Safety Protocols

Our retreat’s safety protocols ensure the physical & psychological safety of our guests

The safety of our guest is our number one priority. We have carefully designed safety protocols that protect the safety of our guests; physically, emotionally and mentally, both inside and outside the Ayahuasca ceremony. Feeling safe and comfortable will allow you to open up and receive the full benefits of the ceremonies. For that reason, we integrate professional medical staff in our retreats ensuring the safety of guests.  Etnikas is different from other retreat centers in that the medically trained staff work together with shaman in diagnosing and analyzing physical and psychological health issues.  Our Shaman have many years of experience and are expert in holding responsible Ayahuasca ceremonies in the traditional manner. The founder of Etnikas has been working and healing with Ayahuasca for 30 years.

Our risk management program includes the following measures and practices:

  • Etnikas has a multi-disciplinary health team consisting of a Cardiologist, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, General Practitioner, Emergency nurse who complement the highly experienced native Andean and Amazonian shaman.
  • A doctor is on site 24 hours a day during retreats with access to a full range of state of the art emergency medical equipment.
  • A nurse experienced in emergency medical care will be present during the ayahuasca ceremony. At the close of the ceremony The doctor and nurse will conduct a physical check to ensure guests are calm and stable after returning from their journeys before going to bed. They also monitor guests throughout the night to ensure their comfort and wellbeing.
  • Ceremonies are run with between two and four high qualify Shaman. Andean (Qeros) and Amazonian (Shipibo) They come from families with traditions of shamanism, using centuries-old traditions and techniques.
  • Staff are trained in emergency resolution on a weekly basis by our specialist doctors.
  • We work with small groups of no more than 10 people per ceremony. This personal focus ensures every individual receives the maximum personal attention, enhancing the experience comfort and safety of the retreat.
  •  We work together with a recognized doctor Fernando Minauro to check any guest medications prior to booking that may potentially contraindicate with ayahuasca as well as offer medical advice for more complicated health cases.
  • We work with a psychiatrist (not on site) who checks medical records and medications prior to booking that may potentially contraindicate with ayahuasca as well as offer medical advice for more complicated health cases.
  • In case of emergency we have a medicine that is able to stop the effect of the Ayahuasca.
  • We work with a Cardiologist (not on site) who does check up when is require in specific cases.
  • We have a psychologist that helps guests to interpret their experiences on an individual basis together with the shaman. They are available for consultations before and after the ayahuasca ceremonies.
  • There is available a fallow up with the psychologist if is require.
  •  Contract with a LOCAL CLINIC PERUANO SUIZA in case of any emergency we cannot handle or to give advice in more complicated health cases.
  •  Good cellular phone reception at the retreat in case of emergency.
  • Our coordinator / translators (not drinking ayahuasca) play a major role to ensure full safety of the patient during the ceremonies. They are available at all times to ensure guests safety and well-being. They all have a high level of experience in dealing with ayahuasca ceremonies.
  • Physical and psychological health questionnaire to evaluate the risk factors.
  • A doctor, psychologist and a nurse are in charge of verifying the medical records and detecting any medical contraindications a person may have with Ayahuasca before the booking stage. The nurse also conducts a basic medical check to ensure physical suitability on the day of the retreat (blood pressure, weight”; height, temperature, anemia test).
  • Private transport is available at all times during the retreat.
  • All the Ayahuasca provided is a simple mixture of Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi) and Chacruna (Psychotria viridis), nothing else is added.
  • Protocols for emergencies (such as fire and earthquake) are in place to ensure guests know what to do and where to go in case of emergency.

Medications and Ayahuasca

Before you drink Ayahuasca it is important that you are aware of the restrictions and risks associated with mixing Ayahuasca with other substances. Some medications and substances are contraindicated with Ayahuasca and can cause permanent damage including death. For this reason it is important that no medications, illicit drugs, vitamins, supplement, natural or otherwise, are taken two weeks before, and during the retreat. If you are currently taking medication they should be disclosed to the Etnikas staff. Please consult your doctor as to if it might be viable for you to stop taking medication over this period.

Here is a list of specific drugs that should not be combined with Ayahuasca;

Actief, Amantadine Hydrochloride (Symmetrel), Amoxapine (Asendin), Benadryl, Benylin, Bupropion (Wellbutrin), Buspirone, Carbamazepine (Tegretol, Epitol), Clomipramine (Anafranil), Cocaine, Cyclobenzaprine, Cyclizine, Desipramine, Dextromethorphan, Disopyramide, Doxepin Sinequan), Ephedrine, Flavoxate Chlorhydrate, Fluoxetine, Imipramine, Isocarboxazid, Levodopa, Loratadine, Maprotiline, Meperidine, Methylphenidate, Nortriptyline, Oxybutynin Chloride, Orphenadrine, Parnate, Paroxetine, Phenergen, Phenelazine, Procainamide, Protriptyline (Vivactil), Pseudoephedrine, Quinidine , Selegiline, Sertraline, Tegretol, Temaril, Tranylcypromine, Tricyclic antidepressants, trimipramine, Yohimbine.

And also: San Juan, Kava, Ephedra, Ginseng, Yohimbe, Sinicuichi.

*Note: If you are using any of the medications listed above and would like to perform an Ayahuasca ceremony, it is important you consult with your physician as to how to ween yourself off the medication or substitute it for another medication that has no interactions with Ayahuasca. In any case the Etnikas staff should be notified we are able to take the necessary care in each case.

Physical and Psychological safety 

Ayahuasca ceremonies hold potential risk for participants and are not equally well suited to all individuals. We would like to clearly outline the type of physical and psychological conditions that increase a patients risk. Individuals with these conditions should refrain from the consumption of Ayahuasca.

Individuals with severe behavior and personality disorders with one or more of the following diagnoses:

  • Schizoid or Schizoid Disorder of Personality.
  • Schizophrenic personality disorder.
  • Bipolar personality disorder.
  • Bordeline personality disorder.
  • Active addiction to cocaine, amphetamines and other nervous system triggers.
  • Severe mental retardation.
  • Psycophatic Personality.
  • Patients with Down and Turner Syndrome.
  • Patients who have suffered stroke with sequelae.
  • Patients with autism.

Patients with cardiovascular and endocrinological disorders with the following diagnoses:

  • Coronary heart disease (myocardial infection)
  • Peripheral Vascular disease.
  • Heart failure
  • Rheumatic heart disease
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Cardiomyopathies
  • Deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
  • Peripheral arteriopathies.
  • Cerebrovascular disease.
  • Addison’n Disease.
  • Crohn disease
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

Any medical conditions should be disclosed to the Etnikas staff so they are aware and able to deal with any potential issues should they arise.