Thursday, March 23, 2023

‘Ego Dissolving’ With a View: Park Avenue Gets a Psychedelic Wellness Center


In the quest for optimal wellness, psychedelic medicine is emerging as one of the most promising avenues to mental health. Now, a new treatment center—with Central Park views—is bringing healing to Manhattan.

Situated on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, overlooking Central Park, is Nushama, a new psychedelic wellness center aimed at treating anxiety, stress, and trauma in a city that thrives on it.

But it’s not peddling lunch break power naps, massages, or even meditation sessions. Nushama wants to obliterate your relationship with reality—namely your own reality—and build you back up a new person. It’s promising to do that with psychedelics.

The startup, which also has space in Brooklyn and headquarters coming to Midtown later this year, is offering New Yorkers an “integrative and accessible approach to care.”

Nushama will offer “high-dose” intravenous ketamine, administered by an anesthesiologist, for what the company calls “an ego-dissolving psychedelic experience—the safest, most efficacious method.”

Healing with ketamine

Ketamine is a legal dissociative drug that’s been the subject of a number of studies looking at new treatment avenues for depression, particularly treatment-resistant depression.

Nushama is not the first ketamine center in the U.S. Between 2015 and 2018, the number of clinics or centers in the U.S. offering ketamine treatment jumped from 60 to more than 300. Companies like Field Trip Health, have launched ketamine centers across the country. It recently raised more than $100 million ahead of its plans to IPO. Functional nutrition advocate, Dr. Andrew Weil, is on Field Trip’s advisory board.

Image courtesy Anshu A on Unsplash

Unlike other psychedelics classed as Schedule 1 drugs by the DEA, ketamine has been legal since the 1970s for inducing and maintaining anesthesia. In the 1990s, it moved to a Schedule 3 category drug, making it legally safer than cannabis and with recognized medical use. Practitioners have found a loophole, exploiting its off-label uses for mental health treatments to much success by way of ketamine clinics.

With a low risk for abuse or addiction, FDA and state authorities have long looked the other way. In 2019, the FDA approved esketamine—a ketamine-based nasal spray that shows promise in treatment-resistant depression relief.

Read: Europe’s Historic Wellness Culture Sees 11 Spa Towns Recognized As World Heritage Sites

Innovative mental wellness

“From the treatment preparation to the journey, itself, and aftercare integration, we collaborate with doctors and therapists to ensure the best possible outcomes for our patients,” Dr. Elena Ocher, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Offer, Nushama, said in a statement. “With depression, anxiety, and addiction at an all-time high, we believe in our mission to offer innovative mental wellness services and make them accessible to all.”

According to the Nushama website, the centers take a spiritual approach to treatment, with experiences designed to “foster transcendence and inspiration; with a holistic perspective that aims to heal ailments of the mind, body, and spirit.”

Image courtesy William Farlow

Nushama says it offers a “network” of medically supervised psychedelic wellness clinics featuring therapists and medical practitioners, including Dr. Elena Ocher, a ketamine expert for pain management and mood disorders; Dr. Seema Desai, an NYU Clinical Psychiatrist with a specialty in psychedelic therapy; Dr. Evgeny Krupitsky, considered the world’s foremost ketamine researcher; and Dr. Steven Radowitz, a specialist in infectious diseases and opioid addictions.

The center says its services are “well-documented to treat” a number of conditions including PTSD, depression, anxiety, addiction, and chronic pain. Nushama says psychedelic experiences may also treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Interest in psychedelic treatment has exploded in the last several years as cities across the U.S. have passed decriminalization laws; Oregon became the first state to legalize psilocybin use in therapeutic settings. Legislation has been largely informed by the growing body of research into the space. Subtances including psilocybin, DMT, 5MeO-DMT, MDMA, ketamine, and ibogaine are among the psychedelics earning interest and funding. “Shark Tank” star Kevin O’Leary has been an early investor in psychedelics. So has Peter Thiel, PayPal’s co-founder,

For more information, visit the Nushama website.


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