Indigenous Wisdom/Contemporary Challenges Elena Avila, RN

Curanderismo, the traditional folk medicine of Mexico, is based on the belief that the body, soul, spirit, and emotions have equal importance and are intertwined in maintaining health. Key to this approach is the principle, Corazon cura Corazon. (Heart heals Heart). Under our very eyes, contemporary health care is being revolutionized-not only by dramatic advances in science and technology but by an increased acceptance of the validity of ancient and native medicines. As a clinical psychiatric nurse specialist and curandera, my integrative approach to healing does not exclude spirituality. Western medicine leaves out too much of what makes up a human being-the soul, the patients spiritual beliefs, the complexity of human experience, and the need for personalized integrative medicine. Curanderismo, an amalgam of indigenous, Spanish and African healing traditions practiced on this continent for hundreds of years is still relevant in the 21st century. This approach to healing is holistic and unites the many bridges that the Hispanic culture needs because it utilizes culturally appropriate methods for curing disease, misfortune, and for diagnosis and treatment. I am a curandera/nurse with deep roots in modern medicine and therefore ideally suited to integrating ancient wisdom with modern knowledge. Using this integrative approach to healing, I will address how I treat clients using Platicas, Limpias, soul loss, folk disease and physical illness using Curanderismo and Western Medicine. Curanderismo is still very much alive and thriving.