Medications such as suboxone and methadone are becoming increasingly popular among treatment facilities for people suffering from opioid addiction.

However, using these medications for an extended period of time is simply replacing one opioid with another, which further prolongs the suffering of those affected by the deadly opioid epidemic.

On the other hand, various methods of wholistic treatment have been widely used for many years, and are extremely effective when it comes to substance abuse treatment. These methods are also safer than some medications, and they allow individuals a way of expressing their emotions without fearing judgment or ridicule.

Wholistic therapy, in all its forms, is commonly said to connect the mind, body and spirit. Below, you can read about six popular and effective practices that are all considered types of wholistic therapy.

Yoga


Yoga is a popular method of wholistic therapy, due to its relaxing characteristics. Holding different Yoga poses is great for the body because it’s an effective way to stretch your muscles and acquire strength. Additionally, it can be difficult to focus on stressful, anxious thoughts while you’re challenging your muscles like this.

Many Yoga instructors will end sessions with a guided meditation, during which you’ll be instructed to focus on your breathing. This method of mindful meditation connects the energy in your body to your mind and spirit, making you more aware of the body’s demands, once your muscles have been stretched and loosened during the session.

Meditation


Meditation techniques date back to 1500 B.C. when they were used by shamans and religious teachers who sought everlasting peace. Meditation is a coping method that helps relax the mind and relieve stress, and it may also increase your level of mental awareness and focus.

It’s common for people in recovery from addiction to struggle with racing thoughts. If you struggle with quieting the chatter in your brain, meditation just might be right for you!

Whether you’re engaging in mindful meditation, transcendental meditation or another type, all meditation methods promote feelings of peace and relaxation. The lifestyles of people with substance abuse disorders may seem chaotic and hectic, so the gift of peace is a blessing.

Meditation is also known to help people grow spiritually, and there’s evidence that spiritual, faith-based treatment promotes changes in the behaviour of people who suffer from addiction.

Equine therapy


Three brown horses walking in field - Addiction treatment

Equine therapy has been recognized as a therapeutic activity since 1969, and has been increasingly popular ever since. Working with animals (such as horses) is considered an activity that promotes emotional growth and healing, which can be extremely beneficial in regard to substance abuse treatment.

Horses are gentle giants that must be approached in a gentle manner, so with that, individuals have the opportunity to learn a lot about how their body language influences the living beings around them.

Clients are provided with a hands-on activity during which they experience compassion from the animals they work with, as they build an emotional connection with them. This kind of connection is thought to improve the way clients approach their friends and family, resulting in better relationships built on trust and compassion.

Acupuncture


Acupuncture consists of the application of needles, heat and pressure to certain areas of the body. It has been shown to have several benefits, such as reduced inflammation and increased blood flow.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) claims it can ease many forms of chronic pain, including pain in the lower back, neck and knees, as well as osteoarthritis and persistent headaches.

Acupuncture is a safe practice, but it should be done in a reputable, clean and professional environment, where sterile equipment is used in each and every session by an experienced practitioner.

Through the stimulation of the nerves, endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers) are released into the body during acupuncture. The stimulation from this procedure also releases serotonin, which helps regulate a person’s mood.

When serotonin and endorphins are released simultaneously, your pain can be dramatically alleviated. Evidence also suggests that acupuncture stimulates the vagus nerve, which results in reduced inflammation in the body and feelings of relaxation.

Although the use of needles may seem painful to some, the needles used are thinner than a single strand of hair and don’t typically cause pain. Many people feel extremely calm or even fall asleep during an acupuncture session.

Acupuncture is a safe practice, but it should be done in a reputable, clean and professional environment, where sterile equipment is used in each and every session by an experienced practitioner.

Art and music therapy


For individuals who are more reluctant to respond to typical forms of therapy, art and music therapy are great alternatives. Some may find it difficult to express their feelings and emotions through words, but fortunately, art and music are expressive forms of therapy that carry benefits for everyone.

By allowing people to create art or play music, you give them an opportunity to express their emotions freely without words. Many people fear judgment while they’re speaking about vulnerable things, but both art and music therapy allow individuals to be more open with others in unique ways.

These types of therapy also stimulate creativity, which can produce feelings of happiness and purpose.

Exercise


Woman paddling in sea kayak - Addiction treatment

Physical activity results in the release of endorphins in the brain, which can cause feelings of euphoria. The effect of these chemicals is similar to the effects produced by drugs when a person gets high, yet exercise releases them in a completely natural way.

Due to the feelings of euphoria created, exercise can be a great coping method during recovery from substance abuse, as it can help curb drug cravings. It also promotes a healthy lifestyle, reduces stress and helps ease tension in the mind and body.

«RELATED READ» THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC: How alternative therapies are ending addiction»


image 1: Pixabay; image 2: pxhere