Ketamine infusions are helping many people with chronic pain disorders, anxiety, PTSD, and depression. This is not only due to the biochemical changes in the brain but also because of its psychotropic experiential effect. In this article, we explain how to maximize your ketamine infusion by adequately preparing for and integrating the experience.
So how do you you prepare for and integrate from a ketamine infusion?: the quick 2 sentence answer
It is imperative to prepare both your body and mind prior to the infusion, such as detoxing from alcohol, marijuana, and/or violence on TV, music, and movies. The insights gained during the infusion will more likely be retained and integrated in everyday life if one has set an intention and implements a daily personal practice such as meditation and journaling.
The experience on ketamine can potentially alter your perception of yourself and the world around you. Deep truths hidden within your unconscious may be unearthed, trauma buried may be released and let go. So how can you best prepare and take positive action on this experience after the ketamine infusion?
Preparing For A Ketamine Psychotropic Experience
Ketamine infusion can create a non-ordinary state of consciousness (learn more here). Some call these types of experiences as “psychedelic” or “psychotropic.” The things you see, hear, and feel are actually YOU having an experience within yourself and ketamine appears to be mediating all of it. Preparation of the body and mind is the key to not only having a good experience during the ketamine infusion, but also for integrating and remembering what you learned during the infusion.
Participate In a Preparatory Detox and Fast.
Ideally you want to come into the experience as “clean” as possible. Ketamine alters your mood and mind. Therefore, you want to detox from substances, activities, and items which can affect both. Avoid stimulants and depressants as this could alter your experience (if you are on these medications already, do not change how you take them unless you are under the guidance of your medical doctor). Avoid watching TV shows and movies with excessive amounts of violence. Be cognizant of what you drink, eat, watch, and read as all of this can affect your body and mind.
While simple, but not easy, meditation can help prepare to quiet the mind and be open to what you will be experiencing during the ketamine infusion. The skills cultivated in a meditation practice such as grounding and keeping calm when your thoughts race can be very useful during the ketamine infusion. Being able to focus on the breath and center yourself will give you the space to be open to the feelings, experiences, emotions, and insights you may have missed or not been ready to receive otherwise.
Journal and Reflect Before Your Infusion
Journal about what you hope to learn, experience, and resolve during the infusion. Write out your goals for the infusion, such as “decrease my pain levels” or “let go of anxiety and depression.” The earlier your start the journaling process the better (at least the day before and definitely no later than the few hours before your infusion!). Create and be in an unhurried, calm mindset before your infusion. Aim to keep the stress levels to a minimum. If possible, spend as much time in nature prior to your infusion.
Set Your Intention
Based on the reflection and journaling you have done, you can create an intention for your ketamine infusion (or series). Intentions can vary from person to person. For some, intentions are the same as the goals or outcomes they desire to have from the infusion. For others. they are a way of being, or even simply one or two words. Here are some examples:
“Surrender to the experience”
“Be kind to myself”
“Experience freedom from pain”
What ever may happen during the infusion, you will want to have a specific intention to anchor you when you may feel challenged. In the event you are experiencing something challenging and potentially frightening, you can take a deep breath and reconnect with your intention and this will help calm you. The intention will also provide a context to deconstruct the things you saw, heard, and felt during the infusion afterwards.
Prepare as much as you can before the infusion. But here’s the key ...during the infusion, just let go. Yes, you’ve done all the prep and planning to support a good ketamine experience, but now simply go with the experience and be open to whatever is revealed.
Integration: Taking What You Experienced & Changing Your Life
You’ve had a profound experience during your ketamine infusion and you now you are ready to create change in your life to continue to feel better or feel even better. So how do you do that? INTEGRATION!!
What Is “Integration”?
Reflecting and acting upon the insights and lessons learned during the ketamine infusion. As you think about your ketamine you can take inventory about what you experienced and think of simply even tiny changes you can insert into your daily life, which will ultimately take your life in a new and better direction.
Set an “Intention Going Forward”
Immediately after your infusion we recommend setting a new intention, an “Intention Going Forward”. Your mind was wide open and you got a lot of insights or experienced a lot of feelings. Now you get to channel your energy into actionable step setting this new intention will help you focus your integration efforts. Here are some examples:
“Be patient with myself”
“Do one thing that makes me happy everyday”
Practices to Support Your Integration:
Give yourself some time to reflect and be with yourself. During this time you can do the following:
Immediately or soon after the infusion, express what you experienced through journaling, poetry, art, or music.
Meditate - You may even have found that you have greater insight into meditation after your infusion. Ego dissolution, facing inner turmoil, or experiencing total understanding and connection with all during the infusion - you may now see how meditation can channel a similar experience in your everyday!
Pay attention to your intuition after a profound ketamine experience you may be more aware of your intuition. You may feel like you see or “know” more. That’s your intuition so pay attention to it.
Talk with supportive, trustworthy friends and family - make sure you do your own self-reflection and alone time prior to doing this. As talking about the experience can color and even change what we remember from the experience itself.
Start a new routine - hiking, yoga, add more vegetables/fruits into your diet, or eliminate something unhealthy from your diet. Small or large, you are riding the zeal of change after the experience.
End old routines, habits, and unhealthy behaviors
Have an appointment set up with your counselor or therapist scheduled the day after your infusion to process whatever may have come up.
Align with a spiritual teacher, life coach, or find an integration circle.
Things to Avoid After your Infusion:
Take what you saw and experienced literally - sometimes your experience was symbolic.
Make dramatic life changes immediately
During or immediately after it’s important to not take this too far. We don’t recommend making drastic major life decisions during or immediately after the infusion. Yes you did commune with your wise and divine self, however it’s the physical you (not the ketamine explorer) who gets to live with the consequences of your choices in the real world. Give yourself time to put your experience into perspective.
Tell everyone they HAVE to take ketamine - ketamine isn’t for everyone. Some people have legitimate physical and mental health reasons they should not take it. Practice discernment in who you will share your experience with. That being said, you can still be an advocate for alternative treatments and even ketamine, encouraging those to learn more but not jam it down their throat.
Be Patient With Yourself But Take Ownership of Your Life
Sometimes you may have not had the most insightful ketamine induced altered state of consciousness or you really did but you can’t remember anything. Or you lost your zeal and motivation to make those changes. That’s okay. Be patient with yourself. As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. As the days go by after your infusion, you may even gain more insights that weren’t present before.
You are the horse, and you even led yourself to the water, but the ketamine infusion itself won’t force you to drink. You have to choose to drink. The change comes from within you. The experience during the ketamine infusion only showed you the knowledge and wisdom you have in a new light. The desire and motivation to make the change is the strongest immediately after your infusion. However, as time passes from the experience, so does the activation energy to change. Integration is crucial here and more importantly to have faith in the experience you had and trust you learned what was needed to be learned. Now make steps, however big or small, in the right direction that will add value to your life.
The change you desire and are capable of having requires conviction, ownership, and bravery. All of which you have already inside of you and simply needs to be reawakened.