About Ketamine Therapy

Ketamine is a medication that has been FDA approved and used in anesthesia since the 1970s. It  was first used as an anesthetic medication for soldiers during the Vietnam War.  It is still very useful in anesthesia today, though it is often used in combination with many other medications.  Used in this way, it creates what is called “dissociative anesthesia,” making it much different than other anesthetic medications.  Instead of “turning off” parts of your brain temporarily while under its influence, as is the case with other anesthetic medications, ketamine instead creates a scenario in which different parts of the brain cannot “talk” to each other.  When brain activity under ketamine is compared to other anesthetic medications using brain scanning technology, we actually often see an increased level of activity as compared to the typical decreased activity seen with general anesthesia.    

Starting in 2000, researchers began to explore ketamine as a treatment for depression, especially for individuals suffering with treatment resistant depression, or depression that did not respond to the standard medical treatment. The discovery of ketamine’s anti-depressive qualities has been heralded in the scientific community as “the single most important advance in treatment of depression in more than fifty years.” Yet today, over 20 years later, it’s use in mental health is still viewed as new or novel and many providers are unaware of its value.  When used to treat depression and other mental health conditions, only a fraction of the dose of ketamine used in anesthesia is needed.  What you would receive for anesthesia is 20 to 200 times more than what you need to have benefits for mental health.  This fact makes administration by a trained anesthesia provider in a clinic setting a safe option for treatment.  

As is often the case with new medications or treatments in the mental health arena, since the time when ketamine was discovered to be helpful in depression, it has been explored as a treatment for other mental health conditions such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  Unfortunately, given the novelty of the treatment and the methods needed to delivery it optimally, many mental health providers are not familiar with its use.

Ketamine is usually given intravenously is or injected into the muscle.  It can also be ingested through lozenges or intranasal spray.  It has potential side effects that include increasing heart rate and blood pressure as well as bladder irritation, so it is important that candidates for treatment be screened for safety prior to receiving the therapy.  The most notable side effect, however, is that even at small doses ketamine creates a transient but unusual mental experience.  Often describe as “dissociative” or “depersonalizing,” a person experiencing ketamine may feel euphoric, confused, disconnected, or as if they are having an out of body experience.  The sensations can be intense, strange, and can change from session to session within the same individual.  For this reason, it is important to have the treatments in a relaxing environment with a medical provider that can foster feelings of safety.

What we offer

At Frequency Healing we primarily use ketamine infusion therapy for our patients.  However, while ketamine therapy can be life changing alone, our philosophy is that for maximum positive benefit it be used in conjunction with other healing modalities.  We encourage continued relationships with pre-existing counselors and therapists, or we can help you find a provider for more traditional forms of talk therapy and medication management.  We also offer in-house Compassion Coaching, Life Coaching, and meditation consultations.  We believe in a holistic approach, so we also like to refer clients locally for healing services such as massage therapy, reiki, shamanic work, sound therapy, aromatherapy, yoga, and acupuncture as appropriate.

What to expect

We start each client with a scheduled, no-cost telephone consultation.  If you think ketamine might be right for you, we request medical records from your normal doctor, therapist, or other metal health provider who has either diagnosed or documented previous diagnosis of your mental health condition.  Frequency Healing Clinic does not diagnose mental health conditions.   

Once your records are received, we schedule an in-person consultation at our clinic in Florence, Oregon.  The cost of this consultation is subtracted from the cost for your first infusion if we determine Ketamine to be an appropriate treatment for you.  

We typically recommend starting treatment with a series of six sessions over 2-4 weeks.  Clients come to our office for their infusions with an empty stomach, their vital signs are checked and an IV is started in one hand or arm.  The medication is given through the IV, typically over 50 minutes.  The dose is tailored to the individual and can be adjusted from session to session as needed. The client is welcomed to bring a supportive other (trusted partner, family member, or friend) to their sessions if desired, though specific qualifications are required of that individual.  During the session, the administering provider is present and monitoring vital signs and response to therapy.  Clients are encouraged to relax, listen to a predetermined playlist on noise canceling headphones, and often will use an eye mask to limit light exposure during the treatment.  When the infusion is complete, clients may feel groggy at first, but within 20 minutes are able to function normally.  It is normal to feel fatigued for the rest of the day, so we recommend taking the rest of the day off from work or strenuous activity.  For safety reasons, you are required to have a ride home and must abstain from operating a vehicle for the rest of the day.  We strongly encourage you to relax for the rest of the day following your infusion so that your brain may begin to integrate the experience.