Voyage Healing of Philadelphia

Our Answers to

Frequently Asked Questions

Our aim is for you to feel as comfortable as possible at Voyage Healing.  You will be given eyeshades, headphones, and supplied with a curated music playlist for Ketamine.  Most patients enjoy this experience, but Ketamine may feel different to different people.  Many describe a floating sensation and a sense of dissociating from their body.  Many feel peace and calm.  Some may feel euphoria.  Others find the experience scary (feeling scared is greatly reduced when one is prepared properly and in the company of a therapist).  Some experience a deep sense of spirituality.  At slightly higher doses, one may experience psychedelic phenomena, including  hallucinations and ego dissolution.    

During the Ketamine experience some people feel nausea or dizziness. Using eyeshades can greatly help reduce these symptoms. We can also provide medications as needed to treat nausea.  Some people may feel anxious or scared.  Often preparation and having a therapist present can help one feel safe, and soothe anxiety that arises.  Occasionally, patients may have a headache.  We provide medications that help with a mild headache.  During the Ketamine treatment, one’s blood pressure and pulse may increase slightly, similar to what happens during exercise.  For this reason, we monitor your blood pressure and pulse ox.

Ketamine is an NMDA receptor antagonist.  There are many complicated changes in brain chemistry when one takes Ketamine, and it is postulated that its antidepressant effects may arise from neurons forming new connections.  Many believe that during and soon after the Ketamine experience, the brain is in a “neuroplastic” state, and capable of new learning.

No, it is not safe to drive the day of a Ketamine treatment.  We require a friend or family member to drive you home for safety reasons.

It is strongly recommended not to go back to work or make important decisions the same day as your Ketamine treatment.

Unfortunately, Ketamine is usually not a one time treatment.  If you are suffering from depression, it is recommended that you have 4 to 6 initial treatments over a period of 2-4 weeks.  After this initial treatment series, most patients require ongoing booster sessions every month.  Sometimes boosters are required more frequently, and occasionally less frequently.   It is important to remember going into Ketamine treatment, that although 70% of patients experience some relief from depression, the effects usually wear off.  Also, Ketamine is rarely a stand alone treatment, and is best utilized as one tool in an overall treatment plan. 


The research for depression shows that multiple treatments, often 6 infusions over 2-3 weeks, work better than a single infusion.  Most patients also need booster sessions, usually on a monthly basis.  Some patients may require fewer than 6 infusions to achieve symptom relief.  Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict how many treatments you will need.  

Our mission and expertise is in combining therapy with Ketamine.   We support your decision not to combine therapy with Ketamine, and are happy to give referrals to other Ketamine centers that provide this.  For some patients, this is preferable, and it is important that you receive the kind of treatment that best suits your needs.  

We strongly recommend, and in some cases, require that you have an outside treatment team.  We will be in contact with them to coordinate your care.  Voyage Healing is too small,  at this point, to offer ongoing therapy and medication management for patients.  We are hoping to expand in the future and offer more services. 

Contraindications include: 

Active Psychosis

Allergy to Ketamine

Uncontrolled Hypertension

Liver Disease

Active Substance Abuse 

Pregnancy

Recent Traumatic Brain Injury

Hyperthyroidism

Obstructive Sleep Apnea 

Severe Cardiovascular Disease 

Research supports that Ketamine may be an effective treatment for depression, suicidality, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD.  Oftentimes patients with these conditions who feel stuck in their current therapy find that a Ketamine session may help move therapy in a new direction.  Although controversial, some research supports Ketamine may be helpful for certain substance use disorders, including alcohol and opioid use.  At this point, Voyage Healing is not offering Ketamine for substance use. 

When used under medical supervision, Ketamine is an extremely safe medication.  There is often a small boost in blood pressure and pulse, similar to what occurs during exercise. Ketamine has been used clinically for over fifty years.  In fact, it is the anesthesia of choice for children and the elderly due to its extremely safe properties.  Ketamine for mental health issues is typically used at much lower doses than for anesthesia.  At this point in time, the evidence does not reveal long term side effects for low dose Ketamine.  However, more research needs to be done on possible long term side effects.  It is known that people who abuse high doses of Ketamine (often 100x more than low dose Ketamine – on a daily basis) have a 30% risk of cystitis, and cognitive deficits.  At lower doses, there are only rare reports of cystitis, and some research suggests cognition and memory may improve. 

The risk of addiction for a patient without a personal history or family history of substance abuse is extremely low, based on the current research.  That being said, it is important to be aware of Ketamine’s addictive potential.  To safeguard the risk of addiction, we are not offering at home Ketamine treatments. 

KAP stands for Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy, which combines therapy with the Ketamine experience. Learn more here.

These refer to different routes of Ketamine administration.  IV refers to giving the Ketamine intravenously, which an infusion nurse helps to prepare.  IM refers to giving an injection of Ketamine intramuscularly, usually into the arm.  PO refers to taking Ketamine in oral form, often a Ketamine lozenge which slowly dissolves in your mouth for 10-12 minutes.  Subcutaneous is an injection given right under the skin, often in the abdominal region.  Intranasal refers to a Ketamine spray given in the nostrils.  We are currently only offering IM and PO routes of administration.  We plan to offer IV and subcutaneous routes in the future. We will go over the unique aspects of each route of administration with you, and will recommend a specific treatment plan based on your needs and preferences. 

We do not offer Ketamine nasal spray or Spravato at this point in time. 

No.  We do not prescribe Ketamine for at home use at this time.   Ketamine is taken in our offices under the supervision of a clinical team. 

Most medications you do not need to stop.  We will go over your medications with you during our intake process, and determine if there are any you need to hold before taking Ketamine.

This is a great question!  Unfortunately, Ketamine does not work for everyone, and it is important to keep this in mind at the onset of treatment.  If Ketamine does not help you, there are other treatment options currently available. There are also many treatments on the horizon.  We will discuss these options with you, and help you determine what will be the next step in your treatment journey. 

No. At this point in time, Ketamine is the only legal psychedelic medicine.  However, our hope is that other psychedelic medicines will be legalized in the coming years, as there is much research suggesting they may be beneficial in a variety of conditions.  If and when MDMA and psilocybin are legalized, we are hoping to offer these treatments.  We are also looking into becoming a research site for other psychedelics, which may allow us to provide certain psychedelics, within a research study framework, prior to legalization.

All therapists are fully vaccinated, and we are also requiring patients to be fully vaccinated.  We are taking additional safety measures including the use of HEPA filters and frequently wiping down surfaces. Please reach out to us with any other questions or concerns regarding our cleaning policies.

To keep both our Voyage Healing team and our patients as safe as possible, COVID-19 vaccinations are required prior to entering our space.