904-435-7994 in U.S. or 099 368 8463 in Ecuador
Rio Jurumbaino Macas Ecuador
Concerned Doctor does NOT recommend!
I would like to begin by saying I have never written a bad review for any product, service nor person. I usually prefer to keep my opinions to myself if they are not positive, learn from them and move on. However, I am a doctor, involved in the alternative healing arts since 1995 and I simply cannot let my voice be muted under these circumstances, given the significance of what I have to share.
I had the experience of just over 2 months of exposure to Ayahuasca in Ecuador (AIE) in the beginning part of 2017. The following are a list of scenarios, events and dynamics that I observed first hand, or discussed with those who did experience things first hand.
-I witnessed the staff of non-native English speaking ‘sitters’ or facilitators struggle with communicating. There is usually one native English speaking person present, with two non-natives. If the number of clients that participate in the ceremony is greater than 3-4, that one native speaker is stretched beyond his capacity to be there fully for any one person. That means that the remainder of the people present have to attempt to translate what the non-native person is trying to say, while under the influence of a hallucinogen. If one is having a pleasant experience, that is probably just fine. If things take a turn, however, that is unnecessary stress placed upon the client that could escalate whatever situation they find themselves within. There are times when this one native speaker is on vacation, as well, which means potentially, there is no one present who is capable of speaking English fluently.
-It was my experience, as well as that of several people I spoke with, that there was not a single question posed by AIE about the clients’ current state of health. Not a single inquiry about whether or not we read the link at the bottom of one of their website pages about what to do/not do prior and after the ceremony, including whether or not we were on any medications that may be a life threatening mixture with Ayahuasca. Given the seriousness of the medicine, this could be interpreted by many as irresponsibility bordering on negligence.
-I was told that my initial email to AIE was a collection of the most questions that they had ever received. As a doctor, a responsible consumer and a naturally inquisitive person, I put a lot of time into trying to gather the most information as I could prior to committing to a group of people that I would entrust with my physical, chemical and emotional well being for the duration of my ceremony experience, and beyond, as it would relate to Ayahuasca. Each of my questions were answered to my current satisfaction, so I made my reservations.
However, when I arrived, almost nothing was as it was portrayed in the emails I received. This was true to such an extent that the site for the ceremony was literally a construction site. This was also true to such an extent that the one other person with whom I was doing the ceremony with demanded his money back the very next day, saying “This place is a s&%# hole.” I agreed, yet was determined to make the best of the situation. I also paid full price for much less than full amenities as described without question.
-As several weeks passed and I observed how things were done there, I realized that the marketing information that was posted online each month was simply not true. There was no yoga, no meditation, nor any breathwork offered nor were there any English speaking people available in this town of 6-8 expats that were qualified to offer any of the above. Speaking as someone who survived a near-fatal yoga injury, the person you want instructing you during any kind of class while under the lingering effects of mind altering medicine is a professional, preferably with lots of experience in dealing with clients’ deep, body opening situations. Anyone other than an experienced yoga teacher/breathworker/meditation instructor guiding classes is dangerous, in my opinion. Advertising said services when they are not actually available eroded my trust in AIE.
-I witnessed first hand multiple ‘lies of omission’ that occurred between the business partners themselves.
– On a more practical note, they have cats (and likely dogs too) that are infested with fleas that sleep on all of the beds that they rent, in their two locations. Best case scenario, you go home with some cat hair and maybe a suitcase stained with cat urine, as happened once; worse case, you return home with fleas.
I am not happy to have witnessed what I have, nor to spend any time putting this in writing. My remaining silent could be potentially harmful and as someone who once pledged to first, do no harm, this was simply unacceptable. It is my opinion as a doctor and as a former client that this facility is ill equipped to be hosting Ayahuasca ceremonies and in fact, is an “accident” waiting to happen.