Holistic health is a natural approach to treating the whole body physically, mentally, and spiritually. Meditation is the most familiar kind of holistic healing in slowing down heart rate, reducing blood pressure, and easing anxiety. Chocolate, while a sure cure to a sweet-tooth, is itself glorified as a stress reliever thanks to its “feel-good” minerals and antioxidants. The combination of these two holistic remedies--meditation and chocolate--can produce a deeply enriching and detoxifying experience known as a “cacao ceremony.”
What is cacao?
Grown in humid climates such as Central and South America, cacao is a type of plant used to make chocolate. The Aztec translation of chocolate xocolatl is "bitter water,” expertly describing the unprocessed taste of pure chocolate. The Greek word cacao means "food of the gods,” signifying the ceremonial nature of chocolate. Moreover, the high cacao content of dark chocolate has more medicinal benefits than the additives contained in whole milk chocolate. By simplifying chocolate with the basic ingredients of cacao beans and water, purifies and thereby, magnifies the antioxidant and calming effects of the cacao beans.
What is a cacao ceremony?
A cacao ceremony is a group meditative practice of drinking liquified cacao. A group leader starts the ceremony by introducing the elements and benefits of cacao. Then, cacao powder and water are whisked in a large bowl and served to each person. Regarded as a token of silent prayer, the cacao drink is then sipped in unison. Cardamom and cayenne pepper can also be used as optional cacao enhancers.
The cacao bean’s anticoagulant property and essential mineral, theobromine, acts as a heart-opener for blood vessels, and human emotions. Theobromine is an alkaloid that dilates the veins, stimulates the cardiac muscles, and relaxes the body’s smooth muscles. Together, these elements can produce a calming, euphoric feeling.
In this relaxed position, the leader may ask each person’s intention for the ceremony, such as improving resilience or cultivating more empathy for others. Vocalizing these sentiments in a group setting is a way of purging lingering thoughts, suppressed emotions, and anxious minds. Additionally, musical instruments and songs usually accompany the ceremony to help deepen the meditation and rouse the group's mental state.
Similar to a a post-massage session, it is highly recommended to drink lots of water days and weeks after the the cacao ceremony. Due to the potent stimulants of cacao, it is best to hydrate and flush out the body. The idea behind a cacao ceremony is to drink pure chocolate whilst communicating openly with others in a safe, non-judgmental environment.
How can cacao ceremonies benefit work-life?
Every cacao ceremony is different and intuitive. The therapeutic aspects of the ceremony relies on the individual’s preferences, whether it be for group support, cacao detoxing, meditation, or all aspects at once. Even minimal gains such as the sheer anticipation of a cacao ceremony can improve the quality of work-life by easily becoming a go-to antidote for stress relief and mental clarity. Companies could offer employees the option to join women’s, co-ed, or colleague-only cacao ceremonies for a unique meditation experience.