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Intuitive Arts Fair displays various therapies and self-help techniques

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By Penny Fletcher

SUN CITY CENTER - Several years ago I did a story on the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., having added a whole department to study the connection between the mind and body in healing.

Among the things they study at the NIA’s Mind Body Institute are complementary and alternative medicines, the mind’s influence over bodily conditions, and the effects of techniques including yoga, acupuncture, acupressure, meditation, prayer, and dietary supplements.


Marcia Wilson says she begins every Jin Shin Jyutsu session by feeling the pulses to see where the body is most stressed.
There are hundreds of others that can be found on the NIH Web site, http://www.nih.gov and typing “Mind Body Institute” in the search line at the top of the home page.

My point is, the government is taking complimentary and alternative medicine (referred to on the site as CAM) very seriously.

They say that Western medicine has literally ‘thrown out the baby with the bathwater’ by disregarding some Eastern medical therapies and practices that have been used successfully for more than 6,000 years and also refer to the part of Hippocrates studies (all medical doctors in the U.S. take the Hippocratic Oath) that relate to moral and spiritual aspects of a person that Western medicine has long disregarded as meaningless.

Not so anymore, as many medical doctors are beginning to recognize – and even refer patients- to some techniques including acupuncture that 20 years ago would not have been considered valid remedies in the United States.

Remembering the article I wrote, and having had some experience with alternative medicine myself, I was anxious to attend the Oct. 30 Intuitive Arts Fair held at the Chakra Center, 137 S. Pebble Beach Blvd. in Sun City Center owned and run by Doni Doty.

“I started the center as a place for people to come to share their experiences and see what techniques helped others,” Doni told me. She only opened in May, but already has many groups and therapists signed up taking appointments and seeing clients there.


Donna Vrzal, left, gets her body auras read by Sparrow Slo’an, whose computerized equipment works by transferring the data read through the pulses in the right hand.
Some discussion groups are free of charge, and each therapist has her own technique and fee schedule.

But the Intuitive Arts Fair wasn’t about treatments or fees. It was about showing what is available, and while I was there I wanted to see it all.

Velora Peacock is a certified hypnotherapist with the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association. Yet while she was waiting for the doors to open before the event began, she had a card reading done by Cynthia Castillo, who tells a client enough about his or her past that they will have confidence in what she can tell them about their future. She says many in her family have had what she calls the ability to tap into their “strong intuitive ability” rather than use the word “psychic” because she believes everyone has this ability, although some may disregard it so regularly it weakens and finally goes away.


Doni Doty owner of The Chakra Center.
“I come from a real corporate background,” Velora told me. “I’ve been trained scientifically. But I know the biggest thing is to get the mind out of the way and let the body tell us what is wrong, or what its needs are. It has the ability to do that but we must listen.” Practices including acupressure and the Jin Shin Jyutsu demonstrated for me by Marcia Wilson, concentrate on finding out if the body’s energy is blocked and getting it flowing again. Then yoga or prayer and meditation, or a combination of whatever works best for your particular body can be used to maintain the proper energy.       

“Jin Shin Jyutsu is an ancient Japanese art that helps find the balance and harmony that exists in each of us,” Marcia explained. She locates the pulse points on the body and releases pressure of stagnant energy that has become blocked at a certain point, perhaps from an accident, bending the wrong way, or yes- even some kinds of thoughts. 

I watched as Donna Vrzal (who facilitates a free weekly discussion group on women's issues) dressed in a Red Sox uniform in honor of Halloween weekend get a computerized aura reading from Sparrow Slo’an, which is a stage name deliberately used because most of the week she works in a high profile state job.

I personally think it is a shame that a computerized technique licensed as a medical treatment in 37 other countries is considered by Western medical professionals as “hooey” enough for someone who performs it to have to use a stage name.


Cynthia Castillo, left, tells Velora Peacock enough about her past to convince her that she may just be able to tell some of her future by reading her Angel Cards. Velora is a certified hypnotherapist with the International Medical and Dental Association, while Cynthia says she comes from a long line of women with strong intuitive energy.
did, however, promise to use only the name on her brochures as her identification.

“The body has thousands of spinning wheels of energy,” she told me. “Some years ago, before computerization, people thought of an aura as one color but now we can see every color of the rainbow. The reason for that is that white light energy hits us, and we are like prisms, being made mostly of water. At various times we emit different signals from our bodies. Now that science has proven that even the nucleus of atoms are in constant movement, I think someday soon they will recognize this technique as a medical diagnostic tool in the United States. It just hasn’t happened yet.”

So she does not bill her technique as anything more than an “aura reading.”

I will say, however, I had never met this woman and yet my “aura reading” showed the exact areas I am under medical treatment for as “distressed” and my strongest points with “the highest energy auras”. 

I know that cinnamon has done a better job treating my diabetes than insulin. That is not fiction: it is fact.

To say the Intuitive Arts Fair was interesting is an understatement. I could have spent all day exploring the different ways to contribute to my health. Some of the techniques, like the Jin Shin Jyutsu, are also taught to be self-administered when needed at home.


Books, tapes, incense, scented oils and other items connected to relaxation, alternative healing and relaxation are also for sale at the Chakra Center.
When I got home, I went into the NIH site for the first time in several years and see that they have made long strides into CAM. Many alternative methods of healing are now accepted that were not just 10 years ago. I was also especially interested in a study on prayer. It seems that people who were prayed for (who did not know they were being prayed for) healed faster in a study than those who were not prayed for.

Now this implies that the minds of “others” as well as out own can influence our bodies as well.

I think I will visit the NIH site again soon and keep up with their studies.

Meanwhile, people may find out more about the Chakra Center by calling (813) 633-9400 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. 

For those who are unfamiliar with the word Chakra, much can be found on the Internet and in libraries under Eastern medical techniques. But basically, “chakras” are considered to be centers of activity that receive, assimilate and then use life force energy.           

The word itself means “wheel or disk” and refers to a spinning sphere of bioenergetic activity spanning the body, with the main seven chakras lined up near (or inside of) the spine, spanning from the base of the spine to the forehead. Other chakras are connected to or aligned with the main seven; the Chinese having recorded more than 500 specific areas and the parts of the body they affect.


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