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      Sober Nation

      Putting Recovery On The Map

      03-02-12 | By

      What Is Holistic Treatment for Addiction?

      holistic treatment for addiction

      Holistic treatment means treating the entire mind, body, and spirit rather than just one part of the body. For addicts and alcoholics, a holistic approach to treatment is recommended by most health professionals, and may be the addiction help you need. The symptoms of the disease of addiction cannot be alleviated unless an addict works on improving many areas of his or her life and self. It’s not enough to just stop using. You have to heal and take care of yourself all around.

      Holistic practices aim for long-term success and are designed to create permanent (and positive) changes in lifestyle, outlook and attitude.

      Treating your addiction holistically can mean many different things. There are lots of approaches and techniques that are commonly associated with holistic healing or holistic medicine, but holistic treatment can be different for everyone. As long as you’re trying to balance your focus between your mind, body and spirit, you’re holistically treating your addiction. The goal of holistic addiction treatment centers is to find that balance, peace of mind, and calm that can come when you care for yourself in a well-rounded manner.

      If you’re interested in holistic treatment, here are some aspects that you might choose to explore:


      Meditation as a therapy in holistic treatment can address the emotional aspects of a person’s inner-consciousness. While in an addiction, our natural desires like relationships and careers are transformed into unwholesome obsessions and produce unnecessary emotional suffering.

      Many addicts benefit from meditation. With meditation, you’ll practice calming yourself and trying to cultivate a feeling of inner peace and contentment while getting in touch with your true self. This can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and even physical pain. It can also have other health benefits such as lowering your blood pressure. Meditation can be done in many different ways, such as guided meditation with an instructor, or even just sitting quietly by yourself and focusing on your breathing.

      There are numerous treatment facilities that have included meditation into their overall treatment curriculum. It can provide a powerful support for addicts and the value that it provides is ten-fold due to individuals practicing it even after they leave treatment.

      Spiritual, physical, and mental benefits can be received from meditation. Some of these include:

      • Stress reduction
      • Alleviation of anger and anxiety
      • Lower heart rate and blood pressure
      • Mindfulness
      • Concentration
      • A developed sense of happiness and satisfaction
      • Mental clarity and discipline
      • Ability to observe and recognize thought patterns behind behaviors

      How Does Meditation Work?

      For years, meditation has been an effective practice to peace and serenity, partially due to rewiring critical pathways in the brain. By changing how an individual’s brain processes self-awareness, introspection, anxiety, and stress, it can be a valuable asset for addicts to evaluate everyday situations instead of making impulsive choices.

      The effect’s that meditation has on stress and anxiety is important because both can be triggers for relapse.

      Meditation is a practice that allows an individual to become aware and focus on any number of things. Addicts may use this practice to slow down their breathing and calm their nerves if they are feeling anxious or stressed. This can help reduce negative feelings that compel alcoholics or addicts to use substances in the first place.

      In addition, meditation can also be used as a spiritual practice during the journey to recovery. For years in multiple cultures, individuals have been using meditation to connect with a higher-power through prayers or mantras. Feeling connected to a higher-power has helped numerous individuals stay on the path of recovery.

      Nutrition Therapy

      Nutrition therapy recognizes the extreme importance of good nutrition and a balanced, healthy diet for addicts, especially in early recovery. With nutrition therapy, you’ll learn how to change your diet to achieve maximum health benefits. A balanced diet will help increase your energy and improve your physical and mental well being. It may also include vitamins and supplements to help boost your overall nutrition.

      By the time an individual seeks help for their addiction, many are malnourished. This is in part due to not consuming a proper diet and proper priority on nutrition, and additionally due to addiction wreaking havoc on the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

      For example, opiate addicts often show deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, B6, and iron. However, cocaine addicts commonly have low levels of omega-3. Alcoholics tend toward more deficiencies than alternate addicts simply because alcohol causes the body to excrete larger quantities of nutrients.

      Proper nutrition can help both the brain and the body heal from chronic substance abuse and increase the user’s odds of getting and staying sober.

      Some benefits of a healthy diet for recovering addicts can include:

      • Repair of damage to organs
      • Increased energy
      • Improved mood
      • Improved immune system
      • Reduced risk of relapse

      Individuals may be tempted to indulge in junk food while recovering from addiction. But this can hinder the recovery process and make it more difficult to stay clean. Nutritious diets are the key option to foster physical and mental health and improve chances for long-term sobriety.

      Many treatment facilities use similar methods of nutrition therapy but may differ in how their programs are executed. Frequently, the best way to ensure you receive the therapy you think is best for you will be to inquire before you choose a particular treatment center. You want to be sure that they offer the type of therapy you believe will be best for you.

      Nutritional Guidelines for Recovering Addicts

      Take vitamins and supplements – Certain vitamins like A, C, and zinc can help improve deficiencies. Amino acid supplements can also help repair neurotransmitters in the brain.

      Less Sugar – Many addicts crave sweets because they trigger dopamine. Staying away from sugar-enhanced foods can help stabilize blood-sugar levels, which can potentially help with mood swings, anxiety, and depression.

      More Protein – Protein can help build the muscles that were lost by malnutrition, by using the amino acids that serve as building blocks for neurotransmitters, which are often lacking in addicts.

      More water – People who are recovering from addiction are often dehydrated. Consume water with meals and in-between mealtimes.

      Less caffeine – Caffeine can cause dehydration as well as suppress appetite. Additionally it can result in insomnia and anxiety, which can add to it’s already common presence in early sobriety.

      More fiber – Fiber like fruits and vegetables can help kick-start healing in the gastrointestinal system, additionally while making you feel full.

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      Acupuncture is one of the most well-known alternative medicine treatments. It has been used for thousands of years in Eastern countries. It consists of the practice of using needles to manipulate the flow of energy through the body. Many people believe it helps with a wide variety of issues, including everything from infertility to physical pain to disease. More recently, acupuncture has gained popularity and a greater acceptance as a treatment option in Western countries. Acupuncture may also be beneficial for addicts because it can help correct the physical imbalances that many suffer from.

      Although acupuncture can be useful through all phases of addiction treatment, there is a specific tool designed for treating addiction. This is known as the NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) protocol.

      This protocol is effectively used during the detox or withdrawal phase of an individual’s treatment which involves placing five needles into five points in each outer ear. The needles are then left for 30 minutes. This can be done with small groups or individually.

      There are five specific targets for the NADA practice which include:

      • Lung Point – improves air circulation and alleviates grief.
      • The Autonomic Point – aids in relaxation of the nervous system
      • Shen Men – decreases anxiety – also known as the “spirit gate.
      • Liver Point – Removes toxins from the liver and blood, as well as curb aggression
      • Kidney Point – Repairs vital organs and eases fear

      Although acupuncture is not a cure for addiction, it can be helpful as a tool to ease an individual in the process. Acupuncture can be both safe and cost effective and additionally provide lasting effects including:

      • Reduced cravings
      • Ease of withdrawal symptoms
      • Ease physical pain
      • Emotion regulation
      • Decreased anxiety
      • Sleep regulation


      A good massage helps heal an addict through touch. The touch of a massage can be extremely calming, and it can also alleviate mental and physical stress and tension. Addicts may enjoy massage as one way of coping with stress and removing negative feelings and pain from their bodies.

      Once one has begun the journey to sobriety, stress-related hormone levels rise while serotonin and dopamine levels drop. Massage therapy can help to counteract the effects of fluctuating hormonal levels that produce symptoms such as anxiety, depression and cravings.There are various types of massage methods which can help heal different parts of the body.

      Below are some brief descriptions of each technique:

      • Deep Tissue – The main objective of a deep tissue massage is to improve posture, movement, and resolve chronic problems. The target areas during this technique are the areas of tissue along the spine.
      • Swedish – The main objective of a Swedish massage is to improve the circulation of blood in the lymph nodes. The target areas during this technique are the areas of muscle tissue connected to the shoulders.
      • Shiatsu Acupressure – The main objective of a Shiatsu massage is to improve functioning of organs and tissues, while boosting levels of energy. The target areas during this technique are specific points along the body’s meridian pathways.
      • Hot Stone – The main objective of a hot stone massage is to increase blood flow to the areas of the body where stones are placed to relieve muscle tension or pain. The main areas of target are the back, hands and feet.

      Additional benefits of massage therapy can include:

      • Decreased blood pressure
      • Release of dopamine and seratonin
      • Builds connection to the body
      • Removes metabolic waste
      • Reduces anxiety
      • Helps improved sleep


      There are so many health benefits to exercising on a regular basis. Not only will it improve the overall physical fitness of a recovering addict, but it can be used as a way to release tension and boost endorphin’s that will help you to feel better. Addicts can benefit greatly from exercise, even if it’s just going for frequent walks. When done outside, exercise can even help you feel peace through connecting with nature. A number of different benefits that the addict can experience from exercise include:

      • Stress Relief – Physical and even emotional tension can build while we transition from active addition to active recovery. This can build from starting a new job, or even just sitting and having poor posture. Moving your body alleviates tension and also allows to rid of negative emotions that one has been keeping in like anxiety, depression, or anger. Exercise uses boy physical and emotional energy. It requires focus and concentration. By doing this the individual can find a healthier way of coping through stressful times.
      • Brain Chemistry – While exercising, the body releases endorphin’s which produce a natural high. These are the same endorphins released while an addict abused substances. While using, the toxic chemicals that were once injected into the body caused an imbalance in the brain altering a person’s ability to feel pleasure, happiness, and satisfaction. Consistent exercise will help neutralize the level of endorphins in one’s system. This can make someone feel better as well as reteaching the body that it can regulate brain chemistry and mindsets, in a healthy way.
      • Meditation – Exercising can be used as a meditation. Through movement, we can refocus our thoughts on our own well-being and forget, at least briefly, all that is going on in our lives. Exercising can leave us with clearer minds, better perspectives, and feeling fresh and rejuvenated – much like meditation does. Additionally, exercise improves sleep and energy – making recovery all the more possible and sustainable.
      • Perspective – In general, exercising makes us feel better about ourselves. Those who do exercise consistently may have increased feelings of self-confidence and optimism with diminished depression and anxiety. As you set goals and reach benchmarks, the more you feel accomplished, and the more you feel accomplished, the more you may feel recovery is attainable.


      Yoga is a health practice that has often been considered a natural form of medicine. Yoga has been used in holistic treatment and can be beneficial when used in tandem with other substance abuse treatment methods.

      The most common form of yoga practiced in Western culture is hatha yoga. This type of yoga focuses on physical postures and breathing techniques. These type of classes generally last a duration of 45 and 90 minutes. The goal of this practice is to maintain certain postures while controlling the breathing in certain ways. By standing in different poses, the energy in the body is said to be opened as the spin and additional parts of the body are properly aligned. This can allow the mind to open up, creating and distinguishing a balance between mind and body.

      Yoga has many benefits, and some of these include:

      • Increased strength
      • Increased energy levels
      • Increased self-confidence
      • Decreased fatigue
      • Emotional healing
      • Pain relief
      • Better sleep

      A great benefit of yoga is that it doesn’t require equipment or a specific location. Additionally, you don’t need to shift your body into a pretzel to practice it. Yoga can be practiced by anyone on an as-needed basis and is thought to increase the bond between mind, body, and soul. Originating from the Sanskrit work yuj, which is interpreted to mean “union,” yoga is an ancient technique designed to bring mind and body closer together with the use of exercise, meditation, and breathing.


      There is no doubt that individuals who struggle with addiction can benefit from holistic healing, however it should never be viewed as a replacement for a medically supervised detox, individual and group therapy, medication, and after-care counseling.

      Addicts who try to defeat addiction on their own through the use of acupuncture, yoga, meditation, or other holistic methods will not necessarily treat their addiction. These therapies should only be used to complement traditional substance abuse treatment methods: too many people have unrealistic expectations about the breadth and scope of holistic healing methods and those expectations can lead them into trouble.

      Holistic treatment regimens can make an impact in the fight against addiction, but to do so they must be integrated into a more comprehensive recovery plan supervised by trained addiction treatment specialists.

      How Do I Find A Holistic Treatment Center?

      Drug and alcohol addiction are serious health conditions that can wreak havoc on all the lives it touches. However, long-term recovery is possible if you are willing.

      Suffering from an addiction can also be progressive, and if not treated will ultimately become fatal. In order to fully recover from its devastating effects you need to understand all the available options. As the leading provider of information regarding addiction and treatment on the internet, the experienced staff at Sober Nation are able to provide you with the information and support you need to break the cycle of your addiction and provide you more information on holistic treatment. Regardless of where you live, how much money you have, or how severe your disorder is, there is a treatment center that can help you recover. Don’t wait another day. Contact Sober Nation today.

      You can always reach us at our 24 confidential hotline at 866-207-7436


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