Most people do not associate psychedelics with a luxury escape in Costa Rica. Thoughts of techno music, carpet-lined basements, or a flashback from their youth, typically spring to mind. Behold Retreats is changing this. It specialises in plant-medicine wellness services. In layman’s terms, you get high, all in the name of wellness.
It’s not as sketchy as you might think. It’s quite the opposite. Behold Retreats offer bespoke packages grounded in ancient wisdom and modern science. It’s a safe environment with qualified coaches and therapists who guide clients through what is often labelled a life-changing experience. In fact, John Hopkins School of Medicine found that 94 per cent of participants in a study examining the positive effects of psychedelics said the experience was amongst the top five most meaningful of their lives. Thirty-nine per cent said it was the single most meaningful experience.
The retreat is designed to elevate guests to peak wellbeing using plant-medicine such as ayahuasca (a special vine), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), or the San Pedro cactus (this one is pretty self-explanatory). Behold Retreats has locations in Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Peru, all countries where this practice is legal. Facilitators guide guests into a meditative and expanded state of consciousness, ensuring safety and comfort throughout the experience. In this immersive and highly supported context, they are granted unparalleled access to their subconscious mind.
Booking this type of retreat isn’t as simple as popping down to Flight Centre and walking out with an all-included trip to Bali. It’s a process which involves figuring out whether it’s right for the individual, creating a program tailored for their specific goals or dreams, and extensive medical and psychological screening. The retreat takes anywhere between 3 – 10 days and includes post-integration support once returned to daily life. Founder Jonathan de Potter says Behold Retreats is building and connecting communities.
“Behold Retreats is building communities of interest, and to connect with academia, partners, policymakers, psychiatrists, and therapists to begin conversations on if and how to introduce this important science in culturally appropriate ways,” Potter said.
These practices might seem left-of-field, but they are slowly trickling into the mainstream. Gwyneth Paltrow even approves. She and her Goop team travelled to Jamaica to experience a psilocybin retreat for her highly talked-about Netflix series, The Goop Lab.
They are also shown to be highly effective in the treatment of mental health issues like anxiety, depression, PTSD and a range of addictions. Psychiatrist and consultant for Goop Lab Will Siu says studies are showing “rates of sustained healing for mental health disorders never before seen in psychiatry.”
Plant medicine promotes neurogenesis, a process where new neurons are formed, and neural connections are made, enabling communication and reconciliation between parts of the brain that generally do not exchange information.
“We encourage people to do their own research on plant medicine, to ask themselves whether they may benefit, and to look within and be guided by professionals to make their own educated decision. For those who are ready to open the door to this inner exploration, Behold Retreats are here to start the conversation,” he finishes.
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