Holistic Healing

AnnMarie McLaughlin | SantaFe.com - January 6, 2010

Once upon a time I though Holistic Healing was a marketing ploy for hacks dispensing essential oils. That was BMC: Before My Conversion. I have a traditional doctor, a “western doctor,” as they become known once you understand the difference between a prescription and a manifestation, but he’s just there for physicals and the very occasional round of antibiotics. For everything else there’s an alternative therapy. Holistic Healing in a nutshell is all about treating the whole person. It’s also about energy; moving it, circulating it and releasing it. You just have to go outside and stand in the New Mexico sun for five minutes to know that this makes sense.



Popularized stateside only in the past few decades, acupuncture has been practiced in China for centuries. Thin needles are used at select body points to stimulate energy points or meridians and bring the body into balance. Western researchers call this stimulating nerves and muscle tissue, but whatever the nomenclature, acupuncture has earned quite the following.


From the Greek terms for “hand” and “action,” chiropractic care aims to support the body’s fundamental structure, the spine. Still relied upon as a treatment for acute and chronic pain, chiropractic practices are varied in scope and approach. Individual providers may incorporate a range of support strategies to address health.

Craniosacral Therapy

This is a gentle manipulation of the spine and cranium to optimize the position of the spinal cord. While often used following minor trauma, such as a fall, to restore the body’s natural positioning, it is helpful as well with neck and back pain, stress and migraines.


The tagline for homeopathy is “like cures like” and this discipline informs its diagnostic and treatment practices. Used to treat everything from colds and allergies to migraines, homeopathic remedies are all natural and widely available.


Naturopathy strives to promote wellness rather than to combat specific illnesses. It relies on minimally invasive procedures for a whole medicine, integrated approach to balanced health. Naturopaths will incorporate specific modalities, such as the ones mentioned here, for individual treatment.

Polarity therapy/Somatic Polarity

This is a comprehensive “total care” system based on the body’s natural energy fields. It addresses diet, exercise, self-awareness and body manipulation to restore and maintain flexible energy flow. Somatic polarity adds the use of cranial sacral therapy to work with bones and ligaments in a deep, total body approach.


This ancient practice uses pressure and manipulation to the hands and feet. It is based on the principle that our hands and feet are directly linked to the fundamental “fight or flight” adrenalin response. As such, specific areas of the hands and feet are connected to the body’s organs and manipulating those areas addresses the full body.


Reiki is a Japanese method translating as “spiritually guided life force energy” or “universal life energy.” The technique uses the light, “laying on of hands” rather than massage-type manipulation and may even include no-touch manipulation to balance the body’s energy.


Holistic healers integrate a variety of approaches and techniques to their work. The following providers offer services in Santa Fe. Plan to spend some time talking to practitioners whose individual methods sound right for you.

Light & Love Naturopathic Center
1045 West Don Diego Avenue
(505) 955-9919

Dr. Debbie Sie and Dr. Justin Hoffman provide extensive naturopathic treatment.

Peacock Clinic of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine
1494 St. Francis Drive
(505) 699-4482

Dr. Paulette Marin offers comprehensive family and women’s care, including fertility treatment. Acupuncture, herbs, licensed DOM (Doctor of Oriental Medicine).

Santa Fe Soul Health & Healing Center
2905 Rodeo Park Drive East
(505) 474-8555

The Center is a comprehensive facility addressing mind and body with movement and counseling services offered as well. Founded by Robyn Bensom, Doctor of Oriental Medicine with a mission to serve the whole client.

Craniosacral, Reflexology, Reiki as well as movement and counseling services.

Scher Center for Well Being
1602 Fourth Street
(505) 989-9373

Meditation and yoga in addition to a focus on the patient’s overall well being. The Center’s intent is to promote transformation rather than simply balance existing conditions.

Dr. Kezhuang Zhao, DOM
2801 Rodeo Road
(505) 438-7178

Dr. Zhao may well be the most famous holistic healer in Santa Fe. His patients are very loyal so they must be on to something! Dr. Zhao has been teaching and lecturing internationally since the mid-1970s and uses his own herbal remedies.