Curanderismo Class Complete for 2016

July 29, 2016 - Dorene DiNaro

Curandero class photoFor the sixteenth 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, hosted the “Traditional Medicine without Borders: Curanderismo in the Southwest and Mexico,” two week course at The University of New Mexico from July 11-22.  

 This popular summer class is an opportunity for Mexican traditional healers to share their knowledge about “Curanderismo” the art and science of Mexican traditional healing through a unique event.  Those interested in taking the summer class were eligible to take it either for UNM credit (as a UNM registered student) or as a non-credit course through UNM Continuing Education.

 Torres takes an integrative approach to medicine and his class features 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. 

 “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 are involved, while both Mexican curanderos and local curanderos take part in week two.”

 “Rita Naverrete Perez, a curandera from Mexico City, does a very popular demonstration on laugh therapy and how it can be used to heal,” Torres says.  Some of the other demonstrations include: healing of emotions with song and sound, energetic cleansings, the medicine of the drum, Mayan traditional healings, and several more.

 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, which is open to students and the community. This year’s fair was held on in the area north of Zimmerman Library near the duck pond. 

 “The healers provided traditional healing treatments including herbal medications, spiritual energy cleansings and other healing techniques, which have remained a part of the Mexican culture for centuries,” said Torres.  Over the past several years the class has expanded to both an UNM online class for credit offered in the spring and fall, and as a Massive Open Online Class (MOOC) non-credit option offered through Coursera.  The next UNM online course begins in the fall of 2016.