Conversations: Marcelo Geffen, Founder of VR Health

We chatted to neuroscientist Marcelo Geffen to explore the fascinating world of psychedelics and their potential to aid neuroplasticity and improve mental health. Marcelo is a pioneer in the field of neuroscience, with over two decades of experience studying the workings of the brain.

Min read
Cori Sue Morris
March 6, 2023

Tell us a bit about yourself. 

Well, where do I start? I feel I have a deep passion for exploring the intricacies of the human mind, body, and spirit. My journey in the fields of neuroscience, Brain Computer Interfacing, positive psychology, and spirituality has been both enlightening and transformative, and has given me a unique perspective on what it truly means to live a fulfilling life.

Growing up, I struggled with my own mental health and well-being, and it was only through my own personal journey of self-discovery that I found my true calling. I became fascinated by the workings of the human brain and the impact of our thoughts and emotions on our overall well-being at a very young age. This led me to pursue studies in neuroscience and psychology, where I was able to delve into the latest research and gain a deeper understanding of the connection between our brains and our experiences.

As I delved deeper into the field of positive psychology, I discovered the incredible power of our thoughts and attitudes to shape our lives, and I was inspired to help others harness this power for themselves. I have been so grateful for the opportunity to share my knowledge and insights with others, and to see the positive impact that it can have on their lives.

I feel that my journey has not only been about the mind and intellect; it has also been about the spirit. Through my own spiritual practices, I have always felt that  I have come to understand the interconnectedness of all things and the deeper meaning and purpose that lies within us all.

It is with a full heart and a deep sense of purpose that I share my story and my knowledge with others. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had to make a difference, and I am committed to continuing on this journey, helping others to discover their own paths to happiness and fulfillment. It is an honor to be featured here with you guys and to have the opportunity to share my story with a wider audience.

You’re a neuroscience & Elite Brain Health Coach providing neurofeedback therapy. What does that do to the brain?

As a researcher of neuroscience, providing neurofeedback therapy and repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to my patientsI feel is not only a scientific endeavor, but also a spiritual one. The brain, the seat of consciousness and the embodiment of our being, holds the key to unlocking the mysteries of the mind and the soul.

Neurofeedback therapy, a form of biofeedback that uses real-time measurements of brain activity, allows us to gain insight into the inner workings of the mind and to empower individuals to take control of their own brain activity. By providing feedback, we enable patients to learn to change their brain activity in specific ways, leading to improved attention, reduced anxiety and depression, and relief from symptoms of conditions such as ADHD and PTSD.

Similarly, Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is a non-invasive procedure that uses a magnetic field to stimulate nerve cells in the brain, providing a way to alter the activity of nerve cells in specific areas of the brain, leading to changes in mood and behavior.

Both Neurofeedback and rTMS are considered safe and effective treatment methods for certain conditions, but more research is needed to fully understand their mechanism of action and potential side effects. Consultation with a licensed healthcare professional should be done before trying any of these treatments.

In essence, as Brain Health Specialists , we have the ability to delve into the mysteries of the brain, and to use that knowledge to help individuals improve their mental well-being. I see it as  a scientific and spiritual pursuit that I find incredibly rewarding.

And, you’re expanding to focus on the connection between neurofeedback therapy and psychedelic medicine. What does that entail?

When it comes to caring for our mental well-being, I think we are very  lucky to have a variety of tools and techniques at our disposal. I've seen that two approaches that are gaining attention for their potential to help individuals regulate their brain function and improve their mental health are neurofeedback therapy and psychedelic medicine.

Neurofeedback therapy is a gentle, yet powerful way to gain insight into our own brain and learn how to harness its power to bring about positive change. 

Psychedelic medicine, on the other hand, as we all already know refers to the use of psychoactive substances such as LSD, psilocybin, and DMT for therapeutic purposes. These substances have the potential to produce profound changes in perception, thought, and emotion and can be incredibly healing for those who suffer from a wide range of mental health conditions, including PTSD, addiction, and depression.

The connection between neurofeedback therapy and psychedelic medicine is that both aim to help individuals regulate their brain function and improve their mental well-being. Neurofeedback therapy is like a guide, showing us the way to better understanding our own brain, while psychedelic medicine is like a key, unlocking doors to new insights and experiences that can lead to healing. They are both amazing healing modalities.

As researchers we are starting to investigate the use of neurofeedback in combination with psychedelics as a way to enhance the therapeutic potential of both approaches. It’s an extremely exciting time for those of us who have struggled with mental health issues. The potential for these techniques to help us find relief and improve our overall well-being is truly remarkable.

Tell us about the at-home neuro training concierge you offer.

Ok, Imagine having the power to unlock the full potential of your brain, to overcome obstacles and achieve your goals with ease. That is exactly what our at-home elite remote neurofeedback, RTMS, and elite neuro-training can offer you from the comfort of your own home. This remote approach allows us  to reach a wider audience and help more people than ever before, breaking down geographical barriers and making his services accessible to anyone, anywhere. This innovative approach has not only helped to improve the lives of individuals all over the world, but it has also set a new standard for therapy delivery in the digital age.

Also, our cutting-edge technology has been specifically designed to target the areas of the brain that need improvement, whether that be focus, memory, creativity, or emotional regulation. And with our concierge service, you have the support of our brain health coaches every step of the way to ensure that you receive the most personalized and comprehensive treatment possible.

It is absolutely amazing at the positive changes our clients experience in their  life, from better performance at work, to improved relationships and an overall sense of well-being. Our team truly understands that every person is unique and that is why we take the time to understand your individual needs and tailor our services to meet them.

We are absolutely here to empower our clients to reach new heights, to overcome challenges and to achieve their goals

Now, let’s talk about you. What does a day look like for you?

As a researcher of neuroscience, I truly feel my days are filled with a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Each day brings new challenges and opportunities to make a positive impact on the lives of my clients. My clients are not just cases to me, they are individuals with unique stories and struggles and it is my job to help them navigate through it.

Being a father of four daughters is the greatest joy of my life. I truly cherish the moments I spend with them, whether it's reading bedtime stories, playing games or simply having a conversation. As a father, I want to be a positive role model for my daughters, and that includes leading a healthy lifestyle. I want to teach them the importance of taking care of their mind and body;  I feel that as parents we are the genetic engineers of their life.

In my personal time, I make sure to practice what I preach by prioritizing exercise, healthy eating, and self-care. I find that this not only helps me perform better in my job but also helps me be a better father.

Overall, my days are filled with a sense of purpose and joy, as I am able to help others and make a positive impact on the lives of my clients, while also being able to balance my role as a father and my commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

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Do you have a morning routine?

Yes, I do have a morning routine that helps me start my day off on the right foot. Every morning, I wake up at the same time and begin my day with sun therapy,  I open my window or step outside for a few minutes to soak in some natural sunlight. This helps me wake up naturally, boost my Vitamin D, dopamine and serotonin levels and set a positive tone for the day ahead. After that, I spend a few minutes of meditation, which helps me clear my mind and set intentions for the day ahead.

I then move on to a quick workout, which can be anything from a run to a yoga session. This helps me get my blood flowing and energize my body for the day ahead. After my workout, I eat a healthy breakfast and take a few minutes to review my schedule and plan out my day. I find that this helps me stay organized and focused throughout the day. I also make sure to take some time to read the news and stay informed about current events.

Finally, I spend some time with my family before leaving for work. It's an important time for me to connect with them and start the day on a positive note. This morning routine may vary slightly depending on my schedule but overall it's a ritual that helps me set the tone for a productive and fulfilling day.

Do you have a spirituality practice?

Yes, I am a spiritual being and I believe in a divine and higher power that permeates the entire universe. I have a daily spiritual practice that I feel helps me connect with my inner self and the divine. My spiritual practice includes meditation, prayer and gratitude journaling. In the morning, I spend a few minutes in silence, connecting with my breath and setting an intention for the day. I also spend time in prayer, connecting with the higher power and seeking guidance and wisdom.

I feel my line of work brings me even closer to understanding that there is an intelligent design in the universe at play. The intricacies and complexities of the human brain never cease to amaze me and I find it awe-inspiring to be able to study something that is so intimately connected to our thoughts, emotions, and consciousness. I always feel that the more I study the brain, the more convinced I become that there is a powerful and intelligent force behind its creation, and that for me is a humbling and empowering realization.

Throughout the day, I try to stay mindful and present in each moment, practicing gratitude and taking time to appreciate the beauty and blessings in my life. I also like to read spiritual texts and listen to spiritual music to help keep me grounded and connected to my faith. Additionally, I try to live my life in alignment with my spiritual beliefs, by treating others with kindness and compassion, being of service to others and trying to make a positive impact in the world.

How do you spend your time? What’s something exciting you’re working on? 

I like to spend my time with my daughters and family,  staying active and pursuing various interests. In my free time, I enjoy reading, practicing muay thai, and volunteering in my community. On the professional front, I am always looking for new and challenging projects to work on. 

I am the founder and CEO of AWARE BCI, a company that is at the forefront of innovative technology.  I created a brain computer interface device that I am particularly proud of—its a bci device that translates thought patterns into audible speech. This technology has the potential to greatly benefit individuals with conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), ALS, stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI), autism, locked-in syndrome, and others who have difficulty speaking. By giving these individuals a voice, the device can greatly enhance their quality of life and enable them to communicate more easily with their loved ones, friends, family, and caregivers. Starting and growing aware has been a dream come true for me, and I am thrilled to be leading the charge in developing technologies that can have a real and meaningful impact on people's lives. 

Also I have also recently completed a new book, "The Science of Happiness and Wellbeing," This book explores the intersection of science and the pursuit of true happiness. Drawing on the latest research, I delve into the key factors that contribute to a fulfilling and joyful life. 

How do you prioritize?

Prioritization is a personal and ongoing journey for me. I've learned that it's not just about crossing things off a to-do list, but about being mindful of my goals and values. I prioritize what aligns with my purpose and what will bring me closer to where I want to be in life, both personally and professionally.

I start by identifying my long-term goals and breaking them down into smaller, actionable steps. I then evaluate the urgency and importance of each task, giving priority to those that will have the biggest impact. Of course, life is unpredictable and things don't always go as planned, so I stay flexible and adjust my priorities as needed.

But prioritization is not just about work. I believe that taking care of myself is just as important as taking care of my responsibilities. That's why I prioritize self-care and make sure to give myself time to recharge and refocus. This allows me to approach my tasks with a clear mind and a positive attitude.

In essence, prioritization is a deeply personal and constantly changing aspect of my life. By being aware of my aspirations, principles, and overall health and well-being, I am able to keep my priorities in order and remain focused, productive, and successful in achieving what is truly significant to me.

Why are mushrooms amazing? 

I feel mushrooms are a true gift from nature, providing us with the opportunity to connect with something greater than ourselves. They offer us a glimpse into the infinite possibilities of the mind, and allow us to see the world in a new and wondrous light.

These sacred fungi trigger a release of serotonin in the brain, opening up a portal to an inner world of beauty, wonder, and spiritual insight. In this state, the barriers between self and universe dissolve, allowing us to experience a deep sense of unity and interconnectedness.

For centuries, these mushrooms have been revered by indigenous cultures for their ability to heal, to bring spiritual renewal, and to help us understand our place in the cosmos. Today, modern science is confirming what these ancient cultures have known all along – that psilocybin has the potential to be a powerful tool for personal growth and psychological healing.

The therapeutic use of psilocybin mushrooms is a powerful journey of self-discovery and transformation. It allows us to face our innermost truths, gain new perspectives, and find deeper meaning and purpose in life. With the potential to bring about lasting change, this experience is truly amazing.

What’s your advice to psychedelic newcomers?

My advice to psychedelic newcomers is to approach this experience with openness, humility, and a deep respect for the profound impact it can have on your mind and emotions. 

Psychedelics have the power to bring you face-to-face with some of the most profound truths about yourself and the world, and it is important to be prepared for this level of self-discovery.

As you embark on this journey, make sure you have a safe and supportive environment, and consider working with a qualified therapist or guide who can help you navigate any challenging experiences or insights that may arise. This can be an incredibly emotional and intense process, but the rewards can be truly transformative.

I encourage you to approach this experience with a sense of excitement, but also with caution. The insights you may gain can be both beautiful and painful, and it's important to be prepared for this level of self-reflection.

Most importantly, remember that the effects of psychedelics are temporary, and that the real work begins when you integrate what you have learned into your daily life. This process takes time, patience, and ongoing self-reflection, but the rewards can be life-changing.

So, approach this experience with reverence, a willingness to learn, and an open heart, and trust that the journey will reveal what you need to know when the time is right. And be gentle with yourself during this process, as it can be both beautiful and challenging. Embrace the emotions that arise, and know that they are all a part of the healing and growth that come with this experience.

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About the Author

Cori Sue Morris

Cori Sue is the founder & CEO of Retreat. She’s a recovering journalist and serial entrepreneur, having started, scaled and sold a media company, Bitches Who Brunch, and a marketing agency. She loves mushrooms, microdosing, empowered women, and helping others.

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