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New Mexico State University

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Hispanic folk healing conference will be held at NMSU Sept. 18

It is common knowledge that aloe vera plants offer relief to sunburned skin and that chamomile tea can soothe jittery nerves. What is not common knowledge is that these remedies have origins in "curanderismo," or Hispanic folk healing.


With this in mind, New Mexico State University's Southern Area Health Education Center is holding a conference, "Traditional Hispanic Folk Healing: The Quintessential Model for Healing," Saturday, Sept. 18, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at NMSU's Corbett Center Middle Ballroom. The Border Health Education Training Center, NMSU Chicano Programs and the Department of Nursing also are sponsoring the conference.

The conference will address the specialized services curanderas and curanderos - medicine women and men - provide to the Hispanic community, and how health care providers can incorporate curanderismo into their practice. Organizers also hope to dispel myths about curanderismo.

"Curanderismo is a system of healing that takes into account the patient's health as well as culture, theology, psychosocial beliefs and family," said Dr. Gilbert Arizaga, a Silver City, N.M., pediatric and dermatological specialist who uses curanderismo in his practice. "Using curanderismo certainly establishes trust with my older Hispanic patients."

Along with Arizaga, several other panelists will present their viewpoints on curanderismo, including area curanderas, curanderos and sobadoras, or massage therapists.

The Cuauhnahuac Performance Company will present a play, "Del Cielo a la tierra: Actos about Hispanic Healing and Culture," following the conference from 2- 4 p.m. The musical ensemble group Nahualizti also will perform live indigenous music to accompany the play.

Clinicians attending the conference can receive Continuing Education credit for the conference for a fee of $40. All others attending the conference can purchase tickets for $20 each. The theatrical performance is included in the price. Deadline to register for the conference is Sept. 10. Tickets for the play only are $3 and can be purchased at the door. Admission to the conference and play is free with a current NMSU ID, space permitting.

For more information, contact Debra Huffman at (505) 646-3441 or Elaine Luna at (505) 524-7866.