Villoldo was born in Cuba, where he was exposed to Afro-Indian healing traditions at an early age. While pursuing his doctoral studies in psychology and medical anthropology, he traveled throughout the South West, the Amazon, and the Andes researching Native America healing methods. He later directed the Biological Self-Regulation Laboratory at San Francisco State University, where he investigated mind-body medicine and the neuro-physiology of healing. He founded and directs the Energy Medicine School at The Four Winds Society, and teaches energy medicine to thousands of nurses, physicians, psychotherapists and lay persons every year. He is an internationally recognized leader in the field of alternative medicine and shamanic studies.