Drug addiction can have a significant effect on the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. While undergoing treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, it is also important to address the needs of your entire self to ensure that you continue to live a healthy and clean life. Taking a holistic approach to treatment is one way to help put you on the road to health. So what are some of the best holistic therapies for addiction recovery?
Many holistic treatments focus on mindfulness techniques. Mindfulness means becoming fully present in the current moment and aware of what you are doing, including how you are breathing.
During mindfulness practice, you might notice anxiety, an intrusive thought, or an uncomfortable feeling, but the techniques you learn can help you notice what is happening, but not be overly reactive or overwhelmed by it. For example, you can notice an anxious thought and label it as such, but then let the thought go.
Deep breathing, meditation, and guided relaxation are three mindfulness techniques that focus on quieting and calming the body and breathing deeply. These techniques can be practiced anywhere, from your bed to the car to your office. After you learn how to perform the techniques, you can easily take 10 or 15 minutes a day to practice.
For those that would prefer moving while practicing mindfulness, yoga and tai chi are wonderful options. Yoga has been used as both a spiritual practice and as a physical exercise. You perform a sequence of stretches or postures that help you align your spine, muscles, and other body parts, while also focusing on your breathing. Yoga can be done slowly and gently as a meditative process or it can be done for physical fitness.
Tai chi is a martial art that integrates the mind with the body. It focuses on slow controlled movements, breathing, and channeling internal energy. Frequent tai chi practice can lead to improved physical fitness, balance, and cardiovascular functioning, as well as lower levels of stress and anxiety.
Exercise and Physical Education
Researchers have long known that exercise is one of the most effective treatments for depression and anxiety. Science is now showing that exercise can also be beneficial in combatting addiction. For example, swimming has been shown to decrease withdrawal symptoms and morphine dependence.
Physical exercise has also been found to improve the effectiveness of drug rehab, while also improving the patient’s quality of life, energy levels, body image, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and pain tolerance.
Art & Music Therapy
Art and music therapy have recently caught the attention of addictions specialist due to their immense benefits. Research has found that art therapy is useful in reducing the tendency of those facing addiction to deny that there is a problem.
Instead of denying the problem, patients use art and music to express their emotions regarding their addictions, their experiences, their mental health, or even past traumas. Art and music can also lead to social situations that can allow those in rehab to interact and learn healthy social skills.
Finally, unlike some sports, art and music are accessible to almost everyone, regardless of physical ability. This makes it a great choice for helping patients gain self-confidence, as well as allowing them to explore outlets for recreation and self-expression.
Drug addiction is hard on the body, causing damage to the heart, stomach, brain, kidneys, and liver. Chances are, you may not have been able to eat properly either, compounding the problem. Nutrition education has been found to be an essential component of drug and alcohol addiction treatment, improving the overall physical health and wellbeing of clients.
Nutrition counseling and education can help you learn to eat well and ensure that your body is receiving the vital nutrients needed to heal damage from substance abuse and malnutrition. Proper nutrition can also positively impact your mental health, further helping you in your healing process.
Being outside in nature has been scientifically proven to be beneficial for mental health. Hiking, walking through the woods, strolling along the beach, or just sitting outside listening to ocean waves or birds can help you feel peace and relaxation.
Sunlight can also help with pain relief and reduce inflammation in the body, while breathing in clean air can boost your immune system. The effects of taking a walk in the woods can lead to up to seven hours of benefits, including boosting your overall mood and improving sleep.
Holistic Therapies for Addiction Can Last Forever
While recovery from addiction is hard, holistic treatment options play an important role in helping to heal your mind, body, and spirit. The activities you participate in as part of holistic therapy can be used long after you leave rehab, becoming an important part of your healthy new lifestyle.