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Setting an Intention

Most therapeutic practitioners of Ayahuasca recommend that travelers set an intention before experiencing Ayahuasca. But what does that mean, exactly? And why is intention important?

We view Ayahuasca as a healing medicine and not as a recreational drug. In order to benefit from its healing properties, we believe that you have to do some introspective homework and preparation.

What do you hope to achieve within the framework of your Ayahuasca journey? You need to be honest with yourself and face whatever part of your life needs healing. Whether it’s a problem with your immediate family or addiction or your skewed and counter-productive view of the world, in order to allow Ayahuasca to help you, you must first prepare for your journey.

We call this self-inspection “setting an intention.” Let the Mother Earth know where you are hurting so that she may help you to heal. You have to be open to receiving help before Ayahuasca can do its job.

Similarly, if the brew makes you purge, the purge can be viewed symbolically. What bad habits would like to be ridding yourself of? What unproductive thoughts can Ayahuasca unburden from you?

In addition to preparing yourself mentally, we also recommend preparing yourself physically by eating well for a few weeks before your trip. Stay away from junk food and fried food. Give your body a rest with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

We want you to get the most that you can out of your experience. Preparing mentally and physically will play a big role in this. Setting an intention long before you arrive in Peru will help your mind to focus on the task at hand. While you cannot prescribe your exact psychedelic experience, you certainly can help your mind to focus on what is important to you.

Come and visit us, and let us show you firsthand the healing properties of Ayahuasca. It’s the journey of a lifetime.

Contact Us

We can give you all kinds of information, and we urge you to contact us and let us answer your questions or address any concerns. Our email address is info@eastwestlodge.com . Your safety is our first priority.

Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Maybe you’ve heard of SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder and have some vague idea what it is. Let’s take a look at it and what you can do to cope with it.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is a type of depression brought on by changes in the seasons and more specifically, shortening of the day cycle and shortening the hours that you are exposed to sunlight. As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, some people, every year, start to exhibit signs of depression: difficulty focusing, feeling irritable, disruption of normal sleep patterns, or changes in appetite. These people feel unwell, but they can’t necessarily tell you why.

While the disorder is not well understood, there are higher rates of occurrence in areas far from the equator where the days are very short in winter. It is worth noting that since Peru is below the equator, the seasons are the reverse of what is typical in North America or Europe, and December is mid-summer for us in Iquitos.

How Can I Help Myself?

There are lots of things you can do to help yourself. The first thing is to recognize it if you have it and seek help if your symptoms are interfering with your normal life. If you are so depressed that you are not functioning well day to day or if you are contemplating suicide, then you need professional help fast.

If your symptoms are milder, then light therapy seems to help. There are a number of light devices available that simulate sunshine. All you have to do is sit in front of them for a prescribed amount per day. The good news is that these devices are very bright, so it’s easy to read by them or do other work or crafts nearby.

Another possibility is to take Vitamin D. Definitely discuss this with your family doctor, but if you aren’t getting enough sunshine, and you aren’t eating Vitamin D-fortified foods, then you may not be getting enough. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin normally formed in the skin when we’re in the sun. If there’s no sun, then you’re not getting it. And Vitamin D is important in all kinds of body functions from growth and metabolism to helping with your immunity. How much Vitamin D should you take? Well that’s debatable, so discuss it with your family doctor.

In fact, anything that helps depression in general will help Seasonal Affective Disorder like exercise, eating well, and good sleep hygiene.

If you’re having the winter blues, come and visit us in Peru, where the North American winter is our summer! There’s plenty of sunlight to be had down here.

Contact Us

We can give you all kinds of information, and we urge you to contact us and let us answer your questions or address any concerns. Our email address is info@eastwestlodge.com . Your safety is our first priority.

 

Does Ayahuasca Trigger Growth of New Brain Cells?

New research shows that certain alkaloids present in Ayahuasca can grow new hippocampal brain cells at least in a petri dish. This opens up tons of new avenues for further research and underlines what Ayahuasca proponents have been saying for years: Ayahuasca genuinely helps people.

The hippocampus in humans is responsible for a lot of serious things including short-term memory and learning. In Alzheimer’s Disease, the hippocampus has obvious damage. Also, people that suffer from depression tend to have a shrunken hippocampus. So, if Ayahuasca can help regenerate a damaged hippocampus, the implications in modern medicine are, well, nothing short of fantastic.

Interestingly enough, psilocybin in Magic Mushrooms also appears to have a similar effect. Research in 2013 showed that psilocybin—the psychedelic ingredient of Magic Mushrooms–also stimulated the growth of new brain cells. This research was on mice, however, so we have to wait for further research to see if this also will apply to humans.

For many years, the scientific party line was that nothing could create new brain cells known as neurogenesis. Now we are starting to see some studies showing this old dogma to be false. While these studies with psychogenic drugs are preliminary, the results are changing the way we view the brain and its plasticity.

The Beckley Foundation in conjunction with Dr. Jordi Riba at the Sant Pau Institute of Biomedical Research in Spain is continuing its research with Ayahuasca and DMT on different live animals to replicate the results and show results in living creatures. With some further experimental success, scientists would be looking for ways to apply this neurogenesis with spinal cord injuries, nerve/muscle diseases such as ALS or MS, and disorders such as addiction, PTSD, and depression. The future looks very bright for Ayahuasca research.

Contact Us

We can give you all kinds of information, and we urge you to contact us and let us answer your questions or address any concerns. Our email address is info@eastwestlodge.com . Your safety is our first priority.

Ayahuasca For Self-Improvement

Self-ImprovementAyahuasca is considered by many to be a tool for self-improvement. But why is this? What is it about the Ayahuasca experience that helps people in this way? Let’s look at the different reasons.

Location

You will likely find yourself in a totally different environment than the one you’re used to. Here, you won’t hear sounds of traffic or television or the beeping of your cell phone; you will hear the rustle of jungle foliage, birds in the trees, and the movement of the Amazon River.

If you’ve ever heard the expression, “a change is as good as a rest,” you will understand that just being here is therapeutic for many individuals. You can rid yourself of the normal worries and preoccupations and just concentrate on you.

DMT

Ayahuasca contains dimethyltryptamine, a powerful psychedelic drug, plus a monoamine oxidase inhibitor. These two drugs in combination actually light up your brain. They increase connectivity between different areas of the brain and induce a profound introspective state, allowing you to examine different feelings and preconceived notions without shame or remorse.

What a great opportunity to view yourself in a different and better light! In addition, as we mentioned in an earlier article, there is good evidence that DMT may help alleviate recalcitrant depression. So, if you’re suffering from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Ayahuasca may give you some insight and some relief.

The Shaman

Spending some time with an authentic indigenous shaman is also very therapeutic. The Ayahuasca is presented to you in a ceremony intended to help you feel more connected, not just to yourself, but to the mother earth. The shamanic influence is significant. A person doesn’t have to be religious to feel the healing message from the shaman. You will be part of a religious event that can deeply affect even the most skeptical visitor.

We deeply believe in what we do here, and we welcome people from all parts of the world. Come and visit us, and see for yourself. You will leave a changed and better, happier individual.

Contact Us

We can give you all kinds of information, and we urge you to contact us and let us answer your questions or address any concerns. Our email address is info@eastwestlodge.com . Your safety is our first priority.

The Role of the Shaman in the Ayahuasca Experience

Preparing for Ceremony

You have probably heard that a shaman usually plays a role in the Ayahuasca experience. But what exactly is the shaman’s role? Why is a shaman there at all? Let’s first define what a shaman is and look at the history of Ayahuasca.

What is a shaman?

A shaman is a religious or spiritual figure who is considered to have a connection with the spirit world for the purposes of healing others, doing good or harm, or foretelling the future. While the term was originally coined referring to the spiritual leader of an indigenous tribe in Siberia, in today’s world, shaman refers to the spiritual leader in any indigenous tribe anywhere. Depending on his or her tribe, the shaman may take on other roles as well, such as being responsible for certain valuable resources or being a highly-respected decision-maker.

In Peru, the Amazonian shamans that are schooled and skilled in the preparation and use of Ayahuasca are called Ayahuasqueros in Spanish.

Ayahuascan History

No one knows how long Ayahuasca has been around—at least hundreds if not thousands of years. What we do know is that Ayahuasca has always been part of a religious ceremony. Its consumption has always been part of a significant event and among indigenous people was never taken casually.

Authenticity

So, including a shaman in the Ayahuasca experience is a small step toward authenticity. We want our visitors feel the entire cultural and historical importance of Ayahuasca. We want the experience to be for you as significant as it is for indigenous people.

What You Can Expect

Our shaman is a highly-trained and compassionate individual who genuinely cares about the people participating in his ceremony. He will take a specific interest in you and direct his healing energy to address you and your problems personally.

During the ceremony, you may hear him pray or chant or sing, all of which are part of the process. The most important part is that you will feel the healing of a thousand years of tradition from his voice as he calls upon the spirit world and the earth mother to embrace you.

Contact Us

We can give you all kinds of information, and we urge you to contact us and let us answer your questions or address any concerns. Our email address is info@eastwestlodge.com . Your safety is our first priority.

What Is Holistic Healing?

In order to understand holistic healing, you have to first understand what is holistic medicine or holistic health. So, let’s first define holism.

Holism is the concept that something is not a collection of individual standalone parts but a collection of interrelated, interconnected, and interdependent parts. Practitioners of holistic medicine treat the whole patient, and not just one symptom that he or she presents with. They also examine how the patient is feeling and the emotional and spiritual self. Is he or she depressed? Alone? With or without hope?

In that context, holistic healing is the healing of all parts of the self, not just the one or ones that appear to be ailing. We believe that everything about you is related to everything else about you. So, we want to heal the parts of you that may have been neglected by other practitioners, namely, your spirit, your soul, and your emotional, social, and spiritual parts.

In the same way that traditional medicine can describe a patient as “circling the drain,” we believe that with holistic healing, a person can achieve the opposite of that or circling and spiraling up away from disaster and toward complete health and happiness.

While we believe that Ayahuasca can play a role in your holistic healing, we also believe that everything else we offer also plays a role. Quiet time in the jungle, being with a few like-minded individuals, and time with our Shaman all contribute to your overall healing process. We want our guests to feel that from the moment they put themselves in our hands, everything from the food you eat to the sounds you hear is part of this holistic event. Your journey is complimented by but not defined by a few hours of an Ayahuasca experience.

This is why we encourage easy walks in the jungle (on well-marked trails), free reign in our fruit garden, and we will soon be offering some traditional Chinese medicine. Everything about your stay with us is part of our holistic approach. We believe you can feel something special here that you have been missing. Come and visit our retreat, and you will see.

Contact Us

We can give you all kinds of information, and we urge you to contact us and let us answer your questions or address any concerns. Our email address is info@eastwestlodge.com . Your safety is our first priority.

 

How to Choose an Ayahuasca Retreat

Long before you make plans to visit an Ayahuasca retreat, you should give careful consideration to what you want at your retreat as well as what you hope to accomplish. Follow these few guidelines to help you make your choice.

Location

As we mentioned in a previous article, there are Ayahuasca retreats throughout South America in the Amazon basin. Location is definitely something you should consider.

Do you want to be in the jungle? On the seashore? On the plains? There are many things to consider before choosing your retreat. How many people will be experiencing Ayahuasca with you? How is the access to the retreat? What will it cost to both get there stay there?

What Is Your Intention?

Are you hoping to find relief from addiction, depression, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Is this strictly a journey toward self-enlightenment?

Different retreats cater to different types of guests. It’s a good idea to inquire whether a certain retreat has experience with different ailments. Do your homework, and, if possible, talk to people who have been to the retreat you are considering.

Amenities and Activities

Are you wanting to do specific activities? Our retreat is geared to introspection and holistic healing, and that’s what we concentrate on. Peru, however, is a fascinating country, and there are many things you can see or do, here, before or after your retreat.

Something else to consider is whether you want something all-inclusive. Do you want to immerse yourself in a real Ayahuasca retreat or just try Ayahuasca one evening during your stay?

Mosquito nets can be important in jungle locations. Does your intended retreat have them? (We do.)

Special Requirements

Do you have special dietary or other requirements, and can your intended retreat accommodate them? Will you need a translator, and, if so, will you have access to one?

The Shaman

How experienced is your Shaman? Is he or she indigenous? Will you have any alone time with the Shaman?

Confidentiality

One last point to consider is confidentiality. Is what happens during your retreat confidential?  For most people, the Ayahuasca experience is intense and intensely personal.

Contact Us

We can give you all kinds of information, and we urge you to contact us and let us answer your questions or address any concerns. Our email address is info@eastwestlodge.com . Your safety is our first priority.

Visiting Iquitos, Peru

iquitos peruIf you will be coming to our retreat for an Ayahuasca experience, then you may want to learn about Iquitos, near where we are located. We are located in the jungle beside the Amazon River about one to two hours by boat from Iquitos, but Iquitos is the largest city nearby.

Iquitos is a very unusual city. First, it is the largest city in the world that cannot be accessed by car. You can only get to Iquitos by plane or by boat. Second, Iquitos is a port city although it is 2000 miles from the Atlantic. Iquitos is called the Capital of the Peruvian Amazon.

The history of Iquitos is rich and varied. No one knows how old the city is, as it was inhabited only by indigenous people until about the 1750’s when Spanish Jesuits colonized it. So, in addition to the indigenous influences on modern-day culture, language, and art, Spain and Catholicism have also been major influences.

Now the city is a mixture of old and new, nature and civilization, and indigenous and foreign culture. There is a significant eco-friendly vibe there with several nature and animal preserves. Cornell University even has a field laboratory station there. There are lots of excursions available for hiking or fishing or just nature watching if that appeals to you.

You can stay in luxurious hotels or laid-back hostels. You can visit the crowded Belén market and see produce you have never seen before, go shopping or photograph the varied architecture. There is something for everyone in Iquitos. The landscape is so interesting, in fact, that several major movies were filmed there including Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo.

If you’re wondering what to buy, the Anaconda Craft Market is a good place to see local artisans and their crafts. Peru is known for alpaca yarn, textiles and woven goods. You can also find carved gourds, Andean dolls, and backpacks made of their signature brightly colored textiles.

The climate there is a typical equatorial climate that is warm all year round. The temperature may climb to 30 degrees Celsius in the summer but never falls much below 15 degrees Celsius in the winter. There is significant rain all year, but the heaviest rainfall is in December and January.

You will thoroughly enjoy Iquitos.

Contact Us

We can give you all kinds of information, and we urge you to contact us and let us answer your questions or address any concerns. Our email address is info@eastwestlodge.com . Your safety is our first priority.

Long-Term Preparation for Your Ayahuasca Journey

Ayahuasca JourneyIf you are considering traveling to South America for an Ayahuasca experience, then there are some long-term preparations that you should make. In this article, we will cover the main items to check off your checklist prior to your trip.

Medicine

As we mentioned in a previous article, Ayahuasca cannot be mixed with many prescription and non-prescription medications. This is because Ayahuasca contains both dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which is a serotonin analog, and also a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI.)

With some drugs, if you stop taking them for a few weeks or months before your trip—if that’s even possible—you can still have an Ayahuasca journey. So, it’s important to discuss this with us and with your family doctor prior to your trip.

Vaccinations

What vaccinations you may need depends on your destination and your country of origin, as different countries of origin have different recommendations.

Here are a few questions that will help you to prepare for the proper vaccinations. Will you be doing other kinds of tourism? How long will you be in South America? You can also browse the US and Canadian recommendations for vaccines for travelers.

Other Tourism

Aside from visiting the Ayahuasca retreat, maybe there are other things you would like to do or places you would like to visit. .

If you’re visiting us in Peru, then maybe you would like to visit Machu Picchu. If you’re traveling to Ecuador, maybe you’d like to visit the Galapagos Islands. If you’re going to Brazil, then maybe you want to see Iguazu Falls.

The location and geography of the areas you are planning to visit will play a role in what types of vaccines are needed. Activities you plan to do will also play a role. For example, if you will be in close contact with animals, like volunteering at a wildlife rescue, then you may need to be vaccinated against rabies. At the very minimum, make sure that your routine shots like tetanus are up-to-date.

Contact Us

We can give you all kinds of information, and we urge you to contact us and let us answer your questions or address any concerns. Our email address is info@eastwestlodge.com . Your safety is our first priority.

The History of Cupping

Cupping is a medical practice that has been around for thousands of years. There is evidence of the ancient Egyptians using it around 3000 B.C., traditional Iranian medicine mentions it, and cupping appears in the writings of Maimonides from around A.D. 1175. In traditional Chinese Medicine, cupping is supposed to help with the circulation of Qi or the life force in the body.

There are three different types of cupping: dry, wet, and fire.

Dry Cupping

Cupping is the use of some round cup-like object placed on soft skin areas where the cups can get a good seal and creating a vacuum between the skin and the object, drawing the skin away from the body. Originally dry cupping was performed with horn or bamboo, but today that is often replaced with glass or plastic.

Cups can be all different sizes depending of the body area being treated, and the specific treatment sought. The vacuum is created by heating the cup or the air in the cup or using a mechanical pump. As the air in the cup cools, a vacuum is formed and the skin is drawn into the cup.

Sometimes cups that have formed a vacuum are dragged across or around skin areas as part of the treatment called “sliding” or “moving” cupping.

Wet Cupping

Wet cupping is like dry cupping except that some small incisions are made on the surface of the skin before the cups are applied. The suction created then causes some bleeding.

Fire Cupping

In fire cupping, the air in the cup is heated by fire to create the suction.

Cupping is not considered painful, but it can leave round red marks on the area being treated. How long the marks remain depend on the type of cupping the patient undergoes.

Proponents of cupping believe that it not only helps the flow of Qi, but cupping is useful for treatment of pain and tissue adhesions. There is not a lot of current research on cupping, but we should never dismiss out-of-hand a treatment that has been used for thousands of years across many cultures.

Contact Us

We can give you all kinds of information, and we urge you to contact us and let us answer your questions or address any concerns. Our email address is info@eastwestlodge.com . Your safety is our first priority.

Book Online Now

Ready for your journey? Choose an option below to book your retreat.

4 Ayahuasca Ceremonies -7 Days - 8 Guests Maxs

Dates Price Places Book
August 4 - 10, 2018 $1880 Fully Booked

4 Ayahuasca Ceremonies - 6 Days - 8 Guests Maxs

Dates Price Places Book
July 22 - 27, 2018 $1880 Fully Booked
July 29 - August 3, 2018 $1880 Fully Booked
August 12 - 17, 2018 $1880 Fully Booked
August 19 - 24, 2018 $1880 Fully Booked
August 26 - 31, 2018 $1880 Fully Booked
September 2 - 7, 2018 $1880 Fully Booked
September 9 - 14, 2018 $1880 Fully Booked
September 16 - 21, 2018 $1880 Fully Booked

We also offer custom scheduling and personalized dietas!