Curanderismo in the Southwest
Curandera Rita Navarrete from Mexico City performs a traditional healing during the 2015 Health Fair held on the UNM campus as part of the summer "Traditional Medicine without Borders: Curanderismo in the Southwest and Mexico" class.

For the 16th consecutive summer at The University of New Mexico, 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 two-week course “Traditional Medicine without Borders: Curanderismo in the Southwest and Mexico."

The popular summer class runs from July 11-22. It is an opportunity for Mexican traditional healers to share their knowledge about Curanderismo—the art and science of Mexican traditional healing. The class has expanded to both an online class for credit, offered in the spring and fall and as a Massive Open Online Class (MOOC) non-credit option offered through Coursera.

Individuals interested in taking the summer class can take it either for UNM credit, as a registered student, or as a non-credit course through UNM Continuing Education. Registration through Continuing Education and UNM is now open.


Curandera Tonita Gonzales
Curandera Tonita Gonzales from Albuquerque performs a traditional smudging during the opening ceremony as part of the summer "Traditional Medicine without Borders: Curanderismo in the Southwest and Mexico," class held on the UNM campus each year.  


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

“What’s unique about this class is that local curanderos, practitioners and healers all come together to share and learn about traditional healing methods,” Torres says. “The first week local curanderos will be involved, while both Mexican curanderos and local curanderos will take part in week two.”

Torres adds, “Rita Naverrete Perez, a curandera from Mexico City, does a very popular demonstration on laugh therapy and how it can be used to heal.”

Some of the other demonstrations include: healing of emotions with song and sound, energetic cleansings, the medicine of the drum and Mayan traditional healings.

Each summer in conjunction with the class, the UNM Women’s Resource Center sponsors a Mexican traditional health fair—feria de salud—on the UNM campus. Open to students and the community, this year’s fair will be held on Wednesday, July 20 from noon to 5 p.m. in the northwest grass area of Zimmerman Library near the Duck Pond. 

At the fair healers will provide traditional treatments including herbal medications and spiritual energy cleansings.

For more information on the class including registration, class syllabus or health fair and workshops, visit the Curanderismo class website or class Facebook page.