What Is Ketamine Therapy and How Can It Help Heal on a Cellular Level?

Addiction Recovery Publishing Nutrition December 5, 2023

What Is Ketamine Therapy and How Can It Help Heal on a Cellular Level?

When it comes to recovery, the aim shouldn’t simply be to get back to where we were before issues of addiction and mental health started to weigh us down. The aim should be to get to a place that is even better than where we were before. Not just to “become recovered” but to recover the piece of ourselves that allows us to grow greater on a daily basis. This is what healing at the cellular level is all about. Also, this is why comprehensive recovery that includes ketamine therapy can be so critical to whole-mind-body healing. It can take us to that next level of recovery.

The Importance of Comprehensive Recovery on Hawaii’s Big Island

Here on Hawaii’s Big Island, we still hold true to an ancient proverb. It goes “Kulia i ka nu’u,” which translates to “striving to reach the highest place we can be.” Essentially, it is about finding enlightenment through our persistent actions. In recovery, we do this by utilizing all of the tools that we have at our disposal.

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we have a comprehensive array of treatment modalities that can help ensure that all of our clients get the type of multi-faceted care and attention that is required for healing at the cellular level. We know that “one-size-fits-all” “cookie cutter” recovery rarely works, as it lacks personalization and it lacks the opportunity for adjustments and additions of treatment options.

What Does Comprehensive Recovery Look Like?

Comprehensive recovery should look like there are more treatment options than can be utilized in one plan. This ensures that there will also be something new available if it becomes time to amend or modify a recovery plan.

A comprehensive recovery plan should also pull from the many different areas of the treatment field. This includes the traditional mental health realm that includes such psychotherapies as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and psychodynamic therapy. It should also include experiential therapies like nature immersion therapy, art therapy, horticulture therapy, and surf therapy. Then, there are more mindful treatment options such as meditation, acupuncture, and yoga that can be essential for healing at the cellular level.

There are also therapies that are less utilized in the mainstream. These are therapies like infusion therapy. It is highly effective, yet it is underutilized due to a lack of understanding, a lack of resources, and, frankly, a lack of innovation. Similar things can be said about ketamine therapy, which is currently underutilized as well.

What Exactly Is Ketamine Therapy?

According to the article, How Ketamine Drug Helps with Depression released by the Yale School of Medicine, “Because treatment with esketamine [a nasal spray derived from ketamine] might be so helpful to patients with treatment-resistant depression (meaning standard treatments had not helped them), the FDA expedited the approval process to make it more quickly available. In one study, 70 percent of patients with treatment-resistant depression who were started on an oral antidepressant and intranasal esketamine improved, compared to just over half in the group that did not receive the medication (called the placebo group).” These are impressive results, and they are not just happening with one group of individuals.

Ketamine therapy has been shown to treat a myriad of mental health and addiction issues. According to the Journal of Pain Research, “Ketamine-enhanced psychotherapy has since been trialed as a treatment for multiple conditions including chronic neuropathic pain, opioid tapering, major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and substance use disorders (SUD). While disagreement exists amongst researchers and clinicians about how ketamine facilitates psychotherapy, some theories about ketamine’s interactions with psychotherapy suggest the facilitation of emotional learning through enhanced neuroplasticity, evocations of emotionally arousing phenomenological experiences, reductions in defensiveness, and enhanced treatment adherence and engagement.”

The journal also discusses how the limitations of ketamine therapy are still unknown, as it is still such an understudied treatment modality. However, what they do know is that it has been shown to help many populations with many different issues. For example, it is now shown to be highly effective in treating combat veterans to address and manage their issues related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Who Is Ketamine Therapy Best Suited For?

The question as to who may benefit the most from ketamine therapy is interesting because as more studies start to come out, ketamine therapy is starting to be shown to be more effective at treating many different types of people. However, what we do know is that ketamine therapy is highly effective at treating issues related to trauma, especially trauma related to treatment-resistant major depressive disorder (MDD) and treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).

According to the peer-reviewed article, Ketamine as Treatment for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: A Review, many people with MDD and PTSD who are treated with traditional mental health therapies experience less than optimal results. The article explains that “Given this, novel treatments are needed for PTSD. One such treatment could be ketamine. As noted, there exists some hesitation for its use based on the fact that it may cause transient dissociation; however, more recent studies suggest that this may not be as frequent as previously thought.”

The article also notes that “Based on the limited data in the form of animal studies, a randomized controlled trial, and case reports, ketamine has been shown to result in a near complete resolution of symptoms over the short term and seems to have similar findings to the use of ketamine in MDD.” Ketamine therapy has also been shown to be highly effective in treating people with issues related to prolonged substance abuse and alcohol addiction. So then, what exactly does ketamine therapy look like?

What Does the Ketamine Therapy Process Look Like?

Ketamine therapy can seem intimidating to many people. Much of this has to do with the fact that it is less well-known than other types of mental health therapies. It also, most likely, has to do with the negative connotations ketamine has as it can be thought of merely as an “illicit substance.” The truth is that ketamine therapy is very regulated and is done in a very strict and serious manner. 

According to the 2023 article, Understanding Ketamine Treatment for Depression, produced by Columbia University Irving Medical Center, “Ketamine treatment is most commonly delivered in one of two ways. In intravenous (IV) infusion, ketamine is delivered directly into the bloodstream through a small needle placed in a vein in your arm.” Also, “ketamine can be delivered through an intranasal spray. Intranasal esketamine, currently the only FDA-approved formulation, is administered by nasal spray in a monitored and structured clinical setting. The medication esketamine is absorbed through the lining of the nose.” Of course, this is the clinical side of the treatment. For the greatest benefits, it must also be used alongside other types of therapies, especially “talk therapies.”

What Are the Benefits of Ketamine Therapy?

As with any other types of mental health and addiction therapies, ketamine therapy has both its benefits and limitations. However, as more and more studies are being conducted, it is becoming ever more clear that the benefits outweigh the limitations.

The following are just a few of the benefits that can be gained via the use of ketamine therapy:

  • Ketamine therapy can help with the neuroplasticity of the brain, which in turn helps to build new neural networks
  • It can help heal damaged synapses in the brain, which can help with memory, learning, and controlling one’s emotions 
  • There are minimal side effects, most of which only exist in the short-term 
  • It can help with chronic pain by blocking the pain signals sent throughout the body
  • Ketamine therapy has been shown to work very quickly
  • It can offer lasting results that do not require the continued use of medication
  • Ketamine therapy can help an individual process and address the root/core causes of their problems
  • Helps to build the communication skills that are often necessary to experience optimal results during other types of mental health therapies

What Are Some Limitations of Ketamine Therapy?

However, as previously mentioned, there are still some limitations when it comes to ketamine therapy. The good news is that these limitations tend to reside around the way the therapy is currently viewed in the mental health sphere rather than the negative results people may feel during the treatment.

Now, the following are just a few of the limitations that are related to ketamine therapy:

  • It can be expensive and is often not covered by insurance
  • Some people find that its effects wear off after a few weeks and choose to continue some form of the treatment
  • There are some minimal short-term side effects, which include mild nausea, fatigue, and disorientation
  • It can be hard to find a recovery center that is certified to administer ketamine therapy
  • There are a limited number of ketamine therapy experts who can administer these types of sessions
  • Ketamine therapy is still surrounded by some stigma due to the lack of understanding of the therapy
  • Some medical professionals are not convinced because they are not exactly sure why it can be so effective

The good news regarding the limitations of certification is that Exclusive Hawaii Rehab is fully certified and licensed to offer both psychedelic and ketamine therapy. We also use these therapies alongside the other modalities that we offer. 

The Importance of Utilizing Ketamine Therapy in Tandem With Other Modalities and Treatment Options

As with most therapies, ketamine therapy works best when it is utilized in tandem with other mental health modalities. This can be especially true with ketamine therapy because it can open individuals up to trying new things. Ketamine therapy can lower the inhibitions many people often feel when trying new treatments.

It is also often a symbiotic relationship that ketamine therapy has with other treatment options. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) relies upon the ability of the individual to open up and discuss the issues that they are struggling with. Ketamine therapy can help to eliminate any blockers that may be stopping someone from allowing themselves to be necessarily and rigorously honest with both themselves and their therapist. Another example is how the efficacy of ketamine therapy can be increased by the introduction of a nutrition therapy plan.

Ketamine Therapy and Nutrition

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we have a maxim; “Food is medicine.” We say this because we know that many of the clients who come to see us struggle with issues of nutrient depletion. Many people do not realize the toll that addiction and mental illness take on the body’s ability to fully function at any sort of optimal level.

According to the peer-reviewed article, New Approaches to Nutritional Therapy, “Nutritional Therapy uses food to prevent and reverse diseases that plague most Western societies: diabetes, obesity, heart disease, arthritis, and depression. For food to be therapeutic, it must be nutrient-dense, measured in part by the nutrients and anti-nutrients, contained in consumed foods.” These nutrients are essential for whole mind-body healing.

Quality nutrition can help to replenish the necessary vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are needed to heal at the cellular level. Proper nutrition also ensures that we are in a place to take full advantage of therapies such as ketamine therapy. We must be fully present for certain therapies to be fully effective. This can be especially true with ketamine therapy. It can also be highly effective with another type of “mind-opening” modality: yoga.

Ketamine Therapy and Yoga

Yoga has been around for over 3,000 years. It originally began as a strictly religious practice but has since moved into the realms of physical fitness, spiritual mindfulness, and mental health awareness. Much like ketamine therapy, it has been shown to be particularly effective at helping individuals heal at the cellular level by offering a shift in mindset and ways of thinking.

According to the International Journal of Yoga, “Therapeutic yoga is defined as the application of yoga postures and practice to the treatment of health conditions. Yoga therapy involves instruction in yogic practices and teachings to prevent reduce or alleviate structural, physiological, emotional, and spiritual pain, suffering, or limitations. Yogic practices enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, promote recovery from and treatment of addiction, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life.” When used in tandem with ketamine therapy, yoga offers an opportunity to get to the root/core issues of our mental health and/or addiction problems. In this way, we attain optimal mind-body healing.

Healing at the Cellular Level on the Hamakua Coast With Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we believe in utilizing every tool we have at our disposal to help our clients heal at the cellular level. This includes the use of ketamine therapy.

The iconic American author and philosopher Joseph Campbell once said, “I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.” That is what we are here to offer our clients on the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island: the chance to truly feel alive again, no longer encumbered by their issues of addiction or mental health.

At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we believe that we can achieve the goals that we set for ourselves in recovery as long as we strive for them with vim, vigor, and vitality. We can utilize what we call on the Big Island “Kulia i ka nu’u,” as long as we strive to reach our greatest potential and always believe that there are no limitations as to what we can accomplish.

At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we are now offering psychedelic and ketamine therapy. These therapies can be invaluable opportunities to help get to the underlying root/core causes of both addiction and mental health issues. This is especially true if an individual is struggling with issues of emotional trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you feel like you or someone you love is struggling with issues of addiction, mental health, or co-occurring disorders, we can help get you on the right path to recovery. For more information on how psychedelic and ketamine therapies can help you heal at the cellular level and get to the deeper root/core causes of your problems, reach out to Exclusive Hawaii Rehab today at (808) 775-0200.