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Unlocking Synergy: Ketamine Therapy and Holistic Healing in Integrative Psychiatry


massage table in a wellness office

In the realm of integrative psychiatry, combining various therapeutic modalities can often yield synergistic effects, addressing mental health from multiple angles. Ketamine therapy, with its efficacy in treating conditions such as treatment-resistant depression and anxiety, we believe, holds particular promise when paired with complementary healing practices.


Why does this seem so potent to combine ketamine with other modalities? The potential for synergy arises from Ketamine’s unique pharmacological properties that affect neurotransmitters and neural pathways, offering a receptive physiological state that can be enhanced through additional holistic interventions1.


HUSO Sound Therapy:

Sound therapy has been embraced by integrative psychiatry for its impact on mental well-being. HUSO Sound Therapy employs human sound frequencies that have been shown to affect brainwave states2. Paired with Ketamine, it facilitates relaxation and receptivity, creating a conducive environment for the therapeutic effects of Ketamine on neural pathways. Our clinic now utilizes Huso Sound Therapy as an option for patients - either for use prior to or during their ketamine sessions.


Reflection Time and Psychotherapy:

Post-Ketamine therapy, patients often enter a heightened emotional state due to the modulation of the glutamatergic system. This emotional awareness can be both beneficial and challenging! Allocating time for reflection and engaging with a psychotherapist can guide patients in processing these emotions, fostering transformative self-discovery and supporting psychological integration.


Massage and Reiki:

Somatic therapies such as massage and Reiki are central to integrative psychiatry. Ketamine has been shown to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which can, in turn, make the nervous system more plastic and responsive to somatic interventions. We like to think of BDNF as Miracle-Gro for the brain. By releasing bodily tension and energy blockages, these therapies may complement the neuroplastic effects of ketamine, facilitating further healing. Our clinic has close connections in the area with trusted massage therapists, who also are trained in Reiki.


Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation supports the stabilization of mental states and has been shown to affect the structure and function of the brain. When used alongside Ketamine therapy, mindfulness can enhance patients’ capacity to integrate insights and emotional shifts, thus contributing to sustainable mental health improvements. People often find it easier to add a meditation practice to their daily routine after ketamine sessions as well.





Art Therapy and/or Creative Work

Art therapy facilitates creative expression, which can be therapeutic in processing emotions and experiences. The neuroplastic state induced by ketamine therapy can be a really opportune time to engage the brain creatively, allowing patients to explore and integrate emotions at deeper levels.


EMDR and ART for Trauma Processing

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) are somatic therapies aimed at processing and integrating traumatic memories. In the neuroplastic window created by ketamine’s effect on neurotransmitters and neural pathways2, EMDR and ART can be highly effective in processing trauma. Through eye movements and visualization techniques, these therapies facilitate the brain’s natural ability to process and integrate traumatic memories, making them powerful additions to a ketamine therapy program.


While ART and EMDR can be powerful complementary therapies to ketamine, it is essential to consider the timing of these interventions. Immediately following a ketamine session, patients often experience transient side effects such as dizziness, disorientation, and sensory hypersensitivity. These immediate side effects may impede the patient’s ability to fully engage in or benefit from Accelerated Resolution Therapy or EMDR, which require a certain level of cognitive function and motor coordination.


As such, it is often advisable to schedule ART and EMDR sessions a day or two after the ketamine treatment, when the acute side effects have subsided. This allows patients to be more present and engaged in the therapeutic process, and to make the most of the neuroplastic window that ketamine therapy provides for processing emotions and trauma.


By carefully considering the timing and integration of therapies in a patient's treatment plan, clinicians can optimize the therapeutic alliance and ensure that patients are receiving the maximum benefit from each modality in a safe and supportive environment.


A Holistic Approach to Ketamine Therapy

In integrative psychiatry, the harmonization of ketamine therapy with complementary practices such as HUSO Sound Therapy, psychotherapy, massage, Reiki, mindfulness meditation, expressive arts, EMDR, and ART, forms a multidimensional approach.


This holistic model takes into consideration both physiological and psychological aspects of mental health, and leverages the unique pharmacological properties of ketamine to synergize with a spectrum of therapeutic modalities. Careful scheduling and integration of therapies are really important for maximizing benefits!


Through the development of a customized therapeutic regimen tailored to individual needs and preferences, integrative psychiatry can maximize mental health outcomes by fostering alignment and synergy between the mind, body, and spirit.


Please note, the information provided here is intended to be educational and does not constitute a patient-physician relationship. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with your healthcare provider about your specific condition and treatment options.



At Driftless Integrative Psychiatry, we strive to personalize your journey towards optimal health. Intrigued by the benefits of ketamine assisted therapy or curious about integrative approaches to mental health? Reach out to us today.



References:


  1. Sanacora, G., & Schatzberg, A. F. (2015). Ketamine: promising path or false prophecy in the development of novel therapeutics for mood disorders?. Neuropsychopharmacology, 40(2), 259-267.

  2. Thoma, M. V., La Marca, R., Brönnimann, R., Finkel, L., Ehlert, U., & Nater, U. M. (2013). The effect of music on the human stress

  3. Zarate, C. A., Singh, J. B., & Carlson, P. J. et al. (2006). A randomized trial of an N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonist in treatment-resistant major depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 63(8), 856-864.


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