“Most people involved in this holistic health genre work with medicine men and shamans, and understand that at the core of a lot of these symptoms, there are much deeper, ancient, and more spiritual roots,” said Polizzi in an interview with the Doctors Health Press editorial team.
He sent out a call for anyone with a severe illness—such as diabetes, cancer, or gastrointestinal diseases—and asked them if they’d be willing to risk everything and come to the Amazon rainforest for 30 days to see if ancient holistic methods of healing could help them, when Western medicine couldn’t.
Overnight, he had over 400 applicants. He eventually narrowed it down to eight people with very serious diseases:
- Neuroendocrine cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Crohn’s disease
Each participant was given a unique protocol, including herbal regimens, by the local medicine man. The participants spent most of their days in seclusion in the jungle, other than their daily visits by the medicine man that was taking care of them.
“In a typical day, you would wake up, eat breakfast—very simple food, which is also part of the protocol—the blander, the better it is when you’re trying to heal, because (the healers) feel that indulging your senses diminishes your body’s reserves. They want all that energy to be focused on healing instead,” said Polizzi. “Throughout the day, they would drink different teas prepared (to treat) different illnesses.”
The meal plans, teas, and herbal regimes were prescribed by the native medicine men living in the Amazon rainforests. “They have knowledge that has been earned by thousands of years of study that we can’t even come close to. A lot of that knowledge hasn’t been catalogued by Western medicine,” he said. “Of the 60-70,000 known plants species in the Amazon right now, less than three percent have been studied by modern medicine.”
The healing process consisted of a few key components:
- Isolation: The participants spent the days in seclusion. There were no distractions, so that each person could focus on healing.
- Medicine from plants, trees, and herbs. A big component of healing in the Amazon involves using iowasca tea. “Most of these patients had physical ailments but the medicine men looked at every bit of their being—such as the emotional and spiritual blockages that affect it, and they use iowasca to cleanse you,” he said.
- A simplified diet
- Sacred ceremonies
After one month in the Amazon rain forests, five people returned home with real results, satisfied with their improvement, two returned disappointed, and one person passed away there.
“The goal is to bring these techniques back into the mainstream because they’re really effective,” said Polizzi. “Modern medicine is not effective at treating things like cancer—we are in need of a serious reinvestigation of what else is out there.”
Unfortunately, it’s getting harder and harder to learn the ancient healing methods that have kept civilizations healthy for thousands of years because of the way Western researchers have treated these ancient medicine men. “It’s getting harder to access that knowledge because we’ve mistreated the locals. They see we’re a pretty disruptive culture—they go in, destroy chunks of rainforest, drill for oils, and when they squeeze plant knowledge out of them, they’re not always respected or compensated for it,” he said. “It’s the same tale told for hundreds of years—conquest, treat locals like savages, and take what you want instead of going in humbly.”
And it makes you realize the importance of preserving Amazon’s rainforest—not only from an environmental perspective, but from a perhaps selfish perspective too.
“We’re destroying our own medicine supply cabinet. We’re annihilating our potential for cures to the big ticket illnesses like AIDS, cancer, MS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s,” he said. “All these things we’re struggling against so hard but the very people who know how to treat these things are being disrespected and wiped off the face of the planet.”
Polizzi truly believes that the answers to today’s most chronic and deadly illnesses are out there—we’re just looking in the wrong places. While he may have gone on an extreme mission that many people wouldn’t feel comfortable doing, the message is loud and clear: we must start learning from the people who have years and years of experience treating the illnesses that we can’t treat.
“I respect modern medicine and science,” said Polizzi. “I grew up reading the New York Times, reading the Encyclopaedia Britannica—that was a big thing in my house. I just think we’re at a point in history where we have to look at the deeper root of illness.”
“There are cultures out there that have been around for thousands of years that have healing practices that are just as effective and maybe more effective than modern medicine. These are the cultures that have the healing secrets we need to know and respect.”