Finding Center

‘De-stress’ expert takes meditation from her forest hideaway to CD

By Eric Eyre
Staff writer

published in The Charleston Gazette, HealthWatch
June 4, 2007

Aila Accad leads a meditation
session in her home near
Kanawha State Forest

Aila Accad was guiding a small group through a meditation inside her A-frame home tucked in the woods not far from Kanawha StateForest.

A candle burned in the center of the room. Water gurgled from a fountain. Relaxation music played on the stereo.

Eyes were closed. Bare feet were crossed under legs.

“Just take a deep breath, deep into your belly,let it out,” Accad instructed, her voice as soothing as a massage. “As you breathe in, feel your body expand. As you breathe out, feel the tension leave every cell of your body.” Accad told the man and two women in her home to feel the energy in the room, to “let go of fear, to feel love.”

After several minutes, eyes opened and smiles broke across faces.

Craig Wilger of South
Charleston says he has
been coming to Accad for
about eight months.

“Right now, I feel so good, so calm, so quiet,” said Patricia Scott, a Rand saleswoman who took part in the meditation one day last week. “Aila brings out the best in you.”

Accad has been helping people across the state reduce stress, take charge of their lives and feel better since 1984, when she moved to the Charleston area from Delaware.

She’s a speaker, registered nurse, counselor, teacher, “life coach,” healer and de-stress expert.

“The bottom line with stress is: You don’t have control,” Accad said. “I try to help people feel good about themselves.”

Patricia Scott of Rand
and Lisa Joseph of Charleston
take part in a meditation
that Aila Accad designed
to decrease stress and
increase energy.
(Page 2 of 3)
Accad travels the state, providing stress-reduction workshops. About once a month, she also offers retreats at her home in the forest, just a seven-minute drive from downtown Charleston. A woman who attended one of those retreats suggested that Accad produce a CD recording of her guided meditations set to music, and Accad has done just that.

At noon on June 8 at Taylor Books in Charleston, Accad plans to discuss her meditations and CDs. The six-CD set, titled “Guided Meditations,” helps people relax, reduces stress and increases “creative energy,” Accad said. Local musician Bob Webb produced the CDs, and composer Jack Kennedy provided the “transcendent” background music on the recordings.

“You don’t have to have meditation experiences to get into it,” said Lisa Joseph, a Charleston accountant who listens to the CDs and took part in the guided meditation at Accad’s home last week.

On June 9 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Accad will lead a workshop on “Emotional Freedom Technique” at the Holiday Inn Express Civic Center. The healing method, which involves tapping the face and other parts of the body, helps people with unresolved emotional issues, Accad said.

“It’s a technique to empower people,” said Craig Wilger, a former Union Carbide engineer who now works as a “building biologist,” helping people make homes and businesses healthier places to live and work.

“Aila gives people the tools to find their own center. When you find your center, that’s where all the power comes.”

In recent months, Accad has spoken at conferences for social workers, accountants, nurses and insurance executives. The titles of her talks include, “Breaking through the Perfection Myth,” “De-stressing” and “Women Power.”

The monthly retreats are growing in popularity.

A group of eight to a dozen women come to her home. Accad leads a guided meditation in the morning.

She never uses a script.

There might be a short discussion. Some women will go for a walk, others to the library downstairs. They’ll write down their thoughts in journals.

(Page 3 of 3)
After a buffet lunch, there’s more time to chat and reflect. “We gather and see where we are,” Accad said. “There are no rules. It’s a place people come to feel comfortable, to be themselves, to share with one another, to find out most of us have similar experiences.”

By mid-afternoon, Accad passes out chocolate. “Then we summarize what you are taking back with you. And how will you integrate this into your life.”

cad recently started offering de-stress coaching over the telephone. She has people calling her from Florida to Baltimore.

“You reduce stress when you change within yourself,” Accad said. “The more you resist sometime, the more it’s going to fight back. But you can make peace with it.”

For more information on Accad and her company, LifeQuest International, call 344-9131, or go to Accad’s web site at Sound clips of the guided meditations are available on the site.

To contact staff writer Eric Eyre, use e-mail or call 348-4869.

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