All animals including human beings have an innate, natural and necessary process for discharging fight or flight energy after a traumatic experience. When this venting process isn't completed properly, the concentrated stress can get stuck in the body’s physical, mental and energetic systems, much like a can of fizzy soda that has been shaken up and then left unopened. Post-traumatic stress disorder aka PTSD is a debilitating condition that affects 3.5% of the adult population and when left untreated can lead to a multitude of physical, mental and emotional problems.
PTSD can affect anyone who has been exposed to particularly stressful experiences. These can range from small altercations, accidents or childhood neglect to exposure to life-threatening events such as natural disasters, torture, sexual abuse or war.
While some face a traumatic situation once, certain lines of work such as within the military, police and fire services are exposed to prolonged stress consistently.
Over the last two years, it appears that PTSD has increased around the world and quadrupled in America, according to a KSS study.
Symptoms range from simple irritability, restlessness and mood disorders to crippling anxiety, violent seizures and depersonalisation. Most PTSD “victims” learn to live with their symptoms in the hope that their PTSD will fade away as life unfolds.
Some choose to pursue psychotherapy, while others turn to more alternative methods. Gentle modalities such as hypnosis, tapping and EMDR, have the potential to provide some relief if the person can find an appropriate therapist and has the income to attend countless sessions, but for the brave ones ready to take their health into their own hands, there may be an alternative and more drastic solution: Kambo.
Exhibiting some PTSD symptoms myself after buried memories of childhood sexual abuse were unearthed and as a writer specialising in the topic of mental health and personal development, I decided to question the most qualified expert on the topic: David Rees, both complex PTSD survivor and Founder of Planet Kambo Ltd, a UK based holistic Kambo healing service.
Full Interview: Can Frog Poison Therapy Heal PTSD?
What are the Symptoms of PTSD?
Trauma, including PTSD, gets imprinted in our nervous system, waiting to be eventually dealt with, processed and released. Whether that’d be expressed by irritability, trouble concentrating, recklessness, self-isolation, nightmares, numbing, dissociation or depersonalisation, those symptoms do not magically disappear. The more severe the symptoms are, the more they can affect daily life. Either way, PTSD either gets healed, or dismissed and piled up.
David Rees explains:
“To put it simply, imagine people with PTSD as computers that have a corrupt file suddenly land on their desktop that they chose to put in the trash can. The problem here is most people go about their lives and never empty that trash can.”
Kambo, the infamous frog medicine that has gained momentum over the last few years, expanded outside of amazonian tribal rituals and challenged modern medicine, is here to purge it away.
What does PTSD do to a person?
PTSD is a side effect of a natural defence mechanism that allows a human being to deal with extremely stressful, difficult and traumatic experiences. The fight, flight or freeze response is a completely automatic, involuntary and often lifesaving reaction to a threatening event. It allows a person to fight for their life, run away as fast as possible or shut down and disassociate. The problem arises when the threat has long since gone but the body is still stuck in this survival state.
This is where the shock trauma has become frozen or crystallised inside of the body if you will; and it can stay stuck in this way, acting like a blockage to the body’s own vent and release system.
The energy of the shock trauma itself and the discharging of associated repressed emotions such as anger and grief becomes completely disabled, leading to a build-up of negative physical, mental and emotional energy.
Kambo for anxiety, depression & mental health disorders
David shared the following quote regarding how Kambo can show you who you are as a part of its physical and emotional healing:
”Kambo teaches you about what you are made of. How reliable, resourceful and brave are you? How comfortable are you in who you are? Where do you stand in life? After going through this extreme experience, you get a whole new perspective on life.
You find it amusing to witness people complain about their daily life problems. You become more appreciative and better at dealing with discomfort”.
“I’ll give you a heads up - this sensation will only last temporarily. You need to use it as a driver to not walk out as the same person who walked into the ceremony.
If you know it is time to take responsibility for your life, healing and welfare, do it. But keep in mind that Kambo isn’t to be done by tourists or trespassers. It’s only for the brave”.
Can Kambo heal PTSD?
Rees, after experimenting on himself but also organising hundreds of Kambo ceremonies in the UK and witnessing countless practitioners and initiates transform their lives, knows it for a fact:
“I’m on the extreme end of the trauma scale,” admits Rees. “I have complex II-PTSD, from prolonged hostage/torture situations. Over the years, Kambo has improved my quality of life.
I’ve gone from having suicidal and bipolar depression, planning meticulously how to end my life, to becoming a fairly functional human being, and maintaining a modest lifestyle and social circle. If it has helped me then anyone can benefit from it.”
How Kambo unblocks trapped trauma?
When the Kambo medicine enters the body, the peptides and neuropeptides contained within the secretion act on the brain in various ways. One of those ways is to trigger the body’s glands to begin secreting and for the gallbladder to flush its store of bile. We like to say that Kambo is a multidimensional purge so this purging process works on the physical, emotional and spiritual levels. Physically you purge bile but energetically you purge the tension, trauma and stress. Metaphorically you are opening that shaken-up soda can and allowing some of the gas to release.
“The aim of the game is to purge, '' says Rees. You are trying to clear out the garbage that you are holding onto.”
“We are wired to like things that feel nice and that are comfortable and relaxing. But simply put, all the solutions to your problems are in the places you are trying to hide from.
People who intentionally choose to go through a kambo session are cut from a different cloth.
It doesn’t matter if you are a navy seal or a dinner lady. The level of suffering you are going through during a session is an even playing field.
But either way, after sitting through very uncomfortable emotions, you become better skilled at the game of suffering. You have a higher pain threshold”, describes Rees.
That threshold then gives you the space to act upon whatever situation gave you PTSD in the first place, or not let it impact you in the same way it did until now.
Guest post writer & Journalist
Host of the ‘Undress your Soul’ Podcast, and guinea pig of edgy and controversial experience. Her goal is to show that life can be made memorable by daring, trying new things & following our passions.
Use the code "HELENE" for 20% off KAMBO, HAPÉ (with yummy flavours like raspberry, menthol or chocolate-orange) & ceremonial accessories: