NOT A STRETCH
Wellness businesses are thriving in the City Different
BY PATRICIA WEST-BARKER
Santa Fe New Mexican
THE CHILD CARE SHUFFLE
Northern New Mexico became a nexus for healers and those seeking healing in the 1960s, when interest in alternative health practices surged across the U.S. Practitioners and seekers found fertile ground in the high desert. Native American ceremonies such as sweat lodges, drumming, chanting, dancing, and herbalism have been practiced here for thousands of years and still are. And while practitioners are harder to find these days, curanderismo, a centuries-old faith-based healing practice that Hispanic colonists brought to New Mexico, continues to offer traditional teas, herbs, and prayers to the faithful. These traditions have continued alongside imported healing modalities, from yoga to reiki. During the pandemic, many people set new priorities for work/life balance and self-care. Since then, healers have found growing demand for their work. In a December 2021 study, the Global Wellness Institute estimated the value of the worldwide wellness industry at $4.4 trillion. With consumers experiencing a “values shift,” the industry is expected to grow about 10 percent annually through 2025, reaching a forecasted worth of $7 trillion that year. The institute expects growth to continue across health-related sectors, such as complementary medicine, mental health, spas, and tourism. Santa Fe’s healing vibes have also grown since the pandemic. A handful of wellness-related companies have opened in the City Different in the past two years.