One Arabian Night
Our intrepid reporter tries belly dancing

Once Upon a Time in the West
Six Guns and Shady Ladies brings back the Wild West

Brick-and-Mortar Memories
Growing up in Silver City, you remembered certain buildings

Plucking at Heartstrings
Mogollon Mountain Dulcimer players

Paths to War
Walking the trails near Fort Bowie

Tube of Plenty
CATS community television

Scat Happens
Get the straight poop on visiting critters

Columns and Departments
Editor's Note
Desert Diary

High Stakes in Akela
Garrison Keilor and Me
Top 10

Business Exposure
Celestial Cycles
Into the Future
The Starry Dome
Southwest Gardener
Ramblin' Outdoors
40 Days & 40 Nights
Blues Fest
Guides to Go
Henry Lightcap's Journal
Continental Divide

Special Section
Arts Exposure

M. Fred Barraza
Arts News
Gallery Guide

Body, Mind & Spirit
Erica Williams
Overcoming "Us vs. Them"

Red or Green
Dining Guide
Meson de Mesilla
Table Talk

About the cover


D e s e r t   E x p o s u r e    May 2008

The Quintessence of Wellness

Erica Williams uses techniques such as iridology and energy kinesiology to help people who often have tried everything else to get well.

By Jeff Berg

The menu of services offered by Erica Williams at her new business, Quintessence, reads like a smorgasbord of alternative healing and helping remedies — feng shui, iridology, aromatherapy, kinesiology, "green" lifestyle coaching. The list is quite varied, and nearly endless.

Erica Williams works with a client.

Williams is a recent transplant to Las Cruces from Logan, Utah, which is located north of Salt Lake City and is home to Utah State University, from which she graduated. She has also lived briefly in some (much) higher-rent areas, such as Jackson, Wyo., and Durango Colo.

Attending New Mexico State University is the reason the Williams family came to Las Cruces in the first place. She is enrolled in graduate studies, working in sociology, while blending in her interest in psychology. Her husband John is working toward his second bachelor's degree in Spanish, with future plans for an MPA. Tagging along for the ride were their four kids, ages one to seven.

"I had no intention of doing this here," Erica Williams says when describing her skills and services. "But I was nudged to hook up with the Mountain View Market."

The market is Las Cruces' only food coop and health-food store, and offers space to those who want to lead workshops on alternative health issues and the like. Most of Williams' classes take place there.

"I started doing a series of classes and more and more people started to show up," Williams says, "so I began making individual appointments with people to talk about nutrition, herbs or kinesiology."

She enjoys her work so much that she suggests that it is also her main hobby, although she does find time for yoga, gardening and playing with the family dog, an Alaskan malamute.

Her track in college was to work with abused kids. While still in Utah, she worked with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for about five years doing profiling work, something she is still interested in. This part of her earlier career arose in part from her intuitive skills, which she still relies on quite often.

She believes that all of us are born with intuition. Williams feels that she can read anything about anybody.

At DCFS in Utah, Williams started to burn out from the way the bureaucracy worked (or didn't work), and also because she was seeing the same people come through the system, time after time. "I could see that I wasn't getting to the core of the problem," she recalls. "Instead I was bandaging over the problems."

Another thing that led Williams to alternative healing was that it worked for her. She shares that she was sickly as a child, and that she spent a lot of time in the emergency room.

"I was once pronounced clinically dead, and in my teenage years, I had anorexia," Williams says. "I weighed 93 pounds at five-foot-eight. I had poor health, and the doctors said that my organs were shutting down, but no one knew why.

"They told me, 'When an organ fails, come see us.'"

With that incentive, Williams says it was about this time that she "relied on a fiery warrior-type spirit to go home and figure something else out."

Williams met a woman who practiced and taught traditional types of healing. Along with Williams' own curiosity about Native American cultures and herbs, this put her life on a whole new path. It didn't take long for these methods to take hold and get her on a path to wellness. The emotional issues that were left over from her bout with anorexia also started to heal, albeit slowly.

"I started getting better and healthy," she says with a strong smile.

Williams certainly appears to be enjoying good health, and her spirits and energy level are very high and open. Her eyes are bright and sturdy, and physically, she is fit and energetic.

Several years later, after numerous trips to Salt Lake City for medical treatment for their first son, the Williams took him to the same healer. The woman quickly diagnosed his ailment, and prescribed the proper healing and nutritional remedies to mend him.

"Most kids get several colds a year," Williams offers as proof of her children's good health, "but I can't remember the last time any of them were sick. I haven't been sick, not even with a cold, for over five years."

While undergoing her own healing process, Williams studied with her newfound mentor, learning about iridology among other things. She explains, "Iridology is a scientific analysis of the iris used to understand the genetic predispositions, weaknesses and strengths of a person's constitution. Iridology reveals current health trends and transitions as well as gives a big picture as to what is occurring within an individual. It can also assess emotional patterns, personality characteristics and behavior of an individual. Once the assessment is made, therapies can be implemented and education given to help an individual overcome emotional or physical health issues."

Many nerve endings are present in an individual's eye, perhaps as many as 28,000, most of which are linked to the body's other organs, Williams says. Through examination of the iris and the use of corresponding charts, iridology is said to be able to offer a client information on possible ailments, weaknesses and strengths within. It is not a form of healing; rather it is, like the eye itself, a slightly different method of "seeing."

Williams has attended Bernard Jensen International, a school that teaches iridology and other alternative healing practices. "Iridology has 125 years of research from around the world to support it," she notes.

More recently, however, Williams has leaned more toward the study and practice of energy kinesiology. As defined on the Web site of the Energy Kinesiology Association (www.energyk.org), energy kinesiology is "the umbrella term used to refer to practitioners that use muscle testing or muscle monitoring to assess energy imbalance in the body. The term muscle monitoring is often used since it more accurately describes the practitioner's ability to monitor the muscle response (biofeedback) to indicate stress in the mind/body and/or the body's preferred correction."

Williams adds, "It picks up specific and detailed information about the events or circumstances involved in a 'stress.' By releasing and correcting the stress from the body, natural pathways of healing take place within the body. It can be effective in detoxing the body of heavy metals including mercury, vaccinations, disease, chemical toxicity, etc. Really it can be used to heal anything. This work is especially great for kids and teens, because when you correct at a young age they don't develop behavioral patterns that carry over into adulthood. Plus they are just way more receptive to the work."

She goes on to list some of the numerous possibilities that a trained practitioner can help with, including any medical condition or disease, trauma, childhood trauma or abuse, and — something that affects many people in this area — allergies.

A recent patient, a young woman of 17, began receiving treatment — "her last straw," Williams notes — for health issues that had her taking several different prescription drugs on a daily basis.

"After four weeks, she began to see results, and is no longer taking the three or four medications she was on," Williams says, adding, "and she tried everything else."

Williams freely admits that many of her clients come to her after all else has failed through modern Western medicine, in their attempts to relieve symptoms of a particular problem, whether emotional or physical, or sometimes both.

Her analytical and spiritual skills and beliefs may also help deflect naysayers of alternative treatments, which will also be challenged in her NMSU thesis, which is about the westernization of medicine. She is at once fascinated and saddened by the neverending line of cars at local pharmacy drive-up windows.

So, how do alternative remedies work?

A good question, Williams says, as she replies, "Where does it all come from? A more meaningful level from within, a place with deeper spiritual meaning."

Erica Williams will be sponsoring a screening of the film You Can Heal Your Health on May 3 at 10 a.m. at the Fountain Theatre in Mesilla. On May 4, Williams will have an open house from 2-5 p.m. at her office, which is located at 275 N. Downtown Mall in Las Cruces (in the same building as the Southwest Environmental Center).


A full list of services available from Quintessence can be found at www.fivelevelsofhealth.com, or call 526-1591.



Senior Writer Jeff Berg lives in Las Cruces.

Return to Top of Page