Natural Healing Arts

Photo by Adrian Nichols

A beautiful trait of the modern, interconnected world is that, for the first time in history, people can educate themselves about local disciplines and traditions from around the world in order to form new parallels that have yet to be explored. One adventurous adept who has taken full advantage of this is Sebastian Hansen, founder of and practitioner of numerous healing modalities including kambo, rapé, sananga, yoga, ayurvedic medicine, reiki, massage therapy, and herbal medicine. As an IAKP certified kambo practitioner who has traveled and studied in Peru, Sebastian has gained a unique perspective on where various natural healing modalities intersect and how kambo functions within this spectrum of natural healing arts. We caught up with Sebastian in Peru, where he is helping facilitate a retreat that combines yoga teacher training and ceremonies with cleansing and visionary medicines.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Sebastian. Can you describe your experience of how kambo and rapé function when used with psychedelic plant medicines?

I’ve found kambo to be extremely helpful to prepare people physically—as well as to calm nerves—for those who have anxiety before working with the master plant teachers. Kambo carries a great protective spirit when entering into potentially heavy realms with medicines like ayahuasca. Rapé is a great medicine to open up pores of the body and allow other medicines to have an even deeper effect on the system. It also helps in the release of epinephrine, so it has an anti-anaphylactic effect, which can be very helpful when working with kambo. I typically recommend people work with the rapé when doing kambo. It has a calming quality that quiets the distracted, chattery mind and acts as a stimulant that has been shown to assist with learning.

It’s very useful to have allies that are not completely visionary substances but rather sharpen the senses, having a super-sensory instead of an extra-sensory quality. Having clarity in our physical reality can really help us to integrate the deeper plant medicine realms and to find the refined distinctions in the visionary reality we’re always in.

Many people say that kambo can yield similar results to psychedelics in terms of physical and mental healing even though it is non-psychoactive. Have you seen this first hand?

Yes, absolutely. For example, at our first Yoga Ceremony event, we had a woman come out who was recovering from some psychological challenges that lead to her being on heavy medication and in psychiatric care. My immediate instinct was to offer her kambo and encourage her to stay away from working with ayahuasca. I have seen people go through very intense experiences on ayahuasca when they are not ready. We did [a] kambo ceremony three times with this woman throughout the retreat. It had a very calming effect and put her in a place where she could…relax and experience a more gentle, at-home feeling. From what I’ve heard, she’s been doing great and now has a family and…a much more balanced life.

As an ayurvedic practitioner as well as a kambo practitioner, how do these two disciplines relate to one another in your work?

Ayurvedic medicine is the most ancient recorded system of medicine in the world and shares many similarities with Chinese medicine. In ayurveda we have a system of body typing that can give us a framework and context in which we can help people to cleanse appropriately and calm their nervous system. Through ayurvedic palliative therapies, we can assist the cleansing process of kambo via sweats, topical oils, internal medicines, digestives, physical practice, and so forth. You’re also able to bring toxins from the peripheral portions of the body to the digestive tract so you can have a more complete cleansing effect and expel a higher concentration of toxins. The ayurvedic system has many parallels with indigenous medicine arts—and that was an real eye opener for me—as if it is all one big tradition of natural healing.

In your eyes, what is the specific niche kambo occupies and gift it provides?

Kambo is a cleansing medicine. It’s wonderful at clearing “stuck” energy and helps people achieve their true vibrancy. It is a very good medicine for someone to clear their energy body and rest their emotional body and just to be present without the baggage and heaviness we so often carry around.

The kambo frog lives completely without fear in the extremely lush realm of the Amazonian rain forest that is filled with sensory diversity. When one gathers the kambo frog, they have no fear and do not avoid humans at all. I think we can receive some of these gifts. There’s a quality of the kambo that is reassuring, strengthening, and fortifying. It helps us to take in a lush variety of experience and feel a calmness, a trust.

We are very grateful to Sebastian for speaking with us from Peru and for being a pioneer in integrating a broad spectrum of natural healing modalities for personal growth and mind-body health.