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Natural Awakenings Hudson County NJ

A Doctor Need Not Be a Stranger

Makiko Oka-Castro, owner of Natural Healing Artists, Inc., has an extensive background as a professional dancer. Originally from Tokyo, she moved to New York City in 1990, joined the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance and performed with the company between 1992 to 1994. Her practice today focuses on a combination of Feldenkrais, reiki energy and the gut and psychology syndrome (GAPS) diet.

She treats clients with muscularskeletal issues and their reflection of pain in the back, neck/shoulder, elbow/hand, hip/knee/ankle; digestive health and its impact on arthritis, depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, autism, OCD, insomnia, headaches/migraines, skin conditions, IBS, IBD, constipation, diarrhea, GERD (reflux), heartburn, ulcers, Crohn’s disease and other inflammations; and emotional health and its influence on stress, anxiety, anger, depression, PTSD, ADD/ADHD, autism, OCD and insomnia.

Along with degrees in dance from New York University and drama from Nihon University, in Japan, Oka-Castro is a certified nutritional consultant, certified GAPS practitioner, certified Feldenkrais Method practitioner and reiki master.GAPS

She says, “I had lots of injuries and at one point, had a severe backache and couldn’t stand up for 20 minutes because of pain. At that time I didn’t know anything about health, so I went to many doctors and chiropractors but no one could figure it out. They did an MRI and it didn’t show anything, and then they took X-rays and they didn’t see anything. No bones or muscular problems, nothing.”

One doctor recommended physical therapy, but Oka-Castro asked, “If you don’t know the cause, how do you know to prescribe a method or anything to heal?” She tried numerous alternative modalities such as Rolfing, applied kinesiology, Chinese acupuncture, massage, gyrotonics and Pilates with no improvement. “It didn’t work, so I had to really study anatomy books and lots of stuff. They’re mainly saying the same thing, but each book was a little different. “I ended up using the Feldenkrais method. It didn’t cure me right away, but I ended up being very interested with what I heard in relation to gravity, how the muscles work to support the skeletal system and the idea of how thoughts create tension in the musculature. While I studied all this information, somehow the backache disappeared.”

She explains that reiki is all about energy going through the nervous system. “It’s similar to acupuncture. We don’t use needles. We just touch. I was really interested to know about energy, so I started to research it and found the brain is sending electricity through the nervous system. That’s exactly what energy and energy healing means.”

Oka-Castro notes, “A lot of Western medicine is very objective, impersonal. You’re a stranger. They’re just listening to your signs and you’re given pills according to what a book says. This is all very much more personal, more intimate, and the practitioner has a connection with the patient. To become an effective healer, you have to focus on your healing first.” She combined all of her studies to create Vision Reiki and Makiko-Style Pilates.

The Makiko Method Posture Balance Approach teaches people to focus on their own posture and attitude instead of others. She says, “Posture is your attitude, actually. In Japan, we never separate attitude and posture, body and mind. Body and mind are always together, equal. So here, I hear more mind/body. I hear people say mind plus body. Nobody says mind equals body. They are the same. I have a lot of people coming to me saying, ‘My mind is happy, but my body has an ache.’ If you have an ache in the body, how can you be happy? That’s crazy. That’s a denial of yourself.”

She elaborates, “That’s a huge mistake of society. The employer wants you to go to work. They don’t care how your body feels. You just have to go there and do your job. What is important for you or others? Most people don’t know themselves. They follow an image that society expects from them. I go to Europe, too, so I see how people behave and why they are sick.”


Natural Healing Artists, Inc., is located at 32 Union Square E., Ste. 912, in New York City. For more information or to make an appointment, call 212-753-7806, email [email protected] or visit and GutForLife.US.

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