Healthy Alternatives

Healer Uses Song and Spirit With Clients

Associate Editor

Miriam Maron Emhoff speaks with a soothing voice in her, work as a healer and sings with a beautiful, haunting voice on her new CD, "Wings of Light," a collection of healing melodies. The Palisades resident has a background in Western medicine--she is registered nurse with a master's in exercise physiology--and for the last decade has also incorporated spirituality into her work as a healer, which involves helping people get in touch with their own spiritual guidance in the healing process. She has a private practice in West L.A., and also treats clients in their homes, at hospitals and over the phone.

Music is a big part of her spirituality and her healing practice. "Spiritual experiences are beyond words, music is beyond words," she says. "It's part of the spiritual energy within us a around us."

A native of New Jersey, Emhoff has experienced difficulties and illnesses in her own life that give her great compassion for others who are suffering. As a daughter of Holocaust survivors, she learned about sadness, loss and emotional pain. In her teens, she was stricken with a connective tissue condition a fibromyalgia, conditions she still lives with. She was bedridden for a year after graduating from college. "Pain was my teacher," she says. "There were times I couldn't walk or feed myself. I couldn't read because of the medication I was on. It was a kind of meditation on who I was. Why am I here? It was an experience of exploring on every level what life meant."

She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BS in nursing. After observing a patient smoking through his tracheotomy opening after throat cancer surgery, she realized she wanted to try to reach people earlier and became interested in preventive medicine. She completed her graduate work at USC, and then led workshops for corporations and for the Arthritis Foundation.

As a student of Rabbi Jonathan Omer- man at Metivta, a center for Jewish spirituality in West L.A., she volunteered to visit the sick. One very ill woman she visited had been completely unresponsive and lying in the fetal position, but responded to Emhoff's singing. The two connected and Emhoff continued visiting her until her death.

Emhoff, 40, works with clients going through a variety of transitions, including the transition to death. "I feel very compelled to work with those who are dying," she says. "I don't have a fear of death. It's not scary to me." She feels her centered, calm spirit can help the clients who are making that passage. She sees herself as a conduit and a vessel. "I really love, care and have compassion."

She has also worked with a pregnant client who was on bed rest, in danger of giving birth to her twins too soon. "This was a transition into life. I feel I am midwifing in both events."

Emhoff is also ordained to perform weddings, funerals and other life-cycle events. She often becomes close to the patient's family; if the patient dies, the family may ask her to officiate at the funeral.

Emhoff has lived in the Highlands for 10 years with her husband Bill, a commercial real estate executive, and their two children. Ryan, 7, is a second grader at Marquez Charter Elementary and Sarina, 4, is a preschooler at Kehillat Israel. "I deal with a lot of heavy issues," she says. "It's nice to come home to a place of green land and mountains."

She teaches at Metivta and Agape spiritual centers, runs workshops and also leads retreats and services nation- wide. "I was born into Judaism and I also choose it. I know Judaism deeply but still learn from all religions." Her workshops include movement and music and work with concepts such as connecting with divine energy, gratitude and being present. "I believe in working a, with what we have in the here and now," she says. "To be in gratitude for what we do have and to bless it is to bless how intricate our body is. We can bless the body and ask, 'What can I learn from this experience?'"

A warm and radiant woman, Miriam seems unusually grounded. She sings in English, Yiddish and Hebrew on her first CD, which has a quality similar to Enya's music. "It's a collection of melodies that have touched me, that resonated for me and that helped in my healing."

Her individual sessions last for an hour or two and vary depending on the person. They may include hands-on healing work for those who are comfortable with it, as well as guided imagery and breathing techniques. She also might include movement and singing as part of the healing process.

"I use my voice and other instruments-certain tones can be healing. Sometimes I have a person vocalize a certain tone or vowel." Miriam has an open-minded, non-judgmental approach to working with clients. "I have an ability to see beyond the shell, to look in their eyes into the soul."

Doing work she is passionate about has helped her with her own healing. "The more one heals and releases, the more one's gifts are revealed. I find it's a very good motivator and it's very true. Once you find your purpose, it gives you strength, hope and room to be. It's easier to move beyond the pain you have on any level when you are in touch with something bigger than yourself."

Her CD is available at Village Books and at her Web site, www. "People find the CD soothing. My daughter goes to sleep with it. People listen to it in traffic, in surgery and in the dentist's chair."

Miriam will sing selections from the CD at a celebration on Sunday, April, 7, at Village Lutheran Church, 343 Church Lane, from 5 to 9 p.m. There is no admission charge and CDs will be available for purchase.

Miriam Maron Emhoff's office is located at Oasis Healing Center, 12114 Venice Blvd. Contact: 281-3016.