How to Embrace the Effects of Psychedelics Without the Drugs

Experts say psychedelic breathwork can ‘blow your socks off’

Tessa Love


Illustration: Tsjisse Talsma

In an attempt to escape the ever-increasing stress of life in 2020, I laid down on the floor of my Northern Californian cabin on a recent Saturday afternoon and did something not uncommon in this corner of the world: I tried to enter a psychedelic state of consciousness. The catch is, I didn’t take any drugs.

Following a guided video, I did a practice known as “psychedelic breathwork,” a method of controlled breathing that’s meant to stimulate a psychedelic experience and spark a greater awareness of one’s emotional state. According to Field Trip Health, the company offering the sessions, the practice, coupled with a 50-minute integration session with a licensed therapist, could help relieve the particular anxieties brought on by life in the times of Covid-19 — and much more.

Based in Ontario, Canada, Field Trip offers in-person ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But like most clinical psychedelic studies and treatments (and, well, everything else in the world), the global shutdown has put their work on pause, potentially at a moment in time when people might need it the most. In response to this bad timing, Field Trip wanted to offer…