Darkroom Retreat

Very long darkroom retreats often result in intense visions, spiritual experiences, and a subsequent, significant, and positive shift in mentality, attitude, and consciousness that lasts for a long period of time after the retreat. One's life purpose may be illuminated during such an experience, leading to more fulfillment, contentment, and happiness.
Sam Bohicket

Sam Bohicket

Wilderness Calling

The most basic human function for healing is rest. Rest involves a lack of mental and physical energy expenditure so that more cellular energy can be devoted to repair and regeneration. The most intense and common form of rest is sleep, in which we experience general sensory destimulation from our environment, but the mind always prefers to be constantly occupied, so the mind’s focus goes inward into the subconscious, generating dreams. Meanwhile, the body prioritizes cellular repair in the forms of autophagy and apoptosis.

Autophagy, in essence, is the repair, repurposing, and recycling work of a cell; whereas apoptosis is the termination or destruction of a cell (which should be restricted only to cancer cells and severely dysfunctional, unsalvageable, irredeemable cells). Autophagy is a vital process for the maintenance of physiological homeostasis (balance/harmony) and the delaying of the progression of premature aging. By means of autophagy, old and degenerative cells and tissues are made new and vibrant once more. Autophagy should occur every night during early night deep sleep, but can also be facilitated by extended fasting. Long fasts are in themselves a form of rest and destimulation—resting the body from the taxing process of digestion. Nonetheless, autophagy most commonly occurs in sleep when the proper circadian signals have been received by the body’s sensory system.

The Circadian Rhythm is the body’s clock, a complex and multifaceted way for the body to determine, put simply, when to do what (for example: when to produce hormones, sleep, wake up, grow, etc.), and this system is influenced by what the body and mind are exposed to (for example: light, temperature, emotion, thoughts, sounds, electromagnetic environment, etc.). Eating right before sleep diverts energy away from autophagy to digestion and signals wakefulness, which is extremely undesirable just before bedtime for obvious reasons. As such, one’s last meal should be well before sundown, ideally at least 5 hours beforehand as a general rule of thumb. The more time the body has to digest before nightfall, the better.


Melatonin (along with a small nightly release of DMT) is the foremost healing hormone that facilitates autophagy, so a deficiency in this will lead to premature aging and all manner of troubles over time. Melatonin is actually produced in the body when the eyes and skin have red light, infrared light, and UV-A light shining on them, especially during sunrise. For this reason, making a relaxing daily habit of watching the sunrise outside is the first step to restful sleep. It would be a good idea to consider going barefoot on the Earth—called “grounding”—while watching the sunrise in order to absorb large amounts of electrons from the Earth, which is constantly emitting huge amounts of electrons from its magnetic field. In fact, all natural environments are filled with negatively charged electrons, even just breathing in fresh air will bring many electrons into the body. All the cells in the body must maintain a negative charge in order to thrive, so absorbing electrons (which are negatively charged) from Nature is a good way to support health. On the other hand, man-made environments tend to be positively charged: the dust, electromagnetic pollution, and artificial materials create these conditions. A positively charged environment will suck electrons out of the body and drain it of energy, so Nature seems to be the best medicine.

Melatonin is released and floods the bloodstream after sundown when in an absence of blue light and particularly well in complete darkness. Bedrooms should be pitch-dark during sleep for a more substantial release of melatonin, but a sleep mask could also be used to help compensate for a less than cave-like bedroom. The cellular repair undergone during sleep shuts off in the
morning and then starts over the next night, so the healing process is unfortunately, frequently interrupted. 


In addition, eye or skin exposure to blue or green light after sundown hinders autophagy during sleep due to the fact that the release of a hormone, melatonin, is substantially reduced and suppressed from blue light exposure. Many people are able to sleep perfectly fine directly after blue light exposure, but their sleep will inevitably be less rejuvenating and refreshing.

Electromagnetic pollution, which is a form of invisible, unnatural radiation emitted from electronic devices, also has a similar tendency to suppress the release of healing melatonin. In fact, both blue light and electromagnetic radiation has been found to increase oxidative damage to the body, which causes inflammation—the precursor to all disease. Therefore, for those that choose to use technology, it is prudent to minimize the use of electronic devices after sunset and especially right before bedtime; turning these gadgets to Airplane mode before bed will help limit the radiation they emit, turning off WiFi routers before bed, and using incandescent red light bulbs (or candles, oil lamps, or fires) after sunset are good ways to ensure the best sleep.

Ancient Practice

Thankfully, there has been a method practiced for thousands of years in various cultures throughout the world which solves this problem, it is called in English: Darkroom Retreating (or therapy). It involves staying in a completely dark (and reasonably silent) room for extended periods of time, ranging from a few hours to many days. It has been found to eliminate the usual daily interruption of healing by allowing melatonin to continually be released and build in the body without letup, and also enable the mind and body to enter a deeper state of healing than is usually possible.

Any kind of extended solitude, because of the lack of distractions and stimulations, will will cause the mind to engage in introspection, allowing the subconscious mind to naturally work out many old traumas, wounds, and scars; but the hormonal cascade that results from solitude in darkroom therapy brings about a relatively effortless resolution to mental insecurities, anguish,
insanity, hangups, and old damage. Unlike usual psychotherapy, which involves what is essentially just talking for long periods of time, Darkroom Retreating gives the mind full access to the subconscious in order to address these issues directly at the source. This, in conjunction with the tremendous physical, cellular healing caused by the increasingly enormous secretion of melatonin into the bloodstream during a darkroom retreat makes a beautiful recipe for all-around,
holistic recovery from most of life’s problems. It is like a reset for the mind and body, a rebirth.

This rebirth extends beyond the bounds of just rest and repair, people who have tried it report receiving mental clarity they had never experienced before. An extreme sharpness of wit, joy, energy, vibrance, and confidence come from repeated darkroom retreats of increasing lengths over time. Also, if the retreat is a few days long or more, the pineal gland in the brain begins to secrete DMT. DMT is commonly released in small amounts every night during the latter part of the night (or the “wee hours of the morning”), during dreaming. DMT has been connected with Rapid-Eye-Movement (REM) sleep, dreams, low-frequency brainwaves (Alpha, Theta, and Delta—which occur later in sleep and are associated with a deep, hypnotic state during dreaming), and visionary spiritual experiences. DMT is also released in large amounts during birth and at death, possibly shedding some light on the Near-Death-Experience phenomenon. Therefore, very long darkroom retreats often result in intense visions, spiritual experiences, and a subsequent, significant, and positive shift in mentality, attitude, and consciousness that lasts for a long period of time after the retreat. One’s life purpose may be illuminated during such an experience, leading to more fulfillment, contentment, and happiness.

People describe these sensations as superlatively pleasant, and despite people’s varying views on “spiritual” phenomena, it is beyond question that such experiences do indeed genuinely occur (regardless of what explanations people may choose to rationalize them with), and it is undeniable that most people would find this very appealing and beneficial.

In Conclusion

The reliable and miraculous effects of Darkroom therapy give it much potential for practical use as the next big advancement in the field of Quantum Biology, and the broader realm of biohacking as well. The relatively inexpensive and effortless nature of Darkroom Retreating (except of course for the preliminary construction of a personal darkroom or the monetary expense in exchange for staying in a commercial darkroom) makes this practice very attractive even for people who do not have the time or desire to commit to a strict health protocol, or those who do not have the budget to pay for advanced, technological treatments.

In a world of numerous, conflicting, and complex dietary protocols, expensive, ineffective, and side-effect-laden remedies, along with corruption, conflicts of interest, and conflicting narratives in the field of healthcare—the simple, unprofitable, non-patentable, natural, straightforward, and do-it-yourself methodology of Darkroom Retreating is amazingly refreshing. Essentially, Darkroom Retreating looks to be a simple, natural, unusually quick, and effective method for mending all kinds of problems—it even has the potential to be quite enjoyable (even if uncomfortable at times)—to put it plainly: it will likely be a big part of the future of self-healing; it will be easily accessible to all people, at long last bringing freedom and personal power back into healthcare.

For more information, please visit Mr. Andrew Durham’s website, to whom much credit is due for the modern origination of this innovative, yet ancient, idea and the thorough research and testing he performed in order to bring this wonderful practice back to the modern world. 

His website is Darkrooom Retreat and some may choose to support his work by purchasing his book at Leanpub

Leave a Reply

You might also enjoy

The Lost Role of Women

“By me kings reign and princes decree justice. By me princes rule and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.” Never doubt this claim by the Divine Mother.