Updated: May 3
Cultural appropriation has no place in modern civilization, among us big brains. But it happens and people are thankfully becoming more aware of it. I have been asked about cultural appropriation in regards to the work that I have been doing and will be doing in the next year after more training - Arvigo Techniques of Maya Spiritual Healing and Maya Abdominal Therapy. It’s the use of the word Maya that raises some eyebrows.
We should all be careful that the misappropriation of culture does not occur. Misappropriation is in no way how these therapies came to be passed from Don Elijio Panti, a Mayan healer, to Rosita Arvigo, one of my teachers. In fact, it was shared freely and gratefully as he did not want to take his knowledge and gifts to the grave and he had been presented with no other person willing to do the hard work for as many years as Rosita did.
The Arvigo Techniques (a combination of modern techniques and all Rosita learned from Don Elijio and various Maya midwives and healers like Miss Hortense Robinson) developed over decades and are available all over the world as a gift of their combined life's work.
These techniques have helped countless women with relief from chronic uterine disorders and with difficulties conceiving. The therapies used are also helpful with male reproductive issues. I am grateful for the passing on of this knowledge as I myself used it this past year with success, to the surprise of my gynecologist.
I had cervical dysplasia for four years - not a strain of cells that are most likely to cause cancer, but my body was clearly not taking care of it. That tells me something was missing for my body, something wasn’t functioning as it should. The doctor wanted to perform a LEEP procedure. Basically, they use a wire heated by electric current to scrape out abnormal cells. I felt like that wasn’t a very good idea for any woman, but certainly not a woman with a 49 year old cervix. And I KNEW there had to be a better way. Via a few of the techniques, practiced diligently for six months, I had a normal pap. I like to say, we did it! I gave my body what it needed and my body healed itself. It wasn’t easy. I did some serious cleansing in that time period and was sometimes exhausted after doing my own treatments. There were some dark days for me in which I was happy to have the house to myself! Aaaah, the wonderful world of cleansing! And then one day, close to that six month mark, the treatments weren’t exhausting anymore. I knew my body was put together differently. I knew the test results would be negative.
Much gratitude to Don Elijio for teaching that gringa so many years ago; to Rosita for her stamina all these years, first in keeping up with Don Elijio and then for this empire of wellness and compassion that she’s created; and to my teachers up until now, who live all over the world and continue to mentor me.
I got a little off track from cultural appropriation! But I hope in that tangent, that concerns are put to rest that this work ever had anything to do with lack of respect, theft, or oppression.
Recently, I decided to stop charging for Maya Spiritual Healing work(spiritual bathing) and instead are choosing to follow the indigenous leaders I admire and spread this loving work via reciprocity. In the near future I will also be donating a portion of my profits in this abdominal work to help the Mayan people.