ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Waiting in line to see a traditional healer, with the nearby sound of drums and the smell of burning sage, Natalie Chacón was reminded of her childhood.
Chacón said that while growing up in a Mexican American family, she experienced various rituals at the hands of a curandero, or a traditional Native healer. On the University of New Mexico’s campus Wednesday, a traditional health fair offering acupuncture, limpias, reiki and sobadas – all traditional healing methods – was held in conjunction with a curanderismo summer class.
“It’s been years since I experienced (traditional healing) myself,” she said. “I’ve been seeking more of a personal recollection of those fixtures of my childhood … and reconnecting with my upbringing.”
The fair was held outside near the Duck Pond. Several hundred people lined up to receive different types of traditional healing. Some received sobadas, a type of massage from Central and South America; one healer put her patients in a circle and, one by one, performed acupuncture on their ears; Chacón and her husband, Aaron Rodriguez, were waiting for a spiritual cleansing called a limpia.
“Rejuvenated. I feel open and blessed,” Stephanie Moreno, a student in the curanderismo class, said after receiving a ventosa treatment, in which hot cups are placed on the body. “It’s a spiritual practice, as well as a physical one.”