Holistic therapies are growing in popularity as part of addiction treatment regimens, but what exactly is a holistic therapy and how does it work? If you’re skeptical of adding holistic practices to your recovery plan, don’t be. Here’s how holistic therapies can keep your recovery on track for the long run.
Holistic therapies treat the whole person. Rather than only addressing the symptoms of addiction, they treat the person behind the cravings. Holistic therapies vary in their focus; some may treat physical health to help addicts recover from the damages of substance abuse, while others treat mental health to help people in recovery build the mental fortitude to maintain sobriety long-term.
Some common holistic addiction treatments include:
- Meditation: The practice of meditation quiets the mind so it can enter a state of focused awareness, free of the anxious, negative, or compulsive thoughts that plague addiction recovery. There are different meditation techniques, but all can be done without any special equipment or location, making it a great tool for recovering addicts coping with ebbs and flows of cravings.
- Yoga: Yoga combines meditation with exercise to extend awareness to the physical self. During a yoga session, participants must focus intently on balance and breath to maintain challenging poses. It’s good exercise, and it helps addicts develop a more positive relationship with their body after a lengthy period of neglect and abuse.
- Nutrition Therapy: Extended substance abuse leaves addicts with myriad nutritional deficiencies. In some cases, the very ability to absorb nutrients from food may be hindered. Nutritional therapy helps correct nutritional imbalances and compensate for substance abuse-related damage. It addresses existing deficiencies and builds the tools for a lifestyle of healthy eating.
- Neurofeedback: Neurofeedback, also known as brainwave biofeedback, is a high-tech therapy that reads brainwaves to identify neural pathways associated with addiction. Once problem activity is pinpointed, the brain can be trained for new thought patterns. In addiction treatment, neurofeedback is used to combat stress and cravings, thus reducing the odds of a relapse.
- Acupuncture: A mainstay of Chinese medicine, acupuncture is gaining prominence as a treatment for drug addiction. Forms of acupuncture are considered an effective therapy for reducing cravings, especially for opiate users. AcuDetox is an emerging method that places hair-thin needles in the ear to induce a state of mindful relaxation.
- Hypnotherapy: Like meditation, hypnotherapy’s intent is to achieve a state of calm, focused attention. But unlike self-guided meditation, in hypnotherapy the treatment is guided by a practitioner with a specific goal in mind. Hypnotherapists use a patient’s trance state to make suggestions on their mind, such as distaste for an illicit substance. It can also be used to induce memories that help addicts get to the root of personal issues.
Holistic therapies are part of a growing trend toward using self-care strategies to cope with mental and physical health ailments. While self-care practices aren’t a substitute for traditional medical treatment, they’re an excellent way for addicts to take an active role in their own recovery.
Not only do holistic therapies improve addicts’ physical and mental health as they work toward recovery, they also help keep sobriety on track. That’s because when people focus inward, they discover their reasons for being sober. Physical therapies like yoga and nutrition counseling show what the nurtured body is capable of; mental health therapies like meditation and hypnosis connect addicts to their innermost goals and desires. With this knowledge in tow, people in recovery are empowered to focus on the person they want to become, rather than simply getting past the next craving. And with a long-term vision, it’s that much easier to keep an eye on the sobriety prize.
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