There are many different approaches to addiction treatment, including those that are known as ‘holistic’. The word ‘holistic’ characterizes treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease. Sometimes known as “complementary” or “integrative” therapies, holistic therapy includes approaches like yoga, meditation, Reiki, and acupuncture, among others.
But how do these holistic treatments work within an addiction treatment context? Are the benefits purely in the head of the user in the same way as a placebo effect? Do they increase the chance of recovery from addiction and reduce the likelihood of relapse?
To answer these questions, here we take a closer look at how holistic therapies are successfully integrated into addiction treatment at holistic recovery centers.
What Is a Holistic Therapy Rehab Program?
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, around 35% of American adults use some form of holistic therapy or practice and this is a trend that is on the rise. In terms of rehab, holistic treatment uses an integrated model that treats the mind, body, and spirit for substance abuse and addiction.
Examples of these holistic therapies include:
- Acupuncture and acupressure
- Energy work such as Reiki
- Mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation
- Biofeedback and Neurofeedback
- Nutritional therapy
Using Holistic Techniques for Substance Abuse Treatment
According to a survey of rehab centers carried out by Pastoral Psychology, almost 60% offer meditation as part of an addiction treatment program, with a third offering other types of holistic treatments too. These approaches are generally adopted in combination with traditional medical treatment for substance abuse disorder and addiction in a holistic recovery center.
Treatment at a holistic recovery center has the objective of dealing with the contributing factors of addiction in the following ways:
- Deals with the physical symptoms of withdrawal
- Redresses the emotional imbalance that leads to addiction
- Provides spiritual grounding to overcome cravings
- Boosts overall health and wellbeing by correcting unhealthy eating habits
- Removes environmental toxins or the contaminants in the body that allows substance abuse to spiral out of control
- Addresses energy imbalances through hands-on therapies such as Reiki
Holistic therapies have been shown to be highly effective when used in combination with evidence-based approaches and they also allow patients more choice in finding the right path to recovery.
How Holistic Therapies Work in Rehab
When someone has been struggling with physical addiction and its harsh side effects of withdrawal, holistic treatment can come as a welcome relief. As well as reducing cravings for alcohol and drugs, some holistic approaches also relieve the very real physical discomfort that can lead to someone using. Mindfulness practices like guided meditation teach patients how to create their own coping mechanisms to protect them against cravings and relapse in recovery.
One of the main reasons holistic therapies are considered very effective in drug and alcohol rehab is that they complement medical treatments by providing an extra level of emotional and physical support. Although genetics plays a role in a person’s addiction, environmental and socioeconomic factors also need to be taken into consideration. Holistic therapies are extremely beneficial in that they provide patients with a good degree of spiritual grounding from which they can gain the strength to achieve sobriety.
By using holistic therapies and practices to teach patients how to cope with stress and anxiety, they are better-armed to deal with challenging situations and circumstances in recovery, which improves their chances of sustaining abstinence. Holistic rehab approaches not only teach patients new life skills but they also introduce them to new activities and interests they can take with them into their new life in recovery.