“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.”

– Confucius

 

The most beneficial ketamine-induced experiences are categorized as ego-dissolving, transcendental (EDT) experiences. So called “psychedelic,” or out of body, experiences are also beneficial as an adjunct to psychotherapy; however, EDT experiences have the added benefit of potential instances of spontaneous healing. Normally, without preparation, one out of ten patients will have an EDT experience. Three primary factors influence the likelihood of the optimal EDT experience: dose, physical setting, and mindset. A typical anti-depressive dose of ketamine is 75mg – 125mg and nearly always cause a psychedelic experience; Kolp Institute ketamine administrations utilize a higher dose, 150mg – 175mg. Ketamine administrations are performed in our office, a psychiatric practice, or at our retreat centers for WELL Program workshops — both with comfortable, scenically pleasant, home-like atmospheres. We provide beautiful, evocative music to assist with relaxation and immersion into the experience. The ketamine solution is administered via a brief injection rather than an intravenous administration requiring the use of an IV line, adding to the comfort of each patient. By carefully calibrating the ketamine dose and controlling the setting, we have increased the likelihood of having an EDT experience from one out of ten to three out of ten.

We strongly recommend preparing the body and mind through de-stressing, meditation, exercise, hydration, and partial fasting following a Whole Food, Plant Based (WFPB) diet. We further suggest de-toxifying the body of all sedatives (sugar, alcohol, anxiety medication, pain killers, etc.) and psycho-stimulants (caffeine, nicotine, amphetamines, diet pills, etc.).

The most important aspect of the preparatory process is fasting. Fasting has long been a part of the spiritual quest in many cultures and religions. Fasting can be total, abstaining from all food and beverage apart from water, or can be partial. When undergoing a partial fast, participants should abstain from “rich” foods and highly processed, highly refined foods. Participants are encouraged to follow the WFPB diet, getting the majority of calories from vegetables, with some calories coming from fruit, nuts, certain whole grains, and legumes. During the fasting period, water is allowed with no carbonated, caffeinated, or sugary drinks of any kind.

Exercise is recommended at least five days a week for a period of forty-five to sixty minutes at a time. Although we recommend deep stretching, yoga, or other low impact exercise, any type of exercise is beneficial.

To calm and prepare the mind, we recommend taking a time out for daily meditation. Ideally, participants would take twenty to thirty minutes each day for this practice; however, even ten to fifteen minutes daily is beneficial. We also recommend de-stressing the mind by limiting screen time beyond that which is required for each individual participant’s employment. Recreational screen time should be limited to less than two hours daily. Screen time includes, but is not limited to, computer use, watching television, playing video games, watching movies, and using cell phones. Many participants find it helpful to keep a journal during this time to document their progress, including any regressions, in order to stay on track during this phase. It is important to remember that if you do indulge in restricted foods or other substances during this period, you can work immediately to get back on track as opposed to stopping the preparatory fast completely. Even an imperfect fast is more beneficial than foregoing the fast completely.

The preparatory period should begin six weeks prior to the induction of the ketamine experience. It takes approximately four weeks for the human body to completely detoxify itself from harmful substances, but we encourage two additional weeks for the body to achieve an optimal state of functioning. Although the preparatory guidelines may seem strict, it increases the likelihood of having an EDT experience, on average, from three out of ten participants to eight out of ten participants.