Meet Our Miami Alternative Medicine Team
Rafael Padro, DOM, AP
Dr. Rafael Padro combines Traditional Chinese Medicine (Yin-Yang, Five Elements, Acupuncture) with Western Medicine theories in his diagnosis and treatments. He holds a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a Bachelor of Health Science from The Acupuncture and Massage College in Miami, FL, and a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Psychology from Excelsior College in Albany, NY.
Being a third-generation medical professional and learning the gratitude that is received when helping others, he knew what path he was going to follow. Even though his family’s background was more concentrated on a Western aspect of medicine, he knew he wanted to do something different. After researching while finishing his Bachelor Degree in Psychology, he introduced himself to Oriental Medicine. There, he realized that there were other ways you can heal patients, regardless of their conditions, and that combining Eastern methods with Western methods could benefit even more a patient recovery towards any disease.
Mariela Padro, MD
Dr. Mariela Padro is the third generation of behavioral health professionals in her family. She graduated from her psychiatric residency program as a Chief Resident from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, she has a Fellowship of Psychoanalysis from NYU, and she is an Adjunct Member of The Florida Psychoanalytic Center. She worked in an established private practice in Staten Island for three years and then moved to Miami in 2015. Here, she opened her own private practice, Mind & Soul Therapy, PLLC, where she provides psychotherapy with or without medication.
Dr. Padro believes and understands that every patient is unique. Additionally, she understands that, in order for treatment to have a long-term effect, it is necessary to go through a thorough process that will help you understand and address your behavior and feelings. At times, this process might seem challenging, but in the end, we assure you that it will be one full of enlightenment and awareness.
Since the beginning of her career, Dr. Padro has focused on patients as a whole — medically, psychologically, and spiritually — to decide the best course of treatment.
Thayanne Delima-Tokarz, DO
Dr. Thayanne Delima-Tokarz graduated as a chief resident from her psychiatric residency at University of Maryland/Sheppard Pratt in Baltimore, Maryland.
Dr. Delima-Tokarz has worked for the Department of Defense treating active-duty soldiers. She also provides mental health care to rural, under-served population via telepsychiatry.
She is passionate about a comprehensive and holistic approach to patient care. Her focus is on combining mental health, lifestyle, and wellness rather than treating symptoms. She believes in an individualized treatment plan for each patient, which may include evidence-based pharmacotherapy while also integrating other areas of patient’s lives such as interpersonal relationships, lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, and spirituality. Dr. Delima-Tokarz also holds a plant-based nutrition certificate from Cornell University.
Dr. Delima-Tokarz speaks English, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Edward Freeman, Ph.D., ARNP
Dr. Freeman is an advanced registered nurse practitioner with psychiatric training at the post-graduate level, who also completed a doctorate in nursing. For more than 20 years, Dr. Freeman has served as a tenured professor of graduate nursing. He has lived and worked in Europe where he completed a Certificate in Depth Psychology in the Jung Institute new Zurich, Switzerland and in London, U.K.
At present, he devotes his practice to the management of anxiety and depression-spectrum disorders in adults. His clinical modalities include medication management, passage meditation, logo-therapy, as well as psychodynamic and motivational strategies during sessions. Even though he can prescribe medication, Dr. Freeman believes in a holistic approach. He believes that there is a close inter-relation between our psychological, emotional, social, spiritual, and environmental state that play a part in someone’s feelings and behaviors, and that they should be managed together so that a person is treated as a whole.
Francesca Vazquez, PsyD
Francesca Vazquez, PsyD combines her knowledge of nutritional psychology and health psychology to guide her clients in gaining mind-body wellness. If you are experiencing stress, anxiety, low mood, health issues, chronic pain, insomnia, addiction, emotional sequelae after injury or medical diagnoses, she can help. If your goal is to use more than just talk therapy and want to actually heal both your mind and body through nutrition, relaxation training, guidance/support, and lifestyle changes, you’re in the right place!
As a licensed psychologist and a yoga instructor, she has developed a holistic approach to mental health and treatment. Ms. Vazquez seeks to eliminate your symptoms and improve your mental health by treating the root cause and using behavioral medicine, lifestyle changes, mindful practices, and food as medicine.
It can be hard to take that first step to actually change your life and heal patterns for good. It can be tough to seek support while overcoming a medical condition or suffering from chronic pain. Ms. Vazquez’s approach is far from ordinary, and by combining psychotherapy with nutritional guidance, lifestyle changes, and mindful practices, she can assure results fast.
Maria Arana, MS, CAP, ICADC
“Clinical therapy is effective when you combine a series of variables: experience, knowledge, expertise and the tools to navigate life difficult moments. It’s also about empathy, compassion and a genuine concern for the patient and their wellbeing.”
Maria Arana has more than 20 years of counseling experience with a wide range of patients in a variety of treatment settings. These include psychiatric care, residential and day treatment, inpatient, partial hospitalization, and outpatient care. Her strong base in working with adolescents and adults includes specialty areas such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, panic attack disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorders, attention-deficit hyperactive disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Maria also has significant experience working with patients suffering from addiction, trauma, and past abuse history. Her technique, a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with a clear understanding of Holistic modalities makes her progressive approach unique.
Maria strives to bring a blend of clarity and action to the counseling process in order to maximize outcomes and provide genuine healing and wholeness to individuals and their families. Maria earned a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling, and a Post-Master of Science in Clinical Psychology after completing her Doctoral level course work at Carlos Albizu University. She is a Certified Addiction Professional and Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. Maria holds the National Counselor Examination credential and is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern in the State of Florida.
Paola was born and raised in Puerto Rico and is fully bilingual in English and Spanish. She received her undergraduate degree from University of Sacred Heart in Puerto Rico and her Master’s Degree from Carlos Albizu University in Miami. She completed her practicum hours for her Master’s at Fort Lauderdale Hospital in Fort Lauderdale; where she treated patients from multicultural backgrounds suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues.
Paola is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern in the state of Florida with a clear and active license. In Miami, she worked for Serenity Community Mental Health Center as a registered intern providing outpatient house visits to patients suffering from anxiety and depression, among other mental health issues. She considers every patient as a new and original human being in front of her, who needs a particular and unique care and service. Her objective is to provide the best quality treatment for her patients by helping them identify their own goals and definition of their top quality of life.
Lia Moses, LMHC
Lia Moses is a Licensed Psychotherapist with more than 20 years of clinical experience. She holds a degree in Psychology and Psychoanalysis in her native country, Argentina, as well as a Master Degree in Psychology in the USA. Since she was trained in Psychoanalysis, she has an eclectic approach, combining psychoanalysis with a goal-oriented approach. She works mainly with an adult population diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorders. Her practice is a goal-oriented cognitive therapy, and she helps patients manage their life in a positive way by appealing to their own internal resources. Through it, they learn how to find effective solutions while facing their circumstances. For the past 15 years, she has been working as a Clinical Supervisor.
Lia specializes in couple’s therapy, coaching them to reach open communication and mutual respect in the relationship. As patients, you will find a friendly and relaxing environment that will facilitate the expression of your main concerns. You will receive professional feedback and a possible action plan will be discussed.
Lia is able to conduct psychotherapy in Spanish.
Dr. Maridelie Diaz Villanueva, Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Maridelie Díaz Villanueva is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist specializing in assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders, stress, trauma, depression, bipolar moods, attachment issues, social-and-relationship conflicts, identity struggles, and adjustment to life changes, among other mental health and human conditions. She is bilingual in both English and Spanish, and she serves a diverse population from multicultural backgrounds, beliefs, and orientations.
She completed her degree as a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology at Carlos Albizu University, where she also coursed a concentration in Child Psychology. She interned at the Miami-Dade Psychological Services Department, making rotations at the Coordinated Victims Assistance Center and Head Start Programs. Throughout her post-doctoral training, Dr. Díaz worked closely with The Children’s Home Society and Family Court Services. She has had the experience of practicing in both the public and the private sector. Dr. Díaz is dedicated to the continued study of emerging fields in psychology and human development, and she integrates this knowledge with her continued training in mindfulness-based practices, expressive arts, ecstatic dance modalities, and as a Meditation Teacher.
Dr. Díaz believes that the most important aspect of therapy is the presence of a kind and compassionate environment that leads to trust in the therapeutic relationship. Besides traditional and evidence-based forms of psychotherapy, gestalt-humanistic, cognitive-behavioral therapy, rational-emotive therapy, and psychodynamics, she also integrates alternative methods of healing. Her approach is eclectic, collaborative, and accounts for the presenting needs of each individual. Dr. Díaz is passionate about guiding others towards healing and growing authentically.
Dr. Kun Cheng, AP, DOM
Dr. Kun Cheng, AP, DOM, is licensed by the Florida Health Department – Board of Acupuncture and certified by National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). He received his education in the United States, and he finished with a Masters degree in Oriental Medicine and a Bachelor degree in Health Science. He is also a member of the American Acupuncture Council.
Kun was born and raised in China. Growing up in a family atmosphere with Chinese medicine, his family operated a clinic treating with both Chinese and Western medicine. His grandfather, both an MD and Chinese medicine doctor, practiced for 55 years. Kun was growing up and learning with his grandparents in the clinic, and by the age of nine, he was able to use some basic techniques of Chinese medicine to help to treat patients under his grandfather’s supervise.
Kun is thankful and respectful for his career and each patient who trusted him as his or her health provider. Kun believes he should experience his own needle technique before he treats someone else, and it is a better way to learn how the needle really works on one’s body. He has almost needled all of the acupuncture points he could reach in order to perfect his needling technique and know what sensation it should be when it is working properly. The relief of the patient’s symptom(s) is what he considers successful, and the opportunities to make people healthier is what he is truly grateful for.
Oxana Naidina-O’Brien, RYT-500
Oxana’s yoga journey began while growing up in Russia where her parents, both hatha yoga practitioners, insisted that she practice asana as part of her daily exercise routine and encouraged her to read books on yogic philosophy. After moving to New York City in the early ‘90s with her husband, she managed an Ayurvedic Panchakarma Treatment Center where, through observing both patients and practitioners, she realized that all ancient esoteric healing practices are closely linked to how our body systems function. From there, she began her formal studies in mind/body modalities by becoming a Reiki Master.
Following a tragic accident in 1993 that took the lives of both her husband and several friends, she spent time in a monastic retreat in upstate New York practicing mindfulness meditation while she processed this major life change. In the late 90s, she relocated to Miami and rediscovered yoga as a way to help balance the demands of a new marriage and raising children while working in her second husband’s design business. With regular practice, she became conscious of yoga’s ability not only to achieve a healthy, strong body and calm mind, but also how these ancient practices can lead to self-realization and the fulfillment of our highest potential.
Oxana completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training certification program in 2015 under the guidance of Karina Ayn Mirsky so that she could pass these valuable practices on to others. Following this training in tantric hatha yoga, meditation, and pranayama, she went on to complete my 500-hour teacher training with Cyndi Lee and studied Restorative Yoga and yoga anatomy with Judith Lassater. Her teaching is strongly influenced by her love of ice skating and dance and studies of Sri Aurobindo, the Indian yogi philosopher and founder of Integral Yoga, and Swami Vivekananda, a Hindu monk who played a key role in introducing ancient Indian philosophies and yoga to the Western world. Her deep thirst for understanding how to reduce human suffering and help each of us to be present in each moment led her to current mindfulness practices based upon Tibetan Buddhist teachings.
She teaches classic hatha-vinyasa and restorative group classes at a local Coral Gables studio and works privately with students through Xanadu Yoga. When she practices with students, she intuitively interweaves postures and breathwork into a vinyasa-style flow designed to build strength and develop a balance between effort and ease in both the body and mind. By freeing the body and mind from familiar routines, we learn to fully embrace and experience each moment both on and off the mat and gradually awaken to our fullest potential.
Sophia Villalba is a Miami native who completed her studies in massage therapy at Acupuncture and Massage College in 2017. She is currently a student of Oriental Medicine focusing on modalities such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, and cupping. Sophia specializes in the Shiatsu and Swedish styles of massage along with relaxation, therapeutic and manual manipulation therapy for pain management.
A veteran of the Florida Army National Guard, Sophia has always had a philanthropic and disciplined approach to life. Combined with a passion for holistic healing and philosophies she has made it her goal to help as many people as possible. She understands the power of sharing valuable knowledge and educating clients and patients on the benefits of personal care such as massage, stretching, mindfulness meditation, and energy building exercises such as Qigong and Tai Qi.
Sophia’s goal as a massage therapist is to understand patients’ goals and needs by building a strong genuine rapport. Then by working together using the healing powers of massage therapy opening the doorways necessary to live our best and most peaceful lives.