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Holistic Rehab

What is Holistic Rehab?

Holistic rehab is a way of fighting drug addiction as a whole, but first, we will define what is meant by “Holistic.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines Holistic as:

  • Relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts.
  • Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease.

So a holistic rehab is a form of drug rehabilitation that addresses more than just the obvious physical elements of addiction. It aims to help a recovering person not just by treating the symptoms of drug or alcohol abuse but by helping the whole person achieve optimal wellness by focusing on a unified mind, body, and spirit.

Most holistic health rehab facilities operate similarly to what could be called a “standard” rehab, but with Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practices as well.

Here are some examples of some things that are classified as Complimentary and Alternative Medicine:

  • Meditation
  • Breath-work
  • Nutritional evaluation and correction
  • Stretching
  • Yoga
  • Acupuncture

There are also many other practices that fall under this category that one might encounter in a holistic rehab program.

How is a Holistic Rehab Different From a More “Traditional” Rehab Program?

What is thought of as a “Traditional” or “Standard” rehab program would usually entail something like a period of detoxification followed by a supervised withdrawal? Then once the drugs are out of the person’s system, (if it is a drug or substance they struggle with of course) then they would attend one on one and group therapies, a Twelve Step program, and likely some life skills and other classes.

In a holistic rehab environment, one could expect to find many similar aspects but you would also see the use of alliterative medicinal practices being employed to aid the individual through the difficult process of recovery. For example, one of the first steps might be an evaluation of a patient’s current nutritional and dietary habits and adjusting the individual’s diet if needed to ensure their body is getting all the high-quality foods and nutrition it needs. This will ensure that they will not have to experience the discomforts of malnutrition (which can be very similar to withdrawal) on top of any withdrawal symptoms they may face.

Other methods such as herbal remedies, rest, and massage can also be employed to easy one through a withdrawal and often can ease and even bring about a faster withdrawal period when compared with a traditional approach. Many holistic drug rehabs pride themselves on their approach to addiction recovery that they think contrasts with the traditional attitude of “There is something wrong with you and that is why you are an addict.” Instead, the holistic view is that while you may have lost your way due to addiction, you are NOT broken, and you can find your way back and rediscover your self-worth and reconnect with who you are and always were.

The holistic approach seeks to handle the immediate danger of drugs with detox and withdrawal, then help the person to heal themselves from the inside out. What this means is to help the person arrive at a place within themselves that is at peace. Instead of the end goal being a person who must force themselves to abstain from using drugs or alcohol for the rest of their lives and living under the omnipresent threat of relapse, the end goal of holistic addiction treatment is a person who no longer is addicted who has found the strength and peace within themselves to set aside their former addiction and live a new life.

For some addicts who are thinking about going to a rehab but may have had negative experiences in the past with rehabs or heard of or seen rehabs that feel dark or forbidding like a prison, a holistic rehab may be a very attractive alternative. Holistic rehabs tend to be very caring, peaceful, relaxing, and attractive environments in which to recover and rediscover your ability to live life.

What Other Methods Do Holistic Rehab Use?

Those that attend a traditional rehab that may be disappointed to find that they sometimes can have a one size fits all program for everyone, and an “if it doesn’t work for you it’s your fault for not trying” attitude. In contrast to this, a holistic rehab will typically have a multitude of treatment and care options that can be used. If one treatment method is not working for an individual, that is fine, they can look at other options and decide what else might work for them instead.

Some of these additional treatments may include:

  • Ayurveda. This is a type of medicine practiced and popular in India and other parts of the East. It includes yoga, massage, and specific dietary guidelines.
  • Chiropractic treatment. Testing and adjustments can be very beneficial in managing the discomforts that can accompany recovery.
  • Guided Imagery. This is where someone trained in the practice will guide a patient in envisioning various imagery and experiences, often with the intent of bringing about relaxation and/or a positive frame of mind.
  • Herbal Therapy. There are many herbal formulas that are known to promote healing and stress relief. For just about any problem a body can have there is an herbal remedy that may be able to help.
  • Homeopathy. Homeopathic medicine main consists of numerous homeopathic remedies which are derived from natural sources and are designed to help treat and relieve the symptoms of a wide array of ailments.
  • Massage. It probably goes without saying that massage can be very calming, relaxing, and soothing of discomforts.
  • Meditation. Learning to refocus the mind through meditation can be very helpful and those who meditate regularly find innumerable benefits from it.
  • Naturopathic Medicine. Naturopathy is a branch of medicine that believes the human body has an innate ability to heal itself and employs methods and treatments designed to promote and encourage the body to do so.
  • Reiki. A method of spiritual healing developed in Japan that harnesses, heals, and revitalizes a person’s “Life Force Energy.”

Much like with Naturopathy, many holistic rehab practitioners believe that we all have the ability to change, heal and better ourselves, and these methods are often used with the goal of enabling the individual to do just that in regards to their addiction. In addition, holistic practitioners generally do not believe in using pharmaceutical (prescription drug) therapies to aid in detox or aftercare. They think that doing so only prolongs the body’s toxicity and extends the time until the individual can be truly drug-free.

Many of the treatments offered by holistic rehabs stem from different forms of spirituality or religion but the rehabs themselves may not necessarily practice them. Those who attend a holistic rehab are typically encouraged and empowered to reclaim control of their life, take responsibility for their recovery as well as their ongoing health, and upon completion will likely re-enter the world with renewed physical health and peace of mind, body, and spirit.

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