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Fotografía del doctor Jacques Mabit, presidente fundador del centro Takiwasi


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1. What is the Takiwasi Center?

Takiwasi is a Center for Drug Addiction Treatment and Research on Traditional Medicines. Since 1992 it has contributed to improving the health conditions of the population and to the conservation of the environment, developing innovative techniques and intervention models that preserve traditional Amazonian knowledge and articulate it with modern science and technology.

2. Do you only treat addictions at Takiwasi?

Takiwasi Center, besides being a Therapeutic Community recognized by the Peruvian Government and dedicated to the treatment of people with problems of addictions and mental health, also offers alternative spaces for a therapeutic instance of self-exploration that are open to people who do not suffer of addiction. Among them we can name the Retreats/Diets, the Seminars and the Cleansing process.

4. ¿Is Takiwasi Center receiving volunteers?

Takiwasi Center can receive a limited number of volunteers from different nationalities and disciplines for a maximum period of 6 months. Takiwasi will give priority exclusively to those people who can offer a specific service to the Center and that respond to our interest and to a particular internal need. The volunteer is in charge of all his travel expenses, including food and accommodation, for the entire duration of his stay. The presence within the Center, in contact with patients with severe drug addiction, requires specific rules of conduct. For more information please see Volunteering at Takiwasi.

5. What have you learned after so many years of work?

We have learned that there is an imperative need to bring western culture closer to ancestral cultures: they need each other or both will die. Western culture has to come closer to nature and the sacred dimension. Indigenous traditions succeeded in retain this knowledge. In turn, ancestral communities must urgently step out of their tribal and shamanic struggles to discover the dimensions of individuation and universalism that western culture provides. From this reciprocal fertilization, a new paradigm and a new civilization can emerge. This requires active compassion. It is time to face the lethal desacralization of our life and to move from ideas and words to more concrete commitments. In short, overcome the fears and launch ourselves into the adventure of life.

Fotografía del doctor Jacques Mabit, presidente fundador del centro Takiwasi


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1. Is ayahuasca legal?

In Peru the use of ayahuasca is legal, there is no impediment in consuming it. We are a legal and official center, belonging to the national health network. There is no problem at all with this matter, although the claim to westernized acculturation leads people to think that these medicines are obsolete, a matter of outdated indigenous people or frustrated westerns and so they treat it with contempt.

2. What kind of preparation is recommended to someone before they drink ayahuasca in Takiwasi?

At Takiwasi the ingestion of ayahuasca entails a previous preparation, which starts with the identification of the subject’s motivation. The purpose is therapeutic; the mere curiosity, the desire of trying “one more drug” or having recreational experiences are not compatible with the Center’s focus. An interview with a team’s psychotherapist is needed to rule out mental disturbances, which are incompatible with the intake of ayahuasca (schizophrenia, personality-disorders, etc.). The participants are requested to fill out a medical form in order to exclude medical contraindications and, if necessary, complementary medical tests are required. Every subject must previously ingest at least one purgative (emetic) plant.

Before the ingestion, it is required to cut out pork meat, strong condiments (hot pepper), and alcohol from one’s nutritional diet and the participants are required to refrain from the consumption of addictive substances (including Cannabis). It is recommended to avoid other unhealthy foods although they are not strictly prohibited (ice cream, fried snacks, abundant refined sugar, preserved food, spicy food, red meat…); a list of healthy foods is suggested. The alimentary preparation must be established at least one day before ingestion and must be continued for a minimum of 2 days after, although is recommended one week before and after drinking ayahuasca. In case of a process with multiple ingestions, it is required to maintain this diet throughout the whole process. It is recommended to avoid any perturbation of the physical-energetic body such as intensive physical exercise, agitated environments (discotheques, crowds…), strong odors (intense perfumes, essential oils, fuel vapors, burnt smells, etc.) and foreign energetic techniques (Reiki, opening chakras, channeling, massages, saunas…). Sexual abstinence is also recommended for the same period of time.

3. What are the principal plants used in Takiwasi besides ayahuasca and what do they do?

Takiwasi uses several types of Amazonian or universal plants such as:

  • Purgative plants – used in ritual context they permit not only physical but also emotional and spiritual cleansing with each somatic zone having its symbolic correspondence. Besides their general purifying effect, each plant or preparation focalizes its effect on certain organs, corporal regions or physiologic systems, e.g. Vervain (Verbena litorales) on the liver; White lily (Lillium spp.) on the sexual and reproductive zone; Yawar panga (Aristolochia didyma) on the thorax or digestive and respiratory system; Mexican marigold (Tagetes erecta) on the head.

  • Psychoactive plants - used during specific ceremonies (e.g. purgahuasca) or in the frame of traditional “diets”; the ritual context allows the amplification of their physical effects. At the same time, almost all of them have a purgative effect. They are also known as “teacher-plants” due to their ability to activate certain psychical functions (concentration, stimulation of the memory, capacity to make decisions, etc.) that the patient perceives as revelations, awareness, or “teachings”. In this group we can include tobacco and coca leaf extracts, which also allow the detoxification of individuals addicted to the same plants when used improperly.

  • Plants called “of contention” – these plants are given to the resident patients every night to gradually prepare them, physically and psychically, for the ayahuasca sessions and the diets. They have a gentle effect of detoxification, regulation of the nervous system, and the metabolism in general. Among them we mainly find the Camalonga (Strychnus spp.) and the Mucura (Petiveria alliacea), which are excellent purifiers of negative energy impregnations and good protectors on an energetic level.

  • Daily support plants, which are used to respond to daily discomforts – these plants strengthen body and mind, relax, tranquilize, facilitate digestion and sleep, ease pains, etc. These plants are used in different ways such as in infusions, decoctions, sauna, baths, rubbings, etc.

4. Are there people that should avoid taking ayahuasca?

The use of ayahuasca must be avoided in cases of dissociative psychic processes where delirious elements (psychosis) are manifest. In the same way, the cases called borderline must be evaluated individually to analyze each person’s capacity of integration of the symbolic experience, their motivation, their family environment, etc. On the other hand, the physical contraindications are reduced relatively when concerning purely organic problems. With caution, the persons who present with severe metabolic deficiencies (diabetes, uremia for example) or functional deficiencies (cardiac insufficiency for example) are excluded. This is also the case in advanced degenerative pathologies (lupus, multiple sclerosis, SLA, etc.). Due to its purgative characteristics, giving ayahuasca to people that could be harmed by the vomiting efforts (esophagus fissure, gastric ulcer, early pregnancy, etc.) is avoided.

As means of precaution at Takiwasi we don’t give ayahuasca to pregnant women with less than three months of pregnancy to avoid potential abortions by expulsion due to vomiting efforts. It is worth emphasizing that in the indigenous tradition, the pregnancy does not represent any contraindication and intake of Ayahuasca is even recommended, to give greater "force" to the fetus. Indigenous and mestizo healers, however, avoid accepting pregnant women in collective sessions, because their energy is very powerful and, according to them, could disturb other participants.

In Takiwasi menstruation is considered as the absolute contraindication for Ayahuasca ingestion, especially during the first days of the period. During her menstruation the woman not only performs a physical and physiologic cleansing of her reproductive organs but she also achieves an energetic cleansing. If we are talking about a woman with a strong charge of bad energies in her energetic body, these emanations become very toxic and they represent a real danger. They induce what is called a “bad trip” with a negative alteration of all perceptions, terrifying visions and sensations. These effects depend on the toxic charge on the energetic level of the menstruating woman and can vary from benign to extremely dangerous.

Another issue is the risk of a serotoninergic shock linked to the use of serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants, or SSRIs, which has been indicated as a possible. With caution and to the extent possible, the therapeutic protocol undertaken by Takiwasi demands the suspension of those antidepressants three months before the beginning of the consumption of ayahuasca.

Takiwasi decides whether a person can participate or not to an intake of Ayahuasca after an analysis of his file (motivation-presentation letter, health form), an interview with a member of the therapeutic team and, if necessary, a medical consultation with a physician and the performance of complementary laboratory tests. The previous purge also allows to detect psychic or energetic blockages that are so important to discourage the candidate from taking Ayahuasca or to propose him another therapeutic protocol.

5. Can the elderly drink ayahuasca?

Elderly people may consume ayahuasca as long as their psycho-physical state does not present any of the previously mentioned contraindications. Advanced age represents a factor for reducing the dose but is not exclusive and can vary a lot from person to person. In general, for all cases of apparent fragility and physical or psychic vulnerability, one begins with low doses that allow for the evaluation of the subject’s reaction and the adjustment of the following doses. There are well-known curanderos of advanced age who continue to drink ayahuasca.

6. Does dosage vary much from one person to another in the same ceremony?

Ayahuasca doses can vary from 1 to 10 in the same session. If the person is not known he is given a moderate dose to evaluate the first effects with the possibility of taking a second dose during the session. The dose can be set by intuition according to the subject’s sensitivity, the previous degree of intoxication with addictive substances, morpho-psychological indicators, the clinical or life history, psycho-emotional background, etc.

7. Ayahuasca may in some cases cause people to lose consciousness or have seizures. What do you do in these cases?

Usually there is no loss of consciousness under the effect of ayahuasca. However, there are cases of temporary loss of consciousness that serve the patient as a way of disconnecting or evading an emotional confrontation that he dreads. In this case, it is an emotional reaction that does not present as dangerous; the situation usually spontaneously resolves itself and can be improved by blowing camphor at him (sopladas), or by other maneuvers of physical-energetic stimulation.

8. What are the "sopladas" and "chupadas"?

The soplada is an essential technique of curanderismo, which is when the curandero exhales over to the patient’s body tobacco smoke, perfume vapors, or various preparados (blends), which are generally aromatic (cinnamon, camphor, etc.). In this operation, the curandero establishes an energetic relationship between his and the patient’s energetic body through the blowing, which allows them to harmonize. Each preparado has a certain specific effect: to strengthen, tranquilize, protect, etc. Sopladas are also made on the surrounding areas in order to clear them of bad energies or medicinal products (such as ayahuasca), and to charge them with the curandero’s energy before ingestion.

For the “chupada” the curandero sucks on certain parts of the patient’s body to extract energetic perturbations from his energetic body. The curandero generally places tobacco, cinnamon, camphor, etc, in his mouth, in order to support that difficult extraction while protecting himself from the bad energies that he is extracting. The chupada is performed frequently on the following body parts: the head (the crown, temples, back of the neck) to diminish the effects of the inebriation from ayahuasca; the solar plexus (“mouth of the stomach”), to unblock it and allow the patient to vomit ayahuasca or any other purgative plant or to eliminate the effects when the patient cannot vomit and is in pain; a part of the body (frequently the abdomen) where a “damage” or witchery is located.

9. How do you interpret the vomiting that occurs during an experience with ayahuasca?

When the vomiting occurs at the beginning of the session, it often indicates that the person rejects ayahuasca out of fear or insecurity in the face of the unknown. In this case it does not have a purgative effect, but is an intention of avoidance, be it conscious or not. During the session certain people make an effort to vomit or to provoke vomiting in order to avoid the effects of ayahuasca. Besides that, spontaneous vomiting occurs when the psycho-physical effects of ayahausca reach and remove whatever internal blockades the subject has. A confrontation is unleashed between the person’s resistances and the ayahuasca’s strength. If the resistances are more powerful, then the person doesn’t vomit. When ayahuasca defeats certain resistances, the subject vomits not only the ayahuasca, but also the corresponding blockades. In this case it acts as an energetic purge that purifies the subject on a physical, psycho-emotional and/or spiritual level. Thus, to the indigenous people, vomiting is a sign of healing.

10. Can ayahuasca “heal people”? What does this “healing” consist of?

We cannot talk about the healing effects of ayahuasca without taking into consideration what makes its use effective, ineffective, and even dangerous. Every question about “ayahuasca” should be modified into a question about “the use of ayahuasca,” a notion that combines how the substance’s potentials are oriented, guided, and controlled by a certain type of use. Here a variety of factors are influential, such as the individual who takes it (his intention, his physical and mental status, his preparation for the experience); the master of ceremony (his expertise, personal experience, intention, physical and mental status); the context (temporal-spatial conditions of the ingestion, companions, characteristics of the ritual); the ayahuasca product (its concentration, components, the prescribed dose, frequency of ingestions, etc.).

Ayahuasca exercises an unspecified activation of the natural processes of mental reparation and therefore it can play an essential role in facilitating approaches in psychotherapy. We can quote some central elements of its effect on humans, for example:

  • The shifting of psycho-affective complexity in the playing out of the imagination to allow a re-elaboration of mental conflicts.
  • The symbolic visualization of the internal universe.
  • The arousal of memories and reminiscences.
  • Readjustment of personal history.
  • Anxiety reduction.
  • Reducción de la ansiedad
  • And the improvement of self-esteem through the discovery of a unique transcendental dimension of the self.

11. Can we consider ayahuasca as a medicine?

Ayahuasca is indeed a medicine, a great and powerful medicine. Therefore, it requires the usual clinical procedure used to evaluate the indications and contraindications to its prescription. It is also inserted in a therapeutic context where it is complemented with other forms of intervention (psychological follow-up, use of other plants, physical monitoring, etc.). Ayahuasca is also more than a medicine as commonly perceived in the western society, as it overcomes the search for psycho-physical health to answer questions about the meaning of life, to reach existential questions, self-knowledge, knowledge on human nature, and the discovery of the laws that govern the invisible world. Therefore, it inevitably includes a spiritual dimension and opens the person to deep semantic experiences that can sometimes be described as authentically mystical.

12. Are there specific illnesses for which ayahuasca might be beneficial?

We cannot say that there are specific illnesses for which someone can benefit from ayahuasca since it depends more on the patient than on the illness. For example, it cannot be assured that ayahuasca heals cancer yet there are people with cancer that are cured with ayahuasca. In general, due to its activity on the energetic body and its somatic engramations, ayahuasca potentially has good effectiveness on illnesses of psychosomatic origin.

Ayahuasca is also a powerful instrument (when managed properly) in those pathologies which are normally classified as psychological or psychiatric and which actually result from a form of energetic perturbation with a spiritual origin, infestations due to magic practices, occultism, spiritualism, trans-generational malicious inheritances, etc. Ayahuasca demonstrated to be equally interesting for the obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD). Very encouraging results were observed (at least temporarily) for Parkinson’s (and Parkinsonian syndromes) and would merit larger studies. In addition, ayahuasca is a natural anti-malarial and a vermifuge.

13. What are wrong contexts for the use of ayahuasca and which would be the ideal public regulation of its use?

The effects of the entheogenic psychoactive substances (conventionally called “hallucinogen” by mistake) depend more than anything on the interior and exterior context of the subject, on the “set” and the “setting”. I believe that the set should not and cannot be regulated because it is the interior freedom of each human being. The setting or exterior context must be regulated at least to avoid gross mistakes that could put people’s health at risk. First of all I think that solitary use, with no accompaniment, is not recommended even though I do not believe in prohibition which is ineffective (a prohibition never stopped people from consuming what they wanted), amoral (why not prohibit alcohol and tobacco which are far more dangerous?) and dangerous (it favors the black market and ascertains that it will be taken in poor conditions). So I believe the regulation should be applied only to group ceremonies. As long as there are spaces that are regulated, transparent and serious, and with ayahuasca being hardly recreational, with its unpleasant flavor, and forcing people to go through difficult interior confrontations, good common sense will lead the majority of candidates to stay away from solitary adventurous use and to prefer a minimum of security and accompaniment. The key lies in the capacity for leading the session by previously well-prepared people who do not necessarily have to be doctors. These therapists should have solid personal experience in the use of ayahuasca themselves, which is the best guarantee of their ability to face embarrassing situations during a session. For this we should distinguish between the countries that have previous cultural experience in this field and where empirical doctors (curanderos) are perfectly able to guide sessions in their own context and the countries where this traditional context does not exist.

In the countries or geographic zones of ancestral use of ayahuasca, the ethnic groups know how to regulate this practice without the need of intervention from the state. However, in view of the growing mestizaje, the appearance of neo-shamanism and shamanic tourism, and the growing circulation of goods and persons, there is a tendency to distort the use of ayahuasca. Therefore, the establishment of networks of curanderos based on ethical codes agreed upon by ayahuasca practitioners (which is already beginning to be done with the Unión de Médicos Indígenas Yageceros de la Amazonía [UMIYAC] in Colombia and the Red de Médicos Tradicionales Ayahuasqueros y Yageceros [RIMTAY] in Peru), with the mechanisms for integration and expulsion from the network publicly announced, is the most effective and practical way to assure the regulation of the use of ayahuasca.

Finally, I believe that the true danger of ayahuasca use is spiritual in essence, since it opens the doors to the dimensions of the invisible world wherein there lies the possibility of infestation by exposing oneself without protection (essentially ritual) to harmful psychic and spiritual forces. Within the “New Age” universe there are many therapeutic or personal development proposals that, be it consciously or not, hide sources of spiritual contamination. However, there is not a single authority enabled to judge who is who or who does what; thus, I do not see how regulation could work at this level. The ignorance of these spiritual dangers makes Western society very vulnerable to them. That’s why I believe that the best prevention lies in education, preparation, open dialogue, and the dissemination of recommendations and useful advice.

Fotografía del doctor Jacques Mabit, presidente fundador del centro Takiwasi


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1. ¿What kind of addictions are treated at Takiwasi?

The treatment protocol can adapt to any type of addiction with or without substances. Due to its geographic location, Takiwasi has more enrollments of patients with consumption of basic cocaine paste, cocaine, alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. However, the arrival of patients from Europe and North America (20% of all patients are not Peruvians) has extended our experience to the consumption of crack, hashish, drugs, heroin, synthetic drugs, etc. We have also treated patients addicted to gambling, sex, pornography, criminal acts, computers, etc.

2. What kind of people are accepted for residential treatment?

Takiwasi accepts in residential treatment only people who present a problem of addiction, be it legal or illegal substances, or some addictive behavior (gambling, games, sex, computer, compulsive shopping, etc.). According to our Operating Authorization, Takiwasi can only receive male patients between 18 and 59 years of age. For those over 50 years the evaluation is made case by case, according to the medical condition and substance(s) of addiction. For cases of alcoholism, we also evaluate case by case, since the problem is more complex, and even more if the individual is elder and there is no adequate family support after treatment.

3. What further criteria are considered for the admission of patients to residential treatment?

It is important to consider that part of the treatment is based on the controlled use of purifying and purgative medicinal plants, which requires the candidate to maintain a certain health condition to be evaluated and considered for hospitalization. Sometimes we ask for further medical tests (ultrasound, blood tests, x-rays, etc.) to rule out any health condition that may not compatible with our model, especially for what refers to the use of medicinal plants.

If health condition is compatible with our therapeutic model, the motivation of the possible patient is also important and crucial. Starting from that begins the all process of admission. For this reason the interested party must write his autobiography that includes the reasons for searching treatment. Family intervention is important at the beginning, but more important is the patient's own involvement. It must be taken into account that we usually have a waiting list, so the evaluations are given depending on the date of submission of the requested documents.

4. In what does it consist Takiwasi’s therapeutic model?

The therapeutic model that is applied at Takiwasi is innovative and unique in its genre. It is characterized by the combination of the resources of psychological and medical conventional therapies with the ones of the Amazonian traditional medicines. Therefore, a curative tripod is conformed, comprising 3 complementary therapeutic workspaces, which provide mutual feedback:

  • Cohabitation.It follows the general model of therapeutic communities, offering an instance of self-observation and restructuring through the daily life and domestic chores.

  • Psychoterapy. It takes into account a diversity of instruments for the individual or collective approach to the issues that arise with the cohabitation and as a consequence of the use of traditional medicine plants.

  • Traditional medicine plants.They closely accompany the patients in each stage of the treatment, for both the initial detoxification and for the exploration of their own inner world. There is a special emphasis in the ritual and controlled use of medicinal plants with psychosomatic effects, in accordance with the Amazonian tradition.

5. Does Ayahuasca have therapeutic potential for treating drug addiction?

Takiwasi is a center dedicated basically to the treatment of people addicted to legal and illegal drugs and the results largely demonstrate the interest of Ayahuasca in the treatment of such cases. In our 25 years of existence, we have treated almost 1000 people with addiction problems with an average of one third of fully cured patients, one third of clearly improved patients, but with signs of addictive features still present, and one third with no notable benefit. This includes all ages and all social classes and cultural contexts: the Amazonian peasant consuming alcohol, the young student with an addiction to marijuana, the unemployed person consuming basic cocaine paste, the western adult with addiction to heroin or its substitution products (methadone), etc.

We insist that these results cannot be attributed solely to the use of Ayahuasca, but to a therapeutic system that includes the use of other plants, a context of coexistence in a community and a psycho-medical accompaniment performed by professionals. It is the whole of this protocol that is effective.

6. Are all addicts treated with Ayahuasca at Takiwasi?

Ayahuasca is the central axis of the treatment at Takiwasi, reason why all the patients take Ayahuasca. However, the intake requires a previous selection and a preparation where we can finally rule out certain people. Apart from physical and psychic reasons, the evaluation is essentially focused on the ability of the patient to respect certain conditions (sexual and dietary rules) because if the answer is negative, the results of the intake can ultimately be harmful to him.

7. Among the stages of the process there is isolation. Is this the most difficult one to overcome for the patients?

Most dropouts are experienced at this time, in the first month, but by patients who are not very motivated, who have been pressured by the family or by some outside circumstance and who have not made the decision. There are others who think that a natural treatment is as mild as a carrot juice or a massage and they encounter some plants that are strong, and that leads them to abandon.
Others think that addiction is simply an intoxication, whereas addiction is a symptom of a suffering, always psycho-emotional, that comes from before, such as lack of sense of life, lack of understanding during the childhood or early adolescence. If the person comes just for a body cleansing and is not willing to tackle the emotional part, he runs away. That is why it is better to have a patient with a minimum of information and preparation. There may be cases of dropouts at any time during treatment. Of the patients who leave, 75% come back because they later realize that they have only postponed what they have to face.

8. Are pharmaceuticals used during treatment?

The use of pharmaceuticals in the treatment protocol in Takiwasi is not considered. The only exceptions are in the case of emergency, dental treatment, collateral infection and parasite infestation.

9. Does Takiwasi accept teenager patients in treatment?

In Takiwasi adolescents are admitted only when there is an express therapeutic need and both the young man and his parents approve the procedure and after legal approval of the family judge. The interested party must clearly manifest his wish and agreement beyond the parents' eventual interest and accept to integrate into a process that includes adequate preparation, psycho-therapeutic accompaniment tools and post-ayahuasca follow-up. Usually this does not concern young people under 15 years of age. In those cases where there is a clear frame of contention and integration of the experiences lived with Ayahuasca and the other complementary methods, very positive results have been seen.
We cannot ignore that many young people take drugs well before the age of 15, as well as they have very early sex life and life experiences that normally fall into an adult’s life and that can generate depressive frames or neurotic behaviors and social misconduct. In these cases, and in the proposed framework, they undoubtedly benefit from the therapeutic protocol that is proposed to them.

10. Why Takiwasi only accept men?

Peruvian law does not allow men and women to stay in the same center. We once received women, but coexistence with men was problematic. The intake of plants awakens the libido, the sexuality and the affective-emotional world anesthetized by the drugs. However, the energy management of plants requires a period of sexual abstinence which is difficult to observe if there is proximity of the two sexes. In addition, many times when girls have drug problems, they are more difficult to be treated than men, and therefore require closer and deeper care. In general, women are less at risk of addiction, but when this occurs it is much more serious. We would like someday to be able to build a center specifically for women.

11. Which is the mechanism for healing addictions with Ayahuasca? Does it help to eliminate withdrawal syndrome?

For the abstinence syndrome, we found that is more efficient using other purgative plants such as yawar panga (Aristolochia didyma) and other methods (saunas, enemas...). Iboga has a clearer and more defined role of immediate reduction of addictive compulsion for its effects at the brain level, which does not seem to be the case with Ayahuasca.

Although Ayahuasca has detoxifying (purgative, depurative) effects, it serves more than anything for the conscious explicitation of the psycho-emotional mechanisms that led to addiction and the discovery of a transcendent meaning of life that allows to give coherence to the suffering and to orient the subject towards constructive life goals. In short, Ayahuasca assumes a facilitator role in psychotherapy with immediate effects of integration that comfort the patient's motivation and stimulate him to continue in the liberating process of self-knowledge.

12. Is there a risk that people who have been addicted to other substances might become addicted to ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca does not in any way induce any dependence and we can affirm this with complete security that comes from more than 25 years of experience of using ayahuasca and following up on the sessions of thousands of different people as well as our own. Therefore it absolutely does not represent a process of substitution for an addictive drug.

By the time people finish the process in Takiwasi they do not desire to continue drinking ayahuasca since they know the requirements that this work requires of them such as the dietary rules and sexual abstinence, the unpleasant taste of the brew, the difficult confrontations with their inner world, and the requirements of ritual and conduct. Ayahuasca teaches precisely that the access to the “other world”, to the symbolic world, inner or spiritual, is extremely necessary and requires sacrifice, vocation, motivation, and infinite respect.

For exactly this reason we consider ayahuasca to be not easily manageable and it cannot be generalized as a therapeutic instrument en masse. The demands on both the therapists and/or guides, as well as on the patients, indicate that this tool suits strongly motivated people, with clear intentions and ethical values. Its inadequate use can cause risks that do not allow it to be considered as an openly accessible and completely harmless medicine.

13. Those who had previous pharmacological treatments can present problems with natural treatments?

Going through a pharmacological treatment is like putting a lid on a pot of boiling water, it is a chemical straitjacket but it does not solve the problem. There is no restorative understanding, and the effects of emotional contents or drug use are simply postponed. Instead when patients arrive at Takiwasi after having consumed heroin, cocaine or whatever, this is eliminated from the moment of the arrival, they leave everything behind once they arrive at the entrance. When, in addition to illegal drugs, they are taking medication, the process becomes more difficult, because we are going to lift all the pharmacological substances and anguishes of many years suddenly arise. There we have to go smoother. There are not many, but we have had cases of addiction to hashish and cocaine with five or six drugs on top. In such situations the treatment has to be much more gradual.

14. Do you consider cannabis users as addicts?

The problem with cannabis is precisely that those who consume it by smoking it almost never feel addicted. In serious intoxications, manifestations arise that resemble psychotic outbreaks. The impregnation of cannabis is gradual and soft and therefore goes unnoticed, but in our experience is very problematic. We encounter problems of memory, concentration, access to emotions, increasing mentalization, spiritual falsification, etc. Finally, it can lead to a form of isolation in an imaginary world, an inability to concretize objectives in a concrete way. This dissociation at its extreme leads to an introversion towards schizophrenia. Hidden behind a "peace & love" appearance we find almost always a huge anger or rage. The feminine and enveloping energy of cannabis leads to a seductive fusional fascination that equals to a form of alienation or dependency and does not tolerate the slightest differentiated interference.

In western society cannabis is profaned, desacralized, set away from its mystical form, as product of a playful consumerism. That extraordinary medicine is transformed into poison by misuse. Even if they do not recognize themselves as addicted, people cannot sleep if they do not smoke a stump, cannot share with friends if are under the effects of marijuana, cannot quit for a couple of years... they usually leave it a month or two, being convinced that they are not addicted and justifying that way the return to consumption.

Fotografía del doctor Jacques Mabit, presidente fundador del centro Takiwasi


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1. Who can participate in the seminars?

The Seminar is addressed to adults and motivated people who yearn for an authentic self-search with "feet on the ground and head in the stars" and for which they present a serious motivation. Seminars are reserved to people who speak and understand French; an option for other interested participants (ie. Spanish/English speaking) could be the Retreats/Diets.

Fotografía del doctor Jacques Mabit, presidente fundador del centro Takiwasi


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1. What does Diet means in Takiwasi?

The Retreat/Diet (commonly referred to as "diet" in traditional medicine), is the deeper therapeutic work of traditional Amazon medicine, stronger and more effective than ayahuasca itself, and necessary when taking ayahuasca to reinforce its effect. It consists of a 7-day retreat in isolation, in a very simple hut ("tambo") in the jungle, in the Botanical Reserve of Takiwasi, with the ritualized intake of the so-called "master plants", under a very strict diet and rules of corporal and psychic management.

2. What arises in the patient during the Retreat/Diet?

The issues addressed in the Retreat/Diet may include events and aspects of vital importance for each person, that are very intimate and strongly linked to blockages and traumas. In this practice, a special contact with nature and the inner self is created, and thus dedicated to a physical and energetic depuration that eliminates toxic food and other substances that block sensibility. This process allows to expand perception, re-connect with repressed emotions, cleanse and strengthen the body, and connect with the holy dimension. It favors dream production, remembrance of past situations and experiences that weren’t well-processed and deep introspection.

Fotografía del doctor Jacques Mabit, presidente fundador del centro Takiwasi


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