Shelby Bertsch

Shelby Bertsch is a psychophysiological researcher and avid traveler. She lived in Peru to conduct psychophysiological research on the healing properties of entheogens. She focused upon the connection of cortisol homeostasis and cognitive stress before and after work with ayahuasca and plant medicine. The findings of her research speak to the connection between the body and mind. Her results showed improved cortisol reactivity to stress, which mirrored improved perception of self. Shelby is inspired to develop further research projects based upon the culture and practices she observed in Peru, she hopes to bring technical knowledge of psychophysiological response to shed more light toward the healing nature of plant medicine. Shelby’s motivation is to spread knowledge and encourage mindful practice of medicines, in hopes that personal responsibility will allow for deep change to be made in our current social structure. Her research discussions have led to travel. Shelby has lived in South America, Europe and has backpacked around the United States, she is incredibly grateful to have spent formative time of her life in the Amazon. Shelby is currently writing a travel guide to weave through the complications of international and domestic travel. Shelby hopes to bring research into a world of application – to demonstrate that concepts of physiology and psychology can be simply explained, and understood. She hopes by teaching and learning in an environment that is expansive and welcoming to all people that science can be viewed as a tool for maintaining health, creating art, and manifesting happiness.

Workshops & Presentations

  • Discussion of Entheogen Research

    75 min | Altar of Spirit

    Research upon the healing properties of entheogens will be discussed by Shelby Bertsch. She will discuss the modalities to study entheogens and consciousness, as well as discuss knowledge and growth that will come from a relationship with medicinal plants. Shelby is a psychophysiological researcher whom conducted research on the mind-body connection in the rainforest outside of Iquitos, Peru. The study observed individuals undergoing the process of drinking ayahuasca and dietas. Her study measured stress response through blood cortisol levels, to understand changes in stress reactivity after working with plant medicine. The research hoped to preserved the Quechuan practices of healing, to not separate the medicine from the culture it blossomed from. The findings of the study showed healthier levels of cortisol reactivity were mirrored by improved perception of the self. The details of the research will be interwoven with current findings in the fields of therapy, neurological and autoimmune research.

  • A Traveler's Guide to Health and Wellness

    75 min | Altar of Air

    This is a guide of advice collected from many travelers, to allow for many perspectives on travel to help others in their journeys.
    This guide will discuss challenges faced by travelers who are attempting to live healthily. The topics of discussion will range from dietary health and hygiene, to intelligent travel techniques on how to organize a backpack and book travel. 
    Dietary health discussion of probiotics and gut micro-biome will be integrated with tips toward accessibility, affordability and durability of nutrients. A discussion of hygiene maintenance will be woven in; discussing mindful habits to have a positive long-term effect. Tutorials will show people how to make toothpaste, deodorant, antiseptic and sunscreen that are kind to the body and bank, samples will be given to active participants. International and domestic travel advice will be interwoven with entertaining anecdotes collected from travelers. Festival goers and travelers alike will benefit from the tips.


Festival Locations:

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