What To Bring to a Psychedelic Treatment—and What to Leave at Home
Psychedelic therapy has gained significant attention in recent years for its potential to treat mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. With a growing body of research supporting its efficacy, more individuals are seeking out psychedelic experiences as a means of healing and self-discovery.
Whether you visit a clinic locally or a retreat abroad, the main thing to bring is yourself. Just as you are.
And, at the same time, it might help smooth your journey if you come prepared with the right tools and mindset. And leave at home things that might not serve you. To help you prepare, we’ve asked psychedelic experts from around the world what you should bring to psychedelic treatment—and what you should leave at home. A well-packed bag could ensure you have a safe and comfortable experience.
Bring: A Journal
We encourage all patients to bring personal journals and encourage journaling throughout the series. Though we provide all the equipment for the patient, if they have a favorite blanket/eye mask or something that provides them comfort we encourage them to bring in for their infusion. We encourage patients prior to treatment to focus on positive mantras, issues they want to work on, and simply try to get a good night’s rest prior to infusion. At our clinic we provide the patient a private room, noise canceling headphones, eye masks, iPad with curated music, and blankets. All with the goal of providing a private, comforting, and safe environment.— Tejash Shah, MSN, CRNA, Co-Founder of Vital IV Infusions
Bring: Your Own Blanket, Music, and Pillow (If You Like)
Kendal Miller – Healing Ketamine
We want people to be as comfortable as possible. Some people love to have their own music, their own pillow or blanket. We recommend people bring stuff to help them be calm and relaxed. We also recommend people eat a light meal or snack 2-3 hrs before. It helps their blood sugar and they tend to handle it better.— Kendall Miller, CRNA, BLS, ACLS, is a skilled nurse anesthetist at Healing Ketamine
Bring: Empowering Quotes and Inspiring Keepsakes
Kathryn Walker, CRNA, SPMHNP – Revitalist
Some of our clients recommend bringing with them empowering quotes, inspiring keepsakes, objects of grounding, and comforting cloths. The art of psychedelic medicine is one that should be based on reflection and respect. These medications are showing us that our brain functions on a level that many of us did not know existed. The goals of these medications is to bring our mindset to a place of neutrality where our barriers are down, allowing us an ability to visualize and empathize in areas that otherwise may be unknown. We recommend self reflection prior to a psychedelic journey with an intention to recognize: with neutrality also comes vulnerability. Establishing a place of safety, comfort, and trust is a must for an environment of healing.— Kathryn Walker, CEO of Revitalist
Bring: Pictures of Loved Ones
Kevin Bourke – ONE Psilocybin Retreats JAMAICA
Firstly, it’s important to focus on diet for 2 weeks prior to arriving to Jamaica. This means avoiding processed foods, alcohol, and drugs, and instead consuming a clean diet of whole foods and fresh fruits and vegetables. This helps to ensure that your physical vessel is as clean as possible to receive the healing benefits of the psilocybin.
Secondly, it’s important to work on your mindset and daily practice leading up to the retreat. This can involve practices such as meditation, yoga, or journaling, which help to increase your self-awareness and emotional regulation. It’s also important to set clear intentions for the ceremonies, and to focus on these ‘intentions’ rather than ‘expectations’. By letting go of expectations, you allow the medicine to work in its own way, which often leads to more profound and unexpected healing insights.
Thirdly, it’s important to bring personal items for the altar, such as pictures of loved ones or meaningful objects. These items can help to ground and connect you to your sense of purpose and meaning, and provide a source of comfort and support during the experience. It’s also important to bring layers of clothing, as the temperature can fluctuate during the ceremony, and a water bottle to stay hydrated.
Overall, preparing for ONE Psilocybin Retreats involves a holistic approach that encompasses physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. By focusing on these key factors, you can create the optimal conditions for a transformative and healing experience.— Kevin Bourke, Chief Marketing and Branding Officer of ONE Psilocybin Retreats JAMAICA
Bring: A Friend, Loved One or Therapist
Dr. Christopher Romig M.D. – ARK Integrative Medicine
Preparing for a Ketamine Treatment Session is an important step to help reduce any anxieties and prepare for a comfortable experience. Remember that feeling anxious about new experiences is normal, and healthcare providers are there to ensure your comfort and safety. It is important to communicate any concerns with your healthcare provider before the treatment. Having a support system, like a loved one or therapist, present during the session can provide emotional support. Engaging in relaxation techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, prior to the treatment can help calm the mind. I use an amazing VR program called the Sanctuary by FireFlyVR that truly creates the peaceful mind before each session. Set intentions for your treatment, noting what you hope to achieve and let go of. Most importantly, remember that during your upcoming ketamine treatment session, you have control over your experience, so don’t hesitate to ask for adjustments like extra blankets or music volume changes.— Dr. Christopher Romig M.D., Founder and Medical Director of Ark Integrative Medicine and Therapeutics
Bring: Your Questions and Concerns
Daniel A. Brenner, M.D. – Cambridge Biotherapies
There are a few steps you can take before a ketamine treatment that can enhance the experience and contribute to the healing process. First, try to arrive at least 15 minutes before the infusions. Then find a comfortable, quiet place, and take some time to relax and engage in deep breathing exercises or meditation to center yourself. Before the infusion starts, communicate with your treater about any concerns or fears you may have, because understanding the process and setting realistic expectations can alleviate anxiety.
During the infusion, it can be beneficial to listen to calming and soothing music. Soft instrumental tracks or nature sounds can help create a peaceful atmosphere, aiding relaxation and introspection. These sounds can enhance the therapeutic effects of ketamine by promoting a sense of serenity and openness. Some individuals find that wearing eye shades helps them focus inward and block external distractions, facilitating a deeper introspective experience. Others may feel more comfortable with their eyes open. We offer our patients weighted blankets, which many people find comforting and relaxing.
Remember, the most crucial aspect is to approach the infusion with an open mind and a willingness to explore your inner experiences. Embrace the process and trust the part of you that is your own “inner healer” to guide you through the journey. And don’t be afraid to ask for interaction or comfort during the infusion if you feel uneasy or anxious.— Daniel A. Brenner, M.D., Medical Director and CEO of Cambridge Biotherapies
Bring: A rich microbiome
Jessica K. – Eleusinia
A recent paper suggesting possible interaction of the gut microbiome with psychedelic substances implies that certain dietary interventions may be helpful for optimizing psychedelic experiences. The gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem of trillions of microorganisms residing in our digestive tract, it plays a pivotal role in overall human health and well-being. It influences a wide range of physiological processes, from nutrient absorption and immune system function to neurotransmitter production and neurodevelopment. Dietary interventions, including the consumption of prebiotics and probiotics, which foster beneficial gut bacteria, and high-fiber diets, which stimulate the production of health-promoting bacterial metabolites, could enhance the therapeutic efficacy of psilocybin therapy. Foods rich in prebiotics including whole grains, bananas, onions, garlic, and leeks. And probiotics such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, and other fermented foods may be helpful for supporting transformative psychedelic experiences.— Jessica K., Founder/Director of Eleusinia
Bring: A whole food diet, clear liquids
Chris Cohn – Daytryp
When preparing for a ketamine treatment, there are several key considerations that can make your experience as smooth and effective as possible.
Firstly, we recommend following a clean, whole food eating regimen for a few days prior to treatment. When we treat ourselves and our bodies with respect in this regard, it helps create an overall sense of wellbeing, which can act as a positive foundation for treatment.
Regarding food intake the day of treatment, it’s typically advised to avoid eating anything solid for at least 6 hours prior to your appointment. This helps to minimize the risk of nausea during treatment, which can be a side effect for some individuals. We provide our patients with Zofran prior to treatment to ensure nausea cannot affect their journeys negatively, but fasting prior to treatment is still recommended. You may drink clear liquids up to two hours before.— Chris Cohn, Founder and CEO of Daytryp Health Psychedelic Wellness Centers
Bring: An open mind
Luc van Poelje Founder – Psychedelic Insights
Everyone has a unique life experience and neurology shaped according to these experiences. Everything about everyone is trauma based. Not necessarily negative but differently unique.
So bring all your questions, worries, and feelings with you. Everything is about feeling more and experiencing your subconscious, to change your view, based on more “psychedelic insights”. Because your world is your perspective of it.— Luc van Poelje Founder, CEO of Psychedelic Insights
What to Leave at Home
Leave: Metallic Jewelry
Dr. Marta Moreno – Neurotherapeutix
In preparation for treatment sessions, patients should understand that they will be sitting in a chair like dentists’ chair and a device the size of palm of hand will deliver magnetic pulses to different brain regions. The magnetic pulse induces a strong electric current in the nearby conductors, so patients cannot wear metallic jewelry around their neck, face, or ears. Also, since the magnetic pulse interacts strongly with any medical implants in head and neck, they are contraindications for TMS treatment unless they are deemed MRI compatible. Since we use resting-state fMRI (rsfMRI), an imaging technique that can detect functionally linked brain regions, it is important that no stimulants like coffee, strong tea or alcoholic drinks are consumed on the day of the fMRI. During the fMRI session, multiple fast images are acquired which are later used by our off-line software to construct the map of communication between various brain regions.
Since resting-state functional connectivity MRI allows us to explore the brain’s functional organization, it is important that patients do not fall asleep during the scan. This allows rsfMRI to faithfully construct brain maps that will then be examined for its differences with normal controls to find malfunctions in neurological or psychiatric diseases. In Neurotherapeutix, we use behavioral, physiological and neurological evidences relevant to the detected brain networks to make our diagnosis and plan treatments. Our use of functional connectivity has been highly effective from a clinical perspective. This is confirmed by much evidence gathered in the last several years regarding the importance of spontaneous brain activity and that it is very sensitive biomarker of the health of the brain. The Default Mode Network (DMN) is the most important resting-state networks (RSNs) with a synchronized activity pattern that is indicative of its engagement with other networks. The pattern of interaction of these major networks has been found to be associated with cognitive performance and plays an important role in neuroplasticity. Since neuroplasticity is at the core of consolidation and maintenance of brain function, any abnormality in performance of individual networks, or their interaction, will constitute a distinct biomarker for a distinct disorder. Since TMS can modulate the resting-state activity of the brain and fine-tune DMN plasticity, we can use the direction (increase or decrease in activity) and extent of this modulation by designing specific TMS protocols for each individual patient’s brain activity. In Neurotherapeutix, we also offer the latest clinical applications of rsfcMRI based TMS therapy on many psychiatric and neurological diseases and a sample of our work on emerging possibilities such as in pre-operative mapping and disorders of consciousness.— Marta Moreno, Ph.D., fMRI-TMS Director at Neurotherapeutix
Leave: Your car at home
Dr. Arif Noorbaksh – Heading Health
Patients should leave their own car at home, make safe travel arrangements as they cannot drive after treatment, and must get a good night’s rest before resuming normal activities, including driving, the next day.
Ketamine and Spravato® appointments typically last a couple hours. Feeling safe, comfortable, and prepared is important for the process. Patients should use the restroom prior and consider having comfort items like comfortable clothes, eyemask, favorite playlist and headphones, or pillow and blanket. Then they can lean back and let the medication take effect – feeling at ease. We also advise patients prior to treatment regarding alcohol, caffeine, and other medications – including over the counter medications – to ensure safety before, during, and after treatment.— Dr. Arif Noorbaksh, Heading Health, Dallas, TX
Leave: Marijuana use
Nicole Yaldoo, PA-C – Forum Health West Bloomfield
In preparation for your treatment, remember to abstain from using marijuana for a full 24 hours beforehand. If you typically experience technicians having difficulty finding your veins, it’s recommended to consume plenty of water in the 24 hours leading up to your treatment. After the treatment, ensure that you arrange for a driver to take you home. It’s essential that you avoid engaging in any demanding activities such as returning to work or signing important documents. Additionally, it’s important to spend the rest of your day relaxing at home to reflect on your experience. You will be able to return to your usual activities the day after your treatment.— Nicole Yaldoo, PA-C, Physician Assistant at Forum Health West Bloomfield
Sam Mandel – Ketamine Clinics Los Angeles
What to Bring:
- Comfortable clothing: Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You may be sitting or lying down for an extended period of time during your infusion.
- A list of medications: List all the medications and supplements you’re currently taking. We need to know this to avoid potential interactions with ketamine.
- Emergency contact information: It’s a good idea to have the contact information of a friend or relative on hand in case of any unexpected events.
What to Leave at Home:
- Valuables: There’s no need to bring any valuable items or large sums of money with you to your appointment. You want to minimize the risk of losing anything.
- Alcohol or drugs: These can interfere with the effects of ketamine and potentially cause complications.
It’s also a good idea to discuss any concerns or questions you have with your KCLA Care Team before starting the treatment. And remember, it’s crucial to follow any other specific instructions given to you by your KCLA Provider.— Sam Mandel, Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer, Ketamine Clinics Los Angeles
Considering Psychedelic Treatment?
As various psychedelic therapies become more widely available, you may have looked into receiving treatment yourself. Exact treatment and recommendations will vary, depending on the substance you take and the treatment center you visit. Ultimately, the most critical aspect of any psychedelic therapy session is to approach it with an open mind and a commitment to personal growth.