The Transformation of Curanderismo: Optimizing Health and Cultural Comfort in the Mexican American Community




Contreras, Guadalupe Macias

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Curanderismo, the art of healing, has been an integral part of health care for Mexican Americans for several generations. Although curanderos/as have collaborated with conventional medicine over time, the practice of curanderismo itself has remained largely in the background as a cultural phenomenon. This study found that the acculturation and upward social mobility of Mexican Americans has not caused the practice of curanderismo to diminish over time. Rather, curanderismo remains an effective healing modality for physical, psychological, and spiritual problems. Curanderismo transformed itself from an indigenous healing system to a mestizo one, and continues to change in step with Mexican Americans in this country. In addition, curanderismo provides the "cultural comfort'' to Mexican Americans that is lacking in conventional health care. A dual health system, thus, is utilized by many Mexican Americans to optimize health care outcomes.



healers, health and race, Mexican Americans, spiritual healing, health attitudes, social life and customs


Contreras, G. M. (2001). The transformation of curanderismo: Optimizing health and cultural comfort in the Mexican American community Unpublished thesis). Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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