Mexican American folk medicine: A descriptive study of the different curanderismo techniques practiced by curanderos or curanderas and used by patients in the Laredo, Texas area
Study of different Curanderismo techniques practiced by curanderos and beliefs and practices of patients of Curanderismo was conducted in the Laredo, Texas area. Twenty-five curanderos and 100 patients of Curanderismo participated in the study. Data was gathered by means of two open-ended instruments in a structured interview designed and carried out by the investigator. The results of the study were classified according to one of two general research areas: (1) descriptive information about the origin and nature of current Curanderismo techniques and (2) descriptive information as to the beliefs and practices of patients of Curanderismo. Concerning the first area, results indicated that Curanderismo is quite popular in the healing of traditional Mexican-American illnesses, that a variety of techniques are used, that the techniques are generally passed down from generation to generation, and that the practitioners recognize that their skill is learned. Findings, as to the patients' beliefs and practices, included: a wide popularity and acceptance of Curanderismo in the treatment of traditional illnesses, a tendency to mix treatment from curanderos with Western medicine, and a perpetuation of beliefs about the value of Curanderismo within families. The study concluded that Curanderismo is still practiced and is considered effective.