Down the Rabbit Hole: Dark Room Stimulates DMT and Profound Experiences
“Free from desire, you can see the hidden mystery. By having desire, you can only see what is visibly real. Yet mystery and reality emerge from the same source. This sources is called darkness. Darkness born from darkness. The beginning of all understanding.”
Tao Te Ching Verse from Chapter 1.
What is Dark Therapy/Dark Room Therapy?
Dark room therapy is simply isolating oneself in a dark abode, usually it being a cave or room. This tradition stems from the Taoist tradition of using cave meditation practices to experience higher states of the mind. An individual will normally spend anywhere from a week to two weeks in order to get the desired effects. It is interesting to note that within the Tao Tantra, it is seen as a time to revel in yin, the divine feminine aspect of life. This practice is also closely associated with sensory deprivation, but most dark room retreats bring food or offer conversation during the therapy, as well as encourage activities such as meditating, writing, sleeping, or focusing on spirit-enhancing visualization techniques.
What is the key mechanism behind this practice?
The key mechanism starts with melatonin, which is created in the brain by converting tryptophan into serotonin, which is then converted into serotonin. There needs to be enough tryptophan in the body through diet. Then, the melatonin builds up over the course of the next few days. It builds up at the rate of 2-5mg per day which then tapers off at 15-20mg. The body then recognizes that melatonin is no longer needed and begins producing pinoline, 5-MeO-DMT, and DMT. THis part of the process takes about 3 days. Pinolene is released within the pineal gland (as all these compounds are) and produce “the light show” that is commonly seen in many psychedelics.
The DMT and 5-MeO-DMT is a key part of the therapy. During this point, “ego death” can be experienced with an increase in “beingness”. During days 6-8, 5-MeO-DMT (which is normally only found in the womb and in the first few months) is now reactivated. Around day 9-12, there is enough mono amine oxidase inhibition from the pinoline secretion to allow the melatonin cycle to be intercepted by adrenaline and ephedrine activity to be converted into a DMT serotonin pathway. The DMT levels reach above 25mg which allows the body to transcend into “hyperspace” or the DMT realm.
Being familiar with the process, what does each individual compound contribute?
Melatonin most commonly known for maintaining the body’s circadian rhythm; an extremely important task. However, it has also been known to protect against oxidative stress which lessens the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Eye health is a huge part of melatonin, as well as migraine prevention. It has also been shown to treat gut dysbiosis and inflammation. Among many more benefits, the last one that will be mentioned is that melatonin is key for cardiovascular health. Dark room therapy resets the melatonin cycle, creating harmony within the brain, gut, and heart. It is interesting to note that melatonin has the same basic molecular structure as LSD, so it is not difficult to imagine this being synthesized to psychoactive molecules.
Pinoline is also suspected to play a role with neuromodulation within the retina and act as an antioxidant. Another study has found that it exerts an antidepressant like effect on the body. This is due to pinoline inhibiting the Nono Amine Oxidase enzyme which allows more serotonin to be present within the brain. This shows an important connection, depression may not be caused by light but by a lack of complete darkness (especially during sleeping hours). Another study, shows that a high dose of pinoline boosted the immune system 2.6 fold. The HeartMath Institute shows that 8 Hz frequency in the brain is created through compassionate thinking and meditation. This creates more pinoline (and melatonin) which instigates cell division, binds to DNA and helps share electrons with DNA base pairs. According to the March 1965 issue of Scientific American, pg 27, it is at this moment of superconductivity that superior 8 Hz is instigated and bio photons of infrared emerge from the DNA. Infrared has been shown to have very effective detox and life-enhancing qualities (an another article can be written about this alone).
DMT: dimethyltryptamine is very similar to a near-death experience. One normally leaves the physical plane of existence that we all know and experience another realm that is full of wonders such as elves, advanced beings, and angel-like beings. This may sound silly but many have had profound experiences while experiencing life-altering changes on the perspective of their universe and consciousness. Some have frightening experiences while others carry away great information and feel-good memories. The experience is so intense that one should not embark on a DMT experience lightly. It should be held with respect and one should think of “destination” or intention for the journey before they begin.
There are actual physical, health benefits being reported as well. DMT has been shown to protect neurons and immune cells under the lack of oxygen, implying that it does protect cells from oxidative stress. This may lead to DMT being used to help treat brain injuries, especially ones caused by the lack of oxygen.
5-MeO-DMT is within the tryptamine family, just like DMT. It has profound effects on the human body, very similar to DMT. A loss of ego, intense feelings of emotions, and unique visuals are common to these experiences. This compound acts on the serotonin system (just like DMT) and have anti-inflammatory and neuro-regenerative effects. The intense experiences also can cause pain relief. Both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT can produce anti-addiction effects due to the activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors. Other studies have shown the 5-MeO-DMT may decrease neuron death and brain lesions while increasing brain plasticity (an huge element of learning).
So where does this leave us in conclusion?
Dark room therapy has been utilized for many years. The simple method is start this therapy is to make sure that 6-8 hours of sleep are in complete darkness. The more extensive therapy is to stay in complete darkness for up to 2 weeks. After a few days, profound compounds are released which can create amazing experiences that separate oneself from “who they think they are”, normally called an ego death. While it is strange for Westerners to regard this concept, of not being who we think we are, this is a teaching that stems across different religions and philosophies. Many have found this therapy to be highly insightful to the inner workings of their mind, body, and soul. Although some may be frightened at the prospect of light deprivation for an extended period, it is important to explore the potential benefits of naturally stimulating one’s own psychotropics instead of relying on outside means that could have negative additives or processing materials.