The first record of Acupuncture is found in the 4,700 year old Huang Di Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine).  It is said to have been written down from even earlier theories by Shen Nung, the father of Chinese Medicine. Shen Nung documented theories about circulation, pulse, and the heart over 4,000 years before European medicine had any concept about them. As the basis of Acupuncture, Shen Nung theorized that the body had an energy force running throughout it.  This energy force is known as Qi (roughly pronounced Chee).  This energy is said to circulate throughout the body along specific pathways that are called meridians.  As long as this energy flows freely throughout the meridians, health is maintained, but once the flow of energy is blocked, the system is disrupted and pain and illness occur.  Acupuncture works to “re-program” and restore normal functions by stimulating certain points on the meridians with needles, moxibustion (heat), cupping (suction), and/or acupressure/reflexology (use of fingers or an instrument with a hard ball shaped head), in order to free up the Qi energy.  Acupuncture needles vary in length, width of shaft, and shape of head.  Today, most needles are disposable. They are used once and discarded in accordance with medical biohazard regulations and guidelines. There are many diseases that can be treated successfully by Acupuncture or its related treatments, and acupuncture has both general and specific use for analgesia (including surgery).  In addition, very high success rates have been found in treating addictions to alcohol, tobacco (nicotine) and ‘hard’ drugs.

Copyright 2007  Raquel Lazar-Paley


The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind, and is often interpreted as “union” or a method of discipline.  The Indian sage Patanjali is believed to have collated the practice of yoga into the Yoga Sutra an estimated 2,000 years ago. The Sutra is a collection of 195 statements that serves as a philosophical guidebook for most of the yoga that is practiced today.  Today most people practicing yoga are engaged in the third limb, asana, which is a program of physical postures designed to purify the body and provide physical strength and stamina.  There are numerous styles of yoga.  Vinyasa-style yoga combines a series of flowing postures with rhythmic breathing for an intense body-mind workout.  These include: Ashtanga (a fast-paced series of sequential postures); Power Yoga (a challenging, disciplined and rigorous workout that develops strength and flexibility); Jivamukti (a highly meditative but physically challenging form of yoga which includes chanting, meditation, readings, music, and affirmations); Kali Ray TriYoga (a series of flowing, dancelike movements focusing on natural alignment and breath and ending in meditation); and White Lotus (a flowing vinyasa practice which ranges from gentle to vigorous depending on your ability or comfort level).  Iyengar yoga focuses on the subtleties of each posture – poses (supported by the use of props) are typically held much longer than in other schools of yoga.

There are various styles of yoga that focus on the healing qualities of this practice: Integrative Yoga Therapy (a program designed specifically for medical and mainstream wellness settings, including hospitals and rehabilitation centers, that uses gentle postures, guided imagery, and breathing techniques for treating specific health issues such as heart disease, psychiatric disorders, and AIDS); Viniyoga (poses are synchronized with the breath in sequences determined by the needs of the practitioner in accordance with their physical, emotional, and intellectual needs as they grow and change); Svaroopa (a consciousness-oriented yoga utilized by Dr. Deepak Chopra’s Center for Well Being, that teaches different ways of doing familiar poses, emphasizing the opening of the spine by beginning at the tailbone and progressing through each spinal area, integrating the foundational principles of asana, anatomy, and yoga philosophy, thereby promoting healing and transformation); Bikram (a series of 26 traditional hatha postures used to address the proper functioning of every bodily system, practiced in yoga’s birthplace climate – with temperatures reaching 100°F, to make practitioners sweat the toxins out of their bodies);  and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy (a combination of classical yoga and elements of contemporary client-centered and body-mind psychology, facilitating a powerful release of physical tensions and emotional blocks).

Other yoga styles focus on spiritual awakening and enlightenment:  Sivananda (emphasizing 12 basic postures to increase strength and flexibility of the spine, and which also utilizes chanting, proper breathing, relaxation, diet, positive thinking and meditation); Integral (a gentle asana practice using classical hatha postures performed as a meditation, balancing physical effort and relaxation, and incorporating guided relaxation, breathing practices, sound vibration / repetition of mantra or chant, and silent meditation); Ananda (a series of gentle hatha postures focusing on proper alignment, easeful posture transitions and controlled breathing exercises, along with the use of silent affirmations); Kundalini (incorporating postures, dynamic breathing techniques, chanting and meditation, awakening the energy at the base of the spine and drawing it upward through each of the seven chakras);  ISHTA (a mixture of flowing Ashtanga-style asanas with the precise method of Iyengar, with breathing and meditation exercises); Kripalu (involving a conscious holding of the postures to the level of tolerance and beyond, deepening concentration and focus of internal thoughts and emotions, and releasing physical and mental tensions through meditation);  Anusara (an integrated approach to hatha yoga that focuses on awakening to your true nature, integrated awareness of all the different parts of the body, and artistic expression of the heart in which muscular stability is balanced with an expansive inner freedom);  Tibetan (a range of tantric meditation and breathing techniques); and Hatha (vigorous or more meditative style, incorporating any of the above described practices).

Copyright 2007  Raquel Lazar-Paley

Somato Emotional Release

Somato Emotional Release is therapeutic process that helps rid the mind and body of residual effects of past trauma and associated negative responses.  Dr. John Upledger and biophysicist Dr. Zvi Kami developed this modality after recognizing that the body often retains – rather than dissipates – physical forces as the result of accident, injury or emotional trauma.  Following trauma, the body isolates the “energy cyst.”  An aspect of CranioSacral Therapy, therapists utilizing SomatoEmotional Release help the client physically identify and expel the energy cyst through re-experiencing and resolving the unpleasant incidents.  Through therapeutic dialogue, imagery and touch, the client and therapist invite cooperation of the body and conscious mind to release the residual effects of past injuries and negative experiences.

Copyright 2007  Raquel Lazar-Paley

CranioSacral Therapy

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) was pioneered and developed by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger following extensive scientific studies from 1975 to 1983 at Michigan State University, where he served as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics.  CST is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system – comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Using a soft touch generally no greater than 5 grams, or about the weight of a nickel, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system. By complementing the body’s natural healing processes, CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.

Copyright 2007 Raquel Lazar-Paley

Visceral Manipulation

Visceral Manipulation (VM) was developed by French Osteopath, Jean-Pierre Barral. At optimal health, the relationship between the organs (viscera) and structures of the body (muscles, membranes, fasciae and bones) remains stable despite the body’s endless varieties of motion. But when one organ can’t move in harmony with its surrounding viscera due to abnormal tone, adhesions or displacement, it works against all the body’s organs and structures. This disharmony creates fixed, abnormal points of tension that the body is forced to move around. That chronic irritation, in turn, paves the way for disease and dysfunction.

Visceral Manipulation is a gentle hands-on therapy that works through the body’s visceral system (the heart, liver, intestines and other internal organs) to locate and alleviate these abnormal points of tension throughout the body. VM employs specifically placed manual forces that work to encourage the normal mobility, tone and motion of the viscera and their connective tissues. Trained practitioners use the rhythmic motions of the visceral system to evaluate how abnormal forces interplay, overlap and affect the normal body forces at work. These gentle manipulations can potentially improve the functioning of individual organs, the systems the organs function within, and the structural integrity of the entire body.

copyright 2007 Raquel Lazar-Paley