Zach Bush MD is a physician specializing in internal medicine, endocrinology and hospice care. He is an internationally recognized educator and thought leader on the microbiome as it relates to health, disease, and food systems. Dr Zach founded Seraphic Group and the nonprofit Farmer’s Footprint to develop root-cause solutions for human and ecological health. His passion for education reaches across many disciplines, including topics such as the role of soil and water ecosystems in human genomics, immunity, and gut/brain health. His education has highlighted the need for a radical departure from chemical farming and pharmacy, and his ongoing efforts are providing a path for consumers, farmers, and mega-industries to work together for a healthy future for people and planet.
Rapé is a legal sacred shamanic medicine that has been used by healers of the Amazon basin for thousands of years. It is pronounced ‘ha-peh’ in English, but is also referred to as ‘hape’, ‘hapi’, or ‘rapay’ by Westerners. These medicines are very rare, sacred, powerful, and profoundly healing and cleansing, and are made in a very sacred and labor intensive process. Rapé is a complex herbal snuff composed of a blend of pulverized Amazonian medicinal plants, trees, leaves, seeds, and other sacred ingredients, often with a tabacco base.
Traditionally, Rapé is applied by using a pipe made from bamboo, which is blow through each nostril on both sides. It can be self-administered using a "kuripe", a V-shaped self-applicator pipe which connects the mouth to the nostrils. It can also be administered by another person using a "tepi", a blow pipe which connects the blower’s mouth to the other person’s nostrils.
As the blend is blown high up into the nostrils, it immediately focuses the mind, stops the chattering, and opens the entire freed mindspace for your intentions. Furthermore, rapé helps releasing emotional, physical, and spiritual illnesses and eases negativity and confusion, enabling a thorough grounding of your mind. Likewise, rapé is used to re-align the user with their energy channels and with their higher self, and to intensify their connection with the world and the universe. In addition, rapé paves the way for detoxifying the body and cleans out all excess mucus, toxins, and bacteria, thereby, assisting in fighting colds, sniffles and certain kinds can even help with the flu. Blowing the Tepi involves an intimate connection between the rapé giver and receiver. Both are closely connected by mouth, nose and by breath, and both need to open and allow the other spirit and intention to enter, permitting the healing to take place. After blowing, it is recommended to sit with the medicine and meditate for about a half hour or so. It is best to remain with the eyes closed, while inhaling and exhaling slowly (more effective through the nose), enabling a thorough grounding and maintenance of focus.
Today, indigenous tribes in the Amazon basin continue to use rapé in all aspects of life, from formal ritual use in rites of puberty, initiation, cashiri drinkings festivals, social gatherings and healing ceremonies, to simply tuning into Nature and the healing power of sacred plant medicines alone or with friends.
Traditionally, rapé is applied by using a pipe made from bamboo or bone, which is blown through each nostril on both sides. You always blow into the left nostril first to represent a metaphorical death, and then into the right nostril to represent rebirth. You always put the shorter end of either pipe in your mouth to blow, and the longer end goes inside the nostril.
According to the Brazilian Yawanawa Tribe, there are three different ways to blow rapé:
Some recommend working with rapé twice per day to begin with – once in the morning and once in the evening. However, this depends on each person’s tolerance levels and also their personal situation. If you are going through a particularly stressful and sick period, you may decide to use it more regularly. For some people several times a week is fine, or only during Ayahuasca or other medicine ceremonies. For others, they may need to work intensively with these medicines to do some very deep work, purging, and intensive healing. Please listen to your body, intuition, and the spirit of these sacred medicines – they will guide you, as to what’s best for you personally.
A half a pea-sized amount of rapé for each nostril for beginners, and then increasing the dosage after prolonged use of one type of rapé. However, everyone has naturally difference tolerance levels, so some people may require larger doses, and others smaller doses. Please experiment to see what works for you personally.
If you have a lot of phlegm or mucous in the back of your throat, dripping down your throat, or in your mouth, then spit it out immediately, as it’s toxic or negative energy that is being released and expelled. You do not want to swallow it back inside. In order to prevent the rapé from dripping into your throat, you will want to keep your head down so it will drip down through your nose and not in your throat.
You should try to keep the rapé in your nostrils for as long as comfortably possible so the medicine can be absorbed through the bloodstream. It is best to breathe in through the nose if possible for this. Then, you can blow your nose with tissue as many times as it’s necessary for you.
Chakra Openings. (2019). How to use Rapé. [online] Available at: https://chakraopenings.com/pages/what-is-rape [Accessed 4 May 2019].
Liana, L. (2017). Rapé - the Sacred Amazonian Snuff You Blow Up Your Nose. [online] EntheoNation. Available at: https://entheonation.com/blog/rape-amazonian-snuff/ [Accessed 4 May 2019].
The Relaxation Response
Meditation is the practice of being in the here and now. Researchers have long observed that meditation, or the sense of presence, has the ability to:
Meditation has the ability to fundamentally change the way you live. Researchers have observed individuals who meditate and have discovered that the human mind wanders nearly half of the day. Moreover, research suggests that a wandering mind is a better predictor of happiness, independent of financial security. In essence, if your mind is wandering, you are much less likely to be happy. The sense of the present moment determines happiness.
Meditation develops two important skills to help keep the mind from wandering. The first is the ability to remain focused and attentive. The second, is the ability to recognize when the mind wanders so that it can gently be returned to the present moment.
An crucial concept to grasp before diving into meditation is the relaxation response. In the modern world, stress is chronic. The modern world is deluged with a vast amount of information and moves at such as fast pace, and this places everyone experiencing it in a state of stress. This often results in a surge of cortisol and adrenaline, hormones released by the adrenal glands, which activates the sympathetic nervous system, also known as the fight or flight response. As a result, the mind turns outward, seeking to evaluate and resolve anything that is the source of the stress. Unless you are relaxed, out of fight or flight, you cannot meditate. Activation of the parasympathetic nervous system must occur (the mind must be turned inward) in order to practice meditation. This balance can be achieved by learning the relaxation response. Relaxation is the first step to meditation.
The key to the relaxation response is noticing what happens in your body when the response is activated. What physiologic cues are revealed to you when you are relaxed? It is different for everyone. Some may experience a release of tension in the shoulders, others in the neck, many in the jaw. What is important is knowing when your body is relaxed and is ready to begin meditating.
In 1975, Herbert Benson wrote the book "The Relaxation Response". As a cardiologist, he noticed that many of his patients who had high blood pressure felt worse with the medications that he prescribed. Patients simply visiting him made matters worse. Benson discovered that stress was the culprit and relaxation was the cure. Benson reluctantly began working with transcendental meditation meditators because they claimed to be able to reduce their blood pressure. He observed that they were in fact correct. The meditators were able to successfully reduce their heart rate, metabolic rate, and breath rate. Benson coined this effect the "relaxation response". After researching this phenomena more he discovered that the relaxation response could be triggered easily, quickly, and anywhere.
Just as stress can be triggered in a variety of ways, so too can relaxation, including meditation. Benson later discovered four key components underlying the relaxation response:
Eventually, Benson later discovered that only the last two are required, a mental device and an allowing attitude, to activate the relaxation response. This means that anyone can tap into the relaxation response anywhere and anytime.
Benson, H., & Klipper, M. (2000). The relaxation response. New York: HarperCollins.
Fredrickson, B. L., Cohn, M. A., Coffey, K. A., Pek, J., & Finkel, S. M. (2008). Open hearts build lives: Positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(5), 1045-1062. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0013262
The Awareness domain contains research, news, information, observations, and ideas at the level of self in an effort to intellectualize health concepts.
The Lifestyle domain builds off intellectual concepts and offers practical applications.
Taking care of yourself is at the core of the other domains because the others depend on your health and wellness.