Skip to main content

Have you heard of DMT or dimethyltryptamine meditation? If you’re on a spiritual journey – or even looking for ways to get high without drugs or plants – keep reading. You’ll discover how people are using DMT to expand consciousness and experience a natural high. You’ll also learn how some people are going after those effects by trying to release DMT in the body – no substances required.

What is DMT meditation?

DMT is short for N, N-dimethyltryptamine, a chemical compound found in certain plants as well as the human body. It belongs to the same class of psychedelics as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and psilocybin, which work (at least in part) by increasing serotonin levels. (1)

As you might expect, given the company it keeps, DMT has a profound effect on perception, which is why shamans have used it for thousands of years. It’s the primary psychoactive substance in Psychotria viridis, the plant that gives ayahuasca its hallucinogenic and healing properties. (2)

Taking ayahuasca, or anything with a sufficient amount of DMT, has been described as an immersive experience. If you ingest enough to cross what scientists call the psychedelic threshold, you’ll find yourself in an entirely new “reality” as the effects take over. You may experience vivid colors and geometric shapes. Some feel a presence or see guides or other beings. You will likely feel intense emotions (anything from bliss to intense fear) as well as a great sense of awe and wonder.

Chances are, none of the emotions or visions will have any connection to what’s happening in the world around you. But many people feel an absolute certainty that the experience is real.

Is DMT safe?

For many, this is the holy grail of spiritual journeys. But like most consciousness-expanding substances, synthetic DMT is illegal in many countries – with good reason. It makes your heart rate spike. It interacts with certain medications, making your serotonin levels dangerously high. (Allowing your body to accumulate too much serotonin can be fatal.) It can make an existing condition much worse or create a new one. And if you have any unresolved trauma, you’re in for a rough ride, possibly rougher than you can imagine.

Unless you’re working with a psychiatrist, taking synthetic DMT is dangerous. Even if you decide to try it in a more natural form – like ayahuasca, for example – make sure your medical history doesn’t put you at risk. You’ll also need a trustworthy, experienced guide to help you choose the right dosage, help you prepare both yourself and your environment, and support you throughout the experience.

That sounds like a lot of effort! Wouldn’t it be great if we could get at least some of the benefits without ingesting anything? What if we could release the DMT in our bodies naturally?

How do we produce DMT?

In the book DMT: The Spirit Molecule, clinical psychiatrist Rick Strassman suggests that the pineal gland produces DMT. That would make some sense from an esoteric perspective, as Descartes (and many after him) considered the pineal gland to be the seat of the soul.

But researchers have found only trace amounts of DMT in the pineal glands of rats (and none in those of humans). And removing the rats’ pineal glands didn’t change the levels of DMT in the cerebral cortex. Scientists haven’t figured out where DMT is produced, but so far, it looks like the pineal gland is only a bit player. The primary source of DMT, if there is one, remains a mystery.

Scientists have also looked at INMT (indolethylamine-N-methyltransferase), an enzyme that plays an essential role in the production of DMT. They’ve found it in various parts of the brain and throughout the body, including the heart, adrenal glands, and lungs. (1)

Maybe that’s why some experts see breathwork as the way to release our endogenous DMT. Or maybe it’s because the effects can be so similar to those of DMT.

What is DMT medication and is breathwork the ultimate dimethyltryptamine meditation?

In my mind, breathwork isn’t really a form of meditation. It’s hard work! But let’s not quibble.

For those who aren’t familiar with the term, breathwork is the practice of breathing in a specific way, often for an extended period of time. It’s been utilized for millennia to alter consciousness and perception. Shamans have used it in ceremonies to contact other realms and perform healing. The yogic tradition includes a host of pranayama breathing techniques for both health and spiritual development. African bushmen, Native Americans, and many other indigenous peoples have used breathing techniques as part of their sacred rituals.

Not all breathwork is the same

These days there are quite a few breathwork modalities: Holotropic Breathwork, Transformational Breathwork, Rebirthing Breathwork, Integrative Breathwork, and Wim Hof Breathing are just a few options. Many (though not all) of these processes combine rapid breathing, intense exhales, and other types of “power breathing”, withholding the breath in order to catapult participants into an altered state.

While most modalities focus on emotional release and increased self-awareness, a Cleveland Clinic article on Holotropic Breathwork also discussed physical benefits (3). Their list included promoting the release of toxins, boosting your immune system, improving digestion, lowering blood pressure by increasing circulation, and creating new neural pathways in the brain.

But that’s not all

Participants often go into blissful states during their sessions. Some believe they’ve experienced other realms, dimensions, or timelines. That sounds a lot like the effects of DMT, although there’s no evidence that any of these methods activate or release the DMT stored in the body.

To experience any of these processes, you need a certified facilitator. That’s a good thing, because breathwork is not without its risks.

Even Holotropic Breathwork Has Its Risks

According to, a website for mental health professionals, people with any of these conditions should avoid Holotropic Breathwork (4):

  • A history of angina, heart attack, or cardiovascular disease;
  • High blood pressure;
  • Glaucoma or retinal detachment;
  • Osteoporosis;
  • Surgery or significant recent injury;
  • Pregnancy; or
  • Any condition requiring medication.

I think it’s safe to assume that these risks are present in any modality that uses rapid breathing (as Holotropic Breathwork does). Other sources have warned against doing anything DMT-related, whether through substances or breathing techniques if you have problems with your heart, adrenals, or lungs.

And that’s just the start of the list

Like DMT, breathwork can also bring repressed memories and unresolved trauma to the surface. That’s one of the reasons it can be so healing, but not everyone is willing to go there.

If I haven’t scared you off by now, you might want to get started with a yogic breathing technique known as Kapalbhati Pranayama, or the breath of fire. You can find instructions all over the internet. Just remember to take it slowly, and if you have any health conditions or unresolved trauma, check with your medical practitioner or therapist before you start.

Summary of this post: What is DMT meditation and is it right for you?

In answering the question, what is DMT we have reviewed an array of benefits of breathwork. While breathwork may or may not release DMT in the body, and the process might or might not be considered meditation, it certainly seems powerful. If you’re healthy and willing to face some potentially painful emotions, it could bring you some serious physical, mental, and emotional benefits. It could even expand your consciousness. Only you can decide whether it’s worth the effort and the risk.

References for What is DMT?

  • Dean, J., Liu, T., Huff, S. et al. Biosynthesis and Extracellular Concentrations of N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in Mammalian Brain. Sci Rep 9, 9333 (2019).
Steph Sterner

Steph Sterner

Steph Sterner is a holistic practitioner and the author of No Guilt, No Games, No Drama and other self-help books. She writes about personal development, why we think and feel the way we do, and the nature of consciousness. You can find her on Medium (@Steph.Sterner) or at


This content, developed through collaboration with licensed medical professionals and external contributors, including text, graphics, images, and other material contained on the website, apps, newsletter, and products (“Content”), is general in nature and for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Always consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, procedure, or treatment, whether it is a prescription medication, over-the-counter drug, vitamin, supplement, or herbal alternative.

Longevity Live makes no guarantees about the efficacy or safety of products or treatments described in any of our posts. Any information on supplements, related services and drug information contained in our posts are subject to change and are not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects.

Longevity does not recommend or endorse any specific test, clinician, clinical care provider, product, procedure, opinion, service, or other information that may be mentioned on Longevity’s websites, apps, and Content.

error: Content is protected !!