Curanderismo: The Revival of Traditional Medicine Using Herbs and Rituals
Cheo Torres, UNM
June 10, 2018
“Curanderismo” is an ancient healing tradition that dates back to the arrival of the Spaniards to the New World in 1519. Curanderos, or faith healers, blended Old World and Native American medicinal plants and belief systems to secure their place in the new world including what is now Texas and the Southwest. Since he was a boy growing up on the border of Texas and Mexico, Dr. Eliseo Torres has been fascinated by the folk traditions and folkways of Mexico and of his Mexican American roots. In this talk, he will trace the history of curanderismo, from Mayan to Aztec to modern-day healers and discuss the revival of traditional medicine in the Southwest and Mexico. He will also introduce some of the common healing rituals such as energetic cleansings (limpias), magical fright (susto), intestinal blockage (empacho) and give a brief demonstration on laugh therapy (risa terapia).
Dr. Eliseo Torres, known as Cheo, is an administrator at the University of New Mexico, where he is Vice President for Student Affairs and a member of the faculty of the College of Education, Cheo regularly lectures and gives presentations on the history and lore of curanderismo to audiences ranging from scholars and students of Latin American culture to people hoping to become knowledgeable about alternative and traditional medicine, including lay people and medical professionals alike. His current books published by Kendall Hunt are Curanderismo: The Art of Traditional Medicine Without Borders and Curandero: Traditional Medicine of Mexico and the Southwest. Two additional books on his life and research on this subject area are: Curandero: A Life in Mexican Folk Healing, and Healing with Herbs and Rituals: A Mexican Tradition, both available from the University of New Mexico Press.
Supported by Urban Enhancement Trust Fund, Haverland Carter Lifestyle Group
and Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union