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Traditional Healing Space

For centuries, many southwest people have embraced an integrated healing approach using traditional indigenous practices to heal the mind, body, and spirit. This type of healing includes sobadas (hands-on healing), limpias (energetic cleaning), platicas (heart-to-heart talks), Temazcal (Mesoamerican sweatlodge), acupuncture and REIKI (energy work). You are welcome to sign up to visit one of the healers led by Tonita Gonzales and Rita Navarrete Perez in the Anasazi room on the West Convention Center’s lower level. The traditional healers will do treatments daily from 7AM to 8PM with a suggested donation of $15 for each 15 minutes.

Tonita Gonzales received her BS in Mathematics and BA in Graphic Design from the American University in Washington, DC, and is a practicing curandera (healer) in Albuquerque, NM. As her life unfolded and she began to have health problems, she started to understand that allopathic medicine did not completely heal her. So she began to listen to her soul and embraced the study of traditional medicine. She completed her studies of traditional medicine at the University of Mexico, Morelos, at Centro de Desarollo Humano Hacia La Comunidad, with diplomados in acupuncture, medicinal plants, massage (sobadas), and Temazcal. In addition, Tonita worked side-by-side with several different curanderas throughout Mexico. She was honored to apprentice with Rita Navarrete Perez.

Rita Navarrete Perez, Otomi, has been a traditional healer for over 28 years and is celebrated for her expertise in Temazcal, medicinal plants, massage, nutrition, and counseling. She started her practice in Mexico City, and has continued it in Cuernavaca, and Jilotepec Mexico. She is also the director of Kapulli Mexico, La Cultura Cura, a traditional medicine school and clinic in Jilotepec. The school’s goal is to empower survivors of domestic violence to first heal themselves, then learn to heal others. Her specialty is working with individuals with chronic illness and life coaching. She will tell her patients, “Curanderismo is not magic, I cannot heal you, but I will teach you to heal yourself.” Rita is well known as a teacher of Rizaterapia (Laugh Therapy), and Temazcal. She is also a professor at Centro de Desarollo Hacia La Comunidad, at the University of México, Morelos. Her goal is to implant a seed of knowledge in as many people who cross her path to help preserve the practice of traditional medicine.

Both Tonita and Rita are internationally known traditional healers and have taught at several universities, hospitals, community organizations and even at the Smithsonian Institution. With UNM’s Dr. Eliseo (Cheo) Torres they will present the ACNM Annual Meeting workshop Curanderismo: Healing with traditional medicine of Mexico and the Southwest on May 21. (Sign up for this workshop when you register for the Annual Meeting. If you have already registered, follow the link in your registration confirmation email to add this workshop to your registration.) Joining them in the Traditional Healing space are 15 other traditional healers from Albuquerque and beyond, and Janis Zloto, CNM, DOM, who practiced for many years in Albuquerque and now lives in Denver. She will offer group acupuncture treatments.

The Traditional Healing Space is hosted by the New Mexico Affiliate of ACNM and RAICES (Remembering Ancestors, Inspiring Community, and Empowering Self).


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