Preparing for Your Ketamine Dosing Sessions: 9 Important Steps | Isha Health

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9 Things to Do to Maximize the Impact of Ketamine Therapy for Depression and Anxiety

Written by

Isha Team


February 20, 2023


October 27, 2023

Ketamine therapy has been found to be an effective treatment for conditions such as major depressive disorder, general anxiety disorder, and PTSD. This treatment involves the use of a medication called ketamine, which is a dissociative anesthetic that can induce profound changes in perception, consciousness, and emotion. Ketamine therapy can be administered in different ways, including intravenous (IV) infusion, intranasal spray, or sublingual lozenge.

While ketamine therapy can be a life-changing treatment for those struggling with depression and anxiety, good preparation is essential to maximize its impact. Here are nine things you can do to make the most of your ketamine therapy sessions.

1. Avoid Certain Medications

It is essential to talk to your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medication before your ketamine treatment. Various medicines can interfere with ketamine's performance in the brain, reducing its efficiency in improving depressive symptoms. It's crucial to list down all the drugs you are taking before starting the treatment. Your doctor needs to know any medicine you are taking to inform them how to schedule treatments. Therefore, be honest about your medical history.

2. Clear Up Your Schedule for the Rest of the Day

Plan your day of dosing in advance and plan nothing after your dosing session. When you have something scheduled after a dosing session, your mind consciously and unconsciously focuses on the planned events. Plan to do nothing after your dosing session. This way, you can relax and let the effects of ketamine therapy take hold without any external distractions.

3. Fast at Least for Four Hours Before Your Ketamine Treatment

One of the common side effects of ketamine treatment is nausea and, rarely, vomiting. To reduce the chances of nausea, avoid eating at least four hours into your treatment. People also tend to feel less effects of medicine when you have something in your stomach. If your doctor prescribed an antinausea medication, please make sure to take it as instructed.

4. Put on Comfortable Clothes

The physical sensations of uncomfortable clothes can impact your experience. Therefore, it is essential to wear non-restrictive, soft, and comfortable clothes during your ketamine therapy sessions. This way, you can feel relaxed and at ease, allowing the medication to do its work.

5. Pick a Music Playlist

When preparing for a ketamine therapy session, choosing the right music playlist can help you relax and get the most out of the experience. Music can be a powerful tool for introspection and emotional processing, and can help you connect with your inner self during the session. Here are some recommendations on how to prepare your music playlist for a ketamine session:

Choose music that resonates with you

One of the most important things when selecting a music playlist for a ketamine session is to choose music that resonates with you personally. This can be music that you love, that brings up strong emotions, or that helps you relax and let go. It’s important to choose music that you feel a strong connection to, as this will help you connect more deeply with your thoughts and emotions during the session.

Consider the tempo

The tempo of the music can have a big impact on your experience during the session. Slow, calming music can help you relax and enter a meditative state, while faster, more upbeat music can be energizing and uplifting. Consider the kind of experience you’re hoping to have during the session and choose music that matches that mood.

Experiment with different genres

Different genres of music can have different effects on your mood and emotions. For example, classical music is often associated with relaxation and calmness, while rock or electronic music can be more energizing and intense. Try experimenting with different genres to see what resonates with you.

Keep the playlist short

It’s generally a good idea to keep your music playlist relatively short, around 60-90 minutes in total. This can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed or distracted by the music, and can also help you focus on your inner experience more deeply.

Consider instrumental music

Instrumental music, such as classical or ambient music, can be a great choice for a ketamine therapy session. This kind of music can be very calming and help you enter a meditative state without the distraction of lyrics or vocals.

Avoid music with negative associations

It’s important to choose music that doesn’t have any negative associations or memories for you. This can include music that reminds you of a difficult time in your life or that brings up negative emotions.

Overall, the key to choosing the right music playlist for a ketamine therapy session is to choose music that resonates with you personally and helps you enter a relaxed, introspective state. By experimenting with different genres and considering the tempo and length of the playlist, you can create a customized music experience that enhances your ketamine therapy session and helps you achieve the best results.

6. Turn off phone and laptop notification

If you are undergoing a ketamine session, it is generally recommended to turn off your smartphone notifications to minimize external distractions and allow yourself to fully focus on the experience. Ketamine can induce intense changes in perception and consciousness and is often used for therapeutic purposes to help people process difficult emotions, experiences, and memories.

During a ketamine session, it is important to create a safe, comfortable, and supportive environment that allows you to fully engage with the experience. This means minimizing external stimuli that could distract or interrupt your process, including notifications from your smartphone.

Additionally, receiving notifications during a ketamine session can be jarring and disrupt the flow of your experience, potentially leading to anxiety or discomfort. By turning off your notifications and disconnecting from your phone, you can create a more immersive and focused experience that can help you gain deeper insights and healing benefits from your ketamine therapy.

7. Write Down Your Intention

It's essential to have a clear intention when going into a ketamine therapy session. By doing so, you'll be better able to focus on what you want to achieve during the session. Setting a clear intention can make it easier for the material directly or indirectly related to the intention to surface.

Your intention could be as simple as wanting to relax and let go of stress, or it could be more specific, such as wanting to gain insight into a particular issue or overcome a specific fear or anxiety. Whatever your intention may be, it's important to write it down and bring it with you to the session. You can even discuss it with your provider beforehand to help you set a clear intention and ensure you get the most out of your therapy.

Lern more about this on our setting intention for ketamine therapy blog post. 

8. Dim the Light and Make Sure Your Room is Quiet

The environment in which you have your ketamine therapy session can significantly affect your experience. A quiet and dimly lit room can help to create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere that can enhance your therapy's effectiveness.

Dimming the lights can help to calm down your nervous system, while a quiet environment can help you focus on your inner thoughts and emotions. Be sure to turn off all notifications on your phone and laptop to avoid distractions during the session. Distractions can hinder the effectiveness of the therapy and make it harder for you to get into a meditative state.

9. Take a Few Minutes to Meditate

Meditation is an ancient practice that has been shown to have numerous benefits for mental health and wellbeing. It involves quieting the mind and focusing on the present moment, which can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. If you're preparing for a ketamine therapy session, taking a few minutes to meditate beforehand can help you to relax and clear your mind, making the experience more beneficial.

To meditate before a ketamine therapy session, find a quiet and comfortable space where you won't be disturbed. You may want to dim the lights or light a candle to create a relaxing atmosphere. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Focus on your breath, taking deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Count your breaths or repeat a calming phrase to yourself, such as "peace" or "relax."

If you're new to meditation, you may find it helpful to use a guided meditation app or audio recording such as Insight Timer. . There are many free resources available online that can guide you through a meditation practice. These can be particularly helpful if you find it difficult to quiet your mind or stay focused.

Ketamine therapy has shown great promise in treating depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. However, it's essential to prepare for your therapy sessions to get the most out of them. By following these nine tips, you can create a safe, comfortable, and supportive environment that allows you to fully engage with the experience and maximize the benefits of ketamine therapy.

Remember, ketamine therapy is not a magic cure for mental health conditions, and it's essential to work with your provider to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that includes therapy, medication, and other interventions as necessary. With the right mindset, preparation, and support, you can overcome your mental health challenges and lead a happier, healthier life.

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