Addiction is a complex illness and there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. In fact, more rehabs are recognizing the need to introduce alternative therapies. Over the past few years, ancient Eastern practices have become popular in the field of addiction treatment and wellness in general.
While most people are now familiar with the use of mindfulness and meditation in mental health treatment, these are not the only Eastern medicine practices that can be used to bolster addiction treatment.
Here are some of the alternative Eastern treatments that may help in recovering from addiction. Remember that these are supplemental practices. There is not enough clinical evidence that they work as primary means of treating addiction, but there is anecdotal evidence that they can ease the process.
Feeding Your Demons
The practice of “feeding your demons” comes from an ancient Buddhist tradition known as Chöd. Originally developed by an eleventh century Tibetan yogini, it has been popularized by American Lama Tsultrim Allione.
This practice is based around the idea that difficult feelings exist for a purpose. We adopted them in order to protect ourselves, but they can ultimately become destructive. To remedy this, we can feed that need within ourselves rather than trying to run away from it.
There are five steps to the practice. During these steps, you sit and envision the feeling you want to work on, then visualize it as a demon. You ask the demon what it wants and needs from you, and how it will feel when it gets what it needs. Then you swap places and answer for it.
Once you know how it will feel, you envision yourself becoming that feeling and feeding the demon.
It is a fascinating practice and is particularly appealing to those who want to access their creativity. It can be used as a supplementary therapy in treating mental illness and addiction.
If you’ve ever witnessed acupuncture before, you were probably a little creeped out and baffled. Having someone stick needles into your body does not seem like a particularly good idea. However, it is an ancient Chinese practice that many swear by.
Acupuncture needling works by stimulating the central nervous system through certain access points in the body. This releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain.
In terms of addiction, acupuncture takes the approach that traumas which trigger addiction are stored in the body. Acupuncture practices help release them to give the individual relief.
What’s the big deal about yoga? This set of poses and stretching practices has been used for thousands of years to improve physical health and mental wellness.
Yoga works by stretching your body in ways that release tension and ground you. It can increase your sense of connection to the physical world by activating every part of your body. Its mechanism is simple, even if some of the poses take a lot of practice.
Yoga can benefit recovering addicts in a holistic sense. It can help you remain present and connect more fully to your process of recovery.