on January 23, 1997
KINGSTON — In the age of advanced medicine, some local residents have turned to an age-old tradition of healing with hands.
They tell of the miraculous healing powers of one woman, recently arrived from the Republic of Georgia, part of the former Soviet Union.
They say that 35-year-old Laura Chkhetiani somehow removes bad energy and replaces it with good. They can't explain how or why. But they say it works. Susan Quasha, a Barrytown resident, had Chkhetiani live with her and "work" on her family and friends.
'I had some minor ailments, ...and everything Laura said was word-for-word what the doctor had said'
— Susan Quasha
Healer's hands work on energy; locals attest to age-old effectiveness
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Chkhetiani, in person, commands a quiet, but powerful presence. As she tells her story, she evades giving away the secret source of her healing. She says she didn't plan to become a healer, but that when she was 19 years old, she became very ill. It was in Moscow, Chkhetiani says, that she found a famous healer, a woman who claimed to have healed the former Soviet Prime Minister, Leonid Breshnev.
"Maybe you will have energy to help people," Chkhetiani says she was told by the healer. And with only two weeks training, the healer began to give her clients.
"They just tell me, 'Put your hand there and take the bad energy out...' they explained it was like circulation, good energy going in, bad energy going out," she recalled. Chkhetiani went on for further training, spending the next three years with healers and doctors in Moscow before she joined an institute in Moscow and began work there and in Georgia.
Several years ago, when American jounalist Mary Houston came to Russia to make a documentary about healers, she discovered Chkhetiani.
Houston says the "average easterner is much more intuitive" than a westerner. She attributes it, in part, to the eastern people's unbroken connection with folk traditions as well as to the suspicious nature they had to develop under Communist rule.
"You leam to size people up, access your right brain," said Houston, who helped bring Chkhetiani to New York.
Since she has been in the U.S., Chkhetiani has worked on people while staying at houses, sometimes for several months. Through word of mouth, people come to her for healing, most of which is performed in ten, five-minute sessions.
Ruth Chrzan Cook, a sculptor, has had Chkhetiani perform healings in her house in Woodstock. Cook explained that her architect husband, Cary, had spurs on his hip and was in acute pain. After the tenth treatment, Cook said her husband felt no more pain.
"All my friends wanted to see her, they couldn't believe Cary was walking around," Cook said. John Isaacs, a Germantown resident and publisher of "Lapis," a current affairs magazine, has also opened his house up to Chkhetiani.
"I couldn't convince a cynic, other than to say, try her and listen to the testimony of others. A lot of serious and sensible people have seen her and felt profound effects, " Isaacs said.
Chkhetiani can be reached at her Barrytown
home at (845) 758-4342.*
* Webmaster note - Area code has been changed to reflect current 845 area code.
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