The Healing Power of the Curandera at Cafe on A in Oxnard




ed arial,sans-serif; font-size: 12pt;”>By Armando Vazquez

In the past three years we at the Oxnard Multicultural Mental Health Coalition (OMMH) working out of the Acuna Gallery/Café on A, has made tremendous progress to r improve physical and mental health wellness protocols that we call Community Defined Practices (CDP). This is a health movement of local community based wellness practices that in effect seek to reclaims our right to wellness and health self-determination. The daily integration of CDP’s in our community is a step toward stewardship of our wellness. The significance of this self-determination is a health and wellness shift from a cold, culturally in-congruent and ineffective institutional model to local organic medicine. 

We have been rediscovering and practicing many successful CDP’s, such as mesa redonda encounters, Peace and Justice Reconciliation sessions, dance/exercise/meditation movement classes, diverse arts therapies and classes using every art medium possible, Unity in Recovery, KEYS Leadership and Empowerment for the at-promise youth, drum circles, purification rituals, Friends of the Earth that prompt local ecological actions and educational; all of these wellness CDP’s. Yet we felt that we were still not fully grounded/connected to one another; and then came massage therapy, the intuitive touch, and the community defined practices circle for OMMH was connected.

We live in a foreboding modern world. We keep everyone, except our closest family member and friend, at arm’s length. Many of us are loathe touching or embracing another human being.  We have erected invisible shields and walls against the rest of humanity. At the core of this alienation is fear; perhaps the greatest illness of all. That is why message therapy is so important, done correctly it can help break down the walls of fear and alienation. Done by a curandera (healer) the message therapy is healing.

I have written in the past that about the grandmother and mother, they were curanderas; healers. People from all over the surrounding valley came to our home in Ahualulco, Jalisco, Mexico seeking remedisos (healing). My grandmother and mother healed with herbs, roots, “el encuentro de las manos con mal estar” (The meeting of the healing hands with the pain and aliment of the illness), chants, prayers and cleansing rituals. “Las manos de la curandera sienten todo!’ (The hands of the healer intuitively feel everything). Both my mother and grandmother would tell them, and then with their healing hands and remedios would make believers out of the non-believers.

My mother and grandmother would use massage for all of the family aliments. My mother would place her healing and loving hand and begin to massage my head and shoulders until I was almost motionless and near sleep. I can hear her now telling me, “Apaga tu mente, no pienses tanto, mijo apaga la mente como un vela! (She would say turn off the mind, do not think so much: blow your mind like you would a candle). Very heavy stuff for a small kid but it stayed within my sub-conscience mind.

Today a woman much like my mother and grandmother has come into the OMMH healing circle and she has the power of intuitive healing. This woman traveled a long distance and settled in Ventura County.  She began to use massage to heal some of the OMMH members. With the first session I immediately felt the same energy I used to receive in childhood.

Her massage technique is both gentle, yet powerful.  I felt the healing magic. She located the points of stress in my body and through her healing hands she redirected the flow of energy. In the coming days, weeks and months while she is still with us, we have asked our local curandera to begin teach the ancient art of intuitive message therapy to all our OMMH member. The idea is that the OMMH member will learn the healing massage techniques and pass them on to their family and friend, so that everyone is Oxnard has the power to touch and heal. We all have the power and energy and it emanates from love, the greatest power in the universe!

We will be submitting our findings to Elaine Crandall, Executive Director at Ventura County Behavioral Health Department to consider funding OMMH to continue to expand mental and physical well being through blending of VCBH institutional services and our own OMMH Community Defined Practices.


Armando Vazquez

Armando Vazquez, artist, writer, educator, Executive Director of the Acuna Art Gallery at the Cafe on A and Chairman of the Oxnard Multicultural Mental Health Coalition

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