If you’re tired, stressed, moody, or overwhelmed: a wellness retreat could be just what you need. Not the cliché trendy type; rather, the world’s first ever medically licensed, government-sanctioned, all-inclusive wellness retreat, Rythmia Life Advancement Center. “The most advanced breakthrough modalities for wellness,” according to founders Gerard Powell, Dr. Jeff McNairy, Psy.D., M.P.H., Brandee Alessandra, and my favorite guru: Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith
Powell, once McNairy’s patient at Promises in Malibu, suffered from severe addictions and unhappiness. Despite achieving the “American Dream” selling his company for $94 million dollars, he was suicidal. “The more I acquired the more I suffered, then spending thousands traveling the world to heal, I found plant medicine and it liberated me from a lifetime of suffering.” Inspired to help others, Powell opened the first luxury transformation center, at an affordable price. He also teaches his “Truthenomics” program offering insights for life manifestation on-site.
Guests begin with a live blood cell analysis, aura photo reading, and a medical doctor intake. Goals are defined, individual programs designed, and unlimited access to medical and naturopathic guidance, group and private therapy, licensed counselors, spiritual advisors, shamans and yoga experts are all included.
“There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet.” — Brooke Medicine Eagle
After flying from LAX in under 6 hours, I was transported to the gated 4500 acre, 81 casita resort in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, one of only five Blue Zones in the world where people live the longest, enjoy life the most, and are healthiest.
Rythmia gathered some of the most respected healers who customize the all-inclusive stay. Programs range from Beckwith’s Life Transformation Program: The Answer Is You, teachings to help transcend self-limiting beliefs, Prana Vinyasa Yoga by innovator Shiva Rea, The Dead Sea Cleanse by Shivanter Singh and ancient Plant Medicines by Dr. Vanessa Grillo, a physician who uses Ayahuasca and San Pedro along with native Shaman Taita Juanito and resident facilitators. (Add on experiences include golf, horseback, scuba, snorkel, surfing, paddle-board, zip lining, shopping and site seeing tours)
“The current Western system of heath care is deficient in healing the population. It’s more concerned with managing symptoms and using external sources for change,” McNairy shared. I agree, in my own personal struggle with fatigue, stomach-issues, depression and confusion, I found the best path for me was one of natural cures from acupuncture, therapy, plant medicine to colonics, and detoxing, cleaning my body from the inside out resulted in a clearer mind and happier state.
In the last few years, plant medicine has doubled in popularity as many of us are over stimulated, stressed out and starting to question the meaning of life. At least that is how my journey with the plants began. I went deep, flying across the globe and 9 ceremonies later I was hooked. I don’t mean addicted, but convinced this was a way for me to clear myself of unwanted suffering and increase my vitality. People who saw me after said I looked younger, lighter, and happier, and I felt all of those things. Ayahuasca also commonly called Grandmother Medicine, is an entheogenic brew made out of Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the Psychotria viridian leaves, it is the only plant that increase your serotonin, which of course is amazing.
To me, the plant medicine experience at Rythmia was like the Four Seasons of ceremonies as my experience prior was deep in Peru with the indigenous Shipebo tribes who offer nice accommodations, but certainly not luxury, and a certain level of intensity that is not something I would suggest to just anyone. Medicine ceremonies are deep challenging work and require a certain level of dedication that I do not think is for all, at least not to start out with, but the visitors are growing as we speak as people are experiencing profound healing. Some people believe it is not something you try, but to me as long as you are doing it for reasons purely from your own spirit, it’s your choice, just honor the diet, plant and choose wisely who administers it.
I went for Beckwith’s course and learned on arrival my stay included the option to do plant medicine. They were gentle journeys, with a doctor present, lavender infused cloths, eye masks, cozy bedding with a mattress of my own, and nice bathrooms (if you have been to ceremonies you understand this is a luxury). They host traditional South American shamans and facilitators in a softer style than I previously experienced. Many plant supporters say it must be done in a certain way, and I agree, it needs to be respected, done with purest of intentions and connection to source, and Rythmia does so while infusing luxury and doctors.
Unlike western medicine, a naturopathic approach finds the root of the health issue, unhappiness or discontent and resolves that core issue, resulting in true peace. Detoxifying, healing trauma, finding a greater sense of purpose, healing physical ailments, eliminating addictions, improving interpersonal relationships, clarity and love of self are all possible with the plants. They require commitment, time, and discipline, but many of us are too impatient and want a quick fix so we take pills to be happy, and the side effects are depression, how ironic.
The typical Western medical model, for me was broken, the approach masked symptoms and further poisoned. This is why so many people are working with plants; one session in the right environment can be as effective as 10 years of successful psychotherapy. It’s not easy to explain, and by no means for everyone, its different each time, affects everyone uniquely, but is healing whether you know it or not at first. I recommend meditating to see if this is the path for you, do not Google, watch non-vetted videos, or listen to inexperienced opinions. Talk to experienced people on a scared path, truly honoring the plants, as they are as sacred as you and our earth. This type of healing requires introspection, seeing things maybe you’ve been avoiding or distracting yourself from, it can be scary and confronting, there can be violent shaking and purging, but also deep healing, connection to ancestors, angels, guides and God. I look at it like a challenging work out that makes you feel awesome after. Rythmia offers many different options, and certainly you can skip the plants, but if you’re looking for a medically approved environment created by people who healed themselves with various modalities including plants, I have yet to find anywhere like here.
Rythmia is featured in the documentary “The Reality of Truth” along with Joel Olsteen, Deepak, Marianne Williamson, Michelle Rodriguez and Beckwith, worth a watch if you are contemplating plant work.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” — Albert Einstein