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Understanding Amazonian Healing

Understanding Amazonian Healing 1For eight days in early August, ten students from West Chester University, Neumann University, and The University of Florida experienced first hand, Healthcare and Healing Traditions of Amazonia.

This ACEER organized workshop targeted students in various healthcare related study programs for a hands on experience in Peruvian healthcare facilities. Accompanied by ACEER President and West Chester University Professor Emeritus in Health, Dr. Roger Mustalish; Physical Therapist and Professor at Neumann University, Dr. Karen Albaugh; and Dr. Pharm Katherine Gaston, these students spent the eight days traveling from the capital city of Lima, into the southern Amazon rainforest to observe various Amazonian healthcare traditions.

Sarah Blaise, a West Chester University sophomore in the Pre-Occupational Therapy program, was one of the students on the trip. Blaise noted the stark differences between the healthcare practices she has observed here in the United States, and the ones she saw in Peru.

Understanding Amazonian Healing 2“In the cites there is a similar [to the United States] kind of vibe. You can tell its under staffed, and under funded, but you can see that they are pretty western in their approaches. When you go into more of the impoverished areas you see how they are a little more basic in what they are doing,” Blaise said of the differences.

During the time at a traditional healing center, the group visited with a local shaman. An experience Blaise believes “really made the trip…just because it is so different than what I am used to seeing in America.”

The shaman at Centro Ñape uses traditional medicine, and services Peruvians who either prefer this natural, holistic form of healing, or those who cannot afford to travel to the nearest “modern” hospital. Local plants are used for these traditional healing practices, and therefore make the Amazonian environment crucial to the continuation of holistic healing in Peru.

In noting the importance of the experience, Blaise said, “If you want your life to be changed. If you want to have a new perspective, and throw yourself into something you’ve never experienced before, then I would definitely recommend an ACEER trip.”

* The Healthcare and Healing Traditions of Amazonia workshop will be offered again in 2016.