April 13, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Downtown Wellness Center Bridges Gap Between Psychedelics and Meditation

The Center Has Partnered With Local Agencies and Gave Free Sessions to Around 500 Veterans in Two Years

By Zach Armstrong

The solution isn’t OUT there. It’s IN there… Somewhere deep within yourself. 

In the field of alternative therapies, there is an emerging interest in psychedelics and deep meditation. However, those practices have their own limitations. Even the most fundamental forms of meditation require patience on top of long-term periods of practice in order to hone the skill. And while LSD, psilocybin, DMT and other psychoactive drugs offer an eye-opening journey (your third eye that is), users may be vulnerable to negative episodes and loss of control to exit the trip when they want. 

Reality Center, a Santa Monica-based startup bridges these gaps with what the founders term, “digital psychedelics.” Located at 1428 2nd Street, Reality Center has the calming feel of a therapist’s office, quietly removed from the bustle of the Promenade, just outside.

At one end of the treatment chamber, a relaxing space reminiscent of a massage area within a recording studio, enhanced with lysergic decor, clients meet the one who synchronizes all of the elements of a treatment, a ’Reality Manager’ who directs the session from behind a set up of controls. This person takes on the dual role of therapist and DJ. Based on co-founder Don Estes’ theory of ‘Sensory Resonance,’ which posits that the autonomic nervous system can be reset by harmonizing its various senses, the reality manager mixes the sound and visuals of the technology just right for the client to enter a near-meditative state. 

During 30 minute to hour-long sessions, a client lies on a wave table, which is basically a massage table-size waterbed filled with minerals which regulate the vibrating impedance of two 15-inch transducers (akin to subwoofers) embedded at the base. A pair of noise-canceling headphones are placed over the client’s ears, an additional small transducer (in the form of a stuffed animal dolphin) is placed over the heart and two LED visor lights are placed over the eyes. All of these elements are synchronized to the same frequency, manifesting a psychedelic-style journey for the client, while he or she closes their eyes, exuding no effort for the experience to come.

I underwent a one-hour session. I can’t recount every single emotion or interpretation I felt. But what I envisioned was a non-stop exhibition of ornate patterns featuring every shape with every shade of every color; rapidly morphing and spiraling before my eyes. At one point, it appeared as though I was propelled down a tunnel walled in colorful symmetries. At another, I hovered above what seemed like a planet surrounded by a billion specks of dust. For whatever reason, I interpreted these specks as the individual souls of every breathing organism of the universe. That we are all one, together, connected in complex ways.

But no two clients have the same experience. Often, their emotional reactions, and resulting shifts in mentality, correspond to their particular trauma or stress. For example, if a client has difficulty connecting with others, they may no longer feel that struggle after a session. These experiences often trigger tears of relief, said Reality Center Co-Founder Jonathan Chia.

A combat infantry veteran of the Iraq War, Chia founded Reality Center two years ago alongside partners Tarun Raj, Don Estes and Benji Tucker. After obtaining a degree in digital photography, he enjoyed a career photographing and directing multimedia content for some of the world’s biggest brands, celebrities, thought leaders and politicians. Like many veterans, he initially turned to drugs and alcohol as a path to self-medication. His business partner, Raj, introduced him to a better way of alleviating pain: Reiki; an energy healing technique using soft hand motions. Concurrently, he was documenting and working with nonprofits that provide experiences like – hiking with psychedelics, golf with meditation and various equestrian programs. He saw how those organizations integrated mindfulness practices that fast tracked his own well-being and did the same for entire communities. Eight years later, he made the entrepreneurial move to foster more of that healing with Reality Center. 

While the center is available to the general public for a fee, it has played somewhat of a charitable role within the community. Since undergoing her own session, Dr. Gina Gallivan, Lead Clinical Psychologist for over 60 local agencies, has partnered with the center to refer clients (police, first responders, firemen, etc). According to Chia, 500 veterans in the last two years have been provided free sessions through partnerships with organizations like Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion and Veteran Care Group.

One segment of clientele which Reality Center has seen results from are those suffering the loss of a loved one, hoping to connect with them on the other side, but never feeling their presence or energy. Chia says one client, the widow of a police officer, couldn’t sleep since her partner was killed in the line of duty. When her session finished, she felt rejuvenated but didn’t feel she could connect with her husband. The next morning, however, she texted Chia ebullient news: Not only had she slept through the entire night, she dreamt. Not only did she dream, she dreamt of her husband. In her dream, she explained, he looked happy and told her, “I love you.”

“All of the work we have done in the Veteran community has enabled us to reach the front door of other communities like police, firefighters, first responders, doctors and clinicians,” said Chia. 

Future plans include selling individual devices for customers to replicate the experience within the comfort of their home. An annual subscription for an App, along with purchases of goggles and transducers (controlled by the App), may be offered as soon as Winter of 2025. An expansion of Reality Centers is also anticipated soon across major U.S. cities.

in Hard, News
Related Posts

Registration Now Open for Summer at New Roads

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

New Roads School is accepting registration for its summer program, a vibrant selection of classes and camps curated to meet...

CodeREV Inspires Kids to Code

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

Budding coders, robotics engineers, game developers, animators and STEM campers are invited to join CodeREV this summer for a memorable...

YMCA Santa Monica: When School Is Out, Camp Is In

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

As the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District nears its end,  YMCA Santa Monica is setting up for its popular Summer...

Top 4 Party Boat Rentals in San Diego

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

Here’s a rundown of the top 4 party boat rentals that will elevate any event to an unforgettable experience: Alana...

Venice Shorts: Media Trucks Scour Canals After Saturday’s Violent Assaults

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

Just How Safe Is Venice? By Nick Antonicello Car vandalism, tool theft, break-ins, property theft, pick-pocketing at the beach, rampant...

Accents Owner Steven Hanna Reflects on Decades Long Legacy

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

For 37 years, Accents Jewelry has transcended mere commerce, evolving into a vibrant community, a crucible of creativity, and a...

Santa Monica Breakfast Club Hosts 8th Annual Mad Hatter Tea Party

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

Whimsical Event Raises Funds for Local Families’ Dental Care Needs The Santa Monica Breakfast Club is gearing up for its...

Council Advances Plans for 120+ Affordable Apartments

April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024

The Development Aims to Serve Individuals and Families Earning Between 30 to 80% of the Area Median Income The City...

(Video) The New Menu Experience at Cassia Restaurant in Santa Monica is Delicious

April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024

The Southeast Asian dishes satisfy. Friendly ambiance, flavorful food, subtle cocktails, beer and wine, and scrumptious desserts. @smmirrornews The New...

Lyft Driver Charged with Sexual Assault Following Investigation

April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024

The Incident Occured in September By Zach Armstrong A Lyft driver who allegedly sexually assaulted a woman last year has...

SB 1509 Advances: Malibu Officials Rally Behind Negligent Operator Treatment Bill

April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024

Senator Stern’s Legislation Gains Momentum in Effort to Curb Reckless Driving SB 1509, the Negligent Operator Treatment bill spearheaded by...

“New Girl” Actor Sells Palisades Abode for $3.1M

April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024

He and His Wife Undertook a Renovation of the Unique, Two-Story Abode, Transforming It Into a Picturesque Beachfront Dwelling Actor...

Nationwide Retail Theft Scheme Leads to Five-Year Prison Sentence for Santa Monica Man

April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024

The Man Led a Group That Hoodwinked Department Stores Across 23 States By Zach Armstrong A Santa Monica man was...

Two Women Assaulted and Injured Near Venice Canals, LAPD Initiates Investigation

April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024

The Venice Community Will See an Increase in Patrols Along With Black and White Police Vehicles By Zach Armstrong An...

Report: State Farm’s California Policy Shakeup to Hit Palisades the Hardest

April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024

Customers Affected Will Receive Notifications Starting July 3 for Property Holders and August 20 for Commercial Apartment Holders The San...