Tempe Daily News – August 24, 1985

Medicine man: Sick head for Tempe for healing through ‘power of the universe’

Article by Jane Combelic – Special to the Daily News

The young woman beams. A look of surprise crosses her face. “I can’t believe it! I can walk and it doesn’t hurt!” exclaims 30-year-old Michaela Bray of Phoenix, who proceeds to walk without her knee brace.

“I’ve been suffering for years, without knowing what was wrong with me. Now I’m feeling better, and I’m looking forward to living again,” says the Rev. Wolfgang Kraus, 65, of Phoenix.

“It doesn’t hurt any more. My stomach’s been killing me for weeks, and it’s just gone!” sighed this writer with great relief a few months ago.

A holy shrine? A world-famous surgeon’s office? . . .  No, it’s a typical day in a suburban Tempe home nestled away in a quiet residential neighborhood. People go there from all over the world, some of them referred by their physicians to be helped by a tall granfatherly man of Aztec descent.

Yet Mike Valenzuela doesn’t call himself a healer.

“It’s not me that does the healing. I’m just a channel. It’s the great power of the universe working through me that does it.”

A large lumbering man of 70 with a kind, open face, he learned his art from his grandfather starting at age 3. “He taught me before I had any fears. Some would say what I do is impossible, but to me it isn’t because I never knew any different.”

Sarah Wilson, 41, of Mesa is a bright, soft-spoken woman, a former professor of humanities who is now a gourmet cook and research consultant. A few months ago she could hardly move.

A rash covered her upper body. She had seen specialist after specialist, receiving from each a different diagnosis, treatment and diet. She had tried both orthodox medicine and unorthodox treatment such as homeopathy, treatment based on very little drugs.

She learned her body was in an extremely toxic condition and that she had a very severe case of candida, a systemic yeast infection. But nothing had helped for long.

Hopeless. Wilson went to see Valenzuela. Though it took several months because of the severity of her condition, she is now almost totally recovered.

“I was so allergic, and on so many special diets. I was down to where almost the only thing I could eat was broccoli,” she said.

Mike said I should eat anything I wanted to, that the Great Spirit put it all here for our enjoyment. Once he fixed the cause of the problem and strengthened my immune system, the symptoms like the rash and allergies faded.”

Wilson now refers her friends to the medicine man.

When Valenzuela’s mother was pregnant with him, his parents traveled from their Idaho home to Guatemala.

There they visited his grandfather, a revered medicine man, who foresaw that the child would be a healer. So, when the boy was 3 years old, he was returned to Guatemala to begin his 15-year training as a medicine man.

“Because I was so young, and my mind was fresh and without fears, I was able to learn many things. One of my earliest memories is of my grandfather taking me down by the stream, where we pulled together the tops of willow trees to make a little shelter. We gathered dried grasses to make a mattress, and smoothed out the sand by the creek bed. We would lie on our stomachs, and my grandfather would draw pictures in the sand with a willow branch.”

“He showed me all the different organs and parts of the body, but the pictures were alive, just like a movie. I can’t explain it, but there was color and sound, and I could see the blood flowing and everything moving.”

The setting for Valenzuela’s work today is unpretentious and homey. Patients are greeted by one of his four female assistants wearing nurse uniforms and are let into the comfortable living room, where a standard medical history is taken. The soft smell of herbs fills the air with a sense of sweetness and mystery.

The treatment room is a small, refurbished patio, sunny and pleasantly decorated in pastel grays. Indian paintings and anatomy charts hang on the wall. Valenzuela, dressed in white pants and shirt, immediately puts the patient at ease with a warm smile and a gentle, caring manner.

The treatment usually lasts 15 to 20 minutes and includes diagnosis, manipulations and then the cleansing of the internal organs. In a painless procedure, the medicine man inserts his hands into the body – his hand seems to disappear halfway into the abdominal cavity – in a form of psychic surgery, to repair tissue and break up blockages. Some say he used his psychic finters, while Valenzuela himself maintains it is his real, physical hand.

Unlike psychic surgeons of the Philippines, he says he does not remove any tissue, preferring instead to release the toxic products into the blood stream where the body’s own healing powers of regeneration eliminate them. This process he enhances with a pharmacy of about a dozen herbs, carefully prescribed for each individual.

Because he is a Native American, Valenzuela is exempt from the restrictions placed on the practice of medicine in Arizona to licensed physicians.

Barbara Blaga, 40, of Scottsdale is a well-established holistic health practitioner who says Valenzuela cured her of severe premenstrual symptoms. As with most of his patients, she had tried everything – doctors, alternative treatments – with no results. She came to him as a last resort. She has sent as many as a dozen people to him, including her own patients.

“He helps those no one else has been able to help. I don’t understand what he does, but he has a high percentage of success. He gets results,” she said.

No one seems to be able to explain what he does, not even the healer. He just shrugs and says, “I can’t put it into words. I just know. I know what I see. I know that my hands go into the body and that people get better.”

As in any profession, Valenzuela admits, psychic surgeons, as well as Indian medicine men come in all shades of integrity and honesty. Some are quacks, shysters, or simply incompetent.

“We worship Mother Earth,” Valenzuela explains. “She produces everything that exists on the planet out of the three elements of sun, air and water. Each of these elements has a dual function: a positive side, that gives life, and a negative side that destroys.”

“You can’t take anything with you, no possessions, no things, not your status, not your body. Everything stays here. Only the knowledge that you’ve gained goes with your spirit when it leaves. Where does the spirit come from? Where does it go?”

He spreads his large hands and shrugs gently, with a whimsical smile. “No one knows that.”

Though he has helped people with all kinds of physical problems, from ankle sprains to cancer, he makes no promises. “It is not up to me. Sometimes I can only take the pain away, not the sickness.”

To most observers, the medicine man’s work sparks awe. Yet he himself insists that there’s nothing special about him as a person. In fact, he believes that anyone can do what he does. “It’s just a question of getting through your fears.”

To this end, he is opening a school in Tempe. He wants to help people get rid of their fears and anxieties so that they can become more effective channels for healing.

Using techniques his grandfather had used with him, adapted to our time and culture, the medicine man will tailor the curriculum to each student’s level of understanding and ability. The four women who have been apprenticing with him for three months to eight years will complete the faculty of the school, scheduled to open in early October.

He believes there is a dire need for skilled and dedicated healers today. He foresees an ever-increasing rate of all diseases due to air and water pollution, contamination of our food with pesticides, the proliferation of junk food, and other ills of modern times.

But to many, the Aztec medicine man offers hope. His creased face seems ageless. He shows no signs of slowing down.

“God put something here for me, he gave me a special gift. As long as I keep myself healthy I can work on other people and make them healthy. I am free because I love myself. You see, I obey the laws of the universe.”

The Tacoma News Tribune – September 7, 1985

Aztec medicine: It’s surgery without cutting

Medicine man: Aztec says he can reach into your body to cure your ills.

Article by Bob Lane, The News Tribune

“I’m going to clean your speen,” said Mike Valenzuela, pressing his right hand against the abdomen of the young woman on the portable operating table.

“Does that hurt? Okay? Take some deep breaths. Okay, can you feel me inside?”

“Whew!” she responded. “Oh boy, I feel that! I feel heat.”

“That’s because I’m cleaning in there, ” Valenzuela explained. “The heat is in the chemical I’m pulling out of your liver. Feel the heat? now I’m coming out.”

With that, Valenzuela drew his right hand up from the covering shelter of his left hand.

“There you are!” he exclaimed. “There’s no scar, there’s no blood, anything!”

Valenzuela, an Aztec Indian medicine man from Tempe, Arizona, announced he had just performed internal surgery.

“I put my hands on the person, and I can actually wee inside,” Valenzuela said. “I can actually go inside the body and dissolve tumors, work on kidney stones.”

Valenzuela had been invited to perform his healing work at the Mental Health Clinic of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians this week, a month after a similar appearance at the Nisqually Reservation. He confines his practice to Indian reservations, Valenzuela said, because he is not licensed to practice medicine by the state.

His Tempe practice is in his home, however, because Arizona law permits Indian medicine men to work anywhere in that state.

The Idaho native has been practicing his Indian medicine full time for 15 years, but he had performed it on a smaller scale since his youth, following an upbringing by his Guatemalan grandfather. He had been an automotive engineer, Valenzuela explained. But after the volume of people coming to his door increased, “I decided, this is what I love to do, and this is what I’m supposed to do.”

Valenzuela said he can’t explain his skills, except that it is a restoring of the balance of the natural forces of the universe.

“I have no words for it,” he said. “But it’s there, and I just can’t deny it, the gift that I have. I guess I was chosen.”

Valenzuela’s patient was Rory Siegel of Seattle, who had come to him with complaints of crippling allergies, urinary tract infections, low blood sugar and heavy menstrual flows.

“What I have to do,” Valenzuela said, passing his hands over her clothed body, “is just scan all through your body and see what I can find.”

What he found, he announced, were inflmations of the stomach, kidneys, pancreas and liver.

“A pimple on your spleen is causing gas,” Valenzuela said, putting an antiseptic solution his his hands.

“There’s nothing wrong with Western medicine,” Valenzuela had said earlier. “it has its place.”

Valenzuela said his grandfather had predicted before his birth that he would be healer, so when he was 3 years old, he was taken to live with the old man – “before my mind was corrupted” by white men’s ways.”

Using a stick to draw pictures in the sand of an old creek bed, the old man showed young Mike the organs of the body, the circulatory and nervous systems.

“I can’t explain it,” Valenzuela recalled, “but the pictures were alive, just like a movie.”

Valenzuela cleansed his hands each time he pepared to “enter” Mrs. Siegel’s abdomen, through the unbroken skin. His knuckles seemed to fold under as he placed his right hand on the woman, chielding it with his left, but Valenzuela said he feels his hand actually enters he abdominal cavity.

Mrs. Siegel, fully conscious and not in pain, said, “I can feel things moving.”

Valenquela told her, “I’m cleaning the tubes. You have some inflamation in the ovaries. It’s been plugged, and that’s what’s been giving you some problems with your female organs for quite some time. It’s also been giving you some problems with your legs.”

Mrs. Siegel agreed, saying her legs sometimes ached at night.

Valenzuela said he also had “cleaned the … what do you call them, Donna?”

“The ureters,” replied Donna Baker, one of the four Tempe women who are learning Valenzuela’s healing mthods and who accompany him on his tours.

About four years ago, Valenzuela explained, he and five other Indian medicine men who are practicing bloddless healing “felt we should share this, so this talent can stay her when we pass on.”

At 70, Valenzuela is the youngest of the six.

He said different parts of the earth produce different chemicals in plants, and these herbs are what Valenzuela prescribes for his patients to complete their recovery.

For Mrs. Sigel, he prescribed “three herb teas, a baking soda douche and one white-oak bark tea.”

The herb teas would hlp the blood clean out the impurities Valenzuela has discharged from her organs, he explained.

Valenzuela said his Aztec culture, like other Indian cultures, see the sun, wind and water as powerful but well-balanced elements “that feed Mother Earth.” When any of these forces are pusched out of balance, negative forces can be unleashed, he explained. Using the ancient techniques, he restored the balances in a human body.

“Anybody can learn it,” Valenzuela believes, “once they lose the fears and anxieties we live with. Once we free ourselves from that, anyone can do what I do.”