Holistic addiction treatment comprises activities that aim to complement treatment by addressing well-being, mindfulness, and more. It must only be included as part of a treatment plan, along with conventional treatment. Holistic therapy alone cannot be seen as a treatment for addiction – though it can be beneficial.
Holistic activities are nonmedicinal, alternative methods that can be designed according to a patient’s personal needs. Some might rely on Eastern medicine principles and beliefs, while others take on more modern approaches. They can start as early as during detox, and be a part of the treatment program until the very end.
The goal in holistic treatment is to help improve both mental and physical health, as to “align” the two during treatment. The process of recovery can drain patients as they adapt to their new, sober reality. Holistic therapy can help promote their well-being and state of mind, making them feel better and increase the chances of recovery.
The best thing about holistic treatment is that it does not only address issues regarding addiction specifically. Holistic therapy can also be a great option for people suffering from mental disorders as well. This makes it perfect for dual diagnosis patients, dealing with both addiction and other mental health issues.
Some holistic activities, like meditation, are meant to fight anxiety, which makes them a great tool even after addiction treatment.
General physical conditions and issues can make this process rougher. Trouble sleeping, muscle aches and tension, and many other issues can be aggravating difficulties during treatment. That is why holistic therapy’s general goals usually are:
There are many different holistic activities to choose from, each with their own benefit. Many holistic recovery centers will offer the most mainstream, popular options available. Others might opt for experimental and/or more hands-on activities.
You can either partake solely on the ones offered by the center of your choice, or attend sessions in different holistic centers. This, of course, would depend on the program you are enrolled in.
Some of the most common holistic activities offered by addiction treatment centers are:
Meditation can be done through multiple types of techniques and for many different purposes. The goal for most of them is to improve mental health through breathing and mental exercises. Meditation reduces stress, controls anxiety, increases self-control and self-awareness, enhances focus, and promotes emotional health.
Practicing yoga works both on mental and physical health as well. Yoga is usually led by an instructor and can be done individually or in groups. In yoga, you hold different positions meant to heal different parts of the body and mind.
Practitioners believe that each position “activates” points of the body that are each linked to different parts of your health. As it is with meditation, yoga also helps reduce stress levels, as well as fight anxiety and depression.
Tai Chi is a form of martial arts that originated in China, meant to be used for self-defense, and improve health and vitality. With time, it has been recognized as a tool to promote physical fitness and balance. It is practiced through slow movements, which help the flow of body energy. The philosophy behind it is to become more aware of how actions affect your health and, consequently make better choices. It helps with focus, stress management, and emotional balance.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese technique that stimulates pressure points, which, in turn, will promote healing of parts of the body. Practitioners do this through the use of sterilized, thin needles.
All points are linked to different systems, such as the endocrine, immune, cardiovascular, digestive, and nervous systems. During addiction treatment, acupuncture can help balance these systems, which have been affected by long-term addiction.
Working on diet and nutrition is an effective way of helping the body become healthier again. However, dieting, in this case, will not be about an ideal weight or body. It’s about making sure patients are getting all the nutrients they need for the body to heal and work on achieving balance again. What you eat can directly affect mood, energy, and general health, and therefore, your ability to recover.
Apart from sessions considered holistic, many treatment centers offer other non-conventional forms of therapy. Some originate from ancient practices, like drumming circles, that have been adapted to the needs of people in recovery. Others designed more recently use science and experimentation to back up their efficiency.
A lot of them will help you practice new skills, which you don’t have to have prior experience before trying out. While they help you in the same way holistic activities do, they also work on social and empathy skills. They can be a great opportunity to get to connect with new people that know what you’re going through.
Addiction treatment programs can incorporate different forms of art therapies. Art therapy is a way to allow patients to express themselves and explore their emotions and thoughts. It’s especially recommended for those whose addiction was triggered by a history of abuse. As mentioned, you don’t need to have previous experience to be able to participate in art therapy sessions.
Patients and therapists can participate in all art media – painting, sculpting, drawing, acting, music, dancing, writing, or poetry. What is more important is using it as a way for therapists to use therapy techniques. There are three techniques used as the basis for any kind of art therapy:
These help patients figure out and work on their feelings, mindset, and experiences. The art is a means of introducing the underlying psychological issues into the conversation in order to discuss it clearly. Likewise, the patient can express themselves through art, too.
As the conversation goes on, this technique can be applied subtly throughout the session. The therapist can help as the patient works on their art. While the art would express their vision, the therapist can aid in the production. That way, they can better express themselves as they are working on it, feeling more productive and fulfilled.
As the patient works on art, their mind will be at work and prone to making free associations. As the process goes on, it can put them in a more introspective mindset, and therefore, process their feelings.
Wilderness therapy is experiential, meant to generate feelings, beliefs, attitudes, and reactions below the level of awareness. These experiences help patients examine their emotions and tendencies in order to understand or even change them.
During sessions, someone trained in wilderness therapy will guide a group as they participate in outdoor activities. Engaging in said sessions can only be productive for therapy-related goals if the activities are guided, they are not done at random.
Adventure and wilderness therapy, also called outdoor therapy, can take form through different activities. That can be zip line excursions, backpacking, rock climbing, canoeing, camping, hiking, and many other outdoor activities.
As the group participates, some of the benefits that come from working together during these activities are:
Massage therapy has many variations, all designed to ease the physical healing process. Addiction can take its toll on the body, and many withdrawal symptoms might also wear patients out physically.
Drugs like opioids and benzos can all trigger symptoms during detox that will damage the muscle tissue. From muscle spasms to physical exhaustion, the body needs as much care as the mind during this time.
Addiction centers can use multiple massage techniques on their patients to promote healing. They each work on different issues and parts of the body. Shiatsu, for instance, works on boosting energy, while deep tissue massages will work on posture and chronic problems. This would depend on the patient’s specific needs.
Addiction treatment can be much more in-depth and effective with holistic therapy sessions and activities. In the long-run, they will give you tools to help you deal with the changes in your lifestyle and with life in general. We at CNV Detox know that recovery should be a process for healing, not just overcoming addiction.
We can provide you everything you need during treatment to ensure long-lasting sobriety and improvements in your health. Comfortable and relaxing environments are our top priority so that we can properly support all our patients.
If you or a loved one are looking for a program personalized for your specific needs, contact us today. Our team can provide you all information regarding program options, requirements, insurance coverage, and more. No matter where you are in your healing process, we will help you make it through your end goal – a healthy, happy life.