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Diana Cantu-Reyna


Why did you become a healer and what makes you special in the healing space?

For as long as I can recall memories in my life, I have always loved connecting with people, listening to their stories, and exploring how I could support them. Both of my parents being in the health and medicine, at a very early age I was fortunate to witness the care they offered to our community and what a difference it made in people's lives. On our days off from school, my sister and I tagged along with my mom to the hospital where she worked as an Occupation Therapist. As young children of divorced parents, we often accompanied my father to the community hospital when he was called in for emergencies and spent countless hours playing around his office while he saw patients in his clinic. An experienced neurologist with a private practice, my father would regularly see patients free of charge who would otherwise not have had access to a provider like him. A physician who spent hours with one, yes one patient at a time, my father listened deeply to learn as much about the lives of those who were seeking his help. At the time I did not realize how valuable and rare these qualities were in a doctor because I just assumed all healers functioned in this way. I had zero desire or interest in working in medicine or any healing space. As a child of immigrants, the one thing that always seemed to interest and tug at my heart was the extreme and palpable inequalities within my local community. 
These early childhood years allowed me to experience my parents' care, compassion and dedication to serving our community but most importantly, I was able to notice and feel the toll it had on their physical, emotional and financial wellbeing and inevitably on our family. Was this the case for all families of healers or just mine? Why weren’t they being supported to do this very important work? These questions impressed upon me a passion for human rights advocacy specifically for historically marginalized groups and colonized peoples. I became more fascinated with the exploration of governing systems and subsequently immersed myself in the studies of Political Science focusing heavily on the “Americas” because why not right? This path led me to study for a semester in Tijuana, Mexico with cultural anthropologist, Victor Clark Alfaro (the first of a select few influential teachers of mine), while another undergraduate course on HIV/AIDS Epidemiology and Public Health inspired me to venture into volunteering with a local public health organization for three years. It was during this time of being in service to my community, where I allowed my heart to lead and guiding me to the field of nursing. 
My ability to support in the movement of stagnant or blocked energy in others through touch has been a gift I have been practicing and honing over the last few years. This in combination with being able to hold space for those experiencing various forms of suffering and trauma without giving “advice” or imposing my views, makes me quite unique in the healing and healthcare setting. 

Who is your favorite tv~movie/historical/mythological healer?

For me, there are many, but the most revered healers consist of the women and matriarchs within my own lineage who suffered and sacrificed immensely in order for me to be here today.

What is your perspective on the current mental and physical wellbeing of healers/caregivers?

In my perspective we are in the midst of a public health crisis that is not only about the wellbeing of caregivers, but the overall health and safety of our communities at large. As we continue to see caregivers (doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists, etc.) leave the profession as a result of their own struggle to maintain sanity within the extractive system that is our current healthcare model, we will feel the impacts even more viscerally given our interconnectedness. The question now is, do we have the will to create a new health paradigm that embodies and shares an ethos that is heart-centered for patients AND healers alike? Would it be more beneficial to the health of the collective if we were integrating traditional medicine that carries thousands of years of life as evidence? I do not have the answer to this because there is not just one answer. Addressing this crisis requires the intelligence of the collective and will look different for each community depending on specific needs at a certain point in time. This will also require imagination, flexibility, curiosity, and compassionate collaboration. My hope is that you all will join us, and support this shift however you are able because the time is now, and all of our lives depend on it.

What is your preferred method of practicing self-care?

Cultivating my relationship with plants and working closely with them has become a huge part of my daily self care practice. This includes talking with them, caring for them, harvesting medicine, creating herbal baths, self massage/brushing, and preparing nourishing herbal beverages for myself.

What’s your go-to tea for rejuvenation?

Tulsi is definitely a staple for me. A few other teas and elixers I recently have come to love and appreciate immensely include: Blue Lotus, Skullcap, Cacao w/adaptogens, and Kava/'Awa thanks to dear sister of mine, Syrissa Sacca (master alchemist and herbalist). You can also explore her Bold Botanical Brews at 

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