May 17, 2023

The Benefits of Preparation: Creating a Signature Scent for Use Before and After Your Session

USA Today Best Selling Author Kiki Howell shares her experience with at-home psychedelic ketamine-assisted therapy. Stayed tuned for future installments from Kiki, as she takes us through her ketamine therapy experiences. 

Scent Stays With You

One of the well-researched suggestions Choose Ketamine offers to prepare for your ketamine experience is to use a scent you love during the experience, one you can continue to use after to take your brain back to what the experience was like. There is science to back this up. Neurons in the nose extend directly into the olfactory bulb of the brain allowing smells to be passed quickly onto other regions. This explains why scent-induced memories can be summoned so quickly.

Crafting The Scent 

Having studied essential oils, I went directly to my books and collection of oils to create mine. I chose the sweet and woody scents of both cedarwood and frankincense as my main notes. Frankincense I’ve long used as an antidepressant and muscle relaxant, so this healing oil’s place in my scent seemed a must. Cedarwood, on the other hand, while also calming, stimulates the limbic system of the brain, the center for behavioral and emotional responses. It’s said to help release stored emotions while encouraging mental security and thus clears the mind for concentration. Combining frankincense and cedarwood created a powerful and potent mix to utilize for ketamine therapy at home for both depression and anxiety.

When I went to decide on a base oil, I chose an Ayurvedic blend that I’d previously purchased. Promoted as calming as well as uplifting, said to bridge mind, body, and emotions, it seemed better than using a single oil like coconut or almond. I’d first used the Ayurvedic blend called shirodhara, or had it used on me, during a treatment by the same name where it is poured over the forehead. During this treatment I had my first journey experience that later led me to learn that I am a natural shaman. Given this history, I had to include it in my ketamine signature scent, as I would later call it, as my research had shown that ketamine psychedelic therapy often produced journey-like experiences.

Not only did I put this scent on my wrists and chest before each treatment, but I continue to use my signature scent a lot now that my six ketamine treatments are complete. Whenever I feel even the slightest hint of anxiety or depression creeping in, or when I know I’m going to have a busy or trying day, I put it on. I’ve even made a small roller bottle of it that I carry in my purse with me everywhere. I seriously never leave home without it. For example, because I chose ketamine therapy for anxiety when driving a car, I always put on my signature scent before I get into a vehicle. One smell sweeps me back to my intention, to that experience, to the notable change from two hours of mentally preparing myself to drive to the grocery store to now being out and about, realizing halfway there that I am driving, singing along to music with a smile on my face without a care in the world. I go out now just to get out of the house instead of only when I have to get food. I’m no longer trapped within my four walls, and well, I smell good going out and about. 


Choosing Your Blend

‍So, by this point, you may be asking, how does one who has not studied or has not worked with essential oils come up with their own signature scent? Well, I can tell you that you don’t have to necessarily create it. My son who is a cologne collector chose his favorite scent and just went with that when he used ketamine for anxiety. Yet, if you want to be more hands-on, like me, the following are a few oils I can suggest that you smell, try, and then possibly combine for your own experience using ketamine for anxiety or depression. 

First, if we’re talking emotions, let’s look at citrus as it tends to be pleasing to most people. Bergamot not only calms, but has mood-lifting properties. When studied, many participants claimed to feel joy. Lemon not only relaxes but improves memory too, and you want your brain to remember how good your at home ketamine treatment felt, trust me on that one. Lime, lemon’s partner in crime, has no studied use here, but hey, it seriously can’t hurt if you want to create a whole citrus combo. The fresh clean scent of orange in studies lowered cortisol and pulse rates, inducing relaxation and reducing depression. I say go full-on citrus salad. Just be careful, citrus oils can cause sun sensitivity, so don’t slather it on before going outdoors on a sunny day. Been there, and ouch!

For the sun-worshippers, alternative scents include pine which helps those suffering from emotional or mental fatigue. Pine is a grounding scent that revitalizes mind, body, and spirit. My favorite version is blue spruce which releases emotional blocks, bringing about a sense of balance in life. In fact, I love the earthy mixture of blue spruce, cedarwood, and ylang ylang. Ylang ylang, exotic and floral, balances male and female energy within the body filtering out negative thoughts even as it focuses thinking. This oil, if you look into it more, does a whole host of good things for emotions and spirituality.  However, in my experience, people tend to have a love-or-hate relationship with it, so a blend may be better for the haters to mask the scent.

The Standout Scents 

While there are so many good oils out there to include in your at home ketamine experience, I will list just one more that stands out to me. Roman chamomile with its fruity and earthy notes minimizes irritability and nervousness while stabilizing emotions among other things. 

If you want to add essential oils for mental clarity as well, consider peppermint which is stimulating to the conscious mind, helping with performance, attention, and focus. Rosemary helps overcome mental fatigue and impaired memory while increasing focus as well.

Scent Improves The Experience

I have only touched the surface here, giving you some good leads, but there are whole books out there on essential oils, as well as very specific ones on oils and emotions. You may choose to really focus on one oil to help with a particular emotion or two as well. For example, frankincense can help one deal with feelings of worthlessness. Rosemary helps with self-sabotage.

Whichever way you go, including a scent with your at home ketamine treatment will improve your experience, both during and after. I can’t recommend enough investing time in this preparation idea. The addition of scent-infused memory is a powerful addition to an already life-changing experience. Let me reiterate, you’re going to want to bring back the time spent in your ketamine experience as often as possible, and especially during the week after when the medication is still working within the brain. 

Kirstein Howell is a USA Today Bestselling Author who writes fiction under the pen name of Kiki Howell. A life-long learner, she’s currently a CYT 200 Yoga Teacher with a collection of other certifications that include Reiki, Feng Shui, and Essential Oils. At this moment, she’s studying to be a shaman.

Experiences with ketamine are individual and vary by user.