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A new local wellness center focuses on traditional Latinx healing methods

Nuestra Gente Wellness Center is a healing sanctuary that holistically treats disorders through religious and spiritual healing, as well as conventional medicine.

NAMPA, Idaho — The Latino and Hispanic population in Idaho is growing, and making sure their health is taken care of is a top priority for Nuestra Gente Wellness Center in Nampa.

Owner of Nuestra Gente Wellness Center, Thelma Lopez-Barajas says, “I want to do more for our people. We don't always feel comfortable going to the doctor, going to the ER, and I wanted to provide a safe space.”

Hispanics are more likely to report they are in fair or poor health and overweight. That’s according to a study from the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs. There are also barriers that discourage some Latinos to seek medical attention in the U.S.

"The lack of access, or means, or resources to sometimes go to the hospital and go to the ER and pay thousands of dollars," Lopez-Barajas said, "or go to a specialist and pay hundreds of dollars, and then not know if you're going to get a solution.”

Instead many Hispanic and Latinos rely on relatives to help heal using a traditional system also known as curanderismo.

"If you're Latino and you got sick and went to your mom and if she didn't know what to do, we call the aunts or the comadre, the friend, the neighbor, grandmother, or the gal that lives down the road that has been handed down for generations for 100s of years,” said Lopez-Barajas.

Lopez-Barajas says her facility sees more Latina women for preventative care and as they are more likely to seek extra healing methods when needing care. She also says Latino and Hispanic men are even less likely to seek out help.

"I think partly it's just that tenaciousness; we've been brought up to work hard. To get to work. I don't know if it's just ego or if it's just 'no I'm tough, I got this, don't you worry about me',” said Lopez-Barajas.

To help change that, Nuestra Gente Wellness Center offers a combination of traditional and conventional healing.

"It's not in mainstream health care and so I think one it's something they are used to and comfortable with and pave that road or make that call," said Lopez-Barajas. "We do have conventional medicine, we do have complimentary, we do have spiritual, we do have sobadoras and things like that.”

Thelma says she hopes everyone from all different backgrounds take advantage of this unique form of healing.

 "We have all of our materials in English, Spanish, and we are starting to put some together in Arabic. So we just want to be very welcoming to all cultures,” said Lopez-Barajas.

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