According to the 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.
How Holistic Therapeutic Techniques Can be Beneficial
In many addiction treatment programs, holistic therapy is used only after medical detox and remission has been achieved as a method to help individuals with several aspects of their new life. These may include the following:
- Coping with cravings
- Reducing reactions to triggers
- Developing a plan for overall wellness, including diet and exercise
- Achieving better quality sleep
- Dealing with mild depression and anxiety
- Becoming more accepting of one’s body and self-image
- Managing stress and adverse thoughts and feelings
It’s most often a combination of evidence-based applications supported by holistic practices that enable individuals to progress beyond addiction and foster a life characterized by wholeness and well-being.
These recovery techniques are intended to address the whole person, not just the addiction itself. For instance, some research has suggested that the combination of movement and breathing in yoga positively affects the vagus nerve, the control center of the central nervous system (CNS), which transmits signals throughout the body.
When an individual practices yoga regularly, they facilitate a faster, more controlled vagus nerve response. These signals help decrease inflammation, relieve stress, reduce fear reactions, promote relaxation, and bolster other parasympathetic actions.
For this reason, a treatment center with a well-rounded approach to addiction may offer yoga to clients as a valuable holistic tool. Yoga can help clients effectively manage stress, trigger reactions, insomnia, and the unpleasantness of withdrawal.
There has also been research emerging that supports acupuncture’s ability to reset the brain after substance abuse. It may serve to adjust to a more natural dopamine response that’s been hijacked by unnatural stimuli. Acupuncture is an alternative method commonly used that may complement a medically-based treatment program.
Forms of Holistic Therapies
One critical factor of holistic therapy is that the client is equally responsible for their wellness as the practitioner.
Here are just a few of the most common therapies used in addiction recovery:
- Art therapy
- Music therapy
- Massage and bodywork
- Mindfulness meditation
Regarding Holistic Therapy, Some Research May Be Necessary
Some in the addiction treatment field 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 just treating just the addiction itself.
Locate a professional who understands addiction and will work to support what has already been achieved. For example, treatment may include an antidepressant, sleep aid, or other pharmacotherapy remedies. An alternative therapist may believe that you can reduce or discontinue your dose without consequence. In this case, he or she must consult the treatment plan and the program planner or health provider to discuss alternatives to medication.
Getting Holistic Treatment for Addiction
According to studies, holistic, adjunct therapies may improve outcomes among persons in recovery when used as part of a comprehensive treatment strategy. Such an approach should also consist of behavioral therapy, individual and family counseling, substance abuse education, and peer group support.
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery centers employ compassionate health providers and addiction specialists who facilitate these services to those we treat with care and expertise. We are committed to ensuring that each individual receives the tools and support they need to achieve sobriety and reclaim the fulfilling life they deserve, drug and alcohol-free.