Experts say psychedelic breathwork can ‘blow your socks off’

Illustration: Tsjisse Talsma

In an attempt to escape the ever-increasing stress of life in 2020, I laid down on the floor of my Northern Californian cabin on a recent Saturday afternoon and did something not uncommon in this corner of the world: I tried to enter a psychedelic state of consciousness. The catch is, I didn’t take any drugs.

Following a guided video, I did a practice known as “psychedelic breathwork,” a method of controlled breathing that’s meant to stimulate a psychedelic experience and spark a greater awareness of one’s emotional state. …

Entrepreneurs are hoping psychedelic drugs will follow marijuana’s path to the lifestyle industry, but medical researchers aren’t so sure that’s a good idea

Illustration: Qieer Wang

In 2017, Mike Arnold saw an opportunity so big that it changed the course of his life. After representing several black-market cannabis farmers as a criminal defense attorney, he noticed popular perception of the plant was shifting. Laws were loosening, more people were partaking, and research was increasingly showing that cannabis was perhaps not that bad for you—and maybe even at times good for you. For Arnold, that meant one thing: If he got in early on the industry, he could make bank.

That year, Arnold left law and launched a cannabis startup. He raised $2 million in investments in…

From improving your mood to focusing your creativity, scientists at MIT’s Dream Lab want to prove the power of dreams

Photos: MIT

For the third of our lives that we spend in slumber, our minds take up residence in the unknown regions of the subconscious. We dream, though we don’t fully know why. And while these nightly mashups of images and storylines have captured the imagination for generations, modern science largely believes that dreams have no effect on daily life.

At MIT’s Dream Lab, however, a small team of researchers thinks otherwise and is creating technologies capable of mining the subconscious to prove the value of dreams.

“Dreaming is really just thinking at night,” says Adam Horowitz, a PhD student at MIT…

The latest research on negative air ions and mental health

Photo: bea8476/Getty Images

I recently rented a house in Northern New Mexico and had my first real-life encounter with what has become a ubiquitous symbol for wellness: a Himalayan salt lamp.

Essentially a hunk of hollowed-out salt crystal with a light bulb stuffed inside, salt lamps became all the rage amid rumors that their “healing powers” are capable of healthifying a home through purifying the air and raising energy levels.

When I turned the lamp on, it did indeed cast a warm glow that set a calming mood. …

Trading wine for weed is redefining society’s longtime relationship with alcohol — and possibly even sobriety

An illustration of many diverse characters standing in line at a wellness/cannabis store, while the line at the bar is empty.
An illustration of many diverse characters standing in line at a wellness/cannabis store, while the line at the bar is empty.
Illustration: Zack Rosebrugh

For Lisa (name changed), the decision to stop drinking was a long time in the making. Though she was only a social drinker, the 40-year-old freelance writer and mom found herself drinking more than felt healthy. In early 2019, she made a decision to stop.

“I was like, ‘All right, let’s cut out the booze and just stick with weed,’” she says. “And I’m really surprised at how great it’s been. I’ve been a drinker my whole life. I don’t know why I never thought about just switching to weed instead of wine.”

There are many reasons for the (mostly)…

Medical role-play is one of the most popular forms of ASMR videos. Why?

Photo: Yvette ASMR

A woman’s serene face fills the screen. A pink stethoscope hangs from her neck, and her big, blue eyes offer a calming, sympathetic smile.

“Hey hun,” she says softly, looking straight into a camera that’s positioned in a way to give the impression that you, the viewer, are gently reclining. Off-camera, the shuffling and snapping sound of latex gloves can be heard beneath her reassuring whisper. “How are you feeling?”

This is Ashley Hornbaker, the creator and face of Yvette ASMR, a YouTube channel with 61,300 followers that’s dedicated to triggering an elusive sensation for her viewers: autonomous sensory meridian…

And what experts think they mean

Photo: Gabriele Vilkaite / EyeEm/Getty Images

Whether you’re a restful or restless sleeper, you’ve likely had the experience of waking up at night in a cold sweat, heart pounding with fear, only to sigh with relief when you realize that person chasing you down a dark alley was just a figment of a bad dream.

Dreams disturbing enough to startle you awake are common. According to the American Society of Sleep Medicine, up to 85% of adults experience occasional nightmares, which are the American Psychiatric Association defines as powerful, unpleasant dreams that elicit feelings of threat, anxiety, fear, or other negative emotions. …

The dangers of ‘spiritual bypass’ and expecting too much from tarot, astrology, yoga, and crystals

Credit: Pan Xunbin/Getty Images

Social media is full of photos of glitter baths and crystal-strewn tarot readings. Therapists are learning astrology to better understand their clients. Maybe it’s due to collective burnout or post-2016 political stress; either way, it’s clear that self-care has exploded in popularity.

While there’s nothing inherently harmful with these practices, experts say problems can arise when anyone dealing with low- or high-level trauma uses self-care or spiritual practices as an attempt to Savasana the pain away. This is what some experts call “spiritual bypassing.” …

A new trial by Johns Hopkins Medicine will study the effectiveness of psilocybin for eating disorder treatment

Illustration: Théophile Bartz

In early September, the burgeoning field of psychedelic research got a long-sought-after dose of legitimacy: Johns Hopkins Medicine received $17 million in funding to launch the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research. A first-of-its-kind facility for the United States, the center will study the efficacy of psychedelics — namely psilocybin (otherwise known as psychedelic mushrooms) — as a treatment for a range of mental health disorders. …

How psilocybin, LSD, and other psychedelic drugs could increase wellness in people without mental illness

Illustration: Théophile Bartz

When psychologist Martin Seligman became president of the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1998, he did something radical. Over the years, he had grown tired of his fields’ constant focus on the negative (mental illness, trauma, suffering, pain) and felt that more attention should be paid to the other side of the coin: happiness, well-being, and flourishing. He called this “positive psychology,” and made it the theme of his one-year term as APA’s leader. Instead of focusing solely on reducing ill-being, Seligman organized researchers and practitioners around the idea that people should also be given the tools to thrive.


Tessa Love

writer. @tessamlove

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