Nick Polizzi is a film director perhaps best known for his website, the Sacred Science and for his film of the same name. The film has won numerous awards at film festivals "from Sydney to Denver". The film chronicles eight patients suffering from serious diseases ranging from Parkinson’s to prostate cancer to diabetes as they journey to the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest to live for 30 days under the care of shamans, confront their emotional problems head on, and consume natural Rainforest medicinal plants as they attempt to heal themselves holistically in a way they weren’t able to do through modern medicine.
This film alone would make Nick worthy of a place on the site combining as it does the concepts of eating for health, healing yourself and plant based medicines, but Nick has had some quite intense experiences of his own, all of which have contributed to his drive to make holistic medicine and plant based healing better known.
Nick was born 30th July 1978. He currently lives in Berkely California, has a partner and a young child and was born in Connecticut. Polizzi graduated from Saint Rose University in Albany, New York, but having entered university to do business studies, he realised he did not want to be an economist or “a Wall Street guy” so went to design school instead. There he became involved in film making and the creative process.
Just like photographer Jimmy Nelson, Nick became more and more concerned about the loss of ancient healing traditions and Shamanism and decided to help preserve this knowledge through film and also via his blog, the website, in short videos and in articles, the objective being to inform and explain, thereby encouraging more support for these traditions in the rest of the world. As he has said “These are cultures that are in danger of being wiped off the earth permanently and we want to bring attention to them by revealing how powerful these traditions are”.
Although his most well known film is about the Amazon, Nick is also working on other films that explore shamanism and healing traditions in other regions of the world; “we also have films in other genres that you’ll be seeing soon that take a lot of lessons that are taught at the very centre of more tribal traditions and apply them to our relationship with the contemporary world”.
Nick is also interested in all forms of healing. He was the editor of two films on tapping and emotional freedom techniques - ‘The Tapping Solution: Try it on Everything’ and ‘Simply Raw:’ Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days with Raw Vegan Nutrition.’ Nick Ortner, one of the proponents of EFT and tapping, was one of his high school friends and Polizzi made the films with Ortner.
That was when I started to understand that the plants themselves could interact and were an interface with the spiritual-level energy that I was experiencing.
.... When I started working with plants, I got the opportunity to study with David Wolfe. He showed me a number of amazing things you could do with plants - like the different mushrooms, reishi and chaga. Just understanding how using plants actually shifts the way that you’re perceiving or seeing reality was really incredible to me.
....that led to ‘The Sacred Science’ which is a combination of the energy healing techniques and herbal medicine, along with information on people in different cultures that are masters of both of those worlds.
When Nick first became interested in shamanism, he realised it was once a worldwide phenomenon, that at one time – healing [as opposed to medicine] was a part of all society. Every tribe or group had a priest and healer, the person who not only passed on the skills and knowledge of the spiritual world, but was also gifted to heal people and find plants that worked medicinally. Initially he considered Siberian shamanism for his first film, but eventually he chose the Amazon Rainforest because of the sheer number of plants that grow there.
There are over 65,000 species of plants that grow in the rainforest; it’s over 65,000, the number keeps going up as they find more. ..... And of those, only 3% of those plants have been studied by modern medicine. Less than 3 percent. And out of those 3 percent that have been studied, 25% of the pharmaceuticals on the shelf either come directly from those 3% or they’re synthesized, they’re just synthetic knock-offs of the same plants.
So if all of those medicines come from that 3%, what happens with the other 97%? Sure seems like a wasted opportunity for healing to me.
One of the problems of some of the areas that Nick has visited and filmed is that there is no written language. Thus when a medicine man dies without passing on his or her knowledge to an apprentice, that knowledge is lost forever because there’s nothing written down. Nick attempts to channel some of the proceeds from the films into helping to buy land for an institute that helps preserve the tradition.
The institute [in the Amazon] is continuing to purchase and protect large tracts of rainforest land .... We’re working with them to help their cause. For instance the Del Monte Dam right is threatening to knock out not only hundreds of indigenous tribes but is also threatening thousands and thousands of species of plants and animals that nobody’s talking about.
You can get involved by helping out conservation organizations like Amazon Watch that we are big fans of, and figure out what you can do to make sure you’re not hurting the cultures down there.
Nick also has ideas about how we might also help to preserve these traditions and this knowledge
I really think people should take interest in their own local cultures. If you live in Australia or Europe or Africa, - anywhere, - you don’t have to go far to find cultures that live on the land and you’ll find they have their own healing traditions. Most of the time these people have been systematically exploited and persecuted, so they’re not really going to be in a very strong position societally. I think we need to start empowering the indigenous people to live right in our own communities, they have much knowledge and it’s very important to preserve that.
As a culture we’re getting more interested in natural foods and medicines. Well, there’s nobody knows that stuff better than the people that live on this land before we got there. I really feel we would do them a great service by demonstrating our interest in their traditions which are very, very rich in healing potential. And also we can do the right thing to show them support, since they really need it, and they’ve been mistreated for too long.
There’s not one plant that grows is not medicinal, it’s just a matter of dosage. So I want people to be curious about these things, to say I want to take action, to consciously explore some of these traditions. Right now you have the ability to explore your own state, city or county and immerse yourself in the traditional healing methods of the people that live with you.
The men of the "Sacred Science" film crew — Dan Bailey, Nick Polizzi, Brock Bertloff and Alberto Martinez.
For iPad/iPhone users: tap letter twice to get list of items.