The Fit2Fat2Fit Experience episode 168 with Dr. Jeff McNairy from Rythmia


INTRO:

What’s up everyone? Drew here from the Fit2Fat2Fit Experience Podcast. Today’s episode is with Dr. Jeff McNairy. Now if you remember in the last two episodes, I’ve been talking about this place called Rythmia in Costa Rica and my experience with plant medicine down there, specifically Ayahuasca. You’ve listened to me talk about breathwork as well, which is something else that I experienced down there that was very profound. Today’s guest is Dr. Jeff McNairy. He is the main doctor at Rythmia. He is the one who is kind of in charge of the patients there. A little bit about him and his background, just so you guys know. Dr. Jeff McNairy, he is the psych doctor. He’s been working in the healthcare field for 25 years. He has worked in a variety of medical environments and he’s seen the struggle individuals have when actually trying to heal. The current western system of health care is deficient in healing the population. Jeff kind of comes in and combines both the western world and eastern world. He is the main doctor at Rythmia. That’s what I liked about the place was they had someone like Jeff on board. This is a medically licensed facility. There are all these things you have to do to be in compliance with the country of Costa Rica, to make sure that everything is totally legal. If they come in and get audited, he is in charge of making sure their processes are clean and up to par with the Costa Rica government. This episode really goes into from a scientific perspective what this plant medicine does and how this resort, Rythmia, works being medically licensed. It’s really cool to hear his perspective on bridging ancient modalities with western psychology and that’s kind of what he does. He’s got a really cool story. I think you guys will really love hearing from him, someone who is an expert in this field. I had a great time talking to him. We connected on so many levels. I think you will really enjoy the conversation, especially if you are interested in what I have talked about in the past couple of weeks with Rythmia and plant medicine, but hearing it from someone like Dr. Jeff.


Drew: Dr. Jeff, Jeff? What can I call you?

Jeff: Yeah, Jeff. Dr. Jeff, either one. Whatever?!

Drew: Dr. Jeff sounds cool. *laughing*

Jeff: People know I’m a psychologist doctorate, so that’s what I …

Drew: Yeah. Well, thank you man. Thank you for coming on the podcast. It’s beautiful to be here in Costa Rica at Rythmia. How long have you been here?

Jeff: I’ve been here since we bought the place, so about five years.

Drew: Five years. Did you ever imagine something like this would come to exist? *laughing*

Jeff: Well, you know it’s weird because my whole career kind of led me to this. I have a masters in public health from UCLA. I am a doctor in Psychology. I did medical anthropology, ethnobotany studies as an undergrad. I never knew what any of it was really going to lead to. *laughing*

Drew: *laughing*

Jeff: But now that I am here, I am like, wow it all came together and makes sense.

Drew: Yeah. It’s interesting, you can look back and kind of connect the dots of what led you to this point. This taught me this, which led me here. I had this experience which led me here.

Jeff: Exactly.

Drew: So, connect the dots for us. Tell us a little about your background. Why did you get into this field?

Jeff: I was always against the healthcare system since the beginning.

Drew: Ok.

Jeff: But I was at a lecture with Ice-T of all people. He was doing a lecture circuit at universities and he said, ‘Don’t rebel until you can get up into the higher ranks of the system. Get your education. Get your degrees, then get up in there and then be a time bomb and explode.’ I took that to heart. I was young. I thought, ‘Wow.’ Ok, so there are a couple of ways to fight the system, right? One is to just kind of go against it from the beginning. Another is to kind of get enmeshed in it. Learn what it’s about and get educated in it and then make changes when you have the doors are available to you.

Drew: Wow. That’s actually really powerful. I am even more of a fan of Ice-T now. *laughing*

Jeff: Yeah. Me too. I love him!

Drew: What was the seminar series? Was he ….

Jeff: He just comes around lecturing at different universities talking about his story. He is a very interesting dude.

Drew: Yeah.

Jeff: Then that resonated with me. I was like, I don’t believe in Psychology, but I’m going to get a doctorate in Psychology so I can get into the mental health fields. Psych hospitals, private practice, drug rehabs and I can get in there and make a shift. You know you can’t make a shift in those professional communities unless you have the credentials. So that’s what I did. I thought I am going to get all the credentials and get all the degrees and then just get in there and be a time bomb.

Drew: So how did you do that? What were your beliefs that were different than what was being taught to you?

Jeff: Well the sick role of people, you know? And there isn’t much hope for patients who have certain mental health issues or addiction. It’s kind of like let’s get them on meds. Let’s keep them in therapy for their whole life.

Drew: Yeah.

Jeff: Let’s put them in and out of the psych hospital and let’s just kind of extend their care forever! I wasn’t into that. I was in to let’s get a change going. The patients I worked with had trauma, addiction and acute mental health, they are all very high risk people.

Drew: Yeah.

Jeff: They don’t have a lifetime to kind of figure it out. You’ve got to figure it out quick. Because what happens is they commit suicide. They overdose on drugs or they are just zombies from all the meds they are on. I was more about let’s get some change going fast. It was hard because the system I was in wasn’t about quick change. It was about long term, drawn out, lots of cost. It was crazy.

Drew: That is crazy. That sounds a little bit like irony, right? *laughing*

Jeff: Definitely. It was crazy. The system they are in for the crazy guys is crazy! *laughing*

Drew: That’s awesome. What did that lead you to do? What was your first roll in changing things?

Jeff: I was living in Hawaii working for the Department of Health at this place called The Institute of Family Enrichment in Honolulu. We had a contract with the Department of Health. I had these kids, these Hawaiian kids, who were ‘quote-unquote’ problematic. I met with them. I would work with them in their school and also after school I would work with the families. They were not problematic. They were just not fitting into the system that was imposed upon them. We all know how that goes in Hawaii and other parts of the world. What I did is I said I am going to help empower these kids so they can have some initiative and some self starting stuff and feel good about who they were as people. Then that’s how they can make change and be successful. That was kind of what opened my eyes a little bit, working with the Hawaiian families and all these kids that are so cool. They were rough cats. They were hard core Hawaiian kids in the school fighting and smoking weed all day. Trying to go surf, that was kind of it. That opened my eyes to there is a different way to do this. It’s called empowering the patients. Empower the people to have their own sort of like positive vibes about themselves, because if your self esteem is low, it’s hard. So you want to increase self esteem and that can make a change. I moved back to the mainland. I got my doctorate in Psych. I already had my public health degree by then. I already managed some stuff at UCLA, some OB/Gyn clinics and working with low income and underserved, like mostly Latino families and women in reproductive health. I did some research in that. When I came to L.A., I was in my grad program and my doctorate year one. One of my buddies says, ‘Hey dude, there is this place that hires at night. You can study. You just have to kind of sit around these homes in Malibu and just watch the patients.’ I said, ‘Well what is that place.’ He said, ‘It’s called Passages. It’s a rehab.’ So I just showed up. I thought I will work and be studying all night, writing papers and reading and just watching these people in the homes just to make sure everything is cool. The owners eventually found out that I had this background. So within six months into my first year of my doctorate, they made me the administrative director of Passages Malibu, which is crazy because I was just a kid. *laughing*

Drew: How old were you?

Jeff: I was probably 32.

Drew: Ok, yeah. Really young.

Jeff: Yeah. I was like totally about it. Passages was really interesting because it wasn’t a 12 step place.

Drew: Ok.

Jeff: I wasn’t like into the 12 step thing. It helps a lot of people. My grandpa was a 12 step guy, so I’m not against it. But I realized it can kind of like keep you pigeon holed a little bit. Calling addiction a disease and all this other kind of stuff that is self demeaning. I have these character flaws. *laughing* I’m a alcoholic. You look in the mirror and look at yourself and go, ‘I’m a f**kup person.’ It’s not the greatest vibe for some.

Drew: Yeah.

Jeff: I liked the place and I started to administer all the different programs we did. I worked with the therapists and supervised all the staff. That is where I met Jerry. So, he showed up there. *laughing*

Drew: Ok. What was your first impression of Jerry?

Jeff: Just an animal! *laughing*

Drew: *laughing*

Jeff: Just freaking a madman, dude. He was a rough cat. He was super high when I met him. He had come from using a bunch of demerol. He was going through a divorce. He was upset. He was crying.

Drew: Yeah.

Jeff: I am sure you probably heard from his story, but I interview the guests to see who I am going to put as their treatment team. I interviewed him and I thought, ‘He is going to tear up anybody I … ‘ *laughing*

Drew: No one can handle him! *laughing*

Jeff: No one can handle him! So I said, I will take this dude. I wasn’t working with people. I was just supervising the facility. But I took him. I said, alright. This is a special case. I am going to work with this dude and we hit it off. We connected really quick. That was kind of like what got the ball rolling.

Drew: Sounds like you have a good knack for connecting with people. From the Hawaiian kids to people like Jerry who are difficult, you know? That is really cool.

Jeff: You know, it comes down to just like respect. Just honoring who the individual is and finding value in each person. I like that, because I have things that I think that are cool about me. I like to see those things in other people, whatever that is. I like that. So, yeah, we hit it off in that way real quick.

Drew: Ok. So, you started working with him one on one. He told us in his interview that you guys worked together every day for five years straight. Was there progress made? Most people after five weeks would be like, ‘Ok, this isn’t working. I am wasting this money.’ What happened in those five years?

Jeff: *laughing* There were ups and downs. Most of the time it was kind of like plateauing. He would go out at night and fight all the time.

Drew: Really? Crazy?!

Jeff: He has a plate in his hand and a bunch of pins from breaking his hand so many times. I would even supervise him at night sometimes. There were times he would have some breakthroughs and be like, ‘Ok, this particular girl I am dating, she is not good for me. She has these certain conditions that are influencing me.’ So, we would kind of work on that. He was always trying to build a relationship with his kids, because they were upset with him.

Drew: Yeah, of course.

Jeff: He was going through his divorce and that was rough. His wife was upset and obviously pissed off at him. *laughing*

Drew: Right.

Jeff: So there were moments where there were ups and downs. But it got to a point where it was just about keeping this dude alive. Because he was very volitive.

Drew: Really?

Jeff: He could flip a switch and just be pissed. He was kind of scary actually, like out in the community. It was like, ‘Don’t drive drunk.’ He didn’t. That’s good. ‘Don’t fight people at Nobu in Malibu.’ That was not the crowd we were looking for! It kind of was up and down and it got frustrating for him and for me. We were kind of at the end of our …. it was like what do we do now? I don’t even know what to do with this guy. He exhausted all of my resources.

Drew: Really? Wow. That’s crazy. So when he told you he was going to Costa Rica …. did he tell you?

Jeff: He did.

Drew: Ok. What did you think of this? Did he tell you what it was?

Jeff: I had heard about it before. I had heard a little bit about it. I watched a documentary about the plant medicine.

Drew: Ok.

Jeff: I was familiar and I was very curious. I didn’t know much about it.

Drew: What year was this?

Jeff: This was in …. let’s see …. It was probably six or seven years ago.

Drew: Gotcha. Yeah.

Jeff: Six years ago. So, but I was all for it.

Drew: Try anything?!

Jeff: Try anything at this point, nothing has worked. I was behind him. I was backing him up.

Drew: Ok. Gotcha. So he went to Costa Rica and had this amazing experience. When did he bring you into this whole ….

Jeff: Well, as soon as he had his night where he had his breakthrough, he called me right away. He said, ‘Hey dude. You’ve got to come down here.’ I was like, ‘Wait? What? Me? I don’t have an addiction. I guess I am a little crazy.’ But I didn’t view myself as dysfunctional! Everything was kind of going ok. *laughing*

Drew: *laughing* Me? I’m totally healthy. I am fine! *laughing* Yeah.

Jeff: I was like, ‘Ok, fine. I’ll come down.’ So I came down and met with him. We are both here in Costa Rica. He did it again with me and I did it. It changed my life completely.

Drew: Yeah. What was your experience? Did you talk to the moon?

Jeff: I actually went to the sun.

Drew: Really?

Jeff: Yeah, a little different than most people.

Drew: Ok.

Jeff: Supposedly I’m the first westerner to ever go to the sun, according to the shayman from Africa.

Drew: Wow!

Jeff: So, who knows? *laughing* But I met with the sun over the moon a little bit. But the sun was what was more my jam. Yeah, it was interesting.

Drew: Wow. Interesting. So keep going.

Jeff: What happened was I did a ton of inner child work on the medicine. So here is the thing, you get to a point in your life where you’re kind of like, I’m ok enough. I’m successful. I’ve got my family. Things are ok. But I wasn’t really ok underneath it all, you know?

Drew: Yeah.

Jeff: A lot of us in the healthcare field are great at helping other people, but when it comes to ourselves, we kind of aren’t so good. *laughing*

Drew: Yeah. *laughing*

Jeff: If we are asked to look at ourselves, we are resistant and I was that way.

Drew: Ok.

Jeff: To get your doctorate in psychology, you have to have 65 hours of individual therapy for yourself, which is really good. Because if you are a nut job and you are working with patients, it’s not going to go well. So you have to kind of sort out your own stuff. So when I did that in my doctorate, I was just coasting. I wasn’t going deep. I was maneuvering the therapist. She knew it. She knew it, dude. She was calling me out. She said, ‘You are not doing any work.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’m just getting my hours to get my degree.’ I am like, I am good enough. But what happened was on the plant medicine, I was able to see the persona that I am portraying to the world is not the accurate Jeff. It’s this different version to just be safe and to kind of be protective of who I am in my inner self. I got to realize what that was. It was really cool. I grew up in an area in L.A that was rough. There was a lot of gangs and a lot of violence. You would hear gunshots every night. My family was broke. My family was really great, but my dad was a marine biologist with seven kids. You can’t make a lot of money studying shiner perch. *laughing*

Drew: *laughing*

Jeff: It was a great family vibe, but the neighborhood was rough. There were a lot of cats around that were a little rough. The persona that I portrayed to the world is I am this tough guy. Don’t mess with me because I will fight you. Stay away. That wasn’t who I was deep down. I got to heal that kind of inner child self.

Drew: Wow. I think people are really interested in hearing from your perspective, someone that has their doctorate and is doing something, plant medicine. Some people might think, ‘Oh that’s for hippies or people that are out there.’ I think it is really cool hearing your experience and going through this and what you learned from it and how you have grown from it. Now you can kind of take the good things and positive things you have learned from school to help people, but then also this other experience, this other medicine that can help people as well.

Jeff: Absolutely. Definitely. In the healthcare field, the practitioner’s are all very knowledgeable. They have a lot of school. They have a student loan debt. I have crazy debt, dude. It’s ridiculous. But at the end of the day, it comes down to if I am not healed as a person, I can’t work to heal these other people in the most effective way.

Drew: Interesting.

Jeff: I think what is cool too about the healthcare field is that a lot of these people who have so much knowledge, like doctors and nurses and therapists and all this. What happens is when they do plant medicine, it just solidifies the work they have already done. It doesn’t completely change their whole thing necessarily. I still believe in the strategies of therapies I was taught and all that. But what I was always trying to get to with the patients was helping them make a change, an internal shift. That’s really hard, because that is just up to the person. So you can create an environment of safety and give them all these tools. But the bottom line is if they don’t do it and they don’t make that shift themselves. then they are not going to change and they are not going to get better. So the plant medicine is like …. it pushes them over that edge to help them make that change. It’s really amazing.

Drew: That’s great, man. I think that is really important for people listening, because there are going to be people that are skeptical. Seems weird. Seems dangerous. But the science is there and it’s becoming more mainstream with more people doing it and realizing the power of it. It’s one of the tools. That’s one thing I have talked to other people about. There are other things that work, like you said, your background and your education, those things still work. But this is something, like you said, that puts them over the edge, which I think is amazing. So, going back to your story. So you do the medicine and you have an awesome experience, then what is next between you and Jerry?

Jeff: We had a very important talk where we said we have to do something to bring this sort of plant medicine world to the mainstream. Because like you said, most people just think of it as mostly hippies doing it. You are going into the jungle and it’s this extreme thing and that’s what it was. You had to be pretty adventurous to go do plant medicine. Most people wouldn’t do that. People that really need it, wouldn’t go do that. We wanted to have a place that was like a bridge between the ancient world of this plant medicine and the modern sort of western medical technology world. That is what we wanted to create. We just said, alright, let’s do it. Let’s start looking for a place. We are going to be in Costa Rica. This country is awesome. It’s really open to different things. So, let’s do it. So we started searching for a resort to buy.

Drew: Ok. So, how did, for example, being able to do plant medicine with the government of Costa Rica, is it something that they just say, ‘Ok, this is a resort. You can do this plant medicine. Here you go.’?

Jeff: No. It took me two years to write the program that was part of the licensing application. We had to justify how this is going to work and why. We had to show scientific data. Also, it’s interesting, for example in the United States, on Native American lands, they are allowed to use their indigenous medicine, whether it’s Peyote or Ayahuasca, it’s like part of their religious cultural heritage. So what happens in Costa Rica is that the whole country is viewed as an indigenous land by the government. There are people in Costa Rica that are indigenous that are using these plant medicines, then we can use it but we have to go through a certain protocol to make sure it is safe.

Drew: Gotcha. Yeah, you’ve got tourists and foreigners coming here to do it. They don’t want to be looked at as, ‘Hey I went there and did it, so it’s your fault.’

Jeff:  Exactly.

Drew: Ok. That makes sense. Having a place that is medically licensed, how does that change the game for the world of plant medicine?

Jeff: I think what it does is it opens the door to having people feel confident about coming, because they know we are following tons of protocols. I mean ….

Drew: Yeah. Yeah, talk to us about that or some of it.

Jeff: Yeah, for sure. There is a big thick manual that we had to write. It shows how we administer the medicine. How much we give and who doesn’t qualify for it due to medical history and physical symptoms. Who does qualify and what meds you can not be on and all this stuff. The nurses have to do a nursing note on everybody. The doctor, our medical doctor, checks on everybody. I’m here. I’m the chief medical officer so I am supervising on the whole operation. So there is a whole lot of methodology that goes into it. It isn’t like, ‘Here drink this. ‘ and whoever shows up can get it. It’s not like that. You have to be cleared medically before you even arrive through our intake department in California and on the phone, basically we ask you questions. When you get here, we do a physical exam and we triage you. We go over more medical stuff. Everybody is super appropriate to do it. That’s why we are safe. That is why nothing, ‘knock on wood’ has happened that’s been detrimental, because everybody who comes here is appropriate.

Drew: Yeah. Can we talk about the down sides or what the risks could be with plant medicine without these protocols. For instance, people are listening and are like, ‘Well is it not safe?’ Those questions that people have. Tell them about the risks.

Jeff: Absolutely. If people are on SSRI’s, which are antidepressant medications. If they are on those and they take Ayahuasca, Ayahuasca is an MAOI’s and SSRI’s are contraindicated. So what happens is if you are on Wellbutrin or Zoloft and you drink some Ayahuasca, you are going to have what’s called a serotonin syndrome, which is really dangerous. It’s a flooding of your synaptic cleft of your brain between the neurons of serotonin. It causes anxiety. It can cause heart conditions. It causes an increase in heart rate. It can be lethal. So that is something that is obviously really dangerous. So, we have people off of those for at least 30, 60, or 90 days depending on the person. So that is one scenario. Another scenario would be if they had some gastrointestinal surgery or some sort of operation done ….

Drew: Oh. Ok, like weight loss surgery?

Jeff: Weight loss surgery, like gastric bypass surgery that was recent. When you cut the stomach and you drink Ayahuasca, it gets absorbed really fast. So it can be too extreme. Then also if a person has a heart condition. If they have had a heart attack or they have had a stroke, or an AFIB, if it’s really bad or really any sort of heart condition, that’s something we look at also individually. So there are heart conditions, there are brain conditions, if they have tumors. There is all this different stuff, especially the meds. We make sure people do or do not have and then we clear them medically if it’s appropriate.

Drew: Gotcha. Also there are different brews of Ayahuasca? Is there testing? How do you know what is in it? How do you know there is nothing in it that can be dangerous or something?

Jeff: Well we took the Ayahuasca and we had it tested at the City of University of New York Harlem Research Center.

Drew: Oh, ok.

Jeff: Which my best friend used to run the place. We would test it. It is super clean and super pure. But it’s a great question because you never know what is coming, right? So we make our own version of Ayahuasca here. Then we get it from people we really trust and we know and we test it ourselves. We run it through a lot of tests so we know it’s really clean and pure. Ayahuasca is two plants. It’s a vine, which they call the Ayahuasca vine. Then it’s a DMT plant that’s regional. I know you were talking a little bit about this on your intake. So like in Hawaii it’s Acacia. Here it’s Chacruna. Other parts of the world it’s different. It’s a high content DMT plant that they blend with the Ayahuasca vine. That’s kind of how they make it. So basically just two ingredients.

Drew: Ok. Gotcha. Yeah, that is what I was going to ask about, like what from a scientific perspective, what is in it? How does it interact with the body? What do people tend to experience when they drink Ayahuasca?

Jeff: What happens is that the vine is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, so that turns off the stomach enzymes. Because if the stomach enzymes are functioning, it will destroy the DMT.

Drew: Ok.

Jeff: Then you won’t have any experience. Nothing. So if you just drank DMT, it wouldn’t do anything. If you just had the plant with just the DMT, nothing. So you have got to turn off the stomach enzymes. So what happens is you drink it and then we already have DMT in our body. DMT is already a part of us, plants, animals, mammals, we all have DMT in us naturally. What happens is the body recognizes this extra amount and thinks ok now I can kind of like go deeper into who I am as a person. Get clarity and get connection to other people. There is a lot of theories about what DMT is even for. Naturally, like why do we have DMT? I believe after doing my research and reading and talking to a lot of people, it’s our ability to connect to other people. I think, ‘Oh, I feel this connection to you.’ Or my intuition. I feel like something is going to happen weird in about 5 minutes so I should park my car and there is a car accident. So DMT is kind of this clarity substance and this insightful chemical that we all have naturally. It helps us kind of plug in to ourselves and others. The Ayahuasca that you take, the additional amount, it helps you go really deep with that.

Drew: Gotcha. That’s amazing. I mean, how or who the first person was who drank this, made this up and thought, ‘Wow, that was amazing. Let’s make some more of that.’ *laughing*

Jeff: I know! Like, let’s trip out on that! *laughing* There are all these things in the world. There are all these plant medicines in the world. Who thought of this originally? I have no idea!  

Drew: I really like what you guys do bringing in the traditions, right? There are all different tribes and traditions to serve it. But I like how you guys still kind of preserve that here at Rythmia, which is definitely more of a modern, upscale, nice resort. Air conditioning and beds, clean water, showers and food. You are not in the middle of the jungle. But you go into the ceremony and there are still the ancient traditions. You can tell that there is that almost spirituality to it. I think that is something you guys have done really, really well here. Going back a little bit to your story. You guys had this idea and you created it. Where do you see this movement going? The plant medicine? Could you see a place like this in the United States some day or other locations?

Jeff: The thing about it, it’s a schedule one medicine in the U.S. That means it’s highly regulated. You can’t do research on it. There are all these different kinds of restrictions on it. However, there are some places that are legal in the U.S to do it, but they are religious based. The Santo Daime for example, is a religious based organization from Brazil. It has a christian sort of dogma. There are a bunch of those locations in the U.S. However, it’s not everybody is christian right? So if they go, it’s going to have that kind of lean or bent. What I see happening is it’s kind of like how medical marijuana is kind of making a breakthrough in the states. In some states, it’s recreationally ok now. The medical side of marijuana, I am really intrigued by. That’s kind of the model that I think eventually Ayahuasca will go. Now marijuana is really safe. There is not a bunch of contraindications for it. Ayahuasca is a little different. There are some health issues, there are a lot of concerns. So the medical world of the west is a little leary and hesitant. Also the problem is it is really effective. *laughing*

Drew: *laughing*

Jeff: Anything that is really effective is going to be frowned upon because it takes out this huge chunk of industry from the pharmaceutical guys or whoever else in the medical world. So that is an issue. That is what we fight in a sense is that oppressive vibe of it’s better if you are sick because then you can make us money. I think what is going to happen eventually is the people, the grass roots sort of like energy, to get this passed eventually, is what is going to do it. The medical field itself is so regulated, it’s hard to come by them. Obviously they are going to help, but I think it’s more of a grass roots thing. The people are going to demand it. This is what we want for our health care. Like with medical marijuana, you have the families who have the kid that has seizures and nothing is working. The kid is a zombie because he is on all these meds. They do CBD oil for example and they are fine. So there is going to be that kind of scenario and demand.

Drew: Yeah. Demand. I’ve met a couple of psychotherapists that are here and I am curious to know what do you tell other people in your field that are skeptical or unsure about this new method? How do you have conversations with those people without them thinking that you are a crazy person? *laughing*

Jeff: Exactly. Yeah. Exactly! *laughing*

Drew: I am just curious.

Jeff: Yeah, a lot of people do think I am crazy, right? *laughing* The biggest opposition to me comes from my field, not from the common community. It’s other psychologist and other medical practitioners. So when they come here, it’s really cool. I can level with them and say, ‘Look, you have worked with all these different patients just like I have, right? And they have had all the same kinds of outcomes, which have not been good. Go into this with an open mind, so you can see that this is a viable tool that you can add to your different therapeutic approaches, right?’ So, I kind of just go into it like that and they love it. They have actually done really well here. The doctors, the therapists, we have had a lot of nurses that come here. They love it. They love it because they have seen …. they are frustrated with the system they are in. That’s why they are here. They want to see if there is a different kind of approach. It really opens their eyes to this different sort of thing we are doing.

Drew: Yeah. One of the ladies here, the reason she came is because her clients did this and they had amazing experiences. So, after her clients were telling her about these amazing experiences, she’s like, ‘Ok, maybe I should go try it out for myself.’ So, I think that’s a really cool approach to want to help your clients to kind of step into their shoes and see this has worked for these people, so I am going to go check it out.

Jeff: It also helps because when these therapists and doctors go back to wherever they are from, if they have people they are working with that have had this experience, they can really connect with them and help facilitate the transition. That is super helpful.

Drew: Yeah. Because if someone just came into you and said, ‘Hey, I just talked to the sun yesterday.’ *laughing* ‘And then the moon said this.’

Jeff: Yeah! *laughing* I saw some angel wings. I did some sacred surgery. I am putting you in the psych ward right now buddy! 5150 hold! *laughing*

Drew: *laughing* That’s awesome man! So where do people go from here as far as they have this amazing experience. Now is this something they have to do every day or is it something that is one and done? What do you recommend? What do you see?

Jeff: What we have seen here at Rythmia is if people do like lets say a week stay where they get four ceremonies in a week, right? If they do three weeks over their lifetime. What is that, 12 experiences?

Drew: Yeah, 12 experiences. Yeah.

Jeff: They can have that. That has shown from our data that we have that as the most effective scenario. However, there are a lot of people that come and night one they get everything they needed. They are totally cool and they don’t need to come back. They are hesitant to even do Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night because they got everything on Monday. It just really depends on the person. I’m not an advocate for anything, including plant medicine that you have to always continually do.

Drew: Sure.

Jeff: I believe it is just like get your issues resolved. Move forward in life and get the tools you need and you are good.

Drew: Gotcha.

Jeff: For example, I haven’t done plant medicine in over a year and a half.

Drew: Ok.

Jeff: I have access to it almost every night, right? The reason is because I have got tons of data that I am working on. And I have tons of things that I am trying to work on that I learned from my ceremonies. So, if I come across like a block in my life or a crossroads that I am uncertain of, then I will do plant medicine again to kind of get that clarity. But I don’t believe that people need to do this forever, at all! I am really against that actually.

Drew: Yeah. I can see that for sure. We are coming up on time here. One last question is does the government come and watch and regulate you guys to make sure what you are doing here? How does that work with the government?

Jeff: They do, yeah.

Drew: Ok.

Jeff: They do site visits that are unannounced, which is really normal for any health care facility, even at a hospital in San Jose. They will just show up and do a site visit. That is really normal and we are always prepared. We have to have the charting in order. We have to have the schedule in order. We have to have everything like we said it was on the license.

Drew: Ok.

Jeff: They interview us. They send them to stay for 2-3 days. They go over all the different details we are doing. That is something that is normal and it’s something that we have done excellent 5 stars on, A+ grade every time. That’s kind of my thing.

Drew: Ok. Gotcha.

Jeff: My deal is maintaining licenses and being compliant. That is like my whole world. So that is what I do from sun up to sun down is make sure that is in order.

Drew: Has anyone from the government jumped in on the plant medicine to see what it is about?

Jeff: No, they can. Absolutely. But we haven’t had a lot of the administrators do it. We have offered it to them.

Drew: Really? Ok. *laughing*

Jeff: A couple are curious, so we will see. I mean we would love that.

Drew: They might come back as a client later on or something one day when their bosses aren’t looking. *laughing*

Jeff: Absolutely. *laughing* They know what we are doing. They are on board with it. They have licensed us to do it so they are not tripping or upset or anything. They are happy that we are doing it, because we are bringing a lot of income to Costa Rica. We are hiring a ton of people that are from Costa Rica.

Drew: Yeah. There is so much construction going on.

Jeff: Yeah. Tons. We donate to the ministry of health every month, a bunch of stuff for kids who are under served here. So we are very involved in the community. We are a part of Costa Rica.

Drew: I love that. So is the goal to open up multiple locations or grow this one bigger? What do you guys have planned for expansion?

Jeff: It’s kind of like we are in that decision process right now.

Drew: Ok.

Jeff: We are considering expanding in different parts of the world. Here there is a certain amount we can kind of handle, as far as beds and ceremonies and people. Here we are pretty much maxed out. In the next six months we will pretty much max out on how many we can handle. But I view Rythmia expanding into other sort of industries that help people connect and get plant medicine, something they can use as a tool. Hopefully we will be in other parts of the world really soon.

Drew: Yeah. I love that. I just want to say thank you for you being here. You’ve helped so many people out and probably put a lot of people at ease. When they first come here they are nervous and anxious you know? What is going to happen? Am I going to lose my mind? You have probably helped a lot of people out and integrating it back in and learning how to take the lessons you have learned from the plant medicine and apply it to your life and make you feel safe. That is the biggest thing, is to come to a place where you feel safe. That’s what I love about what you guys do. I really appreciate you coming on Dr. Jeff.

Jeff: Thank you. Thanks for having me. It’s been a pleasure.

Drew: Yes sir. We will talk to you soon.

Jeff: Ok. Porta Vita!

Drew: Porta Vita! *laughing*


OUTRO:

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