Holistic Therapy in Addiction Treatment – According to Oxford Dictionary, holistic therapy as a medical application is the “treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease.”
A reputable rehab facility should provide a combination of evidence-based treatment methods as well as alternative, holistic activities, such as yoga or acupuncture, in a customized program to treat drug or alcohol addiction.
How Holistic Therapy Techniques May Help
In many treatment programs, holistic therapy is used only after detox and remission have been achieved as a means to help people with a number of aspects of their new lifestyle. These may include the following:
- Coping with cravings
- Reducing reactions to triggers
- Achieving better quality sleep
- Become more accepting of one’s body and self
- Creating a plan for overall wellness, including diet and exercise
- Dealing with mild or situational depression and anxiety
- Managing stress and negative thoughts and feelings
It’s most often a combination of research-based applications supported by holistic practices that enable someone to progress beyond addiction and into living a life of wholeness and well-being.
These recovery solutions are intended to address the whole person, not just the addiction. For example, some studies suggest that the combination of breathing and movement in yoga has a positive effect on the vagus nerve, the command center of the central nervous system, which transmits signals throughout the body.
When a person practices yoga regularly, he or she facilitates a faster, more controlled response of the vagus nerve. These signals, in turn, help decrease inflammation, reduce stress and fear reactions, promote improved relaxation, and bolster other parasympathetic actions.
Because of this, a treatment facility with a well-rounded approach to addiction may offer yoga to clients as a valuable holistic tool. Yoga can help clients more effectively manage stress, insomnia, trigger reactions, and the unpleasantness of withdrawal.
There have also been studies emerging that support acupuncture’s ability to help reset the brain after drug or alcohol abuse. It may serve to calibrate a more natural dopamine response that’s been impaired by unnatural stimuli. Acupuncture is another alternative method commonly used that may complement a medically-based treatment plan.
Types of Holistic Therapy
One key factor of holistic therapy is that the client is equally as responsible for his or her wellness as the practitioner.
Here are just a few of the most common therapies used in addiction recovery:
- Art therapy
- Music therapy
- Massage and other bodywork
- Mindfulness meditation
Do Holistic Therapies Actually Work?
Some in the field of addiction treatment are concerned that holistic therapies are essentially bogus, and people can be taken advantage of while in a weakened state. Some professionals caution against treatment centers that laud the all-natural, non-Westernized approach to recovery, and there may be some truth to this.
If you or someone close to you needs addiction treatment, consider all aspects of a facility thoroughly. Consult with attending staff, review treatment guidelines and continuum of care plans, and if possible, tour the center.
Ensure that the approach to healing is customized to specific medical needs. If holistic treatments are also offered, ask how they work and why they are useful.
If you or someone you know is considering alternative therapy during recovery, consider the following when consulting with a holistic professional:
Check credentials, whether it’s a chiropractor, naturopath, massage therapist, yoga teacher, etc. Also, confirm his or her training, hospital affiliations, and professional organizations. If possible, get recommendations from trusted sources.
Holistic therapy is meant to treat the whole person. Alternative therapists should consider the big picture, including diet, sleep and exercise routines, emotional state, co-occurring medical and mental health conditions, and other factors. Make sure to collaborate with a professional who understands that you are a person with a disease, rather than trying to treat just the addiction itself.
Find someone who understands addiction and will work to support what has already been accomplished. For example, treatment may include an antidepressant or other pharmacotherapy. An alternative therapist may contend that you can reduce or discontinue your dose without consequence, but it’s crucial that he or she consult your treatment plan and the program planner or physician to discuss alternative options to medication.
Holistic Treatment for Addiction
According to research, holistic, adjunct therapies can improve outcomes among those in recovery when used as part of a comprehensive approach to treatment. Such an approach should also include behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, psychoeducation, and group support.
Recovery By The Sea employs caring addiction specialists who render these services to clients with compassion and expertise. We are dedicated to ensuring that each person we treat receives the tools and support they need to achieve sobriety, prevent relapse, and reclaim the fulfilling life they deserve, drug and alcohol-free.
Contact us today to discuss treatment options and discover how we can help you on your journey to recovery one step at a time!