The Healing Power of Nature: Why Natural Settings Enhance the Benefits of Psychedelic Therapy
March 24, 2023
6 min read
Psychedelic therapy is gaining recognition as a promising approach to treating various mental health conditions. By using substances such as psilocybin, LSD, or ayahuasca in a controlled setting, people can experience profound shifts in perception and consciousness that can lead to lasting positive changes. However, the context in which these experiences occur plays a crucial role in their effectiveness. This article will explore the power of natural settings in psychedelic retreats and why they can be ideal environments for healing and personal growth.
The Healing Properties of Nature
Spending time in nature has been shown to have a range of benefits for mental and physical well-being. Studies have found that exposure to natural environments can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression and improve mood, attention, and cognitive function. The reasons for these effects are multifaceted and include factors such as the presence of green spaces, fresh air, sunlight, and the absence of noise and other urban stressors.
Many psychedelic retreats occur in natural and awe-inspiring settings, such as forests, jungles or mountains. Participants often spend several days or weeks immersed in these environments, engaging in various activities such as meditation, yoga, or group therapy. These retreats aim to create a supportive, nurturing atmosphere that facilitates healing, connection, and transformation.
The Role of Environment in Psychedelic Experiences and Psychedelic Therapy
During a psychedelic experience, you are highly suggestible to even the smallest of influences. Something like a shift in temperature or a change in the music can dramatically affect how you perceive and process the experience. For this reason, cultivating an intentional environment is crucial.
In natural settings, individuals may feel a greater sense of connection to the environment and a deeper appreciation for the beauty and complexity of nature. This can create a sense of wonder and awe that enhances the psychedelic experience and facilitates a deeper understanding of the self and the world.
Moreover, natural settings can provide a sense of safety and comfort essential for a positive psychedelic experience. A calm and peaceful environment can allow individuals to relax and let go of any fears or anxieties that may arise during the experience. This can facilitate a deeper exploration of the psyche and the resolution of emotional and psychological issues.
The Connection Between Nature and Spiritual Experience in Psychedelic Therapy
Nature has long been recognized as a powerful spiritual inspiration and a source of transcendence. Many spiritual traditions emphasize the importance of connecting with nature to access deeper levels of consciousness and understanding.
On their own, psychedelics can induce powerful mystical experiences. By dissolving the boundaries between the self and the environment, psychedelics can create a sense of oneness and interconnectedness often described in spiritual traditions.
In natural settings, the mysticism of psychedelic experiences can be even more pronounced. The beauty and majesty of the natural world can evoke feelings of reverence and awe that are difficult to achieve in other environments. The Earth is both our home and an extension of ourselves, and psychedelic experiences in nature can sear this relationship into your consciousness.
Psychedelic Therapy vs Psychedelic Retreats: The Future of Psychedelics
As psychedelics approach legalization both in Canada and the US, the right environment in which to experience these medicines is a continual debate.
In all clinical trials, participants have journeyed in offices. Warmly decorated and intentionally designed offices, of course, but offices nevertheless. No matter how significant the relationship to nature, four walls and a concrete floor still separate the journeyer from the outside world.
This is why, despite their typically higher price point, retreats possess significant advantages. Encapsulated within the jungles of Peru or the desert oases of Mexico, retreats facilitate a deeper relationship with the natural world that is more likely to promote a shift in how you treat it. You become more aware of nature’s preciousness, and it becomes more difficult to exploit it.
No one knows the future of psychedelic medicine. But given the power of psychedelics in nature, we hope that it includes more greenery, water, and earth.
We recognize that some of our work is based on the unceded lands of Indigenous peoples. We are grateful to be hosted on their territories. We acknowledge that the work of reconciliation with Indigenous Nations has a long road ahead and we are commited to doing our part in contributing to meaningful change, action, and personal growth.
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