Amazonian ritual, yoga used to help those fighting addiction

Pulling up to the RYK Yoga & Meditation Center, a barefoot Justin Hoffman stepped out of his car with three groggy young men in tow.

Like all of the other patrons, his group entered the studio, grabbed mats and set up camp in the low-lit room, waiting for another morning of meditation and stretching. But these men were different from the rest of the class.

They are part of Henderson-based Holistic House, which works to rehabilitate addicts through alternative methods such as yoga, meditation, organic eating and several other unorthodox approaches.

“And (yoga) is just one piece of the puzzle,” said Hoffman, the program’s founder. “We take a multifaceted approach by trying to heal the mind, body and soul. We are trying to find the reset button.”

The facility opened less than a year ago as a way to help offer people — most of whom have tried but failed at rehabilitating — an alternative way to shake addiction.

Tucked in a residential community near the South Point, the two-story building is not a typical rehab facility, which is one of its many differences.

While participants might use yoga or even cryotherapy as a way to reshape the damage years of drug use has done to the body, a stay at the house starts with an Amazonian ritual of burning frog venom onto the skin. Known as Kambo, the ritual takes secretion from the bright green giant monkey frog (also known as the giant leaf frog) and places it on points of the skin. Hoffman said the substance purges the body and helps boost the immune system.

“I know it sounds weird,” he said, “but this has been something used (in the Amazon) for thousands of years. It works.”

Only a handful of people in the U.S. have been trained in the practice, and the venom is imported so they can use it.

Hoffman has used the practice and invites those at the rehab site to try Kambo as a way to start detoxing.

No stranger to rehabilitation centers himself, Hoffman said Kambo helped him reset his life a few years ago.

He had been part of the nightlife scene in multiple cities, working as a disc jockey. In fact, people knew him as a prominent DJ as much as they knew him as a habitual heroin addict. When he was offered a job in Las Vegas in 2000, the condition for the position was to get clean.

“So I started on methadone,” he said. “I was able to maintain it for five years.”

All the while — like many addicts — he would have occasional slips. Things would get progressively worse when he would forget his methadone, causing painful withdrawals and predictable relapses. He moved from rehab center to detox facility, vowing to get clean.

“It would never take (for) more than 60 or 90 days,” he said.

After the death of a close friend — fellow club DJ and addict Adam Goldstein, aka DJ AM — Hoffman said he relapsed hard and contemplated suicide. During that time, he watched a documentary on ibogaine and learned how it was touted as a cure for addiction.

“I began researching it,” he said.

That led him to seek out a variety of alternative treatments, including rituals such as ibogaine, similar to Kambo but done only in Mexico.

“It’s not a magic pill,” he said, “but (ibogaine) interrupts the addiction.”

For the next few years, Hoffman would refer friend after friend to try these practices, not only to treat drug addiction but to combat anxiety and depression.

But there was no plan for the long journey back to recovering.

Almost a year ago, he decided to open Holistic House. More than 25 people have gone through the program.

One thing he remembered from his own rehab experience is the useless activities.

“I remember they had me paint once,” he said. “I just kept thinking, ‘How is this supposed to help me?’ ”

He thinks activities should help build people back up, which is why he takes Holistic House residents to yoga — though Hoffman added that they do a variety of activities, from boxing to hiking at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. He said consistent yoga not only gives them a chance to stretch and exercise but also to meditate.

Julian Mesa came to Holistic House 10 months ago with a list of addictions that included prescription painkillers. For more than a decade, he said he relied on them to ease his chronic depression.

“It really spiked about six years ago after my dad died,” he said.

Like Hoffman, Mesa had tried detox and a rehab center before.

“I would stay clean for two weeks, then fall back,” he said.

As part of the nightlife industry, drugs were common. Mesa moved to Las Vegas in December 2014 to start over — he had family here — but found himself in the same cycle.

After a stint in the hospital, which caused him to be admitted to the psych ward, his family had all but given up on him. They were willing to try one more method with Holistic House.

“They were a little skeptical,” Mesa said.

He knew something was different after he did Kambo.

“I woke up the next day and wasn’t thinking about drugs,” he said, adding that it was the same the day after, which turned into weeks.

While at the house, Mesa began making life changes with healthier eating and practices such as yoga. After three months, he was ready to live on his own again.

“It actually made me nervous,” he said of leaving the facility.

But unlike other rehabs he had been to, Mesa said he knew he could continue to rely on Holistic House to help him along the way.

In the future, Hoffman would like to open a larger facility in Nevada.

Prices for stays at Holistic House range from $21,000 for a 60-day stay in a master suite to $8,394 for 30 days in a standard room. Visit holistichousevegas.com, call 702-275-3301 or email service@holistichousevegas.com.

To reach Henderson View reporter Michael Lyle, email mlyle@viewnews.com or call 702-387-5201. Find him on Twitter: @mjlyle.

ad-high_impact_4
Life
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the LVRJ
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Holiday poultry with Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine
Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine explain the different types of poultry available for the holidays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Catholic Charities hosts early Christmas meal
Students from the Bishop Gorman High School football and cheerleader team helped to serve food at the Christmas meal sponsored by the Frank and Victoria Fertitta Foundation at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada on Sunday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Incarcerated Christmas
This is the fourth year HOPE for Prisoners has worked with the Nevada Department of Corrections to create a Christmas for prisoners to visit their families. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2018 Homeless Vigil
Straight From The Streets holds its 23rd annual vigil to remember the 179 homeless individuals who died in Clark County this year.
Getting through the Holiday blues
Psychologist Whitney Owens offers advice on keeping your mental health in check during the Holiday season in Henderson, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military program gave meal kits to 200 families at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10047 in Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. It all started with a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife and infant had a handful of grocery items they couldn't afford. A Beam Suntory employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. The program has grown from providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009 to providing more than 7,000 nationally this holiday season.K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women at WestCare Women Children Campus in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Roy Choi on cooking for Park MGM employees
As he prepares to open his new restaurant Best Friend later this month at Park MGM, celebrity chef Roy Choi took the time to cook for the resort’s employees Tuesday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Great Santa Run
People participated in the 14th annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run which raises cubs for Opportunity Village.
World Holidays Exhibit At The Natural History Museum
Migratory Bird Day teaches adults and kids to celebrate birds
Different organizations offered activities for kids and adults to learn about birds and celebrate their migration journey at Sunset Park. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Interfaith Amigos speak in Las Vegas
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like