Preparing the Body for Psychedelic Experiences

Here's how to prepare for a psychedelic experience to reduce side effects and optimize beneficial effects on your body and mind.
Prepare the body
Author: Guy Borgford
By Guy Borgford
May 25, 2023

To optimize your psychedelic medicine experiences, it’s important to properly prepare your body physically, mentally, and energetically to minimize any potential risks and maximize benefits. If you’re new to psychedelics, you should do your research and educate yourself with our free courses about the specific psychedelic substance you plan to take. Understanding effects, dosages, and potential risks are key things you need to understand before taking any psychedelic medicine. These are powerful substances and need to be approached with safety and respect as a first priority.

Consult Your Doctor About Medications and Health Issues

If you have any medical conditions or are taking medications, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any psychedelic medicines. Some medications and medical conditions may interact negatively with psychedelics, so it’s critical to get professional advice before proceeding, as some interactions can be serious.

Regardless of the medicine you’re considering, consuming alcohol and other drugs should be avoided in the days leading up to your psychedelic experience. These substances affect your body and mind, potentially interfering with the effects of the psychedelic medicine and in the case of ayahuasca, can be dangerous. In most cases, it’s advised to detox one’s system for 1-5 weeks before the psychedelic experience.

Food to Prepare Your Body for Psychedelic Experiences

Eating a healthy, balanced diet before taking a psychedelic medicine affects your experience in a number of important ways. Aside from detoxifying the body from any number of harmful elements in our food system, a healthy diet, rich in amino acids and nutrients, such as magnesium and Vitamin D play key roles in hormone and neurotransmitter production, both key components of optimal psychedelic experiences. 

In the article, MDMA Minus the Toxicity: Supplements to Reduce the Risks

Dr. Erica Zefland notes, “Certain types of nutrients might help offset the oxidative stress associated with MDMA. Aptly named “antioxidants,” these nutrients fight oxidation in the body. Popular antioxidants you can find in the grocery store include green tea, berries, walnuts, and dark chocolate. When it comes to oxidation associated with MDMA, the antioxidants alpha lipoic acid, acetyl-L-carnitine, N-acetyl cysteine, and ascorbic acid may be worth supplementing.”

herbs to prepare the body

In the case of ayahuasca, the dieta (word used by traditional ceremonial cultures) is quite restrictive and can pose a challenge to the uninitiated and those who have sat with the medicine many times. No red meat, pork, processed food, added salt, added sugar, spice, fermented foods, caffeine, yeast, or dairy really makes you consciously aware of all the things you put into your body. It’s not that these are all bad for your health but by narrowing our diet, we are preparing daily to be clear and grounded. You may be surprised at how different you feel after discontinuing caffeine or sugar. And with ayahuasca, not adhering to the dieta can in some cases cause adverse and very unpleasant reactions such as headaches or excessive purging.

What should you eat before taking a psychedelic substance? Lots of nourishing, wholesome foods that are easy to digest and provide the body with crucial vitamins and minerals to function optimally. Fill your plate with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (ideally organic), beans and legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, wild-caught fish, and organic chicken. Psychedelics demand a lot of energy and can make you feel depleted. Eating well beforehand will create an optimal physiologic state for the medicines to work through and help to minimize uncomfortable side effects.

Plenty of Water and Rest

In the days leading up to your psychedelic experience, pay special attention to staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest. Both water and rest are core elements of a healthy cellular function and impact your body, mind, and your energetic systems. Psychedelic experiences can be taxing and challenging – and having a healthy foundation of nutrition, rest, and hydration brings the best you to the table when it’s time for your medicine experience. 

Preparing Your Energetic Being

Preparing your body for a psychedelic medicine experience also includes preparing your energetic Being. Like the food diet, ayahuasca demands a media diet, such as no violent movies and triggering news, for 1-5 weeks before the ceremony, depending on the practitioner. And most practitioners working with psilocybin and other psychedelic medicines, advocate for 1-2 weeks of clean eating/living prior to medicine ingestion. Television, movies, video games, news media, pornography, social media, and certain types of music all have an impact on our central nervous system and should be limited well before your psychedelic experience and for a few days after. 

The ayahuasca dieta also requires abstinence from sexual activity for one to two weeks on average prior to the ceremony and for a few days after. In general, many practitioners working with other psychedelic medicines are beginning to adopt some elements of the ayahuasca dieta, as cleansing the body, mind, and spirit before the medicine experience is good practice, regardless of the molecule.

Practices to Calm the Body and Mind

Finally, there are a number of consciousness practices that you can enjoy that will help you further your preparedness for your psychedelic experience. These practices are also key tools that can be used while in the psychedelic journey, or as integration tools afterward. Everything from meditation and mindfulness, to journaling, art, yoga, and being with Nature – there are a number of ways you can connect with your Higher Self and in the process open your heart and mind for all the potential your upcoming journey holds. 

meditate to prepare your mind for psychedelics

Preparing your body for a psychedelic experience involves taking care of yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. Remember to always be safe, responsible, and respectful of the powerful effects of these medicines. 

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The content provided is for educational and informational purposes only and should be a substitute for medical or other professional advice. Articles are based on personal opinions, research, and experiences of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Psychedelic Support.

Published by:
Author: Guy Borgford
Guy Borgford
Starting with a meditation practice a few years ago, Guy quickly began intentional work with plant and fungi medicine shortly thereafter, resulting in both profound healing and personal and spiritual development. Along with a variety of consulting positions at various organizations in the psychedelic space, Guy is also an artist and avid student of learning about our natural world with a keen interest in regenerative systems design. He runs a meditation retreat from his home in the North Cascade Mountains and counts the McKenna Academy of Natural Philosophy and working with the legendary and beloved Dennis McKenna among his volunteer experiences. Learn more and connect with Guy on his Linkedin Profile.

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