THE LAST TIME Lara Shah was in Hong Kong - in 2003 - she was offering a form of healing called transmutation therapy, which is said to have its roots in ancient Peru.
Those who practise the therapy are few and far between, and those who do are mainly based in Peru. Shah says she's one of the first to bring the treatment to the world's modern cities.
Using a light touch around the head and body, this ancient healing technique is said to raise the body's frequency to a level at which it can expel sickness.
Her approach proved to be a hit on her last visit, with fully booked sessions throughout her stay.
This month she returns with a different agenda. She no longer practises only transmutation therapy, but has turned it into a healing method of her own that she calls the Key. Shah will lead workshops for adults and children and launch her novel, which is based on her technique.
During the past two years, Shah says she's discovered some incredible things: a set of universal laws, for example, that have come to her via channeling and through her work with energy. 'My work has changed completely - even the way I've been doing it,' she says. Shah, who's of Indian and Turkish descent, is fresh-eyed and energetic, despite having just stepped off a flight from Florida.
The Key, she says, isn't just one powerful healing technique, but many combined. It's also a set of teachings.
'I'm still doing individual sessions, but my focus is now more on speaking and teaching,' she says.
Shah first came across transmutation therapy when she was trekking in the Andes. She says she contracted a potentially fatal virus, but was rescued by a shaman who materialised from the mountains and performed transmutation therapy on her. She recovered without any intervention from western medicine - and was thus initiated into the tradition.
How does it work? Shah says that raising the frequency of the body can bring back a state of equilibrium that makes it hostile for viruses or other sicknesses. 'People come to me with every problem in the book - including those who don't even know if they have a problem, let alone what it might be. I help people connect more with themselves. I help them to clear old energy, emotions and thoughts that no longer serve them.'
But after travelling the world during the past two years with her healing art, Shah says she's now discovered a set of 24 laws that govern the universe. 'I really observed how the healing process was occurring for different people in different ways,' she says.
'I got more and more understanding about how this was working. The past few years have been about finding bits of the puzzle and fitting them into place.'
'Early last year, I suddenly saw the whole thing - the whole puzzle - and I thought, 'This is amazing. I need to do something about this.' So I started writing.'
The result is her novel, The Freedom of Innocence: A Journey into the Heart of All that is (Aquarian Age Publishing).
It's a parable of a young writer who travels the world and - through the help of a set of angelic beings - comes across 12 universal laws and a corresponding set of 12 laws of healing.
Shah, who's based in Florida and runs her own publishing company, says she 'remembered' the laws that make up the Key. 'They've always been in existence. They're about the way the universe operates. But they've been forgotten.'
The laws are mainly about breaking personal limitations and evolving to higher - and happier - levels. 'Our nature is constantly recreating itself,' she says. 'Trees lose leaves and grow new ones. The same applies to us. Every day we have the opportunity to recreate ourselves. Life is about being, not doing. You can basically be whatever you want to be.'
Shah says they're not rules that have to be obeyed. 'These laws are energies and they're meant to be explored. It's about breaking through personal limitations and being free. But it's inner freedom. Even the most religious person can appreciate this. That's why it's universal. The laws know no religion, gender or race. It's about the journey of the human soul.'
In her workshops, Shah will teach from her book and offer sessions that combine 'lots of moving the body, dance, yoga, meditation and hands-on healing'.
She says the mental aspect is crucial to any healing. 'Anything physical has an emotional component,' she says. 'I have people come to me and I ask what's on their mind and they tell me about the physical thing. But as we work on it, we'll find what the mental-emotional aspect is to their physical problem. What I've found is that the physical will automatically heal itself if the emotional side is addressed.'
Whenever someone is ill, their body is trying to tell them something, so each case is entirely individual. She says people are responsible for their own lives and, therefore, their own healing.
'This needs to be said because some people come expecting me to perform a miracle on them,' Shah says. 'A healer, any healer, is only a facilitator. The fact of the matter is, if a miracle is going to occur, it's a creation of the patient.'
Private one-hour sessions, $950; Key full-day workshops, Oct 22, Oct 29, $1,100 (discount if both are prepaid); children's workshops, Oct 15, Nov 5, $700 (discount if both are prepaid). Inquiries: Zama International 2850 6400, or e-mail lara @lawsofhealing.com