Ayahuasca: Natural Cure For Alcoholism And Depression

Scientists have been trying to figure out ways to fight depression and alcoholism.

In Brazil, there is a study going on to check if Ayahuasca can exhibit therapeutic qualities or not. Ayahuasca is a type of tea which has shown positive effect on people who were battling alcoholic tendencies or depression.

Ayahuasca is not consumed like a tea or coffee but, a particular procedure is to be followed for drinking it. The process usually lasts for two hours where the hymns are recited along with purging sessions.

Scientists have been trying to find cures, some of which are radioactive or psychoactive in nature, for alcoholic tendencies and depression.

Study over the cure

The cure is being studied which is under the supervision of Brazil. Men and women are asked to drink the Ayahuasca to note the effect of the drink on them. A week after the experiment started, more than 50% of people experienced positive effect. And by the end of two weeks percentage grew higher.

The symptoms which get cured in the initial days are following:

  1. Difficulty in concentrating

  2. Sadness

  3. Having negative thoughts

The only side effect which this medicine has is that people vomit after drinking it. Nausea too, has been reported as another side effect. However, people had only positive response to it as they had the effect on for the next few weeks too.

Study around the world

Studies are being conducted to verify if the treatment is going to give promising results in future. The experiments have been conducted on rats and other animals, which hinted towards better future for people who want to get rid of their issues. The treatment can result in happiness and harmony around the world.

Not for everyone

The treatment is very much psychological. It can have effects on people only if they are willing to get rid of their problems. Although, the treatment seems promising in nature, yet there are many things which have not been verified yet. So only the future can divulge what will help the alcoholic and depressed.


(Huasca, Yagé, Brew, Daime, La Purga)




Ayahuasca is an entheogenic brew made from the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the Psychotria viridis leaf. It is used in traditional ceremonies among the indigenous tribes of Amazonia. P. virdris contains DMT, a powerful hallucinogen, and B. caapi contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which work synergistically with DMT to produce a long-lasting hallucinogenic experience.

Traditional ayahuasca healing ceremonies have recently become more popular amongst Westerners, leading to an increase in the appearance of ‘ayahuasca retreats’ where people far-removed from the traditional lifestyle can nevertheless attempt to receive the healing benefits of the sacred brew.

Various studies have shown that ayahuasca therapy may be effective in the treatment of depression and addiction, and as this ancient brew comes more into the limelight, we may see it become a widespread and accepted form of psychedelic therapy.



Summarized from Domínguez-Clavé, et al.[1] and McKenna.[2]

The use of ayahuasca is a widespread practice among indigenous tribes in the Amazon Basin. Such practices were almost certainly well established in pre-Columbian times, with some speculating that the practice goes back to the the earliest human inhabitants of the region. Ayahuasca, along with many other medicinal plants, gradually became integrated into the ethnomedical traditions of the mixed populations following European contact in the New World.

The use of this psychotropic tea is experiencing unprecedented expansion worldwide, and is the object of increasing biomedical research. These plants were central to indigenous cultures in the New World and were used in medicine, religious ceremonies and rites of passage. Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, small groups of indigenous people continued to use these plants in traditional ceremonies and other cultural practices.

Read more about indigenous ayahuasca practices.

These practices continued without external interference until more recent times, likely due to the relative isolation of many of these groups in the Amazon rainforest. In the 1980s, over 70 different names were recorded for ayahuasca preparations from disparate indigenous tribes, illustrating its widespread use by isolated groups. In Peru, knowledge of the brew has passed from the Amerindian shamans to vegetalistas (mestizo healers), who use it to diagnose and treat patients in the frontier cities of the Amazon.

In Brazil, the practice and use of ayahuasca has been blended with Christian and Afro-Brazilian religious beliefs, giving rise to the Santo Daime, the União do Vegetal, the Barquinha and other spiritual movements.[3] These new forms have contributed to the spread of ayahuasca use to mainstream South American society and greater awareness among other people outside of the continent.

While DMT is a schedule 1 drug in the United States, effectively banning it for all uses including medical and research purposes, several religious groups have litigated and won the right to use it in spiritual/religious practices.

Interest in Ayahuasca over time

Ayahuasca saw a surge in the number of related publications beginning in the late 1960s and 1970s with the psychedelic revolution. This was followed by a sharp decline, then a gradual increase in related-publications throughout the 1980s and 1990s. From the mid-2000s to today, we have seen an explosion in related publications.


Not unsurprisingly, Google search interest has followed a similar pattern since the mid-2000s, peaking in April of 2016.




Ayahuasca is brewed using two separate plants: B. capii and P. viridis. The B. capii plant contains the MAOIs that allow DMT to have its psychoactive effect; these MAOIs include harmine, tetrahydroharmine (THH), and harmaline, although other alkaloids are also present. The P. viridis plant contains the single major hallucinogenic alkaloid, DMT.[4]

The concentration of the alkaloids in brewed ayahuasca beverages is several times greater than the plants from which they are prepared. In a 200-mL dose, there is an average of 30 mg harmine, 10 mg THH and 25 mg DMT, though concentrations will vary based on the geographical region and preparation methods.

Receptor interactions

Ayahuasca likely alters serotonin activity in brain areas that have been implicated in introspection and emotional processing.[5]

The DMT in the brew interacts with serotonin receptors (specifically, the 5-HT2A subtype) that are the target of traditional drug therapies like SSRIs. 5-HT2A receptors are the main target for other psychedelics including LSD and psilocybin.

The MAOIs in ayahuasca mainly act to prevent the breakdown of DMT in the stomach; [6] although they may also have anti-addiction effects through their effects on the dopaminergic system. [7]

Drug interactions

Ayahuasca affects both serotonin and monoamine oxidase levels. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of antidepressants, should be avoided before a ceremony to avoid dangerous adverse reactions.[8]

The MAOIs found in the brew can cause severe reactions when combined with foods such as cheese, beer, wine, yogurt, coffee and chocolate and with amphetamine-like compounds such as ephedrine and MDMA. The best way to avoid side-effects associated with these substances is to fast for twelve or more hours before the ceremony.

These substances/medications should also be avoided before/during an ayahuasca ceremony:

  • antihypertensives (high blood pressure medicine)

  • appetite suppressants (diet pills)

  • medicine for asthma, bronchitis, or other breathing problems; antihistamines, medicines for colds, sinus problems, hay fever, or allergies (any drug containing dextromethorphan/DXM or with DM, DX or Tuss in its name.)

  • CNS (central nervous system) depressants (xanax, ativan, etc)

  • Vasodilators

  • Antipsychotics

  • Barbiturates

  • Alcohol

Ayahuascasaftey.org also lists many substances you should avoid or use caution with if you’re planning an ayahuasca trip.



Physiological effects

In one trial involving people who had previous experience with ayahuasca, who received 0.60-0.85 mg/kg, subjective experiences peaked between 1.5 and 2 hours after ingesting.[9] They reported perceptual hallucinations and rated their moods more positively. Blood concentrations of DMT peaked at about 1.5 hours after ingesting, which coincided with peak hallucinogenic experiences.

Diastolic blood pressure showed a significant increase at higher doses (0.85 mg/kg), while systolic blood pressure and heart rate increased moderately. Modified physical sensations and vomiting are reported relatively frequently as the most unpleasant physiological effects.

Psychological effects

A small control trial of 6 male participants with previous ayahuasca experience found that psychological effects were first noted 30–60 minutes after ingesting one of three doses (0.5, 0.75, and 1.0 mg/kg) and peaked between 60–120 minutes. All of the psychological effects resolved by 240 minutes (4 hours).[10]

Five out of the six reported a pleasant and enjoyable experience, while 1 reported a bad trip with disorientation and anxiety (mid-level dose, 0.75 mg/kg body weight).

The first effects reported by the volunteers were physical changes, including burning sensations in the stomach, tingling sensations, changes in perception of body temperature and skin sensitivity, and mild nausea. Hallucinations were typically intense and experienced suddenly. Most reported a degree of initial anxiety or fear, which faded in all but one case thereafter.

Visual hallucinations were experienced in all subjects and their intensity was dose-dependent. They did not persist throughout the entire experience, but usually came and went in waves. These effects ranged from increases in an object’s brightness and sharpness, or as vibrations in the visual field, to rapidly moving patterns, and scenes that were visible with eyes either closed or open at the medium and high doses.

Changes in auditory perception were also reported and were also dose-dependent. Volunteers reported enhanced hearing; i.e., they said that sounds became more clear and distinct.

Thought processes and cognition were also modified. The volunteers reported an enhanced rate of thinking which was generally focused on personal psychological content. They reported gaining new insight into personal concerns. Most also recalled personal memories related to recent personal matters.

Emotional reactions were intensified at higher doses. A common report was experiencing happiness, sadness, awe, amazement, sometimes simultaneously as contradictory feelings. At the medium and high doses, volunteers reported that the experience was similar to dreaming.

At the medium and high doses, transient changes in the sense of self and the passing of time were observed. A sense of bodily detachment was frequently reported at the high dose, while feelings of closeness to others, happiness, and euphoria were reported at the both the medium and high doses.

Read about Lorna Liana’s experience in an ayahuasca ceremony



Ayahuasca has been no exception to modern globalization. As the world grows more interconnected in unprecedented ways, it continues to be used in locations and contexts that are very different from the Amazonian tribal cultures in which it originated.

Kenneth Tupper (2009)[11] outlines some of the issues facing cultural practices in the face of growing popularity and globalization.

Some see “exotic” spiritual practices like ayahuasca as a replacement for the declining organized religions of the west, but they often only provide the appearance of authenticity compared to their familiar religious and spiritual practices. This has led to the perpetuation of the “noble-savage” stereotype whereby indigenous cultures are largely denigrated by Westerners, yet some select cultural practices are lauded.

One example is the so called neo-ayahuasqeuros — shamans who have very little or no connection to the indigenous cultures that practice ayahuasca ceremonies. While some adhere to traditional practices, a potentially lucrative market has attracted enough charlatans and hucksters (both non-indigenous and indigenous) to be cause for concern. Free market exchange for the purposes of monetary gain is often at odds with the traditional indigenous practices of the Amazon, introducing another layer of ethical complexity.

Another recent cause for concern related to charlatans masquerading as keepers of the tradition of ayahuasca are the reports of sexual predators pretending to be shamans. This is especially concerning given that the brew can be used to treat issues involving sexual trauma and/or sexual dysfunction and intimacy problems.

Biopiracy is an especially urgent concern of cultural appropriation with ayahuasca. Western pharmaceutical companies have recognized the biosphere as an important source of healing medicines and virtually never credited, let alone compensated, the people who have used these within the context of intergenerational traditional medicine. They’ve even gone so far as to seek out shamans who, unaware of companies’ real motivations, show them where these plant sources can be found and how they are prepared in order to gain “inside understanding” about the medicine.

Some point out, though, that the wisdom of the cultures of the Amazon basin will only be spread to all of humanity by bringing in outsiders. The force of globalization can’t be stopped at this point, and so ayahuasca and other traditional practices will continue to be spread across the planet. It’s up to us outsiders to ensure that it’s done in a more respectful manner than it has been in many cases to date.



Many lines of anecdotal evidence suggest that ayahuasca holds promise as a healing tool for disorders like addiction, several mental illnesses, and immune disorders.[12] One recent study of an ayahuasca ceremony in Canada found significant effects on the treatment of addictive behaviours.[13]

With appropriate supportive settings that include talk therapy and social network support, regular and long-term ayahuasca use may aid in lasting lifestyle changes, most notably with respect to substance abuse and addiction.

In a qualitative study surveying a group of people who joined the religious group UDV, who regularly use ayahuasca in their religious ceremonies, a large number of the members had histories of alcoholism, substance abuse, domestic violence, and other problem behaviors and lifestyles. These dysfunctional behaviors were virtually resolved after joining the UDV and attending regular ceremonies.

Ayahuasca may also help ameliorate serotonin deficiencies, which have been related to host of different disorders, including alcoholism to depression, autism, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and senile dementia. Some small studies (e.g., see reviewed in McKenna, 2004 [2]) suggest that long-term ayahuasca use can possibly increase serotonin availability in the body.

A recent study has become the first to analyse the antidepressant properties of ayahuasca in a controlled setting. 29 patients with severe depression were given either one session of ayahuasca or a placebo, then analysed for changes in their depression scores. One day immediately following the sessions, the ayahuasca group scored significantly lower on depression tests compared to the placebo group. After seven days, the placebo group had returned to a normal depression level, while the ayahuasca group were still on a much lower depression score.

It’s important to remember that if it does possess therapeutic value (which it almost certainly does), to obtain the most healing benefit possible one must take ayahuasca in a safe, therapeutic and supportive environment. Drinking the brew alone at home will most likely not help you out. We recommend considering an ayahuasca retreat, where you are surrounded by supportive people in a comfortable environment.

Other resources



The use of ayahuasca as a tool for enlightenment and spiritual growth among Westerners has surged in recent years alongside other psychedelics. Some claim that on any given night, hundreds of private ceremonies take place in New York City alone.[14]

Many who seek experiences of personal growth with ayahuasca report a sense of connectedness and compassion with others around them.[15] Some report spiritual awakenings that lead to long-term, stable perspective shifts. This is likely a result of achieving a level of particularly intense level introspection that leads to profound self-awareness and clarity regarding personal issues and belief systems.[16],[17] Dennis McKenna also cites ayahuasca’s ability to make users feel more interconnected with the natural world as one possible avenue by which the discussion around environmental conservation efforts can be elevated and expanded.[18]

Ayahuasca has also seen a surge in popularity among entrepreneurs and creatives that is beginning to penetrate mainstream culture. As one New Yorker article puts it, “If cocaine expressed and amplified the speedy, greedy ethos of the nineteen-eighties, ayahuasca reflects our present moment—what we might call the Age of Kale.” [19]

Tim Ferriss is also a vocal advocate of ayahuasca. After a particularly harrowing ayahuasca trip that included grand mal seizures and hyper-anxiety inducing hallucinations, Ferriss claims that “ninety per cent of the anger I had held onto for decades, since I was a kid, was just gone. Absent.” [20] He also claims that almost everyone of any influence in the startup industry uses ayahuasca at some point.

Ayahuasca retreat centers are opening up across the world, claiming to provide the ideal setting for self-improvement – although the high price tag and strict exclusivity of some retreats has raised concerns about the way this plant medicine is being incorporated into western culture.

Other resources



Ayahuasca’s legal status is complicated. Although it contains the internationally prohibited drug DMT, in many countries it is considered a sacred preparation and is not subject to the same prohibitions as DMT.

In the US, two religious groups (the UDV and Santo Daime) have been given approval to use ayahuasca as part of their healing ceremonies.

Ayahuasca is legal in Brazil and Peru, and these are the locations of most retreats. Its legal status in other countries is murky, and there are many cases of people being arrested for religious use.

See here for our full article on the worldwide legality of ayahuasca.



Can it be detected in a drug test?

DMT, the psychedelic compound in ayahuasca, is not included in a typical drug screen, nor is it included in any known extensive drug screens. It is also not chemically similar to substances that are typically tested for, so the likelihood of triggering a false positive for other drugs is near zero.

Will it make me sick?

Ayahuasca will often induce nausea or diarrhea in the early stages of the experience. This is why, traditionally, users will avoid eating or drinking for some time before the ceremony. It is considered a purification of the body and spirit, and a crucial part of the ceremony. There have been no reports of long-lasting harm from this aspect of the ceremony.

Do I have to travel to Peru for a ceremony/retreat?

Although traditional ayahuasca ceremonies are mostly found in Central and South America, there are many places you can find the brew. Various religious groups use ayahuasca in their gatherings. The UDV, for example, is a christian organisation that uses ayahuasca legally in its ceremonies.

Will I have a negative experience?

Ayahuasca contains an intense psychedelic drug, and you will almost certainly not have a gentle experience. However, taken in the right context and with the right mindset, most people report the experience to be extremely meaningful. Ayahuasca can help you view various painful aspects of your life, allowing you to see how they can be made better. This experience may not be pleasant, but it almost always result in healing.

Can I mix it with other drugs?

Ayahuasca should not be mixed with Tramadol, as it can lead to serotonin syndrome. Be cautious if mixing ayahuasca with cannabis, amphetamines or cocaine. Click here for a detailed chart of safe drug combinations.

Does ayahuasca produce tolerance?

Ayahuasca tolerance is very mild: you can take another dose within a day, without significantly reduced effects. It also does not produce tolerance to other psychedelics.

Can I microdose with ayahuasca?

There is not much information about ayahuasca microdosing, as microdosing is most commonly performed with LSD and psilocybin. However, as it contains DMT, a classic psychedelic in the same family as LSD and psilocybin, it can be microdosed in a similar way. Click here for more information about microdosing ayahuasca.



[1] Domínguez-Clavé, E., Soler, J., Elices, M., Pascual, J. C., Álvarez, E., de la Fuente Revenga, M., … Riba, J. (2016). Ayahuasca: Pharmacology, neuroscience and therapeutic potential. Brain Research Bulletin.

[2] McKenna, D. J. (2004). Clinical investigations of the therapeutic potential of ayahuasca: rationale and regulatory challenges. Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 102(2), 111–129.

[3] Labate B.C. & Goldstein I. (2009) Ayahuasca – from dangerous drug to national heritage. Intl. J. of Transpersonal Studies, 28(1), 53-64.

[4] McKenna, D. J. (2004). Clinical investigations of the therapeutic potential of ayahuasca: rationale and regulatory challenges. Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 102(2), 111–129.

[5] Riba, J., Romero, S., Grasa, E., Mena, E., Carrió, I., & Barbanoj, M. J. (2006). Increased frontal and paralimbic activation following ayahuasca, the pan-Amazonian inebriant. Psychopharmacology, 186(1), 93–98.

[6] Riba, J., Valle, M., Urbano, G., Yritia, M., Morte, A., & Barbanoj, M. J. (2003). Human pharmacology of ayahuasca: subjective and cardiovascular effects, monoamine metabolite excretion, and pharmacokinetics. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 306(1), 73–83.

[7] Brierley D.I. & Davidson C. (2012). Developments in harmine pharmacology. Prog. Neuro-Pharm. & Biol. Psychiatry, 39, 263-272.

[8] Callaway, J. C., & Grob, C. S. (1998). Ayahuasca preparations and serotonin reuptake inhibitors: a potential combination for severe adverse interactions. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 30(4), 367–369.

[9] Riba, J., Valle, M., Urbano, G., Yritia, M., Morte, A., & Barbanoj, M. J. (2003). Human pharmacology of ayahuasca: subjective and cardiovascular effects, monoamine metabolite excretion, and pharmacokinetics. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 306(1), 73–83.

[10] Riba, J., Rodríguez-Fornells, A., Urbano, G., Morte, A., Antonijoan, R., Montero, M., … Barbanoj, M. J. (2001). Subjective effects and tolerability of the South American psychoactive beverage Ayahuasca in healthy volunteers. Psychopharmacology154(1), 85–95.

[11] Tupper, K. W. (2009). Ayahuasca healing beyond the Amazon: The globalization of a traditional indigenous entheogenic practice. Global Networks9(1), 117–136.

[12] McKenna, D. J. (2004). Clinical investigations of the therapeutic potential of ayahuasca: rationale and regulatory challenges. Pharmacology & Therapeutics102(2), 111–129.

[13] Thomas et al. (2013). Ayahuasca-assisted therapy for addiction. Curr. Drug Abuse Rev, 6(1), 30-42.

[14] Yakowicz, W. (2015, October 16). Silicon Valley’s Best-Kept Productivity Secret: Psychedelic Drugs.

[15] LaVecchia, O. (2013, November 21). Ayahuasca Can Change Your Life — As Long as You’re Willing to Puke Your Guts Out.

[16] Editor, A. B. A. R., & Post, T. H. (400AD, 26:54). Shaman Explains How Ayahuasca Can Facilitate A Spiritual Awakening.

[17] Cohen, A. (2014, April 21). My Journey With a Life Altering Drug: Ayahuasca.

[18] Hill, D. (2016, July 30). Ayahuasca is changing global environmental consciousness. The Guardian.

[19] The Drug of Choice for the Age of Kale.

[20] Carson, B., Sep. 8, 2016, 26, 047, & 5. (n.d.). This Silicon Valley angel investor loves a drug that gave him hours of seizures.

What Exactly Is a Hormone Imbalance — and What’s a Girl to Do About It?

From the time we’re born, our hormones dictate our appetite, sleep patterns, how we respond to stress, our libido, whether we’re happy or anxious, and everything in between. Here’s what happens when they’re out of whack.

The term “hormone imbalance” is thrown around a lot by health professionals these days.

But what does it actually mean? It sounds so generic and all-encompassing that most women are overwhelmed by the prospect of even trying to understand this first piece of the puzzle.

How do we even know which hormones are imbalanced, much less what symptoms we should be looking for to figure out if our hormones are out of whack?

When most women under 40 hear the word “hormones,” it conjures up images of menopause, hot flashes, and mood swings.

The thing is, from the time we’re born (long before menopause), our hormones are dictating a plethora of bodily functions, like our appetite, sleep patterns, how we respond to stress, our libido, whether we’re happy or anxious, and everything in between.

This is why it’s so important for women of every age to have a basic grasp of how their hormones work. Otherwise, we’re simply feeling around in the dark for decades, trying to piece together an understanding of what the heck is going on in our bodies.

The hormones that usually become imbalanced first are cortisol and insulin — “stress” and “blood sugar” hormones, respectively.

I call these the “alpha hormones” because they have a downstream effect on our thyroid, ovarian, and sleep hormones. As in, they disrupt how thyroid hormones, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and melatonin work in the body.

OK, but what does this mean in terms of symptoms? Here are some of the first signs of a hormone imbalance to look out for:

  • You have trouble falling asleep or sleeping through the night.

  • You struggle to get out of bed, even after seven to nine hours of sleep.

  • You need caffeine just to get going in the morning.

  • You need more caffeine or sugar around 10 a.m. and then again in the midafternoon to keep you going.

  • You notice emotional PMS symptoms, like mood swings, angry outbursts, and energy crashes.

  • You get “hangry” more often than you care to admit!

If you experience one or more of these symptoms, you may have dysregulated cortisol, insulin, or both. So, what’s a hormonally imbalanced girl to do?

Make eating into a mindful practice

What you eat is just as important as when and how you eat.

In order to maintain what’s known as balanced blood sugar — which means you’re keeping your blood sugar in a rather straight line versus having big spikes and dips throughout the day — you should be eating every three to four hours.

Please don’t wait until you’re starving, have the shakes, feel like you’ll throw up, or faint. In addition, follow these rules at mealtime. Slooowww it down, girlfriend.

Sit down while eating (I know, I’m actually saying this), chew your food 20 to 30 times (I’m not kidding), and focus on something positive while eating. When you’re stressed out, your gut can’t easily absorb the nutrients you’re consuming, so it doesn’t matter how much broccoli you eat!

Cut back on the alcoholic beverages

I’ve often been told I’m the bearer of bad news, but I promise that laying off the liquor will be a game changer.

A glass of alcohol is like consuming a handful of sugary cookies, just via another delivery method. It immediately hits your bloodstream, sending your blood sugar levels on a roller-coaster ride.

Alcohol also raises estrogen levels, because it creates a whole lot of extra work for your liver, so it can’t effectively detox estrogen, which is one of its main jobs. This estrogen excess can trigger heavier, longer periods, breast pain, headaches, and raging PMS.

See the connection between what we eat and drink and our period problems?

Consider how caffeine is affecting you

When I talk to most women about caffeine, I usually hear something like, “I’ll do anything you want me to, but don’t make me give up coffee.”

I get it. Life is nuts, and most of us need to mainline caffeine just to get by. As I said above, though, this could be really problematic, especially if you experience anxiety on the regular, feel like you can’t get out of bed in the morning, have energy crashes in the day, or have trouble falling asleep at night.

If you’re not ready to ditch the joe, then just observe how you feel 30, 60, and 120 minutes after you’ve had coffee. If you’re wanting to call it quits, ease into it with half decaf and half regular, replace a cup a day with decaf, or experiment with matcha.

Life is full-on for so many of us these days, which is why I hope that you have a clearer picture of what a hormone imbalance actually looks like and how to start to reverse it. Hormones exist in a hierarchy, so it’s important to take a “top down” approach to addressing problems that arise from a hormone imbalance.

Hormones are also talking to each other all day long, so once you work on one hormone, the rest will start to fall in line. That’s the beauty of hormones. They’re working together to support you, always.

Testosterone and Depression: What You Don’t Know

Here's what you need to know...

  1. Doctors prescribe any one of a number of drugs to treat mental illnesses. The most effective drug, however, may actually be testosterone.

  2. Doctors are over-prescribing drugs to the point where they're even recommending antidepressants to combat normal mood variations.

  3. Numerous studies have shown that men with low testosterone are more prone to depression. Few doctors, though, do hormonal assessments on these patients.

  4. Hypogonadal men who are treated with testosterone experience great improvements in mood and depressive symptoms.

  5. Low levels of thyroid hormones can also cause depression, fatigue, and nervousness.

Primary care physicians and psychiatrists – partners in crime – try to treat or control a host of mental illnesses by prescribing from their huge artillery of magic pharmaceutical bullets.

Their patients, often misdiagnosed, supposedly suffer from a multitude of psychiatric/psychological conditions including bipolar illness (running the gamut from Bipolar I, Bipolar II to cyclothymic mood disorders), major depression, recurrent major depression (both mild and severe), anxiety, and more.

Oddly enough, nowhere among these magic bullets is testosterone. And in many cases, it may be the most powerful weapon of all against depression and related mental illnesses.

It's the Hormones!

As is the case with many medical/psychological puzzles, the answer to a large number of our mental health challenges is right in front of us. While some psychiatric disorders do have genetic, biochemical, or environmental origins, all too often clinicians look in the wrong places.

The answer to many mental health issues can be found in the human endocrine system where an elaborate and delicately balanced mix of hormones work in synergy to keep our bodies running smoothly. If this delicate balance is thrown out of kilter, for any of a myriad of reasons, your physical and emotional health will be in jeopardy.

Fortunately, physicians in some of our more sophisticated men's health clinics are now at the forefront of exciting new discoveries about the relationship of hormonal imbalances to a large number of mental illnesses, including depression, bipolar illness, and anxiety. Slowly but surely these discoveries are changing the way many physicians approach mental health challenges.

And, as the king of the androgen hormones, testosterone has a huge impact on our cognition and mental health.

The Relationship between Low T and Depression

Numerous clinical trials and studies have demonstrated that men with below normal testosterone levels are more prone to depression than the general population. For example, in a 2015 study of 200 men conducted by George Washington University's Center for Andrology, 56% of the participants presented with significant depressive symptoms.

Dr. Michael Irwig, M.D. said that more than half of the men who were referred because of borderline testosterone levels suffered from depression. In addition, nearly 90% of the patients suffered from erectile dysfunction, more than 40% reported sleep disturbances, and 27% told clinicians they had difficulty concentrating (1).

Furthermore, in 2014, researchers from the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry at St. Louis University reviewed 16 clinical trials that studied the relationship between low testosterone and depression. All the trials were double-blind with placebo controls (2).

Here are the salient points from the analysis of these clinical trials:

  • Testosterone has been effective in treating depression in males. The data demonstrates that testosterone had a positive effect on mood.

  • The impact of testosterone was greatest in men less than 60 years of age.(The study yielded uncertain results in the ability of testosterone to improve mood in older men.)

  • Men whose testosterone levels were normal prior to treatment were less likely to experience improved moods. However, those who registered low baseline testosterone levels before treatment showed significant improvement.

  • Testosterone works best in men with minor depression as well as those who suffer from cyclothymic depression, which is marked by less severe symptoms that last longer than typical depressive illnesses.

Incorrect Diagnoses, Bad Medicine

Unfortunately, despite these findings, psychiatrists are quick to prescribe anti-depressants to treat melancholia rather than take complete metabolic assessments. In fact, many psychiatrists and primary care providers rely solely on their patients' descriptions and history of their apparent depressive episodes.

As such, it's no surprise that every year the level of anti-depressant use increases dramatically. Consider that in 2010, a study of 5639 participants by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that in the previous two decades, antidepressant use in the U.S. increased 400%, with more than 10% of all Americans over the age of 12 taking anti-depressant medication.

Some experts believe that doctors are overreacting to the point that they prescribe anti-depressants to combat NORMAL mood variations. However, these same experts tend to overlook the influence that hormonal abnormalities contribute to depression.

The rampant rate of misdiagnoses is due, in part, because the information that researchers and scientists rely on is based on flawed or anecdotal data. Oftentimes, a drug that's intended to solve one medical problem seems to provide a better line of defense against another. For example, Klonopin (generic, clonazepam), developed by Roche as an anti-seizure medication, is prescribed more often for anxiety.

An addictive benzodiazepine-class drug, Klonopin does more harm than good if used inappropriately, and if the underlying cause of the patient's problem is hormonal rather than neurological, the medication will never work effectively.

Hypogonadism, Anxiety, and Depression: The Link

Hypogonadism is a condition that causes reduced testosterone levels as a result of impaired function in the gonads, and researchers have been aware of a link between hypogonadism and the onset of anxiety and depression for more than two decades.

A similar scenario of increased incidences of anxiety and depression is present in men who undergo androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer.

Conversely, clinicians have found that men with hypogonadism who are treated with testosterone replacement therapy experience great improvement in mood, amelioration of depressive symptoms, and reduced symptoms of depression.

Bipolar Disorder Linked to Hormonal Imbalances

The treatment of bipolar disorder, otherwise known as manic depression (to describe the wild swings between depressive mood and maniacal behavior) has long baffled psychiatrists, who generally prescribe a litany of mood stabilizers and other powerful medications in an often-fruitless effort to ameliorate this highly destructive illness.

Unfortunately, many of these medications cause numerous harmful side effects such as lethargy, weight gain, and cognitive dissonance. Again, doctors are often looking in the wrong area, as mounting evidence points to hormonal dysfunction as a contributing factor in the development of bipolar disorder.

While study results do not indict hormonal imbalances as the primary cause of bipolar illness, clinicians should note that out-of-kilter testosterone and estrogen levels can exacerbate the condition (3).

Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism and Mental Health Issues

The thyroid gland stores or secretes hormones that have an impact of the function of virtually every organ in our bodies. Triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) are the two primary hormones produced by the thyroid.

The hypothalamus and pituitary gland work in synergy to regulate the levels of these two hormones, and abnormalities in their levels lead to a number of cognitive issues that often mimic the symptoms of mental illnesses.

The two most common thyroid abnormalities are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism is characterized by reduced production of hormones while hyperthyroidism results in greater-than-normal hormonal production.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include depressed affect (slumped shoulders, frowning, negative attitude) and fatigue, along with symptoms like nervousness, hyperactivity, anxiety, and irritability. Unless a patient receives a comprehensive thyroid blood test, these symptoms can be misdiagnosed as the result of depression or anxiety.

Mental Illness: Ruling Out Hormonal Causes

Many patients who visit men's health-optimization clinics report symptoms of lethargy, fatigue, problems with cognition, and depression. A competent physician does not immediately assume that these symptoms are caused by low testosterone.

Instead, the doctor will take a complete medical history and then administer comprehensive testosterone level blood screenings. They will rule out other reasons for the physical and emotional symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment such as thyroid medications or TRT, either of which can possibly improve or eliminate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and reduced cognitive abilities.

Related:  The Complete Guide to T Replacement

Related:  Take This to Increase Testosterone by 24%


  1. GW Researchers Find that Men Referred for Borderline Testosterone Levels Have Higher Rates of Depression and Depressive Symptoms, GW School of Medicine & Health Sciences, July 1, 2015.

  2. Impact of exogenous testosterone on mood: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials, Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, 2014;26(1):19-32.

  3. Hormone Imbalance, Not Bipolar Disorder: Many people diagnosed BPD are NOT, but have hormonal dysregulation syndromes by Jay Goodman, M.D, Psychology Today (online), October 15, 2013.

Why You’re Waking Up at the Same Time Every Night

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, chronic sleep disorders are usually caused by a Yin-Yang imbalance resulting from disruption to the flow of energy in your body. This energy is called Qi and it is believed to be everywhere on Earth. When you’re in good physical condition, Qi is flowing freely through your body, but if you have health problems, there's probably a Qi blockage in a certain internal organ that may wake you up during the night.

We at Bright Side found out how our body works in the eyes of Chinese medical practitioners and what could be the reason why we're waking up at the same time every night.


The Chinese Organ Body Clock assumes that Qi circulates through the twelve principal meridians in your body related to certain internal organs. This cycle usually takes 24 hours while each of your body's systems are given 2 hours of Qi charge time.

At night Qi is drawn inward in order to recharge our bodies. So if your sleep is always disrupted at a particular time, there's probably an imbalance in one of your organ systems because the energy can’t pass through it, which makes you wake up.


During the early stages of sleep, our endocrine system rebalances itself and our blood vessels become more active. This means that any health problems associated with the immune system, thyroid, adrenal glands, or metabolism could keep you awake.

Difficulty with falling asleep during this time may also be a sign of excess stress and worry during the day. To improve the quality of your sleep at this stage, you can practice meditation, do bedtime yoga, or successive muscle tension and relaxation exercises.

Your gallbladder produces bile, which is needed for digestion and absorption to break down all the fat you’ve consumed during the day. Waking up during this time could mean that you probably have gall stones or that you need to adjust your fat intake and eat more healthy oils.

The gallbladder is also associated with emotional disappointment, poor self-esteem, bitterness, and resentment. So in order to get back to sleep, you should practice unconditional self-acceptance and forgiveness toward others.

During this time, your body cleans itself out, removing waste materials from blood and other tissues, that's why waking up at this part of the night could mean that your liver has too many toxins to deal with. To help it perform its functions properly, try to drink more pure water and cut down on alcohol and caffeine.

Waking up during this time could also mean that you’re full of negative emotions like anger, frustration, guilt, and rage which have to be resolved if you want to restore your sleep to normal.

Your lungs are the first organs that start filling with Qi by collecting oxygen and moving it to all the other systems in preparation for a new day. If you keep waking up during the period from 3:00 AM to 5:00 AM and have symptoms like cough, sneezing, or nasal congestion, this may indicate that you have excess mucus or a poor diet.

Lungs are also connected to the emotions of sadness and grief, so waking up at this time could be a sign that you need to let go of these feelings. In this case, doing some breathing exercises may help you sleep better.

During this time of the morning, the energy flow is concentrated in your large intestine that clears waste from your body. If there's an imbalance in this organ, you may experience constipation, weight gain, or even premature aging. To make your large intestine work properly and to regulate your sleep cycle, you should stretch your muscles, drink plenty of water, and use the bathroom after waking up.

This time is also associated with emotional blockages, the feeling of being stuck, defensive, or impatient about your life. So constant waking up may be a sign that you need to let go of all your emotional burdens.

And how often do you wake up in the middle of the night? Do you think that your meridian clock works properly? Share your opinions in the comments!

Preview photo credit depositphotos.comdepositphotos.com 
Illustrated by Ekaterina Gapanovich for BrightSide.me 




Many associate illness and disease with prescriptions and interventions such as surgery. Allopathic medicine and science have traveled a narrow path built on chemical substances and sharp instruments rather than energy.

But the ancients recognized sound, vibration, and frequency as powerful forces that influence life all the way down to the cellular level. The gifted Greek philosopher Pythagoras prescribed musicas medicine, asserting that the musical intervals he discovered are clear expressions of sacred geometry. He stated that music is the phenomena of numbers in time, reflecting the structures of nature, and has the power to restore balance in an organism.


Shamanic traditions are found everywhere on the globe — it is the ancient system of, in part, healers entering trance states on behalf of patients to gain knowledge and insight into a condition. The shaman returns from the trance journey with prescriptive measures to return the patient to health.

Ancient and modern shamans employ drums and singing to access trance states — tourists attending Native American “pow wows” observe drumming, dancing and singing — evidence of ancient shamanic practices. Researchers believe that repetitive shamanic drumming and singing open a pathway to the subconscious, bringing an opportunity for healing and integration.

Behavioral science is deconstructing shamanic methods to understand their value. This research is working its way to the intersection of science and spirituality, with ground-breaking discoveries in healing with frequency, tone, and music.


According to  a study published by the National Institute of Health, “Music effectively reduces anxiety for medical and surgical patients and often reduces surgical and chronic pain. [Also,] Providing music to caregivers may be a strategy to improve empathy, compassion, and care.” In other words, music is not only good for patients; it’s good for those who care for them.

A 2010 Finnish study observed that stroke patients who were given access to music as cognitive therapy had improved recovery. Other research has shown that patients suffering from loss of speech due to brain injury or stroke regain it more quickly by learning to sing before trying to speak. The phenomenon of music facilitating healing in the brain after a stroke is called the “Kenny Rogers Effect.”

For those struggling with addiction and substance dependencies, learning to play an instrument may play an important role in recovery. A study at the University of Wisconsin showed that exposure to the right music, tones, and frequencies produces dopamine, which is in short supply for the nervous system during the withdrawal process.

Singing bowl bathing is gaining popularity as a method to reduce stress and anxiety, and to promote well-being. Laying down with eyes closed, participants listen while different bowls are struck and toned by a practitioner.

Studies show that that this practice, called “sound bathing,” directly reduces anxiety and depression; both are related to increases in disease. According to one study, “Sixty-two women and men with an average age of 50 reported significantly less tension, anger, fatigue, and depressed mood after sound sessions. Tibetan singing bowl meditation may be a feasible low-cost low technology intervention for reducing feelings of tension, anxiety, and depression, and increasing spiritual well-being.”

study published in the Southern Medical Journal (2005) demonstrated the beneficial effects of music in hospital settings. Researchers reported that, “For children and adults, music effectively reduces anxiety and improves mood for medical and surgical patients, and for patients in intensive care units.” Researchers also noted that ambient music increased empathy in caregivers without interfering with the technical aspects of treatment.


In 1981, biologist Helene Grimal partnered with composer Fabien Maman to study the relationship of sound waves to living cells. Maman was also an acupuncturist, and had previously discovered that by using tuning forks and colored light on acupuncture points he could achieve equal and even greater results than he could with needles.

For 18 months, Grimal and Maman worked with the effects of 30-40 decibel sounds on human cells. With a camera mounted on a microscope, the researchers observed uterine cancer cells exposed to different acoustic instruments (guitar, gong, xylophone) as well as the human voice for 20-minute sessions.

Using the nine note Ionian Scale (C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D), Grimal and Maman observed that when exposed to sound, cancer cells lost structural integrity until they exploded at the 14-minute mark. Far more dramatic was the sound of a human voice — the cells were destroyed at the nine-minute mark. 

Next, Maman and Grimal worked with two women with breast cancer. For one month, the women devoted three-and-a-half-hours a day to “toning,” or singing the scale. One woman’s tumor became undetectable, meaning it simply disappeared. The other woman underwent surgery. Her surgeon reported that her tumor had shrunk dramatically and “dried up.” It was removed and the woman had a complete recovery and remission.

Maman said, “Cancer cells cannot maintain their structure when specific sound wave frequencies attack the cytoplasmic and nuclear membranes. When the vibratory rate increases, the cells cannot adapt or stabilized themselves and die by disintegrating and exploding.”


According to a paper published on the Institute of Noetic Science website, “Since its development as a therapy in Australia over 40,000 years ago, sound healing has been used  to aid in treatment of mental and physical illnesses and injuries, as well as to assist in the dying process. Though originally performed using only the yidaki, or didgeridoo, sound healing now involves a wide array of instruments (tuning forks, crystal bowls, drums, ultrasonic devices) as well as human and animal vocalizations.”

One elegant piece of sound healing technology was the inspiration of alternative health practitioner Lilly Whitehawk. Combining her observations of the beneficial effects of specific sound frequencies with her knowledge of quantum physics and physiology, Whitehawk envisioned a healing tool combining ancient knowledge and modern technology. Confirming Maman’s findings, Whitehawk observed that the human voice is the most effective for sound healing, followed by singing bowls and tuning forks.

Partnering with friend and client Larry Doochin, Whitehawk began the process of bringing her vision to life. “Larry had the faith in the project to go all in and help me make it happen,” she said. After working with a studio engineer, software, and hardware developers, the partners created the HUSO — a small box that delivers “uniquely enhanced human toning sounds” to the body via headphones and pads placed on acupuncture meridians.

Whitehawk believes that the body’s fascia, a network of fibrous tissue that wraps around organs and muscles, can carry toned frequencies throughout the body. The partners also discovered that digital recording technology eliminated essential subtle frequency ranges needed for optimal benefits and results, so they recorded in a “lossless” non-digital mode.

Their clients report improved general health and well-being, better sleep and mental focus, and enhanced performance. Parents of children with high sensitivity and ADD say that their children have better sleep and focus as well as enhanced self-regulation skills. “HUSO utilizes the scientific principles of resonance and entrainment to return an out of balance body system to health and harmony. It is non-invasive, safe, and effective,” Whitehawk said.

“The effect is similar to what happens when you experience authentic indigenous shamanic healing using sounds of chanting, toning, drums, rattles, whistles, flutes and bells. You are hearing the sounds, but also feeling the vibrations from those sounds in your body. These are very powerful transformative experiences. I have seen miraculous things occur that modern science would say are impossible. Yet they happen… again and again,” Whitehawk said.


Medsonix, a publicly held company, manufactures a medical device that delivers low-frequency sound to increase blood flow and decrease inflammation and pain. Non-invasive and drug free, the technology is used by health care providers for pain management.

Beginning at age 13, Donatella Moltisanti was plagued by excruciating menstrual pain leaving her bedridden for one full week out of each month. Things changed unexpectedly when Moltisanti began studying singing and music in her late teens. She noticed that she had less pain each month. Later she studied vocal techniques that brought additional healing to her body, and could be of benefit to others. Over time, Moltisanti learned to combine her vocal gifts with a healing discipline that includes crystal and singing bowls.

Researchers at McGill University have established that music calms children visiting potentially frightening pediatric emergency rooms. Another study notes that patients who listened to soothing music experienced less pain during insertion of intravenous (IV) tubing.

An article in “The British Journal of General Practice,” notes that music has a direct effect on pain levels. Responses to a questionnaire sent to a group of chronic pain patients showed that, “Those who listened to music more frequently had a higher quality of life, suggesting that music can lessen chronic pain.”


Quoting British physicist Colin McClare, Dr. Bruce Lipton said, “Information can be carried by chemistry, and information can be carried by vibration. The question is whether one is better than the other.” Lipton explains that chemical reactions transfer only about two percent of information — 98 percent dissipates as heat loss. Information transmitted by frequency and vibration (energy) passes nearly 100 percent of the information. Lipton added that chemical signals travel through fluid at a speed of about one foot per second; vibration, resonance and frequency (sound) travel at 186,000 miles per second.

The visionary Rudolf Steiner said that “Pure tones will be used for healing before the end of the [20th] century.” Indeed, that has happened, but there is much work to be done in identifying how specific sound and energy frequencies affect the body in specific ways. But with the number of studies underway today, it should not be long before sound therapy technology is embraced by mainstream medicine as a powerful complementary therapy.

Frankincense Has Been Proven to be a Psychoactive Antidepressant

Burning Frankincense in the form of incense has been a big part of religious and other cultural ceremonies for a millennium. The resin from the Boswellia tree also known as Frankincense or olibanum is believed to be an aroma that will help your soul reach spiritual exaltation.

Frankincense resin is mentioned in many different ancient texts including the old and new testament and is said to have mystical capabilities, a belief that has been carried forward to the spiritual practices of today.

Recently a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem did a study to see what the effects were of this age-old practice. They studied Frankincense to determine why it has psychoactive effects.


In order to conduct the study and observe the effects of Frankincense on the mind, the researchers administered a primary Boswellia resin incensole acetate to some mice. The team found that the ‘incensole acetate’ influences the areas of the brain which regulate emotions.

Specifically the insense activated the protein TRPV3 which is common in all mammal brains. This protein is already known to help play a role in our skins perception of warmth. The effect on the mind, however, has a strong anti-depressant and anxiolytic effect which can leave you feeling open and relaxed. Frankincense helps your mind to rest and simply perceive the world around it.

It may not be a coincidence at all that many religions and spiritual practices have you burn Frankincense incense. This could help participants induce a sense of calm observation and reflect on life while being able to plan for the future much simpler and less stressful. Going to the a ceremony with Frankincense would generally help people feel calmer and happier.

In the Middle East during ancient times Boswellia resin was considered a precious commodity that came in from the sub-Saharan regions on caravans. It is still a major export in modern days.

Ancient Greeks used the precious resin as an oblation to the ancient Egyptians. Frankincense was used to help people manifest the presence of various gods and as a sign of gratification. In Ancient Judea and modern times they also used frankincense as the center of their ceremonies. The resin is also using in many Christian churches as well. 

“In spite of information stemming from ancient texts, constituents of Bosweilla had not been investigated for psychoactivity,” said co-author of the study Raphael Mechoulam. “We found that incensole acetate, a Boswellia resin constituent, when tested in mice lowers anxiety and causes antidepressive-like behavior. Apparently, most present day worshipers assume that incense burning has only a symbolic meaning.”

Now in modern times frankincense is not only recognized for its spiritual role but as a practical form of treatment for people who suffer from depression and anxiety. According to the National Institutes of Health major depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for people between the ages of 15-44 which ends up being around 15 million people.

3 million people in the U.S. has a dysthymic disorder which is a less severe type of depression and over 40 million people report suffering from some form of severe anxiety. Depression and anxiety are linked and often overlap in many cases. In the end, it all seems to come down to a battle over trying to return to a balanced state of mental peace.

We need not jump straight to the side-effect-ridden drugs from the pharmaceutical companies which often times cause the same problems they treat. Instead, we can turn to mother earth and try natural items such as frankincense and add other tools such as yoga, meditation, and proper nutrition into our lives to help us return to a balanced state of health.

Our sense of smell is strongly linked to the limbic system in the brain which is where we regulate motivation and emotion. Anxiety and depression affect almost 60 million people in the US.  If used in moderation inhaling diffused incense is a moderate to low-risk and may be well worth it to those who suffer from their stressful conditions.  

Frankincense has been found to help our body in more ways than just mental health. It has also been shown to help as a remedy for nausea, chest coughs, fever, hypertension as well as a great way to keep harmful insects such as mosquitos away!


Incensole Acetate, an Incense Component, Elicits Psychoactivity by Activating TRPV3 Channels in the Brain.” The FASEB Journal. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2015.

Siddiqui, M. Z. “Boswellia Serrata, A Potential Antiinflammatory Agent: An Overview.” Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2015.

The Story of Frankincense.” MEI.edu. Middle East Institute, n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2015.

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. “Burning Incense Is Psychoactive: New Class Of Antidepressants Might Be Right Under Our Noses.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 May 2008.

Veterans Are Finding Peace From PTSD Through ‘Float Therapy’

Veterans across the U.S. are finding an extraordinary source of relief from their pain and PTSD thanks to floatation therapy, an alternative treatment for physical and emotional ailments.

’Floating’ consists of laying in a small pool filled with 10 inches of salt water containing roughly 1,000 pounds of magnesium sulfate – or as its more commonly known, Epsom salt. The high levels of salt counteract the effects of gravity, allowing the patient to float gently on top of the bed of water.


The water is heated to around 94.2 degrees Fahrenheit – about the same temperature as the human body – which creates the sensation of being suspended in air.

In the dark sound-free environment, the room, also known as a “sensory deprivation chamber” creates an atmosphere for meditation and deep contemplation, allowing the mind to enter the Theta state, which is the frequency at which the brain operates right before falling into deep sleep.

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By depriving patients of sensory information, the experience allows for a safe and therapeutic environment with which veterans can experience significant relaxation—maybe even process past trauma.

Air Force veteran Trey Hearn was so convinced of the benefits of sensory deprivation for veterans, that he and his brother opened up Float Brothers in Destin, Florida. He told Military 1, he sees it as a way for the veteran to feel secure and safe enough to approach the suppressed traumatic events during a sort of “internal counseling session with themselves.”

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33-year-old Wesley Hernandez is a veteran who has been undergoing flotation therapy since June in Nashville, Tennessee. He says that it has had a dramatic impact on his health.

“The last time I went, I didn’t even want to get out of the water; it’s an escape from the stress and the drama,” Wesley told Good News Network. “It’s like a deep meditation.”

This 2014 study shows that patients who underwent floatation therapy experienced reductions in blood pressure, stress, anxiety, and physical pain, as well as improvements in sleep quality and optimism.

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Wesley’s wife and caregiver Leah told GNN that it’s the best therapy they’ve found, so far.

“Of all the therapies gifted to us by the Wounded Warriors Project, floating has been the one that he seems to want to do over and over.”

The Science Behind Yoga and Stress

What does bending your body into yoga poses do to your brain chemistry and nerve connections?

There are two functional parts of the brain that play a key role in stress. These serve the functions of emotion and cognitive function. So I am calling them the ’emotional’ brain (amygdala and its connections and medial forebrain structures including the medial prefrontal cortex) and the ‘logical’ brain (the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, other parts of the prefrontal cortex, parts of the cingulate cortex and parts of the hippocampus).

The emotional brain is able to initiate a ‘stress response’ via the sympathetic nervous system which culminates in adrenaline and cortisol racing through our circulation.The logical brain is always trying to ‘turn-off’ this stress response and it is also trying to restrain the emotional brain. The stronger our logical brain, the better it becomes at doing these two things. When the stress response is ‘turned off’, our parasympathetic nervous system signal is ‘turned on’. This signal ‘relaxes’ the body. So a strong logical brain goes hand in hand with relaxation.

The stress response and ‘relaxing’ signals travel through the body along a particular route and parts of this route have little ‘switches’ which we can physically manipulate to turn the signals on or off. The neck is an example of where such switches are located (by the carotid arteries).

“Everytime we are holding a posture our logical brain is being activated”

“Everytime we are holding a posture our logical brain is being activated”

Training the stress circuit

Yoga is training this entire stress circuit at two levels. First, every time we are ‘holding’ a posture, staying very still to concentrate or trying to balance, our logical brain is being activated. When we are bending forwards, our ‘relaxation’ signal is being turned on through the ‘switches’ in the neck. So bending forwards and concentrating at the same time is triggering both the logical brain and the relaxation signal at the same time.

Bending backwards triggers the stress response signal through the switches in our neck. Contracting a muscle also triggers the stress response signal. So, when we bend backwards and contract our muscles while still having to stay still and concentrate on balancing, our logical brain is given an extra challenge. It has to overcome the stress response signal being triggered in these two ways before we can be still and concentrate during a posture. This ‘extra’ resistance the logical brain is having to work against, ‘trains’ it like a muscle.

Rewiring the nerve connections

At the end of a series of yoga postures, the logical brain has had a ‘workout’. It is buzzing with activity. You feel mentally calm as it is keeping your emotional brain quiet. Training the logical brain in this way for a long time can result in a rewiring of the nerve connections within the logical brain. New circuitry that enables you to find it easier to control your thoughts is formed. You may find it easier to channel your thoughts in the direction you want and not ‘dwell’ on negative thoughts or experiences. This is partly why yoga seems to have a positive effect on depression and anxiety, where sufferers have a tendency to dwell on negative life events. Stronger connections within the logical brain keeps the lid down on the emotional brain and the stress response. This is why yoga can be so effective at battling stress.

The key thing to do is to attempt yoga postures which are structured in a well-formulated sequence where each posture involves a long hold. Then your yoga and stress will begin to be balanced.

5 Healing Aromatherapy Recipes For The Exhausted Empath


We all know who an empath is! Their life is surely tiring and so full of emotions. And if you are empath who is involved in magic, energy healing, Reiki, massage, and aromatherapy; you are obviously someone who is working on a deeper level.

Being an empath will obviously affect you deeply. It will affect you so much that sometimes even you won’t be able to know the impact that it has on you.

So, here are five recipes for the overloaded empath that they can use and benefit from:

You can choose the oil that you want. It can be anything; coconut oil, jojoba, sesame, or any other gentle oil you prefer.

Research and check for your own skin sensitivities and allergies.

Mix oil with 1oz of carrier oil.

You can multiply recipe as needed.

1. Stress relief aromatherapy recipe

4-5 drops lavender essential oil

4-5 drops clary sage essential oil

4-5 drops petit grain sur fleurs essential oil

1 fluid oz of carrier oil

2. Protection aromatherapy recipe

4-5 drops patchouli essential oil

4-5 drops angelica essential oil

4-5 drops dragon’s blood essential oil

1 fluid oz of carrier oil

3. Grounding aromatherapy recipe

4-5 drops vetiver essential oil

4-5 drops frankincense essential oil

4-5 drops myrrh essential oil

1 fluid oz of carrier oil

4. Energy Vampires Be Gone recipe

3-4 drops lemongrass essential oil

3-4 drops cedarwood essential oil

3-4 drops lemon essential oil

3-4 drops peppermint essential oil

1 fluid oz of carrier oil

5. Energetic clearing blend 

4-5 drops Palo Santo essential oil

4-5 drops white sage essential oil

4-5 drops geranium essential oil

1 fluid oz of carrier oil

These recipes will make you feel so much better. You will surely come back to thank us. Share your experiences with these recipes in the comments section below.  

The Hippies Were Right: It's All about Vibrations, Man!


Why are some things conscious and others apparently not? Is a rat conscious? A bat? A cockroach? A bacterium? An electron?

These questions are all aspects of the ancient “mind-body problem,” which has resisted a generally satisfying conclusion for thousands of years.           

The mind-body problem enjoyed a major rebranding over the last two decades and is generally known now as the “hard problem” of consciousness (usually capitalized nowadays), after the New York University philosopher David Chalmers coined this term in a now classic 1995 paper and his 1996 book The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory.

Fast forward to the present era and we can ask ourselves now: Did the hippies actually solve this problem? My colleague Jonathan Schooler of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and I think they effectively did, with the radical intuition that it’s all about vibrations … man. Over the past decade, we have developed a “resonance theory of consciousness” that suggests that resonance—another word for synchronized vibrations—is at the heart of not only human consciousness but of physical reality more generally.

So how were the hippies right? Well, we agree that vibrations, resonance, are the key mechanism behind human consciousness, as well as animal consciousness more generally. And, as I’ll discuss below, that they are the basic mechanism for all physical interactions to occur.

All things in our universe are constantly in motion, vibrating. Even objects that appear to be stationary are in fact vibrating, oscillating, resonating, at various frequencies. Resonance is a type of motion, characterized by oscillation between two states. And ultimately all matter is just vibrations of various underlying fields.

An interesting phenomenon occurs when different vibrating things/processes come into proximity: they will often start, after a little time, to vibrate together at the same frequency. They “sync up,” sometimes in ways that can seem mysterious. This is described today as the phenomenon of spontaneous self-organization.

Examining this phenomenon leads to potentially deep insights about the nature of consciousness and about the universe more generally.


Stephen Strogatz provides various examples from physics, biology, chemistry and neuroscience to illustrate what he calls “sync” (synchrony) in his 2003 book also called Sync, including: 

  • Fireflies of certain species start flashing their little fires in sync in large gatherings of fireflies, in ways that can be difficult to explain under traditional approaches.

  • Large-scale neuron firing can occur in human brains at specific frequencies, with mammalian consciousness thought to be commonly associated with various kinds of neuronal synchrony.

  • Lasers are produced when photons of the same power and frequency are emitted together.

  • The moon’s rotation is exactly synced with its orbit around the Earth such that we always see the same face.

Resonance is a truly universal phenomenon and at the heart of what can sometimes seem like mysterious tendencies toward self-organization.

Pascal Fries, a German neurophysiologist with the Ernst Strüngmann Institute, has explored in his highly cited work over the last two decades the ways in which various electrical patterns, specifically, gamma, theta and beta waves, work together in the brain to produce the various types of human consciousness.

These names refer to the speed of electrical oscillations in the various brain regions, as measured by electrodes placed on the outside of the skull. Gamma waves are typically defined as about 30 to 90 cycles per second (hertz), theta as a 4- to 7-hz rhythm, and beta as 12.5 to 30 hz. These aren’t hard cutoffs—they’re rules of thumb—and they vary somewhat in different species.

So, theta and beta are significantly slower than gamma waves. But the three work together to produce, or at least facilitate (the exact relationship between electrical brain patterns and consciousness is still very much up for debate), various types of human consciousness.

Fries calls his concept “communication through coherence” or CTC. For Fries it’s all about neuronal synchronization. Synchronization, in terms of shared electrical oscillation rates, allows for smooth communication between neurons and groups of neurons. Without coherence (synchronization), inputs arrive at random phases of the neuron excitability cycle and are ineffective, or at least much less effective, in communication.

Our resonance theory of consciousness builds upon the work of Fries and many others, in a broader approach that can help to explain not only human and mammalian consciousness, but also consciousness more broadly. We also speculate metaphysically about the nature of consciousness as a more general phenomenon of all matter.


Based on the observed behavior of the entities that surround us, from electrons to atoms to molecules to bacteria to paramecia to mice, bats, rats, etc., all things may be viewed as at least a little conscious. This sounds strange at first blush, but “panpsychism”—the view that all matter has some associated consciousness—is an increasingly accepted position with respect to the nature of consciousness.

The panpsychist argues that consciousness (subjectivity) did not emerge; rather, it’s always associated with matter, and vice versa (they are two sides of the same coin), but mind as associated with most of the matter in our universe is generally very simple. An electron or an atom, for example, enjoy just a tiny amount of consciousness. But as matter “complexifies,” so mind complexifies, and vice versa.

Biological organisms have leveraged faster information exchange through various biophysical pathways, including electrical and electrochemical pathways. These faster information flows allow for more macro-scale levels of consciousness than would occur in similar-scale structures like boulders or a pile of sand, simply because there is significantly greater connectivity and thus more “going on” in biological structures than in a boulder or a pile of sand. Boulders and piles of sand only have thermal pathways with very limited bandwidth.

Boulders and piles of sand are “mere aggregates” or just collections of more rudimentary conscious entities (probably at the atomic or molecular level only), rather than combinations of micro-conscious entities that combine into a higher level macro-conscious entity, which is the hallmark of biological life.

Accordingly, the type of communication between resonating structures is key for consciousness to expand beyond the rudimentary type of consciousness that we expect to occur in more basic physical structures.

The central thesis of our approach is this: the particular linkages that allow for macro-consciousness to occur result from a shared resonance among many micro-conscious constituents. The speed of the resonant waves that are present is the limiting factor that determines the size of each conscious entity.  

As a shared resonance expands to more and more constituents, the particular conscious entity grows larger and more complex. So, the shared resonance in a human brain that achieves gamma synchrony, for example, includes a far larger number of neurons and neuronal connections than is the case for beta or theta rhythms alone.

It’s resonating structures all the way down—and up.

Our resonance theory of consciousness attempts to provide a unified framework that includes neuroscience and the study of human consciousness, but also more fundamental questions of neurobiology and biophysics. It gets to the heart of the differences that matter when it comes to consciousness and the evolution of physical systems.

It is all about vibrations, but it’s also about the type of vibrations and, most importantly, about shared vibrations.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it … man.

Turns out “sound healing” can be actually, well, healing


Los Angeles

“I heard a gong for the first time 15 or 16 years ago,” says Jamie Ford.

She’d heard a gong strike before, obviously—“I’d seen the Gong Show”—but this gong, in a 2000 kundalini yoga class, was the first one she’d ever heard.

“I heard it and I was just—I went to another place,” Ford tells Quartz. “I was calm. I could travel. Everything just expanded.”

At the time, Ford was a biologist studying the desert tortoise. The gong marked the start of a new career path, one that led to a room in LA’s Glassell Park neighborhood filled with crystals, tuning forks, and 12 brass-hued gongs the size of big-rig tires.

Ford, 39, is a sound healer and owner of the Sound Space. In 30 minutes her year-old studio, will fill with 10 strangers who will lie on the floor while the vibrations of her improvised gong concert wash over them. Ford also does private sessions. About 75% of the people who come to her are dealing with anxiety, stress, and depression.

Sound healing adherents say that listening to percussive instruments like gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, and tuning forks reduces stress and can place the listener in a meditative state. Practitioners offer their services as an alternative treatment for problems like anxiety, chronic pain, sleep disorders, and PTSD.

Sound healing is having a moment. There are sound healing Meetups in LA, London, and Chicago. More than 5,000 people are listed in the member directory of the Boulder, Colorado-based Sound Healers Association. The LA Times listed one of Ford’s sound baths in its annual holiday gift guide.

But are the benefits of sound therapy real? Or is this a particularly noisy form of quackery?

Planets versus peer review

Evidence of using sound, music, and chants to heal the sick dates back thousands of years to ancient Egyptians and Australia’s Aborigines.

Today, a Google search for “sound healing” yields websites with auto-play music and a lot of celestial-themed clip art. It’s not a regulated industry, though several associations offer correspondence certification courses with modules like ”The Sound of Love” and “How to Achieve Dominant Outward Radiation.”

The sound scene has a quintessentially LA, New Age-y vibe to it, a feeling bolstered by the fuzzy explanations practitioners offer for why, exactly, the clang of a gong has therapeutic effects on a human body.

Ford plays gongs whose makers claim to have specifically tuned them to the orbital properties of the planets. Some practitioners say the right sound unblocks or redirects energy in the body, similar to the claims of acupuncture. Others say the sound works in tandem with humans’ own vibrational frequencies, or that it rearranges the ions on cell membranes.

These claims don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny.

I spoke to Chris Kyriakakis, a professor of audio signal processing at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering. Among Kyriakakis’s areas of study is how the human brain translates sound waves into perceptible sounds.

“There’s no scientific published peer reviewed paper that supports any of these claims,” he said.

“These are all cool claims. It would be nice if some of them were true. But there’s no science whatsoever that supports any of these claims.”

OK, so sound healers’ theories about why their practices make people feel better don’t stack up. But science has looked at the question of whether people do in fact feel better after hearing certain sounds, and on this, there is some evidence.

Music is a known de-stressor. Scientists from the National Institutes of Health found that subjects who listened to classical music before a stressful event recovered from the stress faster than those who listened to rippling water or simply relaxed in quiet.

But producing sound, particularly the deep, resonant kind sound therapy works with, may be even more beneficial than passively listening to it. A 2012 study split 39 people caring for family members with dementia into two groups. One was tasked with listening to relaxing music for 12 minutes each day for eight weeks. The other used the same amount of time to practice kirtan kriya, a meditative form of yoga that involves chanting.

At the end of the study the group that listened to relaxing music felt good, with 31.2% reporting substantial improvement in depressive symptoms and 19% scoring higher on a mental health survey. But the chanting group felt better, with 65.2% reporting fewer depressive symptoms and 52% reporting better mental health scores.

The study sample is small. But lead author Helen Lavretsky, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA, told Quartz that sound has interesting implications for treating chronic stress and memory problems. Lavretsky is also a fan of sound healing, having experimented with gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, and chanting. (Ford sometimes has clients in private sessions chant as part of their therapy.)

One of sound healing’s biggest mainstream advocates was the late Mitchell Gaynor, an oncologist and clinical assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York and director of medical oncology at the school’s Center for Integrative Medicine. (Gaynor died in September.)

Gaynor encouraged sound therapy alongside conventional medicine, arguing that relaxed patients have lower stress hormones, stronger immune systems, and better tools to cope with the psychological and physical effects of their disease and treatment.

Gaynor was turned on to sound healing in the early 1990s, when a Tibetan patient gifted him a traditional singing bowl.

“If somebody had told me when I was a medical student in Dallas, Texas, that one day I would be teaching my patients to use singing bowls to heal themselves, I would have thought he or she was crazy,” Gaynor wrote in the 1999 book The Healing Power of Sound.

“Is it normal to have orgasms?”

There is no standard response to a sound bath, Ford explains as bathers arrive. Some people report expansive, consciousness-altering experiences. Some cry. Some fall asleep.

“One woman came up to me [after a session] and said, is it normal to have orgasms?” Ford says. “I was like, whoa. I should put that in my marketing materials.”

With this in mind, I find myself sizing up my fellow bathers as they come through the studio door. Fortunately, none of them look like the public-orgasm type, except maybe for the couple two pillows down giggling and kissing softly on a shared mat.

The poncho-clad gentleman next to me is busy arranging a set of crystals he brought from home into a very specific configuration on his mat. I try to start a conversation. He doesn’t want to talk about his crystals.

The friendly-looking blond woman on my other side is more talkative, explaining that she’s come to the session to drop off some emotional baggage. “I just want to get rid of stuff that doesn’t belong to me anymore,” she explains. “And if not, just to have a good time.”

Ford encourages us all to lie down and relax as the sound bath begins. Played together, the gongs create a surprisingly rich and complex sound that evokes the soundtrack of a 1970s sci-fi movie set in space. There’s incense burning. It’s a little trippy.

I close my eyes. My mind wanders. I replay a thing my kid did the other day, and suddenly there’s a childhood memory that hasn’t lit up my amygdala in decades—where did that come from?

I think about space. Then I have what feels like a very deep revelation about a small personal conundrum. Then I think about how my back hurts. After a while I curl up on my side and settle into a pleasant absence of any real thoughts at all, until the music stops and Ford gently instructs us to stretch and wake up.

I don’t feel as if I’ve traveled to a different astral plain, but I feel calm, a feeling that lasts as we bid goodbye and head out into LA traffic, fading slowly like the trailing echo of a gong.

Thyme Destroys Strep Throat, Flu Virus And Fights Respiratory Infections


Thyme is a member of the mint family and originates from the Mediterranean basin.

According to Christine Ruggeri, CHHC:

“The oldest Egyptian medical text, called Ebers Papyrus, dates back to 1550 B.C., and it records the healing values of thyme. The ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming, and the ancient Greeks used it in their baths and temples; they believed that it brought on feelings of courageousness.

In the European Middle Ages, thyme was placed beneath pillows to aid sleep and ward off nightmares; the herb was also laid on coffins during funerals because it was believed that it provided a safe passage to the next life.”

It has a rich, strong, herbaceous aroma, and the name is derived from the Greek word ‘thymos’ which means ‘to perfume.’

Mrs. Ruggeri adds:

“Because the thyme plant is grown in many environments, climates, and soils, there are over 300 varieties with different chemotypes. Although they all look the same, the chemical composition is different along with the corresponding health benefits. The chief constituents of thyme essential oil typically include alpha-thujone, alpha-pinene, camphene, beta-pinene, para-cymene, alpha-terpinene, linalool, borneol, beta-caryophyllene, thymol, and carvacrol. “

Depending on the location the plant grows in, these chemical components of the oil distilled from the plant vary. For beginners, Linalool ct. Thymus vulgaris is the best oil, since it is not harsh for the skin, and can be freely used by the elderly and children. Other popular oils are thymus vulgaris ct. thujanol, thymus vulgaris c.t carvacrol, and thymus vulgaris ct. thymol.

Here are some of the properties of the most common thyme chemotypes, explained in an article published in The Truth About Cancer website:

Thymus vulgaris ct thymol – Between 60-70 percent thymol, this chemotype has strong antiseptic properties. It has a high level of antioxidants, with strong anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits.

Thymus vulgaris ct linalool – One of the gentlest of thyme chemotypes, it commonly grows at high altitudes and has potent antifungal and anti-parasitic properties.

Thymus vulgaris ct carvacrol – Between 30-80 percent carvacrol (depending on when it is harvested), it also has potent anti-inflammatory, analgesic (pain relieving) and antioxidant properties.

Thymus vulgaris ct 1,8 cineole – Is 80-90 percent cineole, with an interesting array of benefits. It is a good expectorant (phlegm releaser), diuretic (increases the expulsion of urine), and analgesic properties.

Thymus vulgaris ct thujanol – About 50 percent thujanol, this chemotype is known to support the immune system. It is found mainly in the wild, known commonly as Sweet Thyme.

Thyme oil has powerful antibacterial antifungal, antiviral, diuretic, antiseptic, and antispasmodic properties, so it detoxifies the body, strengthens the immune system, destroys microbes, and supports the formation of white blood cells.

Thyme has a myriad of health benefits, as follows:

-- It boosts blood circulation to accelerate healing, improves memory and concentration, and raises blood pressure.

-- Its powerful antibacterial properties kill various bacteria, including staphylococcus, and purifies the air from Proteus, streptococcus, staphylococcus, and cryptococcal.

-- It fights respiratory infections, coughs, colds, and the flu, bronchitis, sore throats, catarrh, asthma, and laryngitis.

-- It is a powerful natural remedy in the case of psychological and physical weakness, as it revives the body and mind, so use it to treat chronic fatigue, depression, insomnia, and accelerate the recuperating after an illness.

-- Thyme essential oil boosts the secretion of mucus and relieves dry coughs

Furthermore, this amazing essential oil offers countless other medicinal properties, such as:

  • You can use it as a natural hand sanitizer, and in the form of a hot compress to soothe rheumatic pain, sciatica, sprains, muscular pains, sports injuries, and gout

  • Dilute it and apply it on the affected area to relieve Athlete’s foot, insect bites, and stings

  • To improve the health and appearance of the hair, use it on the hair as a hair tonic

  • Mix it with some other essential oil such as pine, lemon, lavender, rosemary, and grapefruit, and prevent skin irritations

  • It destroys nail fungus, candida, and vaginitis

  • It fights infections on the bladder and urinary tract

  • The regular consumption boosts the DHA amount (docosahexaenoic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid) in the brain, kidney, and cell membranes in heart

  • To treat alopecia, combine it with lavender, rosemary, and cedar wood in a jojoba and grape seed oils mixture, and massage the scalp daily

  • To treats acne and warts, you can use it as a face wash

  • Enjoy a bath with several drops of this oil to treat irregular or weak menstruation

  • Use 1% solution as an antibacterial spray for fresh produce

Source: www.organichomeremedies.com

Fasting for 72 Hours Can Regenerate The Entire Immune System


Anybody can cook, even if it’s only a fried egg – but not just anyone has the discipline to fast. This ancient practice of abstaining from eating for a day, or sometimes even a week or more has a history of curing a whole host of health problems, but even a brief fast can completely re-boot your immune system.

This practice isn’t without criticism by modern nutritionists and unbelievers, but research implies that when the body is hungry in short spurts, it can kick-start stem cells into producing new white blood cells.

White blood cells, also known as leukocytes, are the cells which the immune system uses to fight against foreign invaders like viruses and bad bacteria.

Scientists at the University of Southern California found that fasting could be particularly beneficial for people suffering from damaged immune systems, such as cancer patients on chemotherapy, or people with auto-immune disorders.

Intermittent fasting even triggers stem cells to regenerate!

Valter Longo has conducted a body of scientific research about fasting which is absolutely astounding, as well.

He published a fascinating paper in the Journal of Cell Biology based on work he did on yeast cells.  The results were considered so unlikely he almost didn’t get his paper published.  What Longo discovered was that when he starved a colony of yeast cells, about 95% of the cells would commit suicide, using the controlled death mechanism of apoptosis. They would disassemble their proteins, dissolve the cell membranes, and turn themselves into food for the remaining 5%.

Longo’s work suggests that if the fasting body is able to rejuvenate and multiply the bone marrow cells that are responsible for blood and immunity (hematopoietic stem cells), then it is obvious that the body could do this as well or better when it has plenty to eat.

Ancient Fasting Techniques

Moreover, in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is understood that our body’s metabolism and digestion are often under strain form the foods we put into our bodies on a daily basis.

For Buddhist monks in the Theravada tradition, all eating is confined to the morning hours, implying a daily fast of 16 hours, since they don’t consume food just before bed or while sleeping. The idea is that the body has plenty of time to process the food we put into it.

Sikhs often abstain from eating to heal the body and as a spiritual practice of rejuvenation.

We eat when we are stressed. We eat on the run, and we eat things that we know the body doesn’t really want. Other times we skip meals, causing a drop in our blood-glucose levels, or we eat bad food combinations. Our poor digestive system has barely had a chance to fully digest the last meal we’ve eaten before we put the next one in!

What Fast is Right for You?

There are few choices if you want to reboot your whole immune system with a brief fast.

Selective Fasting

Selective fasting means that you abstain from only certain foods or for certain hours of the day.

Water Fasting

In this fasting diet, you consume only water for a specified duration. It not only helps you to feel full, but also helps to cleanse toxins form the entire digestive tract as you abstain from food.

This might be one of the more difficult fasts to complete, because you are consuming zero calories, but it has hailed as a cure-all for chronic pain, arthritis, migraines, and more.

Intermittent Fasting 

Intermittent fasting is often confused with dieting, but it more closely resembles making a conscious decision to skip certain meals. You fast and then feast on purpose, (consuming only healthy foods). Intermittent fasting means that you eat your calories during a specific window of the day, and choosing not to eat food during the rest. This is similar to what the Theravada Monks practice.

Working Out on an Empty Stomach

You can also do a half-day fast and add a moderate workout. This combination of fasting and exercise maximizes the impact of cellular functions which break down fat and free up glycogen for energy-use. It forces your body to burn fat without eating up muscle. A word of caution, though. You might not have as much energy to do a hard-core workout as when you have eaten.

Caveat: fasting can be harmful. If you have any serious health conditions, and you’re seriously thinking of trying this, you should consult your doctor first.

This article (The Entire Immune System Can be Rebooted in Three Days by Doing This) is a free and open source and can be re-published anywhere with proper attribution to the author and Themindunleashed.com.

Healing Grief After a Breakup


Ten years ago, I sat isolated at home, stuck in depression after a breakup. I had experienced so many setbacks in life, and this one stopped me in my tracks. The relationship ended because they told me I wasn’t enough. Their words were really a reflection of a belief I had suppressed all my life. 

It was hard for me to express my vulnerability. I wasn’t showing anyone how sad I was, because I was never really taught how to deal with loss. I tried to avoid the sadness and isolated myself. I tried to drown out my feelings, but I just kept falling deeper into the hole. I felt broken, physically and emotionally.  

When I first arrived in yoga class, my heart was broken. I was overwhelmed with my critical thinking. I was comparing myself to others. I was judging my body. My mind was being cruel. I had taken those thoughts from past relationships, and they had become a running commentary that I was living with every day. 

In the compassionate space of my yoga mat space, I recognized my wounds and my patterns. But I also saw my resilience. I felt the hope to heal. I wanted to get better. I wanted to be kinder to myself. The emotions that I had been avoiding all moved through me, and I felt a powerful release that moved me to my core. I began to stretch my wounded areas, both physically and emotionally. And I chose to sit with my heart and love myself in that moment. 

I became a yoga teacher because I was deeply moved by this practice. I knew all those unresolved feelings that I had been running away from for decades were stuck in my body. I was holding so many issues in my tissues, and yoga was teaching me to heal. I immersed myself in learning from experts in grief and loss. I studied with David Kessler, William Worden, Elisabeth Kubler Ross, and Marianne Williamson. 

I wasn’t taught how to heal heartbreak in my life. I was taught how to avoid it and run away from it. But I saw, in my yoga classes, that if I surrendered to it and let it wash over me, I felt cleansed. I saw that the grief was there to help heal the pain.

This understanding inspired me to create Grief Yoga, using movement, yoga, breath work, and vocalization to transform grief into fuel for healing. By moving into the dark spaces that we avoid, that keep us in suffering, we can express and release the struggle.

One of the areas I witnessed where it’s easy to get stuck is anger. The body remembers all the resentments and hurt. When anger is not discharged, it can become a boiling teapot that eventually explodes, hurting others and ourselves. As a teacher, I want to hold a wounded heart with compassion, but also to help people learn how to consciously channel their anger as another avenue for healing. 

When I teach Grief Yoga workshops addressing breakups, divorce, or betrayal, I see that, when a relationship is over, we want to run away from the pain. But, if we go a little deeper and learn from it, the end of a relationship can offer amazing wisdom and lessons that can open us to developing deeper relationships in the future. We can become aware of relationship patterns that no longer serve us, or find healthy ways to release unresolved anger and resentments. But the only way out of the pain is to move through it, and to recognize that it’s okay to show vulnerability in the process.

Grief Yoga isn’t about physical flexibility; it’s about emotional liberation. It offers a compassionate space in which to express and release the struggles that hold us down, and to plant the seeds of a new belief, bringing us back to love. 

Find out about Paul Denniston's programs on healing grief.

Paul Denniston is a certified teacher in Hatha Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Laughter Yoga, and Let Your Yoga Dance®. He teaches has taught Grief Yoga for bereavement groups, cancer support centers, and addiction groups, and trained more than six thousand therapists, counselors and healthcare professionals around the world. griefyoga.com

The Science Behind Healing with Sound

In the realm of healing techniques, sound work inhabits a curious space: It has been used for thousands of years—think of overtone chanting from Central Asia, for example—yet, it’s also on the frontiers of modern neuroscience.

Sound work is “creating a frequency and vibration for someone that’s conducive for him or her to heal,” says Joshua Leeds, the author of The Power of Sound and an expert in the field of psychoacoustics, the study of the effects of sound on the human nervous system. “Sound healing is trending up. It’s like where yoga was 15 years ago. People are realizing that sound is a viable medium to address distress, enhance learning, even work with an autistic child.”

Much of the current work is based on the early ’70s research of biophysicist Gerald Oster. Oster showed that when a tone is played in one ear and a slightly different tone is played in the other ear, the difference causes the brain to create a third, internal tone, called a binaural beat. The theory is that this syncs the brain waves in both hemispheres, a process dubbed “brain-wave entrainment.”

“When the brain is in synchronicity, there’s more focus,” says Carol Moore, marketing director of Monroe Products, which makes Hemi-Sync verbal meditations and music that contain embedded binaural beats. For example, “Our sleep titles help drop you into the deep delta waves. Electrical activity in the brain gets slowed down.” Some of the products are designed to help people recover from a stroke or surgery, deal with chronic pain, or become more relaxed while undergoing chemotherapy. “You might envision the drugs as a love potion, rather than poison. It’s creating a state where you can say, ‘This is coming into my body to heal me, not to do damage to me,’ ” says Moore.

Brain-wave entrainment isn’t without its skeptics, but some research supports it. In 2008, the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine published a review of 20 studies of brain-wave entrainment and patient outcomes. The conclusion was that brain-wave entrainment is an effective tool to use on cognitive functioning deficits, stress, pain, headaches, and premenstrual syndrome.

The studies also suggest that sound work can help with behavioral problems. “Different brain-wave patterns affect emotions,” says Bill Harris, who created Holosync products. His system uses sounds like rain and crystal bowls—there’s no beat or melody—with a pulsing tone underneath. He also uses custom affirmations, which people record in their own voices. “You’re practicing going into a brain-wave pattern. It causes the brain to organize at a more complex level. It takes what you can handle emotionally and intellectually and pushes it higher,” says Harris. “I’m not claiming this cures cancer. But it does have a profound effect on people’s physical health. A lot of people come to us for chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis, things that are exacerbated by stress.”

Sound can increase immunity and treat insomnia, according to Jamie Bechtold, a Los Angeles-based sound healer. “Most people come to me for stress and anxiety,” she says. For woes like pulled muscles, colds, and headaches, Bechtold uses tuning forks on acupuncture points. “I’ve seen back muscles that are spasming completely relax using this vibration.” Bechtold also combines gong performances with yoga classes. “Recorded music is fine, but with live music you can feel it. The floor is vibrating. The sound waves are bouncing all over the place.”

Jeffrey Thompson, founder of the Center for Neuroacoustic Research, says different frequencies target the various densities in the body. He uses a vibroacoustic sound therapy table. “As the frequencies slow down, from 500 to 400 hertz (a hertz is one cycle per second), you feel it more in your muscles, then your joints, then in your bones. We can give a vibrational massage, down all the way to your cells. I can do cranial work with sound, work on organs. You’re finding frequencies to elevate the body’s cells to a super-healing state, rebuilding more tissue,” Thompson says.

“There’s more on sound science than ever before,” says Leeds. “We know what is happening molecularly.” In the future, he says, “What we think of as sound healing will be called frequency medicine.”

These Are the Metaphysical Meanings of Specific Physical Pains.


Our body is a mystic source and perfect exemplar of the divine connection between the spiritual, the physical and the source of the universe and all beings. However, most of us know nothing about the secrets of our body and how the universe sends us a message throughout this medium.

In this article, we will make an interesting summary about the different types of pain on different locations in our body and what they truly mean.



Hips represent decisions in Life, especially decisions about moving forward. Pain in the hips is a sign of being ‘stuck’, unable to make a decision or see clearly what is needed to be done next.


Thighs are the link between the Hips & decisions, and the Knees & pride. You need to learn how to be more decisive and self-confident.


Knees represent Pride. In spiritual practice, it is suggested that one must go down before one can rise up, as Jesus did before John the Baptist, before taking up his own ministry. Ego is considered to be the first sin and a heavy burden for all who decide to play that ‘card’.


The Shins represent another weak link. Although the Shins are mostly bone, the hardest substance in the body, the Shins are actually quite sensitive and brittle. A slight whack on the Shins is not only painful, it weakens the entire body and stops it cold.


Ankles represent flexibility, which is important as one navigates the twists and turns of Life. Stiff, painful ankles mean that change is difficult for you.


Our feet represent our connection with Mother Earth. Sore, swollen, numb or painful feet represent the state of our relationship with our Mother. Mother Earth, and our base energies.


Pains in the throat are closely connected with the throat chakra. This kind of pain indicates that you may have some issues in establishing normal bonding with other people. Also, it is a sign that you need to improve the way you communicate with others.


The chest area represents the Feminine principal of nurturing and nourishing the connection with the ‘breath of Life’ as it flows through the Lungs. In men, pain or discomfort, not associated with any organ or vessel represents a disconnection from the Feminine Principle. In Chinese Medicine, the front is considered Yin. The chest is the confluence of the three most important kinds of Qi, that nourish the body; Zhong Qi, from the Lungs, Jing Qi, from the Spleen, and Yuan Qi from the Kidneys.


We are back to the ego! Actually, the solar plexus is the ‘keeper’ of the essence of our pride and negative ego. Pain or discomfort in the Diaphragm area represents unresolved conflicts. In Chinese Medicine, pain in this area indicates Liver Qi Stagnation, usually associated with Anger.


Of course, if you have issues with your stomach you are having some kind of digestive problem, but in the metaphysical meanings, it means that you are afraid to accept and adapt to changes, especially those who are radical and truly meaningful to you. Try to grow as a person and accept the changes- try to become the best version of yourself.



The top of the head is associated with our connection to the Universe or God. Pain here is associated with separation from that higher power.


The forehead is associated with the 3rd eye, both in Chakra Theory and Traditional Chinese Medical theory. The 3rd eye is associated with introspection and illumination of your own Inner Being. Pain here is associated with separation from your own Inner Being. Try to connect better with your inner-self, try to listen to your subconsciousness and try to truly acknowledge your own being and existence in this world.



The Spine Represents the support you think you have in Life and your alignment with those supportive forces. Curved spine or Scoliosis represents a misalignment with Life. Spasms represent an unwillingness to accept the support that is there.


Shoulders represent burdens and responsibilities. Frozen Shoulder, for example, represents a complete unwillingness to shoulder your responsibilities in Life, especially your own Life.


The mid back is the link between the shoulder and the lower back. It can be a weak link. As we firm up our shoulders and become willing to take on the responsibilities of Life, and we have gathered around us the financial and emotional support we need (lower back), something sneaks up and stabs us in the back.


The Lower Back represents support; financial support, emotional support of family and friends, and support of God or the Universe. The Kidneys are located in this area and Kidney dysfunction results in Fear/Fright/Phobias.

Source: The Limitless Minds

Featured Image Credit: Pinterest

Japan Constructed the World’s Most Incredible Sound Garden

Nature itself has beautiful sounds. When the wind blows the trees make beautiful sound. When heavy rain drips through the leaves they make an amazing sound. Just like a wild orchestra.

Now, when a tree falls in a Forrest does it make a sound? What if you use those trees to make a giant, 50-yard long xylophone. Do you think it makes a sound? It certainly does, and that sound is astounding!

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In 2012, when a Japanese company put the latest touch phone on the market, Morihiro Harano and his teammates decided to abstain from the technological addiction associated with such spots and take an organic approach, instead emphasizing the phone’s wooden backplate. A strange design may seem like an odd thing to emphasize, but it was necessary for the project.

Working together with carpenter Mitsuo Tsuda, sound engineer Kenjiro Matsuo, and on-site carpenter, the team created a huge xylophone elevated from the forest floor.

This reticular xylophone was not tangled and complicated, but rather a simple, straight line.

Then, they placed a small rubber ball at the top of the xylophone and let it free fall down, slowly plunking across the shady groves.

Note by note, the ball plunked out Bach’s famous Cantana 147, instrumental subtleties and tempos intact.

In the middle of the silence in the forest, the wooden symphony was composed by this beautiful creation.

There was little room for mistake – one misplaced sound could distort the entire Cantana’s tempo off – making the construction of the instrument extra difficult.

The exact day the commercial was filmed, a massive earthquake hit Japan. When the commercial was on thereafter, the xylophone’s peaceful melody provided a calming experience for the nationally-felt trauma – and more importantly, a message everyone needed to hear. A message of hope and rebuilding, of nature’s indestructible ability to survive, carry on and stay beautiful. The advertisement went viral, and eventually aired on television (check it out below).

Today, the forest xylophone has found its new home at the Daisetsu Mori-no Garden, the primary venue of Japan’s famous Hokkaido Garden Show.

Visitors to the forest can buy a rubber ball from a vending machine and become conductors, proceeding one after the other to continue the vernal symphony.

Because wet boards can rot and deteriorate, the xylophone “rests” on rainy days, but at any other time, the forests of Japan are alive with the sound of music – and while the tune may be Bach’s, the music ultimately owes its magic to the spirit of nature.

Science Behind Smudging

Understanding All of the Benefits of this Ancient Tradition

Using the smoke from sacred fires, or burning herbs or incense as a purification ceremony or ritual has been a common practice amongst many traditions throughout the ages. The smoke of medicinal plants and natural substances has been used extensively in many cultures for cleansing and healing. The most common smoke-purification ritual used in Native American tradition is a technique called smudging. It is seen as a bridge to the higher realms; a way to clear spiritual and emotional negativity that has built up in a space or a person. Smudging is often done before a ceremony or special gathering, or even after an argument to clear the air. Although the spiritual benefits of these practices might be viewed with scepticism, the health benefits are proven. As it turns out, this ancient practice literally does clear the air, as burning sage and other herbs neutralises positive charge and releases negative ions, and has antiseptic, bacteria-killing properties.

Exploring the Science

In 2006, a scientific paper titled Medicinal Smokes was published. The research reviewed information from 50 countries over 5 continents and found that, dating back to ancient times, smoke administered medicinally is typically used to aid lung, brain and skin function. In addition, it was found that the passive fumes doubled as an air purifier. A follow-up paper examining the air purifying potentials of smoke-based remedies was published in 2007, in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. It concluded that, in addition to health benefits, smudging was a powerful antiseptic.

The researchers observed that a one-hour treatment of medicinal smoke (Havana Sámagri) in a closed room reduced airborne bacterial counts by over ninety-four percent. In India, most rituals include a sacred fire to which medicinal herbs and other materials are added as an offering. Havana sámagri is a mixture of wood and odoriferous and medicinal herbs burnt in the fire, accompanied by the chanting of Vedic mantras. For thousands of years, the rishis (saints) performed ceremonies or yagnas to purify the environment. The medicinal smoke, together with the vibrations that the mantras produce, creates positive effects in the surrounding atmosphere.

Smudging is traditionally used as a way to clear spiritual and emotional negativity.

Smudging is traditionally used as a way to clear spiritual and emotional negativity.

This research has shown that the smoke from a variety of herbs is highly effective in reducing airborne bacteriaThe smoke’s ability to purify and disinfect the air was maintained up to twenty-four hours. Many of the pathogenic bacteria had not returned to the same room, even after 30 days.

Absence of pathogenic bacteria Corynebacterium urealyticum, Curtobacterium flaccumfaciens, Enterobacter aerogenes (Klebsiella mobilis), Kocuria rosea, Pseudomonas syringae pv. persicae, Staphylococcus lentus, and Xanthomonas campestris pv. tardicrescens in the open room even after 30 days is indicative of the bactericidal potential of the medicinal smoke treatment. We have demonstrated that using medicinal smoke it is possible to completely eliminate diverse plant and human pathogenic bacteria of the air within confined space.

Furthermore, these studies showed that:

the advantages of smoke-based remedies are rapid delivery to the brain, more efficient absorption by the body and lower costs of production. This review highlights the fact that not enough is known about medicinal smoke and that a lot of natural products have potential for use as medicine in the smoke form. This review argues in favour of extended use of medicinal smoke in modern medicine as a form of drug delivery and as a promising source of new active natural ingredients.

Smudging Traditions across Different Cultures

In traditional Indigenous Australian society, healers used leaves or bark from various plants in smoking ceremonies.

The leaves of the emu bush in particular were placed on hot embers for traditional therapeutic use. The resultant wet steamy smoke possibly inhibited bacterial or fungal pathogens, as well as providing a stimulus for milk let-down in women after childbirth.

The smoke of Imphepo, or African Sage, is used in southern Africa in indigenous traditional medicine. It has many uses; to invoke trance states, cleanse energy and as an offering when praying. The plant is also used as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, as a headache remedy and a natural insect repellent.

The Egyptians, Greeks, and numerous other cultures used frankincense and myrrh as a part of their religious ceremonies. The Catholic Church burns frankincense to purify and sanctify, and the smoke symbolises prayers rising to heaven. Today frankincense grows almost exclusively in Oman. The smoke is a powerful air purifier and insect deterrent and serves as a prophylactic to prevent the bites of malaria-carrying mosquitoes, common in the coastal regions. The granules of frankincense, the smoke, and frankincense dissolved in water, are all used to treat a variety of ailments such as indigestion, bronchitis, hypertension, depression, insomnia and post-childbirth recovery.

The Neural and Physiological Effects

In 2008, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology published a study that describes how burning frankincense (resin from the Boswellia plant) activates poorly understood ion channels in the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression.[1] Raphael Mechoulam, one of the research study’s co-authors, states:

We found that incensole acetate, a Boswellia resin constituent, 

The Catholic Church has burned frankincense, to purify and sanctify, for centuries.

The Catholic Church has burned frankincense, to purify and sanctify, for centuries.

They also found that incensole acetate activated a protein called TRPV3, which is present in mammalian brains and also known to play a role in the perception of warmth of the skin. When mice bred without this protein were exposed to incensole acetate, the compound had no effect on their brains. Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal says:

Studies of how those psychoactive drugs work have helped us understand modern neurobiology. The discovery of how incensole acetate, purified from frankincense, works on specific targets in the brain should also help us understand diseases of the nervous system. This study also provides a biological explanation for millennia-old spiritual practices that have persisted across time, distance, culture, language, and religion – burning incense really does make you feel warm and tingly all over!

Moxibustion is yet another traditional therapy in which dried plant materials are burned, and has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years. Moxa is usually made from the dried Chinese mugwort (artemesia vulgaris). Research has shown that it acts as an agent that increases blood circulation to the pelvic area and uterus, and moxibustion has successfully been used to turn breech babies into a normal head-down position prior to childbirth. It is used on or very near the surface of the skin. The intention is to warm and invigorate the flow of Qi in the body and dispel certain pathogenic influences.

It definitely seems that the ancient practice of burning powerful herbal material is much more than just a primitive belief, and our ancestors must have intuitively understood the many benefits.

You Can Heal Yourself Using The Chi Energy of Trees According to Taoist Masters

Trees are very powerful according to Taoist masters. Aside from    absorbing carbon dioxide    and turning it into oxygen, trees also can absorb negative energy and transform it into positive.

Trees are very powerful according to Taoist masters. Aside from absorbing carbon dioxide and turning it into oxygen, trees also can absorb negative energy and transform it into positive.

The roots of trees dig deep into Earth, the deeper their roots, the higher they rise to the skies. They absorb the energy of the Earth as well as the universal force of the sky.
Trees are considered the most spiritually advanced plant on Earth because of their constant meditation with subtle energy.
You can establish a relationship with trees so long as you understand their language. And they can help you open up your energy channels to cultivate calm, presence and vitality.

They also can benefit from you when you help them eliminate their blocks and devitalized parts. Like any other relationships, you benefit from each other by the constant cultivation of your connection.

How to Use The Chi Energy of Trees to Heal Yourself?

Follow these steps to choose the right tree, to establish an energy relationship with that tree and eventually heal yourself:

1. How to Choose The Right Tree?

Humans have been using parts of trees for medications and healing almost as long as humanity exists. But, along the way, they discovered what type of tree should be used for what kind of remedy.

The big ones are the best, like pines. They radiate Chi, nourish the blood, strengthen the nervous system, and even help in longevity while feeding the soul and spirit. Pines, which are often the subjects of ancient Chinese poetry and paintings, are considered to be “immortal trees.”

There are, however, other trees which you can choose from. The big ones have maximum energy while those that sit up near the streams are also the best.

Trees have different characteristics. Some are hotter or warmer, and others are cooler or colder. With constant practice, you can distinguish each species from the others.

The different characteristics of trees

  • Cypresses and cedars can lower the temperature and can feed Yin energy.

  • Willows fight the dry winds and eliminate excess moisture from the body, reduce blood pressure, strengthen the urinary tract and bladder.

  • Elms can calm the mind and strengthen the stomach.

  • Maples fight the dry winds and help reduce any pain.

  • Carobs help eliminates internal heat and balance conditions of the heart.

  • Banyan trees or Bengali figs purify your heart and help eliminate moisture in the body.

  • Cinnamons can remove the cold from the heart and the stomach.

  • Fir trees help absorb bruises to reduce sweating and heal bone fractures.

  • Hawthorns help in digestion, strengthen the intestine and fight low blood pressure.

  • Birches help lower body temperature, eliminate body moisture and detoxify the body.

  • Prunes feed the spleen, the stomach, the pancreas as well as calm the mind.

  • Figs help eliminate excess heat in the body by increasing salivation, it also nourishes the spleen, and helps cure diarrhea.

  • Knees help strengthen the bladder and relieve urinary problems in women.

Keep in mind that small trees don’t have enough energy to accommodate you while gigantic trees may drown you with their energy. It’s best to select one that is medium sized and robust.

2. How to Establish an Energy Relationship With The Tree?

You can create a silent communion rite with the tree that is understood by both of you and the tree.
But first, you must see the personality of the tree and its life. Some trees are very generous and quickly give you the energy you need.
Other trees are weak or ill and need your healing energy first.
Some are friendly while some are plain indifferent depending on their energy.
You can work with all of them to find which tree works best for you.
Be open and give them your respect without pushing them too hard to bend to your purpose.
The most important thing when establishing a connection is to be near the tree so you can touch it, to open yourself up shamelessly and to be clear in your intent while showing love.

By activating these four elements you will establish an energy relationship with the tree:

  • Touch;

  • Openness;

  • Sincerity;

  • Love;

Just make sure that you spend at least 30 minutes around the tree. However, some trees might respond quicker depending on their energy.

Related: Japanese Master Demonstrates the Power of Chi by Controlling Animals

Here are some techniques you can practice:

1. Tree Hugging:

2. Sitting facing the tree:

3. Meditation near the tree:

4. Standing facing the tree:

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Must-read: “Earthing” Could be the Most Important Health Discovery Ever

  1. How The Healing Process Begins?

Visit the tree regularly. Building a relationship with trees takes a longer time than building one with humans.

But if you keep returning to the same tree, you are likely to begin your lasting friendship with it.

Once you visit it regularly, it will soon expect you. Some say that it might even miss your presence.

Creating a spiritual communion with trees is like making love that requires sensuality and tenderness.

When you finally establish that communion, you don’t need to control the situation. Just allow yourself to relax and melt in that communion.

Allow the tree to guide you in your healing. It might remedy your issue, or it might give you intuitive guidance as to how to find additional help.

If nothing else, it will heal the spiritual aspect of your problem.

“In Japan, people practice ‘forest bathing,’ where they spend quiet time absorbing the wisdom of ancient forests, taking long walks among the trees to stimulate their immune system.

In Taoism, students are encouraged to meditate among trees, and it is believed that the trees will absorb negative energies, replacing them with healthy ones. Trees are seen as a source of emotional and physical healing, and themselves as meditators, absorbing universal energies.”

NOTE: Our advice is first to consult your doctor and use everything else as additional help.

Sources: LifeCoachCode.comGostica.com

Science and spirituality: Jeff Lieberman at TEDxCambridge

Jeff Lieberman, an MIT-trained artist, scientist and engineer, makes a scientific argument for mystical experience. He asks us to challenge our perception of what we are, our relationship to the universe, and our relationship to one another. Our minds are "thought-generating machines." What we would happen if we could turn off the machine? If we could transcend our individual experience of the world?

This talk was transcribed by Brad Miele. Transcript here: http://bea.st/inevolution/?p=264