us, rather than on individual symptoms.  Although two people may appear to have the same outward symptoms, their energetic constitutions may be very different; by recognizing the unique constitutional differences of all individuals, Ayurveda recommends different regimens for different types of people.

Ayurvedic treatments are primarily dietary and herbal.  They include preventative healthcare for the entire family; strategies for defeating addictions; and food, purification and rejuvenation treatments prescribed with respect to one’s individual nature, work, social circumstance, age, and season; practical and effective approaches to maintain a healthy weight through constitutionally-determined diet, exercise, herbs, spices, teas, breathing, and psychological aids; and specific treatment plans.  Ayuerveda also encompasses beauty and cosmetic treatments for men and women, including skin, hair, eyes, posture, body odor and general appearance.




Copyright 2007 Raquel Lazar-Paley


Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system and the effects of these disorders on general health.  Doctors of Chiropractic practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment.  The most common therapeutic procedure performed by doctors of chiropractic is known as “spinal manipulation,” also called “chiropractic adjustment” which is designed to address ailments caused by a single traumatic event, such as improper lifting of a heavy object, or through repetitive stresses, such as sitting in an awkward position with poor spinal posture for an extended period of time.  However, there exist a wide variety of chiropractic techniques, and a different – more holistic – school of thought that focuses on addressing lifestyle changes, better adaptation to emotional and chemical stresses, and strategies that explore the connection between mind, body and spirit.  Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.

The roots of chiropractic care can be traced back to the beginning of recorded time. Writings from China and Greece written in 2,700 B.C. and 1,500 B.C. mention spinal manipulation and the maneuvering of the lower extremities to ease low back pain.  Hippocrates, the Greek physician who lived from 460 to 357 B.C., also published texts detailing the importance of chiropractic care.  In one of his writings he declares, “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases”.   In the United States, the practice of spinal manipulation began gaining momentum in the late nineteenth century.  In 1895, Daniel David Palmer founded the Chiropractic profession in Davenport, Iowa.  Palmer was well read in medical journals of his time and had great knowledge of the developments that were occurring throughout the world regarding anatomy and physiology.  In 1897, Palmer founded the Palmer School of Chiropractic, which has continued to be one of the most prominent chiropractic colleges in the nation.  Throughout the twentieth century, doctors of chiropractic gained legal recognition in all fifty states.  A continuing recognition and respect for the chiropractic profession in the United States has led to growing support for chiropractic care all over the world.

Doctors of chiropractic must complete four to five years at an accredited chiropractic college. The intention of the basic chiropractic curriculum is to provide an in-depth understanding of the structure and function of the human body in health and disease.  An individual studying to become a doctor of chiropractic receives an education in both the basic and clinical sciences and in related health subjects.  The complete curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience. Approximately 555 hours are devoted to learning about adjustive techniques and spinal analysis.  The educational program includes training in the basic medical sciences, including anatomy with human dissection, physiology, and biochemistry. Thorough training is also obtained in differential diagnosis, radiology and therapeutic techniques.  Chiropractic colleges provide as much or more training in anatomy/embryology, physiology, chemistry/biochemistry, microbiology, diagnosis, x-ray and orthopedics than medical schools.  Those intending to become doctors of chiropractic must pass a national board exam and all exams required by the state in which the individual wishes to practice.  Doctors of chiropractic can both diagnose and treat patients; according to the Council on Chiropractic Education, Doctors of Chiropractic are trained as Primary Care providers.

Doctors of Chiropractic have a deep respect for the human body’s ability to heal itself without the use of surgery or medication. As a profession, the primary belief is in natural and conservative methods of health care.  These doctors devote careful attention to the biomechanics, structure and function of the spine, its effects on the musculoskeletal and neurological systems, and the role played by the proper function of these systems in the preservation and restoration of health.  A Doctor of Chiropractic is one who is involved in the treatment and prevention of disease, as well as the promotion of public health, and a wellness approach to patient healthcare.

A 1993 study published in Canada investigated the cost effectiveness of chiropractic care. The results of this study concluded that more chiropractic care would save hundreds of millions of dollars annually with regard to work disability payments and direct health care costs.



Copyright 2007  Raquel Lazar-Paley

A Brief Overview of Midwifery Practice

A midwife is a trained professional with special expertise in supporting women to maintain a healthy pregnancy and birth, and offering expert individualized care, education, counseling and support to a woman and her newborn throughout the childbearing cycle. Midwives provide skilled, individualized, and loving care to birthing women. They monitor the physical, psychological, and social well-being of mothers throughout the childbearing cycle, providing them with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support, minimizing technological interventions and identifying and referring those who require obstetric attention. They are committed to educating women and assisting them through natural, preventative, holistic, and nutritional means. They are respectful of the physiological, emotional, spiritual, sexual, and cultural aspects of labor and delivery, recognizing that birth is not an illness – it is a natural life process.

Midwives have always been part of the human experience. Midwives, like physicians, practiced without specific education, standards, or regulations until the early part of the 20th century. Although detailed statistics were lacking, the evidence available showed that midwives’ patients were less likely than physicians’ patients to die of childbed fever or puerperal infection, the most significant cause of maternal morbidity and mortality at the time. As medicine gained legitimacy and power toward the end of the nineteenth century, it called for the abolition of midwifery and home birth in favor of obstetrics in a hospital setting, a goal that it almost accomplished. Midwives were portrayed by the medical profession as dirty, illiterate, and ignorant, and women were convinced that they were safer in the hands of doctors and hospitals. By 1935, the number of births attended to by midwives had decreased to 12.5%, and shortly thereafter, they were effectively stamped out.

Despite restrictions, a small but steady number of families continued to demand alternative childbirth, and the midwives attending them began to organize to share experiences, support one another, and learn together. In 1975, the publication of Ina May Gaskin’s book Spiritual Midwifery spread the word that childbirth could be an experience of growth, empowerment, and joy. Midwifery has since experienced a resurgence. Every year, more American babies are born into the hands of midwives. The U.S. national average is 7.4%, although in some states it is as high as 20%. Still, the rate is very low compared to that in the European countries that have the best birth outcomes.

The World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe has declared that “nurses and midwives have key and increasingly important roles to play in society’s efforts to tackle the public health challenges of our time, as well as in ensuring the provision of high-quality, accessible, equitable, efficient and sensitive health services which ensure continuity of care and address people’s rights and changing needs.” The application of this woman-centered model of care has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section; in countries where midwives are the primary birth attendants, the number of natural births rises significantly and the use of medical technology and cesarean section is dramatically reduced.  It has been well documented that countries in which midwives are the primary caregivers of healthy pregnant women have the best maternal and neonatal outcomes.



Copyright © 2007-2012 Raquel Lazar-Paley