The use of plant medicine for healing has only recently become researched and recognized in Western medicine – in spite of the fact that Indigenous communities around the globe have been working with plant medicine healing for millennia. With groups like Johns Hopkins researching the use of psilocybin to successfully treat long term depression and journals like the Journal of Neurochemistry demonstrating the therapeutic benefits of 5MEO-DMT for those with severe anxiety, the general public has become much more open to exploring plant medicine retreats – and we no longer need to travel to Peru or Mexico! There are literally hundreds of practitioners offering plant medicine retreats and therapies right here in BC, Head + Heart’s beloved HQ.
However, like any healing modality, standards vary. Which is why I’ve put together a list of reputable options, with input from those I trust who are working in this field. The following are known for their commitment to providing trauma-informed healing experiences to support people who want to work with plant medicine to heal, evolve and awaken – vs. simply going on a trip.
Run by husband-and-wife duo Steve Rio and Austin Austin, Enfold offers retreats on an island near Vancouver that include guided breathwork, cold immersion therapy and plant medicine in the form of 5-MeO-DMT– which is known to be one of the strongest, most potent plant medicines you can find. Austin explains: “5-MeO-DMT has the potential to strip away all the stories we have about who we are and what this life is.” And while she acknowledges that plant medicine may not be the best place for everyone to start their spiritual journey, Enfold is committed to providing deeply supportive, trauma-informed experiences that include preparation, integration and follow up care so that each client receives exactly what they need. Enfold’s mission is to help people discover their true selves by providing a safe place (in their literal home) and limiting the group size of each retreat experience. Retreat options with Enfold currently include a one-day retreat called Communal (which doesn’t include 5-MeO-DMT), a three-night retreat experience with 5-MeO-DMT called Awakening to Life, and a parallel retreat experience designed for couples, called Undefended Love.
Located in the beautiful Kootenay Valley of BC, The Sentinel’s mission is to provide a sacred space for people to experience self discovery. They host a variety of wellness retreats, are one of the rare retreat facilities that publicly advertises hosting plant medicine retreats and are known for bringing in high-level facilitators – such as The Phoenix Academy, who specialize in plant medicine retreats and workshops. Take a look at what’s coming up on their website.
Gathering Groups is a 12-week online group program that guides people through the process of first, preparing for a plant medicine experience, next actually experiencing a one-day psilocybin ceremony, and finally, integrating their experience back into their lives. Rooted in evidence-based approaches (Polyvagal Theory, Evolved Next Concept, Roots to Thrive Group model) and indigenous ways of being, these supportive groups are run in several locations including Vancouver and Kelowna, BC and are covered by most private insurance.
A popular animistic healer and teacher, Angela Prider is know for offering preparation and somatic integration for those who want to explore plant medicine experiences on their own. Her area of expertise is working with somatic therapies, animist ritual, and counselling to prepare people for plant medicine ceremonies and she also provides support and counselling for those who’ve had plant medicine experiences, whether they’ve been positive or highly challenging.
_ _ _
You can discover some great resources and research on the above websites, as well as on the sites of Numinus and Fieldtrip, two of the leading companies that administer psychedelics in a clinical setting.
Truly, there are many great practitioners out there offering plant medicine support but many in this field are choosing to keep their work more private or by referral only. If you have any recommendations of your own to add, please send me a message as I plan to evolve this list of recommendations as this field of practice continues to expand. And if you’re looking to expand without psychedelics my personal go-to’s are breathwork, shadow work and energy medicine.
Written by Monica Krake, certified Breathwork Practitioner and founder of Head + Heart. Monica helps businesses get clear on their mission and bring it to life in the most spiritually aligned way via breathwork + spiritual website creation.