In the Netflix series The Goop Lab, Gwyneth Paltrow and her team travel to Jamaica to experience therapy using psilocybin, aka magic mushrooms.
Recent research about the entheogenic plant and its positive qualities has led to a rise in its use to treat mental health disorders. In fact, plant-based medicines have entered the mainstream, bolstered by science and heartfelt stories of transformation as well as legalisation and decriminalisation campaigns in both Europe and North America.
After attending an ayahuasca retreat in Peru years ago, Jonathan de Potter fully believes in this natural healing process, which led him to launch the Behold Retreats plant medicine programme, in partnership with wellness resorts in countries where it is legal to do so.
"We encourage people to do their own research regarding plant-based medicine and to ask themselves whether it might be beneficial. They should look within, and with the guidance of educated professionals as well, make their decision. For those who are ready to open the door to this world of inner exploration, Behold Retreats is here to start the conversation," said Bangkok-based de Potter.
Over the past decades, research on plant-based medicine has shown its effectiveness in treating anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a range of other addictions. It is believed that the treatment facilitates neurological healing at the root cause, which explains the sustained benefits.
"Roughly one in six people today suffer from mental health challenges that impact the quality of everyday life," he said.
"When you speak to mental healthcare practitioners, psychiatrists and therapists, they will generally agree that the legal tools available today are not effective enough. This is why the trend of mental health problem is still heading in the wrong direction. After 20 years of research from leading institutions like Harvard, John Hopkins University and Imperial College London, we can now confidently say that plant-based medicine is safe and effective.''
Psilocybin, ayahuasca and the San Pedro cactus are used in Behold Retreats' holistic programme.
Facilitators guide guests into a meditative and expanded state of consciousness, ensuring their safety and comfort throughout the experience. In this immersive and highly supported context, they are granted unparalleled access to their subconscious mind -- allowing them to navigate within and to receive salient, memorable insight.
On retreats in locations such as Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Peru, the bespoke programme includes education, preparation, the retreat itself, and post-integration support with a qualified coach or therapist. Guests will realise their full potential and upon their return home will be motivated to make improvements to the quality of their everyday life.
"Travel has been postponed by the Covid-19 pandemic. At the moment we are connecting clients with our therapists/coaches and when travel opens up again, we will be able to bring them on retreats," explained de Potter.
"In these challenging times, there is a huge demand for plant-based medicinal retreats, so our retreat centres will be quite busy once things are back to normal."
The former management consultant has also helped Thai banks and insurance companies with their digital strategies and transformation programmes. In February, he switched to the wellness industry in order to help people achieve better mental health through Behold Retreats.
"Behold" is a reference to the visions our guests who are undergoing treatment experience, de Potter explained, a time in which it is common to see or be shown the things in your life which require attention or are keeping you from achieving your full potential.
"To 'behold' something is to 'see or observe a thing or a person, especially a remarkable or impressive one'," he said.
"The significance of the term for us is to behold all things -- yourself, your family and friends, our natural world and the universe. We are all connected and trying to find peace, purpose and belonging in this world."
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