Belize appeared on our travel agenda to study Mayan medicine with Dr. Rosita Arvigo, a US trained napropathic doctor who apprenticed with renowned traditional Mayan healer Don Elijio Panti. She has made her life’s work bringing a scientific explanation to understand traditional Mayan medicine to preserve and promote the culture and knowledge of Mayan people as well as the rainforest that sustains them. Our time at the Arvigo Institute enriched us with daily hikes through breathtaking jungle beauty and the powerful skills and spirits of Mayan healing in Belize.
Each day we would walk the Rainforest Medicine Trail which overlooks the Macal River on our way to class. Don Elijio bushwhacked this trail about 30 years ago to prove to Rosita the vast provision of medicine in her own backyard. An acre of rainforest has medicinal value of over $3,000 US, it typically sells for a few hundred. We brave mosquitoes and countless other biting critters to live in the rainforest of the Mayan Mountains. Thank goodness Rosita gifted us with Jungle Salve, chock full of Jackass Bitters, the cure for our itchies.
After class we spend time swimming, hiking or relaxing before our evening meal back at camp. Between courses we venture into town on the back of a cattle truck, canoe to a botanical garden, and find time birdwatch and visit a butterfly farm on our anniversary. We fall asleep and wake to serenading choruses of frogs, crickets, howler monkeys (the loudest land animal on the planet!) and brightly colored jungle birds.
As part of our classes, our group canoes down stream 2.5 hours into San Ignacio and visit a local arts and crafts shop run by a Ruthie, a friend and former employee of Rosita’s. Her shop is full of beautiful carvings, jewelry, paintings and rainbows of weaving craft. We then cross the Mopan river on a hand cranked ferry to get to Xunantunich, the spectacular and peaceful Mayan ruins just a few miles from our camp and adjacent to the Guatemalan border
The ruined temples and palaces bring gravity to the work we have studied. Although the civilization declined after its peak in 600-900AD, the Mayan people persisted in the often treacherous rainforest thanks to the traditional healers.
Mayan medicine treats the mind, body and spirit as one. Our Spiritual Healing class gives methods to address the Mayan spiritual illnesses of fright, sadness, envy, grief, and others. These feelings are universal regardless of language and can have a strong negative effect on our physical health for years. I also trained in Arvigo Techniques of Mayan Abdominal Therapy (AT-MAT) which is safe, fast and effective to treat disorders of abdominal muscles, reproductive, urinary and GI tract. As a PT I can’t directly treat or diagnose medical disorders but the changes I make in the myofascial (muscles and connective tissue) system improve the balance of pressure and circulation that effect every cell of our body. I have been using the techniques on myself for 5 months and my health has changed drastically from the first treatment back in the Fall. More personal health and healing info to come on my healingtreecoop.com blog to come. I’m thrilled to have more tools to address the emotional and spiritual needs of my patients while healing their physical bodies as well. I can’t wait to use these techniques in Taiwan once I get my medical Chinese up to par!
I feel so fortunate to have been able to study with Dr. Arvigo in Belize and meet so many amazing people! Thank you for enriching our travels and our lives! I know we will see many of them again on our travels.