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Curanderismo is a 500 year old medical system born in the Americas itsinception began when the Spaniards arrived on this continent and blended their medicinewith that of indigenous peoples from Mexico and the Southwestern United States 500years ago the indigeous people of the Americas already had a system of healthcare whichwas thousands of years old the Spaniards also had an established system which was atthat time one of the most advanced in the Western world The Spanish system of medicine utilized the concept of the humors bloodphlegm yellow bile and black bile and the subdivisions of wet and dry and hot and coldto classify illnesses This Spanish medicinecombined Judeo-Christian beliefs fused withthe indigenous system The Native American system based it self on the balance of thephysical emotional mental and spiritual self along with the natural world With thearrival of African slaves West African medicine was also adapted into curanderismofor example West African medicine was much like that of the Native Americansaccording to Elena Avila in her book Woman who Glows in the Dark she says that oneof the most important concepts in West African medicine is that of community thathealth is connected to community because it reinforces our sense of identity meaningand purpose Another aspect of west Africans medicine was the belief that the livingneeded to maintain a connection to departed ancestors they have ceremonies in whichancestors are honored and petitioned A parallel can be seen in the Day of the Deadcelebration in Mexico where the dead are honored and given offerings Curanderismo addresses illness that are called folk diseases as well asmaladies that are recognized by Western medicine There are four categories in which theillness can be placed these are physical mental emotional and spiritual The physicaldiseases treated by curanderos are known as mal aire bad air empacho blockage andbilis rage Mental diseases are those that are also recognized by western medicine suchas schizophrenia depression or nervousness Emotional diseases are those
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