Therapeutic ketamine treatments for pain, depression, or anxiety are often accompanied by music for a more powerful, moving healing experience.
There is a stereotype that psychedelic music and medicine are the province of hippies, but today’s doctors, neuroscientists, and researchers are getting on board the hippie jams bus, and for good reason.
Two types of music are typically used in therapeutic ketamine treatments: rich instrumentals or natural, more organic tones.
Patients report enlightening, comforting, and lasting relief from these treatments. In fact, just a single ketamine treatment has been shown to eliminate suicidal thoughts and lift debilitating depression within hours.
Skillfully combined, music and ketamine can also create synesthesia, or the ability to “see” sound or “touch” colors. The patient will dissociate as the ketamine flushes the brain and leaves behind space for new neural connections to overwrite the old.
Instrumentals will start off slow as the medicine starts to take effect. The music will often crescendo and recede, but not in a dramatic way; the felt experience can be described as riding on sound as if it is a “felt” wave, like a continuous, flying ribbon.
The music is typically electronica with varying tones and beats that flow up and down. Since the music is often unfamiliar to the patient and constantly changing, the mind is free to ignore the distraction of the familiar.
From Tibetan singing bowls to flutes, bells, and drums, this powerful ancient musical experience offers a different type of ketamine immersion. Your healer may play the music live or recorded, but most often it is live.
The sounds of birds, waterfalls, rain, or wind through trees are also shared. The felt experience may be different from that of electronica, almost with ethereal lightness.
Both types of music have beneficial effects, but depending on the mood and personality a patient may resonate (literally) with one or the other.
Musicians are reinventing psychedelic-friendly music by combining electronic and natural tones with spoken word teachings that amplify the ketamine experience. Most clinics create different types of playlists (sans commercials) to support their patients’ journey.
Forefront in this genre are several tracks from East Forest featuring Ram Dass (free on Youtube). Ram Dass (1931-2019) was a pioneering and transformative spiritual leader whose presence is alive and well today alongside fellow travelers.
East Forest selected clips from his decades of recorded teachings and backed them with fitting music. The result is a sonic space and feeling of sitting with a wise, loving friend during the 60 – 90 minute trip.
For hundreds of generations, shamans have administered spiritual and chemical medicine to heal. This lineage continues with our modern medical and sonic shamans.
As with any healing journey, shamans will forewarn that you must approach the journey with integrity. These experiences are not about tripping balls or getting high, they are about connecting with ones’ inner self to release trauma and pain. The most effective sessions often involve meeting with a therapist right after or close to the treatment, but it is not required.
One nurse at a fast-growing ketamine clinic shared how they start each session in her clinic, whether it’s the patient’s first or fifteenth treatment:
“Just let go and let it take you where it needs to take you…
The medicine and the music know where you need to go.”
If you can, avoid clinics that don’t have a compassionate healer to “trip sit” with you. If your sitter has experienced ketamine (and many have), even better!
Having a trip sitter may cost a bit more than going solo at a clinic, but this is an experience where you will be glad to have your shaman with you.
Consider them “fellow travelers” on your mutual path to healing, and enjoy your journey together.
Written by: maia