Alternative Therapies: Holistic Methods of Healing

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Holistic approaches to addiction recovery have become used more than ever in addiction recovery because researchers have found just how powerful these practices can be in restoring the mind, body and spirit. Addiction takes us away from the present moment and leaves us with depletions of time, love, energy and so much more – while holistic treatments aim to give us back some of what we lost while addiction was active. Holistic treatment is often considered “alternative treatments”, and the best part of these methods is that they can be combined with more traditional methods of treatment – such as alongside therapy and medication.

Defining Holistic Care

The American Holistic Health Association (AHHA) defines holistic medicine as, “The art and science of healing that addresses the whole person – body, mind, and spirit.”

There are many components of holistic care that uplift those in recovery, such as:

  •    Searching for the underlying causes of addiction
  •    Providing education on lifestyle changes
  •    An emphasis on prevention
  •    Patient autonomy – which means that those in recovery get a voice in their recovery journey and treatment options
  •    Viewing everything that comes with addiction, recovery and healing as a learning process for both the person recovering and the healthcare team
  •    Being surrounded by people who reinforce love, hope, humor and enthusiasm, which are truly powerful support mechanisms to be around throughout recovery
  •    And more

A 2015 study published in the Indian Journal of Palliative Care emphasizes that with holistic care, those in recovery are likely to be supported in openness, equality, personal growth, vigor, vitality, hope, dignity, self-sufficiency and more. In recovery, individuals have so many options that can become part of their treatment plan.

Types of Holistic Care


Regular meditation practice can improve health in some incredible ways; Conscious Lifestyle Magazine highlights the sense of stillness that it brings, alongside the fact that many people who practice meditation notice that they’re feeling more authentic – with greater alignment between what they think, what they say, and what they do. A 2018 study published in the journal Substance Abuse Rehabilitation noted that meditation brings us a sense of awareness that tunes us into cravings and triggers, which can help those in addiction recovery take preventive measures the moment they need it.


There are 3 main parts to yoga – physical postures, breathwork, and meditation. Addiction tends to take us away from the present moment, and this is what can bring greater feelings of chaos to a person’s life. This dissociation means that recovery needs to be spent unifying the mind, body and spirit – and yoga does just that. Harvard Medical School explains that through alignment, yoga can relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety – two common mental illnesses that occur alongside addiction.

Art Therapy

Sometimes it’s hard to get out what we’re feeling inside – and without words to describe the pain we’re going through, we have to find alternative ways to express it. Art therapy is back door into the mind and soul, as it allows us to express and explore our thoughts and emotions without verbally addressing them. A 2018 study titled, “Art Therapy and Recovery” noted that those in addiction recovery can find an enhanced support system, a greater sense of hope, and increased confidence in their abilities through art therapy.

Massage Therapy

The pain and stress that we hold deep down within us becomes part of the pain we experience through headaches, neckaches, backaches and more. We often don’t realize it, but our body is telling us something – and massage therapy can help relieve some of the negative energy that’s been pent up inside for too long. There are several types of massage therapy can truly benefit those in addiction recovery:

  •    Swedish Massage
  •    Remedial Massage
  •    Deep Tissue Massage
  •    Sports Massage
  •    Thai Massage
  •    Hot Stone Massage

While helping the body to release toxins, massage therapy can promote well-being and relaxation – an evidence-based holistic treatment modality that embraces a person’s potential rather than their past.

Equine Therapy

Horse therapy (clinically called equine therapy), wasn’t always used for addiction recovery – but it’s expanded into this realm of treatment because it can help those recovering build healthy relationships with themselves and others. By promoting emotional growth and personal development, those in recovery can become involved in horse care which includes feeding, grooming and exercise. Horses can be incredibly therapeutic and have been found beneficial for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, anxiety, dissociative symptoms and more.

Holistic treatment modalities can be combined together and with other forms of treatment, which truly makes for a personalized program. Each person has different histories, needs and learning styles, which makes holistic treatment an excellent choice for filling in some of the gaps that medicine and traditional therapy cannot reach. Start your journey to mental, physical and spiritual wellness today.

Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 844-857-5992 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.

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