A spiritual healer during a journey with Behold Retreats

Behold Retreats:
Planting a seed


Bertrand Russell once opined: ‘Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves’. Whether you agree with the great philosopher or not, a consummate alternative when it comes to a holistic getaway is any number of plant medicine escapes by Behold Retreats. Set in some of the world’s dreamiest travel destinations, they offer a carefree and relaxing way to expand the mind.

According to archaeological data, humans have been using plant (herbal) medicine, for more than 60,000 years, and a range of historical texts indicates some of our most advanced civilizations made this practice a mainstay of their culture. For example, in ancient Egypt, Ebers Papyrus detailed the utilisation of 850-plus remedies, including aloe, cannabis and garlic, while in China, the Shennong Bencaojing, which the eponymous mythical emperor is said to have written anywhere between 206 BC and 220 AD, likewise proposed hundreds of vegetation-based treatments: chaulmoogra, ephedra, hemp, etc. Even the World Health Organisation states that over 25% of current pharmaceuticals have plant origins, with three age-old ones being aspirin, menthol and morphine.

Behold Retreats not only tap into this deep-rooted tradition with their biohacking and body optimisation breaks, but they are also part of the zeitgeist; today’s global pharmaceutical industry is still experimenting with plants to see how their properties could further aid mankind. And to some degree as a result of the knowledge garnered from this, and from various other legitimate sources, according to Behold Retreats, ‘plant medicine is becoming better and more widely understood with scientific evidence proving it to be safe and effective in addressing common mental health challenges’. These comprise addictive disorders, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. In our view, there’s often some hesitancy in attempting anything deemed new or unorthodox; yet as long as it’s been vetted to ensure it’s not likely to cause any harm, this is usually the way we as individuals, and society in general, evolve and make progress.

With this in mind, the folks behind this forward-thinking enterprise have established several sojourns involving three types of psychedelic medicine: ayahuasca, bufo (5-MeO-DMT), and psilocybin. The luxurious facilities at these holistic holidays, which normally last about a week, are in idyllic spots in Costa Rica, Mexico and Portugal (Peru is set to get one, too). Each retreat is distinct, with their very own character. Whatever kind of stay you opt for, visitors are given the opportunity to partake in conscious-elevating experiences that may have a transformative effect on their lives.

What’s more, the brand of course considers safety as paramount. Thus, their coaches, therapists and other relevant staff adhere to the highest standards – even guests are asked to undergo an interview and screening before they are accepted. Once you’re in, reinvigoration of the mind, body and soul are guaranteed due to a carefully crafted programme of exciting activities – it varies slightly depending on the exact retreat chosen. For instance, at the ayahuasca (eco-friendly) resort in Costa Rica, there are three ceremonies involving psychedelic, movement and meditation sessions, high vibrational meals, massage and spa treatments, as well as poolside yoga. Not to forget, a digital detox (although Wi-Fi is available if required for a cheeky Instagram flex!) and, in an era where it sometimes seems as if technology is controlling us, instead of it being the other way round, we feel this is to be welcomed.

Such an extensive, exhilarating schedule centred on psychoactive substances, has been shown to have a positive impact on one’s well-being: improvements in cognition, mood and social connectedness are only a few of the benefits. There can also be a spiritual dimension, as demonstrated in certain shamanic rituals throughout the centuries… just another reason why we’re itching to give Behold Retreats a go.


Photography courtesy of Quinta de Carvalhas and Behold Retreats

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