The meaning of holistic is described as dealing with or treating the whole of something. In regards to recovery, holistic treatment takes into account the mind and the body. The ultimate goal of holistic healing is wholeness.
Other names for holistic therapy include complementary therapy, alternative therapy, traditional or eastern medicine. There are various types of holistic therapies available and finding the one that is most effective could take some time. It is also important to note that many people use holistic therapies in conjunction with their routine addiction treatment.
Here is a list of the most popular and effective forms of holistic treatment for addiction.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that is commonly used to alleviate withdrawal symptoms including nausea, anxiety, irritability, restlessness and general pain. Acupuncture has been proven to raise endorphin levels which in turn naturally reduce pain and curb cravings. According to Medscape, “ several brain neurotransmitter systems such as serotonin, opioid and amino acids including GABA have been implicated in the modulation of dopamine release by acupuncture.” Overall, the idea is that acupuncture can restore an overall balance by stimulating a patient’s “Qi” or energy flow within their body. It is believed that addiction causes a congested energy flow therefore creating an overall energy imbalance.
Similar to acupuncture, Reiki is a Japanese technique that involves moving “life force energy” throughout the body. Reiki’ calming effect allows patients to become more centered and release most of their emotionally induced discomforts. Patients also leave Reiki sessions more composed and mindful.
Massage Therapy/Chiropractic Therapy
Both massage therapy and chiropractic therapy promote the release of endorphins and stimulate the immune system and overall pain management. Similar to acupuncture and Reiki, after massage therapy or a chiropractic session, patients are relaxed and more conscious of their body mind connection.
According to Psychology Today, “mindfulness practice helps us develop the capacity to see clearly exactly what we’re attached to so that we can let go of it and end our suffering.” When one meditates, they are able to let go of negative thoughts or unhealthy cravings as a passing thought. Also, simply put, meditation can train your brain to reach a “natural high”.
Art therapy is one of the more popular forms of alternative treatment therapy that can be taught as self-soothing technique and also a way to encourage self-expression without boundaries. Similar forms of art therapy that allow for creative expression in healthier ways include music therapy, dance therapy and acting therapy.
Although not as widely utilized, equine therapy has been a important part of addiction treatment for decades. Equine therapy involved the human-horse interaction. Horse’s are known to have a keen sensitivity and their behavior is said to reflect a patients mood and overall state of being and can uncover deeper hidden emotions. Horse also help patients ease anxiety, improve communication and build trust.