WOMAN WHO GLOWS IN THE DARK by Elena Avila

WOMAN WHO GLOWS IN THE DARK

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An autobiographical account of how a psychiatric nurse specialist became a folk medicine healer; this also explains the origins and practice of one of the oldest forms of medicine in the New World. It was during Avila’s years of practice in psychiatric clinics and hospitals that her dissatisfaction with the way patients were treated and the poor outcome of that treatment sparked her interest in and study of Curanderisimo. The practices and traditions she describes were developed out of a blending of Aztec, Spanish, Native American, and African medicines; Avila explains that curanderas such as herself are devoted to healing and maintenance of the body, soul, spirit, and emotions, all of which have equal importance and are intertwined in maintaining health. Avila is comfortable using all aspects of folk and allopathic medical care; in numerous case studies, she relates how the two approaches can complement and potentiate each other. She makes perfectly clear that the personal qualities and style of a healer are paramount in creating successful outcomes when treating illness (take heed, medical school admissions committees!). Avila is entertaining and often humorous when describing her search to develop a therapeutic practice; but readers will find much more here. Without climbing on a soapbox, Avila’s narrative demonstrates what’s missing from most American medical practice, and how many patients could be helped so much more than they are now. Co-author Parker is an ethnographic writer and author of Maya Cosmos (not reviewed)..

Pub Date: March 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-87477-958-8
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: TarcherPerigee
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1999