Curanderismo
Curanderos at work using traditional medicine.
Credit: Steve Carr

For the 15th consecutive summer, Dr. Eliseo “Cheo” Torres, UNM vice president for Student Affairs and professor of Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies, in conjunction with the UNM Women’s Resource Center, hosts the “Traditional Medicine without Borders: Curanderismo in the Southwest and Mexico,” two-week course at the University of New Mexico from July 13-24.  

During the last decade-and-a-half, Torres says there has been a shift in the types of students who enroll in the class.

“Over the years in addition to the local students who take the class, we have attracted many out of state and out of country students, as well as several physicians and medical students,” he said. “Each year the class has grown in popularity. What started as a class of approximately 30 in 2000 has grown to over 200 each year.

"And again, I'm expecting local, national and international students. This year, we will compare traditional remedies from invited healers from Cuba, Puerto Rico and Peru.”

This popular summer class is an opportunity for Mexican traditional healers to share knowledge about “Curanderismo,” the art and science of Mexican traditional healing with students and members of the public. 

“What’s unique about this class is that local curanderos, practitioners and healers all come together with well-known healers from various regions of Mexico to share and learn about traditional healing methods,” Torres said. Albuquerque community as instructors and takes an integrative approach to medicine through demonstrations incorporating Curanderismo with various traditional and holistic health techniques.

The course uses healers and health practitioners from Mexico and the Albuquerque community as instructors and takes an integrative approach to medicine through demonstrations incorporating Curanderismo with various traditional and holistic health techniques.

“The healers will discuss traditional healing therapies including herbal medications, spiritual energy cleansings and other healing techniques, which have remained a part of the Mexican culture for centuries,” said Torres.

Also, in conjunction with the two-week class, four community traditional health fairs are scheduled:  Saturday and Sunday, July 18-19 at Rancho de los Golondrinas in Santa Fe; Tuesday, July 21 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th St., SW in Albuquerque; and Wednesday, July 22 at the UNM Main Campus in Albuquerque between Zimmerman Library and the Duck Pond.

The fairs feature over 30, well-known Mexican traditional healers/curanderos(as) from the México City area, including the communities of Cuernavaca, Tepoztlán, Amatlán and Oaxaca. 

For more information on the class including registration, class syllabus or health fairs visit: Curanderismo or Curanderismo on Facebook.