Holistic Approaches to Severe Depression
Have you heard of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP), or Ketamine Psychedelic Psychotherapy (KPP)?
Whether you are currently getting ketamine infusions or just thinking about them, it is important to think about other techniques that can enhance your experience and results. There have been studies conducted about interventions that could enhance your healing experience.
These are other therapies that go well with your ketamine therapy. CBT, KAP, or KPP concentrate on your psychological state as you go through the psychedelic sensation during your ketamine IV infusion therapy.
We recommend a mental health professional who will supervise and guide you on these activities. Relaxation and breathing techniques, too, are also used during depression therapy.
A study narrates a report of a nurse’s experience with a patient who’s suffering from depression and chronic pain. The nursing care implemented relaxation, music, and biofeedback techniques.
Relaxation techniques included meditation and abdominal breathing. The sessions ran for 45 minutes to an hour.
The nurse observed that the patient was motivated, active, and aware of the psychosomatic symptoms. The patient also gained self-control and had a marked improvement in resolving problems.
There’s a simple breathing technique though you can do on your own before and during your ketamine IV infusion therapy. This can be coupled with mindfulness meditation (MM).
BEFORE your Ketamine IV Infusion Therapy
It’s best to arrive at least 15 minutes before your therapy so you can settle down. The goal is to be in a grounded state with a calm and open mind.
This will prepare you for whatever you will go through during your ketamine infusion. You can achieve this through the 4:7:8 breathing technique to reduce your anxiety. This is also used in MM, which will be discussed later.
Dr. Andrew Weil developed the 4-7-8 breathing technique. He is the founder and director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. You focus on the following deep and rhythmic breathing pattern as you perform the technique.
- Exhale to empty your lungs
- Breathe through your nose for 4 seconds
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds
- Exhale through your mouth with pursed lips (whooshing or whooping sound) for 8 seconds
- Do this set 4 times
You will have time for this at the Injection and Infusion Clinic of ABQ. We start your IV and get you settled into your comfortable chair. We then prepare your infusion, giving you an opportunity to settle in and mentally prepare for your ketamine infusion
DURING your Ketamine IV Infusion therapy
Breath normally and just let go. Practice mindfulness by being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations in the present moment to achieve calmness. Focus your attention on the sound of your breathing. Accept any sensation you may feel during the ketamine infusion. Receive the experience without expectation or judgment.
10 Benefits of Mindful Meditation (MM)
Sharpens your mental function
Boosts your immune system
Increases your energy level
Strengthens your resilience
Aids your body in managing pain
Regulates your mood
Reduces your stress and anxiety
Improves the quality of your sleep
Promotes better relationship with others
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and the National Institutes of Health endorse meditation and mindfulness for general well-being.
Moreover, the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) recommends mindfulness intervention to decrease the recurrence of depression.
CADTH further extends this practice during the treatment phase of people who are at risk of relapse. And it also applies to people with major depression who are at the second-line therapy or maintenance phase.
MM with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT): A study revealed that therapeutic change or “coming to terms” can be achieved through MM’s concept of “living in the moment”.
The researchers noted how MM skills had a vital role in the development of change. This continued practice offered support to MBCT in reducing the relapse of people with mood disorders.
MM as effective as non-mindful physical exercises for depression: Researchers surveyed five electronic databases that tested this idea. It turned out that both MM and non-mindful physical exercises were effective in reducing depression on a short- and long-term basis.
They suggested a larger sample size and well-controlled studies since they only came up with 12 randomized control trials.
Mindfulness interventions stabilize attention and improve mental ability: A review of related literature from electronic databases was performed by researchers. They found out that meditation-inspired interventions presented a promising solution in preventing and rehabilitating cognitive problems.
The researchers also suggested the creation of neuropsychological tools with seven attitudinal foundations of mindfulness practice. This was originally promoted by Jon Kabat-Zinn. This will serve as a guide to people in coping with their psychiatric issues. This includes depression among others.
MM for depression, anxiety, and spiritual well-being: Twenty-eight Japanese patients undergoing cancer treatment participated in a study.
The MM activities included breathing and yoga. They were trained in these techniques in the first session and they did the rest of the sessions in their homes.
They answered a preintervention questionnaire, then after two weeks, they answered a postintervention questionnaire. The questions were about depression and anxiety.
The results reveal that MM may be an effective therapy for anxiety and depression in Japanese cancer patients. They further said that spiritual well-being was linked to depression, anxiety, pain, and growth.
3 Ways to Practice Mindful Meditation
It can be a stand-alone therapy that is effective for depression and other mood disorders. There are three ways you can practice MM. You may perform it under the tutelage of an expert, do-it-yourself (DIY) with an instruction guide, or with the aid of a video or smartphone application.
1. You may practice mindfulness with a meditation guru, therapist, or life coach who will guide you through it.
A good reference is the “7 Attitudinal Foundations of Mindfulness.” Jon Kabat-Zin wrote about this in a book, entitled “Full Catastrophe Living.” Just to give you an idea, the eight attitudes are the following:
- Beginner’s Mind
- Letting go
Here’s a simple way of starting your mindfulness meditation practice. You can perform this during your ketamine IV infusion therapy with the modification of your sitting position.
Or you can do it at home in between your ketamine IV infusion therapy sessions. It can be anywhere during your work breaks or any time of the day. In performing MM, the key is to focus on your breathing.
- Sit down comfortably on a stable chair, bench, cushion or mat on the floor, or firm bed.
- Observe the position of your legs. You may cross your legs while seated on the floor. If you’re seated on a chair or bed, place your foot firmly on the floor at a 45-degree angle.
- Your head and shoulders are relaxed with your back straight following the natural curve of your spine.
- Let your arms rest on your sides, parallel to your body.
- Slightly lower your chin and gaze downward. You don’t have to close your eyes. If your eyes are open, let it be and see whatever appears before you.
- Relax and just breathe. Focus your attention on the feel and sound of your breathing. Be aware of the sensations in your body.
- Be there at the moment. Breathe in and breathe out. If your mind wanders, let it be. But let your attention go back to the rhythm of your breathing.
- Practice the pause. If you need to reposition yourself, do so.
- Go back to breathing even at times you may experience distractions from your environment or your mind. Be free from expectations and judgments.
- Slowly emerge from your mindfulness meditation as you open your eyes to your environment.
3. If you’re tech-savvy and into gadgets, you may opt for a smartphone application.
A 12-minute smartphone-based mindful breathing technique is currently being studied. The researchers want to find out if it affects the heart rate of students with depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.
The random controlled study aims to evaluate the psychological and physical effects of the MM application. The study has yet to be completed by the end of 2020.
The researchers are hoping that through this study, MM training tools delivered through applications and web platforms will be developed to benefit people with depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.
There are a lot of mindfulness videos online. There’s a cool compilation of these at the David S. Rosenthal Center for Wellness and Health Promotion, Harvard University Health Services you may want to check out.
A holistic approach to your severe/TRD
A holistic approach in treating severe/TRD can incorporate 4-7-8 breathing technique and MM in the routine. Both practices have been shown as safe and effective therapeutic adjuncts to major depressive disorder. These can go well with your ketamine IV infusion therapy. Both practices help you cope with your TRD symptoms in-between ketamine sessions, too.
For more information about Ketamine IV Infusion therapy, you may visit or call our friendly and caring staff at 505 455 4300 in the Injection and Infusion Clinic of ABQ serving Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Rio Rancho, Tijeras, Edgewood.