Costa Rica falls into a blue zone. A blue zone is a concept used to identify a geographic area where people live measurably longer lives. This is a unique place for an even more unique wellness retreat.
What sets Rythmia Life Advancement center apart is it is the only licensed plant based medicine retreat. Rather than trekking into the Peruvian jungles to expand your consciousness with plant-based medicine such as ayahuasca and San Pedro, Rythmia offers a more luxurious option.
It’s fully customizable curriculum has been developed by a team of leaders from the mental, spiritual, and physical health fields. The retreat is centered around transformational healing with mind altering experiences, finding peace and happiness, transcending limiting beliefs and patterns, finding purpose, and improving your health and relationships.
Rythmia offers different programs, organic farm to table food and healthy juices, and a health spa with volcanic mud baths, massages, and saunas. There are also activities such as yoga, and due to the proximity to the beach the retreat offers surfing and beach excursions.
The day you arrive you receive a medical consultation with a licensed MD, a live blood cell analysis, and an aura photo. Then you customize your schedule with the programs offered.
The programs include Life Transformation with Michael Bernard Beckwith, the author of The Answer is You. Michael brings you inspirational teachings and tools to help you transcend self-limiting beliefs and step into the flow of a universe waiting to support you in the expression of your highest self.
Dead Sea Cleanse with Shivanter
The Dead Sea Cleanse is the most complete hydrotherapy treatment for cleansing the internal organs and digestive system. The results are truly life changing.
Yoga is a discipline known worldwide for its amazing mental, physical, and spiritual benefits through its tandem use of exercise and meditative practice.
Naturopathic Plant Medicine
Rythmia offers plant medicines that have been used for thousands of years to heal emotional, physical, and spiritual ailments in indigenous cultures. It is now being witnessed by western science that plant medicine has the capacity to heal physical ailments and disease, restore mental functionality, and develop spirituality, purpose, and lasting happiness. It’s also been used to help treat addiction.
Sarab Deva is a master plant medicine healer and guide. She has guided thousands of people worldwide using various naturopathic plant medicine healing approaches. The Plant medicine program is facilitated by Sarab Deva and her certified practitioners who lead each guest in their individual process. Guests are taught and prepared on how to resolve any internal “blocks” preventing their happiness and physical well-being. The “work” that is done by each individual is based on their willingness to change and be open to the healing benefits of the medicine. Your Plant Medicine administration will occur in the safest, most comfortable, and attentive environment possible. Dr. Vanessa Grillo is available at all times to assess and facilitate your experience all the way through.
A plant medicine experience is truly personal, deeply significant, and emotionally powerful for those who participate. During the process, you will know greater self-awareness and connection to your inner self. The plant medicines will empower you in resolving past traumas, removing mental and emotional blocks, and understanding the significance of certain events that have occurred in your life.
The tea is made from a combination of two plants that when taken together produce a profound alteration in consciousness. It has been used for thousands of years by South American curanderos and is currently used as a sacrament in at least two Christian-based religions in South America. It is noted for the powerful experience it produces and its tendency to bring about positive personal change in those that consume it. It is non-addictive and produces no physical harm to the user unless abused or used carelessly.
The primary psychoactive chemical in the tea is DMT. DMT is extracted from the plant carrier by brewing it in water that has been made slightly acidic, in effect making tea. Normally the DMT in the tea would be destroyed in the digestive system by a chemical called mono amine oxidase, rendering the tea completely inactive. With the addition of a second plant containing a mono amine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), the DMT survives the digestive process and reaches the brain where it alters the person’s consciousness.
Each neuron in the brain has receptor sites for the various chemical neurotransmitters that send signals from one nerve cell to the next. The sending cell sprays the neurotransmitter into the gap between the neurons, the synapse, and receptor sites on the receiving cell attach to the neurotransmitter. There are several kinds of neurotransmitters, each with its own specialized receptor sites. The 5-htp receptor sites are made for the neurotransmitter serotonin. DMT is chemically close to serotonin and it bonds to some of the 5-htp sites readily, causing alteration in consciousness.
Once the sending neuron has sprayed its serotonin into the synapse, the body must remove it to get ready for the next signal. One of the ways it does this is by binding mono amine oxidase into the synapse, which destroys the serotonin. Because DMT is chemically like serotonin, mono amine oxidase also destroys DMT. When you take a mono amine oxidase inhibitor to get the DMT past the digestive system, you also eliminate the mono amine oxidase in the brain. This raises your level of natural serotonin for a short time. This is how many anti-depressants work. The DMT in the tea mimics serotonin, but attaches to the 5-htp receptor sites at a higher rate, overriding the brains instruction to keep some neural pathways dormant.
Importantly, this process can bring repressed memories, experiences, emotions and abilities back to conscious awareness so that they can be integrated. This integration brings coherence, flexibility, and health to the system.
Personal Healing and Growth
Traditionally, the tea is used to cleanse and cure the psychical, emotional, and subtle bodies, assisting in the removal of toxins and uncovering our natural state of health. This purification process can involve intense physical and emotional suffering as the physical and psychic channels are cleared. The wonder of this sacrament is that it sustains you even as it brings up painful experiences, enabling you to endure and integrate all that is uncovered during the ceremony.
The physical purge has long been used by Amazonian tribes to clear the digestive tract of parasites and intestinal infections. However, the value of physical purging where parasites and poor quality food aren’t much of an issue is questionable. In both eastern and western cultures, clean food diets have been used to achieve purification without violent purging. Purging can include both ends of your digestive tract, sweating, shaking, crying and tearing.
The value of the subtle aspects of the purge is much less in question. It is thought that the deepest layers of self-access the physical body by means of three other “energetic bodies”: the etheric, the mental and emotional. Repressed negative emotions and toxic thought patterns (termed “dross” by the Indigenous healers) build up in those bodies just as toxins build up in the physical form. This build-up prevents the light of the soul from reaching the consciousness of the incarnate ego. It has the effect of bringing those emotions and thought patterns directly into your conscious awareness where they can be processed, eventually allowing direct communication to your soul or the higher Self. The physical expressions of purging (i.e. vomiting and diarrhea) often arise concurrently with the moving through of repressed emotional pain. This (sometimes very painful) excavation leaves you clearer physically and mentally.
Studies have been conducted on long-term users of the tea. These studies have recorded a forty-percent increase in 5-htp receptor sites within six weeks of consumption. This means the neurons adapt to the DMT and grow more receptor sites for serotonin, creating a temporary cure for serotonin based depressions. Instead of flooding the synapse with serotonin like standard antidepressants, the tea makes the neurons more sensitive to the serotonin. After the adaptation has occurred, it can be maintained with frequent use of the tea, diet and exercise.
Setting a strong intention for your journey is essential.
2 Weeks Before Ceremony
Begin following the diet 7-12 days before the ceremony at the minimum (see section on diet and medication). The longer you follow the diet before ceremony, the more effective and smooth your journey will be.
1 Week Before Ceremony
Maintain the diet in preparation for the ceremony. If you haven’t started, then start! Taper off vitamins and herbal supplements. Be mindful of your psychological state and the material you consume with your mind — movies, music, parties. Take some time to bring let your mind settle into a more quiet space as much as you can.
The Day Of
Try to take this day lightly to allow for your body and mind to relax as much as possible. You may have a light meal to 4 hours before the ceremony begins and hydrate your body with water.
The Ceremony begins as your shaman or healer cleanses you and talks over your intent. You then go to your cot, which has a bucket next to it, should you need to purge and an eye mask. You are given the first sip of the tea. The taste will be awful; there is no way around that. After 10 minutes you will have the second sip of the tea.
During the height of the experience you should avoid any touching and unnecessary conversation.
What to Pack
Comfortable/versatile clothing/walking shoes
Clothing should be casual and loose enough to allow you to stretch out and be comfortable.
Diet and Medication
Important: This experience can cause serious health problems or death if you if you do not properly prepare yourself. The plant itself is completely non-toxic, but when combined with certain foods or drugs it can be fatal. Please take the time to read this section carefully.
The tea contains an MAOI (mono amine oxidase inhibitor). MAOIs impact the regulation of serotonin in the brain and are responsible for helping the body to process certain potentially harmful chemicals. One such chemical, tyramine, occurs in some foods. MAOIs (and therefore the tea) can also interact in dangerous ways with some drugs. The diet and drug interaction information is provided to help you ensure that your body is free of substances that pose interaction risks at the time of the ceremony.
For best results, you should begin following the diet 7-12 days before ceremony. If necessary, follow the diet at least 3 days before the ceremony. Foods consumed during this time should be fresh and simple.
Foods high in tyramine (to be avoided):
– Beer and ale (including non-alcoholic beer)
– Red and white wine
– All aged/mature cheeses (non aged cheeses like cream cheese are ok)
– Dried, aged, fermented, cured or chemically altered meats and fish
– Fermented, pickled, salted or preserved foods
– Fava beans, lima beans, navy beans, snow peas, ant broad bean
– Fermented soybean products (tofu, miso, soy sauce, tempeh, etc.)
– Meat and yeast extracts and nutritional yeast
– Old, very ripe or dried fruit (includes ripe avocados; under-ripe avocados are ok)
– Leftovers (more than 2 days old)
Foods with some tyramine (okay in small quantities):
– Cultured dairy products (buttermilk, kefir, yogurt)
– Refined sugars and milk chocolate
– Raspberries, plums, figs, pineapple
– Peanuts, Brazil nuts, Walnuts
Severe reactions can occur if you are taking a drug that has the potential to react with an MAOI. This includes almost all of the major antidepressants, allergy, and cold medications. You should not to take any kind of anti-depressant or other drug that has the potential to react with the tea for three weeks prior to the ceremony. If you are on any kind of medication at all, even over the counter allergy or cold medications, you must check to see if there are MAOI or selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI) precautions listed in the warnings. Please consult with me beforehand if you are taking any prescription medications at all.
Types of medications/supplements that may have adverse interactions:
– other MAOI’s
– SSRI’s (any selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor)
– amphetamines (meth-, dex-)
– antihypertensives (high blood pressure medicine)
– appetite suppressants (diet pills)
– medicine for migraine headaches
– medicine for asthma, bronchitis, or other breathing problems
– medicines for colds, sinus problems, hay fever, or allergies
– CNS (central nervous system) depressants – using CNS depressants with MAOI’s may increase the effects.
Specific drugs that should not be combined with MAOIs:
– Alcohol – using alcohol with MAOIs may cause serious side effects like angina (chest pain) or headaches (severe or frequent). These conditions may mask warning signs of serious side effects of MAOIs (hypertensive crisis).
– Amoxapine (Asendin)
– Bupropion (Wellbutrin) – using Bupropion within 2 weeks of taking MAOIs may cause serious side effects such as seizures.
– Buspirone (BuSpar) – using Buspirone with MAOIs may cause high blood pressure.
– Beta Blockers -Protranolol
– Carbamazepine (Tegretol) – using Carbamazpine with MAOIs may increase seizures.
– Clomipramine (Anafranil)
– Cocaine – Using cocaine with MAOIs may cause a severe increase in blood pressure. (There is one fatality on record, which involved combining Peganum Harmala and cocaine, although it is not clear how much the MAOI played a role.)
– Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)
– Desipramine (Pertofrane)
– Dextromethorphan (DXM) – using Dextromethorphan with MAOIs may cause excitement, high blood pressure, and fever.
– Doxepin (Sinequan)
– Fluoxetine (Prozac)
– Imipramine (Tofranil)
– Levodopa (Dopar, Larodopa)
– Maprotiline (Ludiomil)
– Meperidine (Demerol)
– Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
– Nortriptyline (Aventyl)
– Paroxetine (Paxil)
– Protriptyline (Vivactil)
– Selegiline (Eldepryl)
– Sertraline (Zoloft)
– Tricyclic antidepressants (Amitriptyline, Elavil)
– Trimipramine (Surmontil)
Herbs that should be avoided:
– St. Johns Wart
– Passion flower
Also persons who have been diagnosed with or have a family history of mental illness, recent surgeries, any medications or concerns about diet, that you may have please talk to your healer.
Even more details on food and drug interactions
Ingestion of the DMT in the brew does not pose a health problem. However, for the DMT to enter the bloodstream and get to the brain it must pass through the digestive tract. The digestive tract contains mono amine oxidase (MAO), which rids the body of a chemical called tyramine. Tyramine is produced by decarboxylation of tyrosine, which is derived from proteins in some foods. Once in the blood stream, tyramine releases norepinephrine from the storage sites at the neuron synapses. This action is potentiated in people taking synthetic mono amine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI), as there will be a greater amount of norepinephrine present at the nerve ending due to MAO inhibition in the digestive tract. The tea also contains an MAOI. An excess of norepinephrine causes a hypertensive crisis to occur, a dangerous rise in blood pressure characterized by severe occipital and temporal headache, diaphoresis, mydriasis, and elevation of both systolic and diastolic blood pressures, neck stiffness, and neuromuscular excitation, generally occurring within two hours of ingestion of the food or drug. Although rare, heart failure or intracerebral hemorrhage can occur, which can lead to death.
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