Seekers + Healers
Do you always look deep beneath the surface, certain that there is something more that others are missing? Do you constantly ask why and incessently doubt the answers given? So do many people who are drawn to Santa Fe. Some come because of the ancient spiritual and healing traditions that are still alive in our region. Others say there’s something special about the energy here: a deep groundedness and connection to the earth; a simplicity to the landscape and a vastness to the sky; a sense that one is small and that life’s mysteries are not readily understandable—if they can ever be understood at all.
Santa Fe has long drawn seekers and healers, who are looking for new ways of solving old problems in the fields of health and wellness, medicine, spirituality, and religion. They often find their answers in the same places that so many Santa Feans do: in the ancient traditions of the past and from multiple cultures, religions, and practices.
Santa Fe is home to a diverse array of religious and spiritual traditions, dating back thousands of years to the Pueblo peoples. In the early 1600s, the capital city of Santa Fe was founded by Spanish colonizers, who brought vibrant Catholic traditions and communities that still thrive here today.
The period also brought Spanish crypto-Jews, who were escaping oppression in the Old World and who made new homes in New Mexico and across the Southwest. Later, Protestants arrived via western expansion, and today their churches fill the towns and cities of New Mexico.
But long before any of these westerners arrived, the 19 Pueblo tribes of northern New Mexico were practicing their own spiritual traditions, including Feast Days, that are still alive across their sovereign nations today.
Today, our region is also home to one of the largest non-Punjabi Sikh communities in America. And Buddhists refugees from Nepal—who have developed strong kinships with indigenous communities here—have been calling the region home for almost three decades.
As for the New Age crowd, who first arrived in the 1960s, these seekers experimented with the rich diversity of spiritual expression in New Mexico and melded it into their own distinct versions of spirituality and religious expression, that are still alive and well, right here in Santa Fe.
In Santa Fe, health and wellness tends to be viewed through a holistic lens, bringing together the many values, practices, and activities that are so central to life here. Come and experience: the local and slow food movement, that values one’s connection to the earth, to one’s own community, and to living slowly and in the present; a connection with the outdoors and the healing properties offered by an expansive view, a warm hot spring along a riverbed, and the rarified air that exists at such high altitude; an appreciation for the many religious, spiritual, and wisdom traditions that exist here and that integrate the best of both East and West; a medical community that values the ideas of both the traditional and the modern while working creatively to integrate them; a belief that a practice of and appreciation for the arts and crafts of our region both connects us to one another and elevates the soul; and a physical practice of both Eastern-oriented and Western-oriented sports, from tai chi, aikido, and meditation to skiing, kayaking, and rock climbing. Together, this is health and wellness in Santa Fe.
Alternative medicine thrives in Santa Fe, where doctors and practitioners investigate ancient ways of practicing medicine and integrate their learning with the new.
We all know about acupuncture, yoga, and massage therapy, but Santa Feans were practicing them long before they entered the mainstream. Today the region continues its pioneering practices in non-Western, ancient, and indigenous modalities.
Here, seekers will discover a new language around medicine. In this culture, many people know the difference between holistic, homeopathic, naturopathic, naprapathic, and Ayurvedic medicines, between alternative, integrative, and functional medicines, between Oriental, Chinese, and Japanese Meridian medicines, and between cupping, moxa, and Qi Gong.
And then there’s curanderia, the Southwest’s long tradition of herbal and spiritual medicine, which is led by a curandera. There are vision quests and sweat lodges. There are Native peoples who practice these ancient traditions as well as newcomers who modify them. What are these practices, exactly? Do they work? Santa Fe is the place to encounter and study them.