As an expert in the healing arts, Yaakov Wieder provides many insights into these fields and how they can be used to expedite healing, health and overall wellness.
As an adjunct to Psychotherapy
Western Civilization’s advance towards more and more specialization has led to a science of medicine where thoughts and feelings are given little or no role in the etiology or treatment of disease. Sigmund Freud’s medical training and early experiences gave him much insight into how the workings of the unconscious mind could be related to physical symptoms. Read More
When asked by my patients “Yaakov,what are you doing, how does this work.”? I sometimes half jokingly answer “Do you want to hear the Pshat(simple answer), Remez(implied), Drash(deeper) or Sod(hidden)”? not to imply any connection to Judaism or the Torah; L’havdil, just referring to the different levels of understanding that are possible for those who are interested in the various, yet complementary methods that I use.
Pshat – There are 12 main channels of energy in the body through which our life-force flows; each associated with an internal organ. These channels can be accessed by 365 different points. Acupuncture needles can open up blockages and imbalances in these meridians and restore optimal flow.
Remez – Different points have been shown to affect our physiology in specific ways. Certain points can be used to treat medical conditions such balancing hormones, by calming anxiety, improving digestion, stopping acute attacks of asthma. Other points are used to treat the general constitution from the viewpoint of Chinese medicine; such as releasing heat, strengthening and smoothing the flow of chi, resolving dampness, expelling wind and tonifying the blood.
Drash – Man is seen as a microcosm; reflecting the interrelationship of the 5 elements as in Nature. An elemental imbalance within a person is the root source of disease and can be corrected by acupuncture.
Sod – To the ancient Chinese the primary role of the physician was to prevent diseases and to assist the patient to fulfill his heavenly proscribed destiny here on earth. Many acupuncture points relate to specific stages in psychological and spiritual development and their use at the appropriate time can be extraordinarily effective in facilitating personal growth.
Pshat — Like cures like. Since ancient times, medicinal substances have been known to cure by mimicking or exaggerating symptoms rather than suppressing or opposing them. Dr. Hahneman, the founder of modern homeopathy proved this by himself. He took quinine; a medicine still used today to treat malaria, and experienced the fever, and other symptoms of the disease. To this day all Homeopathy medicines are proven on healthy subjects to determine which physical and emotional symptoms they are most likely to cure.
Remez – Less is more. In Hahneman’s time, doctors were giving patients large toxic doses of substances such as sulfur, arsenic and mercury. He found small doses were as effective (in the cases where the medicine was coincidentally Homeopathic for the disease) and he even begun diluting the substance to the point that there was little or none left.
Drash – He discovered that by vigorously shaking the medicine after each dilution the potency of it was increased tremendously, resulting in quicker and longer lasting cures. He also discovered that with this method he could release the healing potentials of substances such as salt, gold or sand; that until then had no known medicinal use.
Sod – Homeopathic physicians have noticed how disease tendencies and even emotional and behavioral patterns can be passed from generation to generation. I believe that we posses an “Energetic Blueprint” that is complimentary to, and maybe even primary to the genetic blueprint found in our DNA. What is left in a homeopathic remedy after many dilutions is the “energy” of that substance. Homeopathy is “energetic medicine” that has the unique ability to effect our energetic blueprint, even changing patterns that were inherited and curing many serious conditions more effectively then conventional medicine
Trager Psychophysical Integration
Pshat – Gentle rocking motions guided by soft, nonintrusive gentle hands can be deeply and profoundly relaxing.
Remez – We learn by experiencing our bodies in movement. Although other bodywork and relaxation techniques can also be effective means of reducing tension; the rhythmic motion of Trager work influences more areas of the brain. Through the complex feedback loops of our sensory-motor system the image of moving more freely is reinforced in both our conscious and unconscious minds. The effects are long lasting and can be further reinforced by a clients active recall and self care movements.
Drash – We are how we move. Dr. Trager taught that every physical restriction has a concomitant restriction in the unconscious mind. The intention of each gentle touch and guided moments of the Trager practitioner is to reach that place in the unconscious mind.
Sod – The benefits of Trager are not just the release of physical pain and restriction. The experience of moving freely can also have e a profound impact on our outlook on life. Trager is not only an antidote to the constant feelings of struggle that fill most of our lives; but is a contradiction to the underlying beliefs that perpetuate that struggle. We do not always have to be in control. Our endeavors do not always have to be filled with struggle to be productive. Growth does not always necessitate pain. There is way of being that is lighter, that is freer. With Trager we can learn that way.
Cranio Sacral Therapy
Pshat –In an adult skull, the 20 different bones that make up our cranium seem to be solidly fused together. However, a closer look reveals that there is a possibility of movement along these joints, known as sutures. This movement is designed to accommodate an increase in pressure of our cerebral spinal fluid. Although this expansion is very subtle, it can be felt by a practitioner of CST.
Remez – Cerebral spinal fluid surrounds and nourishes the brain and spinal cords and is maintained within the meningeal membranes. Unknown to most conventional physicians, the pressure of CST rises and falls at a rate between 6-14 times/cycles per minutes. We call this rhythm the craniosacral rhythm.
Drash – Restrictions in the movement of the bones of the skull and in the meningeal membranes can impede the flow of cerebral spinal fluid. This can affect our general vitality and interfere with the optimal functioning of our brain and nervous system. It can even have profound effects on our physiology and behavior, as was demonstrated in the experiments of Dr. William Sutherland, the founder of Cranial Osteopathy. Craniosacral therapists can detect and correct these restrictions.
Sod – Tension, suppressed emotions, trauma and even forgotten memories can be stored in these membranes and in other tissues in the body. Craniosacral therapists can gently unwind these tensions; facilitating profound relaxation, emotional openness, and trauma resolution. This principle can also be used to release the trauma that often accompanies even normal births ensuring a healthier and happier childhood*.
Pshat – All our internal organs are surrounded by connective tissue and are supported by ligaments. These ligaments connect each organ to its neighboring organs and to the musculo-skeletal system.
Remez – Tension and restriction in these ligaments reduces the mobility of an organ. This mobility is needed to ensure its ability to move in relation to other organs and in response to physiological functions such as breathing and digestion. Because of the ligamental connection to the musculo-skeletal system these restrictions are often the cause of many painful conditions.. Dr. J.P. Barral, the developer of Visceral Manipulation, estimates that up to 75% of lower back pain can be attributed to dysfunction of the pelvic organs.
Drash – Each internal organ has its own motility (inherent motion). This motility has a rhythm of approximately 2 times per minute and seems to recapitulate the embryonic development of that organ. In most organs this can be felt as a tide like motion towards and away from the body’s midline.
Sod – The motility of each organ can be used to gauge its inherent vitality. Treating with Visceral Manipulation can be used to prevent serious disease and sometimes alleviate existing conditions. Like Chinese medicine it can also be used to release and integrate suppressed emotions that have been stored in those organs.
Pshat – Yoga postures are energizing, relaxing and balancing.
Remez – Standard exercises, sports, aerobics etc. usually strengthen only the large, more superficial muscles and often accentuate existing postural and structural imbalances. Yoga strengthens all the muscles and organs of the body. It relaxes and stretches muscles that are too tight and tones up those that are too lax and underused.
Drash – It has been used to alleviate a wide range of conditions, including asthma, digestive disorders, scoliosis and osteoporosis. When used properly it can also be extremely useful in calming anxiety.
Sod – Yoga can increase our concentration, stamina, and the ability to go past our limitations. Consistent yoga practice develops greater self-confidence and is conducive to greater success in all areas of our lives.
Pshat – We have both a physical and energetic body. Most types of alternative medicine work with one or the other. For example, chiropractics and massage work primarily with the physical body, and acupuncture and homeopathy work primarily with the energy body. Zero balancing works with both. More specifically, zero balancing works with the interconnection between our physical and our energetic bodies, facilitating the flow of energy through our skeletal structure. Zero balancing can be very effective in many cases where the physical injury has healed but there is still chronic pain or dysfunction.
Remez – In Zero Balancing the energy body is contacted by “taking the slack” out of the physical body. Blocks to the flow of energy can be palpated and are usually located within joints that allow for little voluntary motion, i.e. the sacro-iliac, the large bones of the foot, the joints between vertebrae and between each vertebra and its adjacent ribs. Freeing these blocks using gentle pressure and traction creates in the client a “clearer and stronger energetic field”; one that is more resilient to physical and emotional stress.
Drash – In order to deeply and beneficially effect the body, the touch of the practitioner must be “essential” ,the kind of interpersonal contact we’ve all experienced even just by making eye contact from across the room or just by feeling that somebody is there and present for us. His touch must also have clear energetic boundaries so that the client experiences only his own energy without interference of the practitioner.
Sod – Working with the energy that flows through our skeletal structure, the seemingly simple manipulations of the zero balancing practitioner can contact a person on a profound level. As reflected in the Hebrew language, “atzamot, atzma’ut, etzem” the bones are reflection of the deepest sense of our self. Zero balancing can be very effective in working with issues of self-esteem and helping us to be more grounded and connected to ourselves, facilitate having clearer energetic boundaries in our relationships and to help clear out the toxic effects of shame. It can be a deeply relaxing experience that helps us connect to the still, quiet place beyond the emotional waves of our daily experiences.
Pshat – Our nervous system has two basic modes of functioning. At rest it’s called the parasympathetic, and when we need to go into action (fight or flight) it’s called the sympathetic. Each has its own set of physiological correlates. The sympathetic nervous system is characterized by high levels of adrenaline, increased heart and breathing rate, slower digestion, high blood pressure, and increased muscular tension. Parasympathetic is like being in neutral.
Remez – When we are in a situation that is physically or emotionally threatening (even an imaginary one) our sympathetic nervous system becomes engaged. Optimally, which is the case in most of the animal kingdom, after the danger has passed the system quickly returns to neutral. Trauma is an event that is so overwhelming or happens so frequently that our ability to return to neutral is severely compromised.
Drash – For many reasons, people living in modern industrial societies have become severely limited in their ability to recover from trauma. Many of our most common ailments, such as high blood pressure, anxiety, digestive difficulties, immune system disorders, muscular tension, sleep disorders, and “burnout” are simply the result of an overactive sympathetic nervous system.
Sod – The effects of unresolved trauma, including birth trauma, can have a profound and far reaching impact on our lives. It severely affects our physical health, productivity, and our ability to be in fulfilling relationships. Many of us unknowingly suffer the effects of trauma. This is because it often happens at an early age, or was so overwhelming that the memory was suppressed, or because our dysfunctional family seemed normal to us. The on and off switch of the autonomic nervous system is located in the lower centers of the brain, so that verbal and cognitive based therapies often have little effect on what is essentially a very deep physiological as well as psychological process. However there are many therapies that can help us safely release trauma and restore our nervous system to a more normal and neutral functioning, including all of those mentioned above.
“Alternative” Pediatric Care
Pshat – Many of the most common pediatric difficulties ranging from colic, ear and throat infections, sleeping and eating issues to ADD, behavioral and learning difficulties can be caused or aggravated by stress and trauma.
Remez – Just like adults, young infants store stress and tension in their bodies. Even before birth they are already sensitive to stress in the emotion environment. The tension surrounding a normal hospital birth can be traumatic all the more so if there are medical procedures, vaccinations or any other additional stressful situations.
Drash – Crying, when not because of hunger or other physical stress, is the baby’s way of relieving attention. Constantly giving a breast or bottle even when they are not hungry deprives them of this outlet.
Sod – My approach to pediatric care is first and foremost just love them, I want to make the experience seem as different as possible from a regular doctor’s office. To help them feel as comfortable as possible, I ask for the parents help in setting boundaries only when absolutely necessary. The treatment of choice is usually Cranio-Sacral therapy and/or classical homeopathy.
Pshat – anyone can feel better by reducing the amount of non-nutrious junk food from their diet – packaged foods, sweets and cakes, processed meats, carbonated drinks, alcohol and coffee.
Remez – most people will notice a big difference if they eliminate wheat and dairy and, of course, any other foods that they suspect they may be allergic to.
Drash – different blood types do best on different diets, for example, type Os thrive on a high protein diet, while type A’s can happily and healthily do so on a balanced vegetarian diet.
Sod – Chinese medicine and other eastern approaches classify foods mainly according to their energetic properties rather than their nutritional attributes. Using this wisdom we can adjust our diet to be in balance with the seasons, our locality, our physical needs and the ups and downs of our emotional life. We can develop the sensitivity to give ourselves just what our body and soul need with every meal, truly eating l’shem shamayim.
In summary, with whatever method I am using I strive to treat the whole person; to understand the interrelationship between mind, body and spirit. I try to find the root of the problem and not just treat the symptoms. I have learned to trust the inherent healing potential within each of us so my goal is to use the minimum intervention that is needed. Our attitudes and lifestyle can influence the healing process so I like to remind my patients that there are three partners in real healing; the patient, the doctor and Hakodesh Boruch Hu.