Yoga as an Alternative Therapy for Addiction

Holistic therapies are non-medicinal recovery methods that aim to bring the mind, body, and spirit into alignment. Many people consider holistic therapy as “alternative” treatments to addiction and mental health concerns. However, by framing these therapies as alternatives, we stray from the core of addiction recovery: wellness. These therapies should be seen as primary forms of treatment that help people recover from addiction.

The Healing Power of Yoga

Yoga is a health practice that is often considered a natural form of medicine. The Yoga Journal describes modern yoga as the use of physical postures to learn how to connect mind, body, and breath to gain self-awareness and focus attention inward. From the Sanskrit word yuj, which is interpreted to mean “union,” yoga is an ancient technique designed to bring mind and body closer together with exercise, meditation, and breathing. Yoga has many potential benefits, including:

  • Stress relief
  • Increased physical stamina or strength
  • Self-reflection and increased self-awareness
  • Healthier exercise habits
  • Heightened self-confidence and improved self-image
  • Pain relief
  • Increased energy levels
  • Reduction in fatigue
  • Emotional healing
  • Overall health and wellness improvement

One of the great things about yoga is that it doesn’t require expensive equipment or a special location; it can be practiced pretty much anywhere at any time as needed.

Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Healing With Meditation

For hundreds and thousands of years, religious and spiritual organizations have promoted the practice of meditation. The quieting of the mind and the opening of the heart and soul have for years promoted long-term sustainable happiness, contentment, and peace. Many people credit the practice of meditation in achieving a higher state of consciousness and fuller, enriching life.

Addiction affects a person physically, mentally, and spiritually; meditation is a practice that has benefits for all of these areas. Therefore, the practice of meditation goes hand-in-hand with a journey of personal recovery and is a practice that will have inherent benefits if practiced consistently. There are many benefits of meditation, including:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Decreases tension-related pain
  • Increases energy levels
  • Decreases anxiety
  • Provides peace of mind
  • Improved emotional stability
  • Decreases stress
  • Increases open-mindedness, creativity, and happiness

Like much in life, meditation is a practice that needs consistency to improve, so the regular practice of meditation will allow for better results.

The Art of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a state of mental awareness and focuses that has been traditionally used in meditation practices and has recently become popular as an element of certain types of therapy. When you are mindful, you are aware of both your external surroundings and your inner experience, including your responses to what is going on around you in the present moment. The goal of mindfulness is to become aware without becoming attached to anything you are experiencing. Skills taught in mindfulness include:

  • Observation: Paying close attention to what is going on around you
  • Description: Being able to say what happened and how you felt in words
  • Participation: Becoming involved in an activity without being self-conscious about it
  • Taking a Non-Judgemental Stance: Accepting things as they are rather than judging them
  • Focus: Focusing on things at the moment without distraction from other ideas or events
  • Effectiveness: Doing what works rather than second-guessing yourself

One of the most basic ways mindfulness makes people feel better is by slowing things down so they aren’t rushing from one activity to another or even one thought to another. By quieting the mental chatter, you can achieve a sense of tranquility that is often why people choose to use drugs or alcohol.

Energy Healing With Reiki

One of the most powerful and trusted healing methods is Reiki. Reiki, also known as energy healing, is a form of therapy that originated in Japan in the late 1800s. This practice involves the transfer of universal energy from a practitioner’s palms to their patients. In the most basic sense, energy healing can target the energy fields surrounding your body.

Professional Reiki practitioners believe that energy can stagnate in the body where there has been physical or emotional pain. Over time, these energy blocks can result in illness. Much like acupuncture or acupressure, energy medicine can help your energy flow and remove any obstructions. If you experience improvement in your energy flow, then you can expect to feel more relaxed, faster healing, less pain, and decrease illness symptoms.

Many people who enjoy Reiki pursue its mental health benefits, which can include:

  • Calmer mind
  • Creativity boost
  • Better memory
  • Enhanced personal awareness
  • Relief from traumatic experiences
  • Decreased anxiety or depression symptoms

Psychedelic-Assisted Treatment

Psilocybin (a psychoactive compound found in certain mushrooms) and LSD were widely studied in the 1950s and 1960s as treatments for alcoholism and other disorders. They later gained a reputation in the media and the public eye as dangerous and became strongly associated with the counterculture. Starting in 1966, several states banned their use. In 1968 LSD was outlawed nationwide, and in 1970 Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act, classifying psilocybin as having a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

However, in recent years, a rapidly growing number of studies reporting encouraging results in treating depression, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have brought them back out of the shadows, spurred on by positive media coverage. Scientists are rediscovering what many see as the substances’ extraordinary therapeutic potential for a vast range of issues, from depression to drug addiction and acceptance of mortality.

Ketamine has also shown promise in treating addiction. A 2019 study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry tested the effects of ketamine treatment for addiction. The study showed that participants who received ketamine infusion therapy had a significantly lower relapse rate. Ketamine helps treat addiction by obstructing the NMDA receptor in the brain, enabling the creation of new memories. Studies suggest that this obstruction can help with disrupting the negative behavior that results from addiction. By addressing the underlying issues that contribute to substance use, ketamine can help stop cravings.

Holistic therapies are steadily making their way into addiction recovery. Often coined as “alternative” therapies, holistic methods actually focus on the core of recovery from addiction: wellness. There are many avenues of holistic therapies that introduce healing for the mind, body, and spirit. These may include yoga, meditation, mindfulness, Reiki, and psychedelic-assisted treatment. At Rickard Elmore Treatment Strategies, we help people find a solution to their problem of addiction. We offer pre-intervention assessment, interventions, treatment planning, transformational recovery coaching, and psychedelic support and planning. Rickard Elmore’s Intervention team takes a full-scale approach to recovery, equipping people with expertise and service where they need it. We address every complex aspect of addiction and mental health and restore every area of life as a result. We don’t believe in surviving through recovery, but in the creation of a brand new life, with limitless horizons and possibilities. For more information on Rickard Elmore Treatment Strategies’ services, call us today at (877) 387-7197.