Holistic practices are all too often considered a fad and have a certain “anti-western medicine” stigma attached to them. In reality, a holistic approach is simply healing your mind and body through natural methods and could be an extremely beneficial addition to your treatment program. Western medical health professionals highly recommend integrating these methods alongside traditional ones, and many patient testimonials have deemed holistic practices to be the most aiding factor in their recovery. Discontinuing drug use usually isn’t enough to fully recover from all the damage- you need to heal every aspect of yourself from the mind to the body to the spirit.
Treating your addiction holistically will look different for everyone. There are so many approaches and new ones always forming-with the main focus to be learning to balance mind, body, and soul in everything that you do. To do this is to find peace of mind, a clear head, and gain the insight and self-awareness to heal old wounds and prevent new ones. If you’re looking to add to your treatment program, here are five amazing holistic techniques you should explore:
You likely think meditation and picture Buddha sitting under the Bodhi tree, finding enlightenment, weird scented candles, and cleansing smoke. While to some yes, that is a part of their meditation, it’s actually much more simple and the benefits are endless. Meditation is really just learning to sit with your thoughts, or no thoughts, with no distractions. It’s the act of silencing external stimulants to allow space to grow your self-awareness and listen to your mind and body. Mediation can be practiced with a guide, who will lead you by cueing your breathing and thought patterns. It can be done on your own through breathing exercises, with or without music, for long periods of time and short. Meditation really has no limits, it’s unique to every individual. Some results of meditation include:
- Reduced anxiety
- Reduced blood pressure
- Increased mood
- Stronger immune system
- Higher levels of motivation
- Increased quality of life
Although everyone can and should benefit from meditation, people struggling with addiction especially have a lot to get from this holistic practice. Much of addiction is brought on and maintained due to emotional struggles and pain, and meditation is a tool to learn how to understand yourself and push through those demons. If you’ve never tried and think you could use some of these benefits, try putting aside 5-10 minutes to sit in silence every day for a week, and grow your practice from there.
Yoga in a sense is a physically heavy form of meditation– and like meditation, it focuses on the mind-body connection. There’s a variety of styles and one that should suit everyone’s preferences-from light Hatha flows to heavy heated vinyasas. Yoga works on strengthening the body, improving alignment and flexibility, and building endurance. It’s a good form of exercise and a proven stress reliever. The focus it takes transfers into everyday life well, helping those struggling with addiction learn to push away temptations and negative feelings. The strength of your muscles is trained equally as your brain, as you learn to move with your breathe and open up. Those are the basic principles, but yoga is actually a very complex and deep-rooted philosophy. It see’s the mind and body as one system containing subsystems that affect one another, and physical movement is simply an expression and transfer of energy. You don’t have to get super involved to feel the amazing and freeing effects, but if you do, you might just get to know yourself a whole lot better. Check out a nearby studio, or join an online platform. Yoga is everywhere these days, so if you don’t want to pay just search on google or youtube to start out!
It can’t be stressed enough how important nutrition is to every aspect of our health. When under the influence of drugs, not only are you putting extremely dangerous toxins into your system repeatedly, you’re also likely paying little attention to what else you’re ingesting when eating and drinking. Our bodies are fueled by food and nutrition is the most natural and effective form of medicine. If you’re working too hard to rid your body of harmful substances, you don’t want to be putting them back in unknowingly at every meal. Genetically modified and processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and other unnatural food sources should not be a regular part of your diet. Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Drink plenty of water and avoid soda and sugary drinks (even most juices aren’t natural). Rule of thumb- if there are ingredients you can’t pronounce or have never seen, don’t eat it! Depending on your health, different foods offer specific benefits. Meet with a nutritional therapist or do some research and figure out a diet plan that’s tailored to your needs. Use food as a tool to regulate digestion, blood sugar, thyroid function, weight, mental disorders, chronic pain, anxiety, and depression. When done right, nutrition is the ultimate form of therapy, aiding you in your recovery with higher immunity, better moods, and significant decrease in stress or pain.
Acupuncture is gaining popularity as a tool to fight addiction, and for good reason! This healthcare regimen originated in China and dates back about 2,500 years. It’s based on the idea that our body has energy patterns which need to be balanced in order to maintain optimal health. Illnesses, such as addiction, interrupt the flow of energy and result in pain, illness, and poor mental health. Acupuncture works by using needles (painless and sterile) to key trigger areas to reopen blocked pathways and allow for proper energy flow. Once energy pathways are restored, toxins are able to exit our system properly and positive energy in welcomed back in. This is a non-verbal treatment approach, which is a good addition in conjunction with talk therapies. Many treatment centers offer this service, and there are plenty of qualified acupuncturists all over that can work with you to get the most out of this treatment.
Is it true that you can whip out a blank canvas and a bunch of paint, channel your inner child, and actually aid recovery? Absolutely. Art therapy is a very reputable and respected form of holistic treatment. Many women overcoming drug addiction have endured traumatic past experiences that are deep-rooted and affect them later in life, even when unknown to the individual. Art therapy is non-verbal emotional outlet and a means of self-expression and can be anything from painting to dancing to music and poetry.Basically, artistic expression for the purpose of emotional healing. You will work through current and past emotions, activate your imagination and learn to cope with your addiction.Art therapy can be done on your own and many forms are great stress relievers, but to get the full therapeutic effect, work with a professional who can help guide you through the experience.
Getting Help at Wayside House
If you are a woman struggling with addiction and mental health issues, Wayside House can help. We offer a women-only program and provide a safe, supportive environment to recover in. We have outstanding treatments and therapies that are often only found in more expensive programs. We offer inpatient rehab with various therapies, relapse prevention education, outpatient, and aftercare, as well as services for medical professionals and veterans. Contact Wayside House at 800-655-0817 to learn more.