Marek Malůš PhD – Researcher into Dark Therapy in the Czech Republic

Marek Malůš - Dark Therapy - Czech RepublicIn a previous post, we focused on the research being carried out by Marek Malůš PhD on Dark Therapy in the Czech Republic (known there as ‘Terapie Tmou’). In this post we decided to look into the man himself, and where this all started.

Marek Malůš PhD is currently the assistant professor of the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy in Ostrava, Czech Republic. He is professionally focused on researching the effects of sensory deprivation on the human body, or what he calls Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST), in particular when external stimulation is restricted through a stay in the dark, otherwise known in mainstream circles as Dark or Darkness Therapy.

He received his PhD at Palacký University, Olomouc which was where he first began his studies into REST in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Between 2010-2013, Marek collaborated with Czech Darkness Therapy expert, Dr. Andrew Urbiš at the Beskydské Rehabilitation Center in Celadna, in order to study 37 of their clients whilst they were engaged in a 7 day Darkness Retreat.

According to one source, they used “questionnaires and surveys including the Existence Scale, the Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire, the Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale and The Symptom Checklist 90” to collect relevant data. Of particular interest was the affect this had on altered states of consciousness, as well the role of the pineal gland and the hormone ‘melatonin’.

In 2015 he began the next phase of his research, in collaboration with the Darkness Therapy Centre in Kozlovice, which you can read more about HERE, which also then began to look at more psycho-physiological effects of stays in darkness on the body, not just psychological. Marek has completed 3 Darkness Retreats himself, over the course of 3, 7 and 14 days.

Despite the ever increasing popularity of Dark or Darkness Therapy in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, little research seems to have been done outside of these countries, except that carried out in the 1970s in the US. As a result, Marek has been invited to present his findings both in the Czech Republic and abroad, including at the world’s leading conferences focused on methods of limited external stimulation at the Universities of Portland, USA and Vancouver, Canada. Here is a video of Marek’s presentation at the FLOAT Conference in Portland in 2015.

In his presentation, Marek discusses whether ‘Dark Therapy’ is actually in fact a therapy. He says it is difficult to say positively, because the term is not scientifically appropriate. Many people think of it as a treatment or self-treatment, but in Marek’s view it is “A special place and space suitable for therapeutic process, which enables, affects and catalyzes our ability to get more in touch with both our conscious and unconscious part of ourselves.”

However, it has been difficult to find out what the specific findings were of Marek’s earlier studies, due to it being in Czech and as yet, the results and analysis from the research carried out in 2015 remains unpublished. As soon as they are available, we will be sure to let you know.

You can find out more about Marek and how to contact him at:

http://psych.upol.cz/en/o-nas/lide/mgr-marek-malus-ph-d/

 

Research into Dark Therapy on the Human Body, in the Czech Republic

Darkness Therapy Research, Czech RepublicThe Dark Therapy Centre run by Roman Bartak in Kozlovice (Czech Republic), specialises in providing what they call Dark Therapy (Terapie Tmou) as a service, as well as being the sole provider in the country which focuses on carrying out research into the effects of prolonged periods in the dark on the human body.

Initially this research was carried out in cooperation with the Department of Psychology of the University of Olomouc, then later with the Department of Psychology and the Institute of Physiology and Patho-physiology, of the University of Ostrava (both in the Czech Republic). To begin with, research was carried out with students of psychology and related disciplines over a period of 2 and then 3 days. However, since 2015 it has also been carried out with actual Dark Therapy clients, on a voluntary basis, and in 2016 the researchers extended their study to test the effects of up to 4 days in the dark.

The ‘Dark Therapy’ research is led by Marek Malůš PhD, assistant professor of the Department of Psychology Faculty of Philosophy in Ostrava, who completed several darkness retreats himself to inform his study. This is a unique global study, which builds on research that was started in the 1970s in the US, and extends to the areas of both psycho-physiology and physiology.

The research objectives are focused on several areas of human psychology and physiology, in order to measure the changes which take place as a result of the participant’s stay in the dark, based on the results of tests taken before and after the stay.

The psychological studies monitor cognitive function (a total of 12 tests). These include, in addition to memory and concentration, attention, language function, speed of thinking and the ability to understand information.

The executive functions include the ability to assess and problem solving, planning and organization. Further parameters are monitored based on the participant’s personality, as well as motivational and experiential characteristics, including the assessment of the advantages/disadvantages stemming from the participants.

In contrast, the physiological studies are investigating the psycho-physiological effects of processes, basic blood counts and the effect on the human eye (a total of eight tests). Attention is focused on the measurement of ECG, heart rate and its variability, blood pressure, and the detected change in weight. Whilst monitoring the human eye, they measure visual acuity, color vision and the quality of peripheral vision.

The outcomes of this extensive study are currently not yet known because evaluation and analysis of the results are still pending. Preliminary results show however (as you might expect), that the four-day stays are already showing more fundamental changes than shorter stays, including positive shifts occurring in cognitive functions, heartbeat and also improving eyesight.

You can find out more at http://www.terapietmou.net/

Practical Questions About Doing a Darkness Retreat

Many people have all kinds of questions about the practical aspects of doing a Darkness Retreat, including what happens within one, food and eating, if you take medication, contact with the outside world, what to bring, going to the toilet in the dark and so much more.

In this video Bharati answers many of the common questions that get asked. More information is also provided on our Procedure page, as well as our FAQ section.

However, if you still have additional things to ask, when making a decision whether this is the right place for you to come or what to expect, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to hear from you with any questions or concerns you might have!

Please note: Bharati speaks a lot about Darkness Retreats in India. Although it is still potentially possible to do a retreat with us in India, or anywhere else you choose, our primary base is now at our wonderful new retreat centre ‘Source of Power – Spiritbalance Sadhana Ashram’ in Sasbachwalden, a really beautiful natural part of the Black Forest in Southern Germany.

Bharati also mentioned about bringing your own eye mask. Whilst of course you are always welcome to bring your own if preferred, we do now supply an excellent mask for you to use whilst you are here, which enables you to comfortably have your eyes open or closed when wearing it.

Tangible Soul Energy During the Darkness Retreat (Videos)

During Darkness Retreats, my guests usually have intense spiritual experiences, including them often being able to physically see their own soul energy with their own eyes. We have been fortunate enough to capture some of these experiences on film, and deeply thank our guests for giving us permission to do so.

At the end of one of my client’s Darkness Retreat, I (Bharati) guided him to the Temple Room. The light flashes that could be seen by my guest during his time in the darkness were still visible even in the light, and could be recorded too. When I started chanting the mantra “Arut perum jothi, arut perum jothi, thani perum karunai, arut perum jothi” the lights seemed to get even stronger.

(There are various interpretations of what the mantra means in English, but in essence it is saying “Vast Grace-Light, Vast Grace-Light, Supreme Compassion,Vast Grace-Light”. Indeed, it certainly seemed to have the desired effect!)

Here, we see a participant who actually spent a total of 49 days in the dark. In her case, visible soul energy (also called orbs) could very clearly be seen too – just see how many orbs there are and how fast they move. Incredible! Recording this energy of the soul was truly an extraordinary and moving moment.

Francisco’s Experience of a Darkness Retreat

Many people have participated in our Darkness Retreats, whether in India, Columbia, and now at our wonderful retreat centre ‘Source of Power – Spiritbalance Sadhana Ashram’, in the beautiful Black Forest region of Germany.

We are proud to present a number of videos where some our clients talk about their personal experiences, and how Darkness Retreats have affected their lives. This is Francisco’s story. Enjoy!

(However, if you prefer, there is also a summary of what Francisco (not Javier) talks about below the video)

This is Francisco from Mexico, and he has just completed the Group Darkness Retreat in Columbia, South America. He says it has been an extraordinary and beautiful experience, for himself and all of his spiritual development. He had a lot of experiences during the 12 days of the retreat, saying the darkness is a great guru.

He thinks many things in his life will be changed, for the rest of his life.  The astral projection was a wonderful experience, amazing. He recommends doing a Dark Retreat for everyone.

Sophie’s Experience in a Darkness Retreat

Many people have participated in our Darkness Retreats, whether in India, Columbia, and now at our wonderful retreat centre ‘Source of Power – Spiritbalance Sadhana Ashram’, in the beautiful Black Forest region of Germany.

We are proud to present a number of videos where some our clients talk about their personal experiences, and how Darkness Retreats have affected their lives. This is Sophie’s story. Enjoy!

(However, if you prefer, there is also a summary of what Sophie talks about below the video)

Sophie is from Mexico and she said it was a very, very fantastic experience for her because it was like being reborn for her. She has a lot of fears and she experienced a lot of transformation in relation to her “inner woman”. It’s like in the Darkness Retreat, you meet your soul and you can trust and let it go; now she feels like she has lost 13kg. She feels very light.

She ate a raw food diet in the retreat, which she doesn’t normally have, and she couldn’t believe how good she felt on it, so thinks she will change how she lives, she feels so great. It’s an experience she recommends for every one, because you really find the light inside you.

Umberto’s Experience in a Darkness Retreat

Many people have participated in our Darkness Retreats, whether in India, Columbia, and now at our wonderful retreat centre ‘Source of Power – Spiritbalance Sadhana Ashram’, in the beautiful Black Forest region of Germany.

We are proud to present a number of videos where some our clients talk about their personal experiences, and how Darkness Retreats have affected their lives. This is Umberto’s story. Enjoy!

(However, if you prefer, there is also a summary of what Umberto talks about below the video)

Umberto is from Monterey, Mexico and he says that the first days of the retreat he felt drunk, then every day he started to feel more peace, peace, peace. The Darkness Retreat is like you get inside of you. It’s a test of you. Now he feels real peace inside of himself.

Rachel’s Experience in a Darkness Retreat

Many people have participated in our Darkness Retreats,  whether in India, Columbia, and now at our wonderful retreat centre ‘Source of Power – Spiritbalance Sadhana Ashram’, in the beautiful Black Forest region of Germany.

We are proud to present a number of videos where some our clients talk about their personal experiences, and how Darkness Retreats have affected their lives. This is Rachel’s story. Enjoy!

(However, if you prefer, there is also a summary of what Rachel talks about below the video)

This is Rachel from Mexico, she has just come out of the group Darkness Retreat in Columbia. She says it was a life-changing experience, and that the dark gave her the opportunity to get into deeper corners in her being, her soul, and she brought light and consciousness to those corners. At the same time, she faced her fears, which she thought were worse, but when she saw them, they were just illusions most of the time. She felt an enormous constant peace that she has never felt in her life, which was the greatest gift she could have, because she can return to that state again any time, and that to her is heaven.

Also, she said it was very nice because she was able to experience lucid dreams, hear messages, and do an astral projection, which opened a new gate for her which she knows is going to be really fun. She’s excited about that because it’s another world, and she wants to experience that. Also, she encountered beautiful souls inside of there (the other group members), she said they felt like a family and shared all of their fears, thoughts, emotions. They all opened their hearts in pure trust, surrender and gratitude. They sang mantras which gave joy and energy to the room. To Rachel, they were pure joy and liberated a lot of things she needed to get out of her body and her soul. She will always have this experience in her heart. She recommends it – take a shot, it’s really good.

Jorge’s Terrific Adventure in his Darkness Retreat

Many people have participated in our Darkness Retreats,  whether in India, Columbia, and now at our wonderful retreat centre ‘Source of Power – Spiritbalance Sadhana Ashram’, in the beautiful Black Forest region of Germany.

We are proud to present a number of videos where some our clients talk about their personal experiences, and how Darkness Retreats have affected their lives. This is Jorge’s story, what he calls “a really terrific adventure”. Enjoy!

(However, if you prefer, there is also a summary of what Jorge talks about below the video – though he speaks with such heart, feeling, passion and expression, it is well worth taking the time to watch the video 🙂 )

This is Jorge from central Mexico, and he says that his experience in the Darkness Retreat was the most marvelous experience he has had in his life. He says that as you can see, he is a young man, because he was just born yesterday, when he came out to the light, as soon as they finished the Darkness Retreat. It was the most fantastic voyage towards his inside. He never thought he could go inside of himself and it was a really fantastic experience. He says that the best thing is that now he loves himself more and that is one of the greatest things to love ourselves, because we are in a world that needs love. So if we love ourselves, we will be able to be loved by people close to us, family, friends, everybody. But first we have to have love and this is what he has from this Darkness Retreat.

Jorge says he came to it with no expectations, and the first couple of days were a little bit difficult, but then after the third or fourth day, he really started to view inside of himself. He had never really had chance to see inside of himself before and it was a great experience. Everybody should try it, at least for 2 or 3 days.

He also said that everyone all together had a really terrific adventure, they became friends in there, they learned that their senses are outside, so they were inside only with their hearts, their soul and their mind. Enjoying themselves. It was difficult of course, because they had to eat without looking at their food, so they were not very polite doing so, but everything was enjoyed.

They had a great party, the greatest party of his life, and the greatest adventure, an adventure being him, and he has been him for many years. But this time he was really able to get inside himself. He wished he could have more time, because at the end he felt a bit sad, he didn’t want to come out, he was really happy there, and with the people there too. Also Bharati and Martin were really great people. He enjoyed everything they did, even if at some times he didn’t like it. Everything was fantastic!

He would gladly do it again and as a matter of fact, he is going to build a little room in his own house where he can have a Darkness Retreat at home. That way he can do it himself and some day invite his friends for maybe half a day, two days, or whatever. But he thinks everybody should try at least one day of Darkness Retreat.

Daniella’s Experience in a Darkness Retreat

Many people have participated in our Darkness Retreats,  whether in India, Columbia, and now at our wonderful retreat centre ‘Source of Power – Spiritbalance Sadhana Ashram’, in the beautiful Black Forest region of Germany.

We are proud to present a number of videos where some our clients talk about their personal experiences, and how Darkness Retreats have affected their lives. This is Daniella’s story. Enjoy!

(However, if you prefer, there is also a summary of what Daniella talks about below the video)

Daniella is from Monterey in Mexico, and it was her first Darkness Retreat. She didn’t know what she was going through and found it very challenging, though she also said it was great. Some fears came up, that she was already aware of but didn’t know they were so big. One of them was fear of the dark, the second one was of being very silent, though she said she learned to empower herself through this experience. There were a lot of people in the (group) retreat, so she learned to be tolerant, respectful and loving, because everyone was passing through different experiences, some great, some difficult yet it was easy to find support from all of the people in the group.

She said she became a family with them, that she loves every one of them, and she took a little piece of their hearts with hers. Also, Balakrishna (Martin) and Bharati were two loving souls, very supportive, without them it wouldn’t be so good. Yesterday when they got out of the dark it felt like everything was in 3D, nature bursting with colour and she was filled with joy. Then today when she woke up she said she had never felt this joy before. She was laughing and felt very good.

Daniella is not sure if she’ll do it again, though she hopes so and recommends it to everyone. She said “You understand the need to be in the dark, to see the light in your heart and your world in a different way”.