If you’ve walked down Old S. Gaylord Street lately, you’ve probably noticed a new storefront called Wellbeing. We were curious so we jumped at the opportunity to sit down with the Founder, Andrea Schewieger to learn more.
Can you tell us a bit about your backstory in the medical field?
My interest in the medical field started with scientific curiosity and a passion for helping the healing process of those who are suffering. From a young age, I knew I would end up in the medical field and nursing felt like the best fit. I started my nursing career working in a fast paced, high acuity trauma and organ transplant intensive care unit. Patients and families in this vulnerable space lean on nurses for support and close relationships often develop. I loved being able to support patients and families on their healing journeys. But after five years on this unit, I knew I was ready to go back to school. I’ve always loved learning and continued my education with three years of dedicated anesthesia training, ending with a degree in nurse anesthesia. I’ve spent the last eight years as a nurse anesthetist, providing all types of anesthesia for a variety surgeries and procedures.
The ketamine clinic has become a merging of passions for me. It’s where compassionate nursing care meets cutting-edge scientific development to create an intimate space of healing. It’s allowed me to reach my ultimate goal of having a meaningful and positive impact on peoples’ lives.
You just opened the new Wellbeing clinic on Old South Gaylord St., specializing in Ketamine therapy. Can you give our readers a quick history lesson about Ketamine?
Since the 1970’s, ketamine has been on the market as an anesthetic agent. Because of the effects ketamine has on your body and mind, including amnesia (forgetfulness), analgesia (pain relief), and unconsciousness, ketamine is an ideal drug for anesthesia. It has been used safely and effectively on both people and animals since its introduction to the market.
In 2019, groundbreaking research on ketamine hit the world from world renowned institutions, including Yale Medical Center. For several decades, scientists had been studying a previously under-appreciated trait of ketamine: its positive effects on mental health and wellness. New research shows that ketamine infusions can reduce a patient’s symptoms of depression by up to 70%, significantly reduces suicidality, and relaxes your brain’s preprogrammed pathways. With guidance, this can lead to new thought pattern formation and an improved outlook on life!
What exactly is Ketamine therapy and what does a regular treatment package look like?
Ketamine therapy refers to mental health treatment sessions which use ketamine to help relax and renew the mind. There are a variety of ways to administer ketamine and, at Wellbeing, our specialty is IV infusions. We chose this route as it allows us to have the most control over the ketamine with the ability to change the dose, treat any side effects that may occur in real time, and offers an extremely high level of safety.
We’ve based our treatment packages on the latest research. Scientist have found patients struggling with their mental health have the best results with six IV infusions of ketamine over two to three weeks. Along with the six ketamine infusions, the package also includes a medical assessment and a preparation session prior to your first infusion, plus, two integration sessions to schedule during your course of treatment. During the preparation session, we will help you get clear on your goals for ketamine therapy. The integrations sessions are touch-points during the treatment series to help you process any emotions or situations that may have come up during your ketamine infusions. We believe in a collaborative approach to mental health and wellness and will happily work with a client’s current mental health providers to ensure continuity of care. We’ve intentionally built the packages to treat the whole person, with support throughout the process.
Is ketamine safe?
Absolutely! The Federal Drug Administration requires years of rigorous safety testing before allowing a medication to be administered to people. Ketamine went through that process nearly 50 years ago. Anesthesia providers have been safely administering ketamine since then. At Wellbeing, we have your safety in mind. We always have an anesthesia provider on staff to monitor your vital signs, treat any rare side effects that may occur, and assist you in your infusion recovery.
Who is an ideal candidate for Ketamine therapy?
The ideal candidate for ketamine therapy is someone motivated to improve their overall mental health and wellbeing. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, stress, and unfulfillment can be interfere with daily life and relationships. Often, clients with these symptoms have tried other options, including medications, but still find themselves wanting a better solution. Our clients are open to new experiences and ready for a change. For people like this, ketamine can be the catalyst to positive and impactful change!
May is Mental Health Awareness month. In an effort to shatter taboos surrounding anxiety and depression, what might be some warning signs that you deem important for people to take seriously?
This is an incredibly important conversation to have as we have seen mental illness on a steep rise over the last several years. In fact, one in five adults will experience mental illness this year! It’s important to be aware and on the lookout for signs of mental health struggle. Watch for changes in mood or behavior. Common signs are withdrawal, feelings of hopelessness, or changes in relationship or work patterns. If you notice these changes or any other concerning behavior in a friend or family member, say something. Thoughtful care and support from a loved one early on can change the trajectory of mental illness and its treatment.
Your large, well-lit space has room for so much potential. What are your hopes for the future of this space?
I’d like to use this building as a community space for group healing, mindfulness practices, and growth. Group settings can be incredibly powerful ways to heal and connect, by reminding people they are not alone. In the future, I’ll be offering classes to engage body and mind through yoga, breathwork, meditation, and group ketamine work. This space is also for rent for other like-minded professionals to host their own events. I have a great vision for healing that can happen in this space!
When you’re not working with patients at your new space, how do you spend your free time?
Most days, you can find me outside gardening, walking the dogs in the park or tending to my bees. As a family, we also love to try new restaurants and travel as much as we can.
If you’d like to learn more about this new and innovative service, visit thewellbeingcompany.com or in person at 1076 S. Gaylord St.