09 Aug Mind Over Matter: A Holistic Approach to Rehab
by Alyson Monaco
The road to rehabilitation can be long and rocky, all in the hopes of coming out the other side with better a sense of self and improved mental health. A sunny outlook on life may seem incredibly far away. For many people, especially those battling drug addiction, the idea of depending on medication throughout recovery is not ideal. There are different routes to overcoming addiction including avoiding triggers, counseling, recovery groups, and more. Luckily, holistic rehab options are becoming more and more prevalent and seem to be a favorable approach.
Yoga has been taking the world by storm lately. Thousands of social media accounts are dedicated to showing off fancy poses in beautiful locations. However, this ancient practice of yoga goes deeper. Originating in India over 5,000 years ago, the word yoga translates roughly to a connection of mind, body, and spirit. Even the simplest forms of yoga focus on returning to breath and listening to the needs of the body. Over time, the mind and body become one unit, listening to each other, and seamlessly flowing through postures.
Those who are experiencing addiction can have a major disconnect between their minds and bodies. Their minds have been conditioned to want something, their bodies reacts negatively, but they are unable to break the cycle. Oftentimes, the catalyst for returning to substance abuse is stress and/or anxiety. In a study run by Harvard Health, it was confirmed that practicing yoga significantly reduced stress response within the body.
At the end of three months, women in the yoga group reported improvements in perceived stress, depression, anxiety, energy, fatigue, and well-being. Depression scores improved by 50%, anxiety scores by 30%, and overall well-being scores by 65%. Initial complaints of headaches, back pain, and poor sleep were also resolved more often in the yoga group than in the control group.
For those who are hesitant to try yoga because of some of the physical requirements, simple meditation may be a better place to start. Meditation is a practice of transforming the mind by increasing concentration and mindfulness. Addiction is a type of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It can present as a constant need for reassurance, often through substance abuse, followed by the inability to break the routine.
Meditation is an excellent holistic approach to re-centering the body and mind, and is usually used in conjunction with counseling. Meditation urges participants to keep an open mind and focus on a single mantra or idea. Sessions are customizable, lasting from as little as a few minutes to a few hours. Meditation has been proven to help settle and deter the mind from the impulses that may cause a recovering addict to relapse.
When it comes to addiction rehab holistic practices are an excellent option. This is especially for those who may be suffering but are also worried about finances because many rehabilitation facilities do not come cheap. The majority of these centers cost roughly $10,000-$20,000 per month. So, it makes sense that people want to get the most out of their stay. Many treatment centers have started including yoga and/or meditation practices in conjunction with more traditional treatments. Unfortunately, once treatment is over people are often left to search for recovery options on their own.
Whether it is looking for continued practice after attending a facility or searching for a self-care option at home, both yoga and meditation are highly accessible. Yoga studios seem to have popped up on every corner, usually coming with a universally inviting attitude. There are more private options as well. These might include private lessons through a studio or the use of online streaming classes that can be followed from the comfort of your living room. A service such as The Yoga Collective, allows you to stream unlimited classes of various lengths and focuses for very low cost. For a recovering addict who might not want to share their journey with a full class, this definitely allows a great level of privacy. Similarly for meditation practices, there are services and even apps like Calm, that will guide you through various exercises from the comfort of your home.
The choice to end addiction, attend rehab, and improve quality of life will always be a valiant one. There is no right or wrong way when it comes to your recovery journey, but it is helpful to know of all of your options. Holistic care is slowly but surely making its way into the mainstream. Especially because many people are not so keen at seeking traditional clinical care anymore. Taking a look at both yoga and meditation as an aid to ease addiction is a smart choice. Both truly put your mind at the forefront and work from the inside out to ease the stress and anxiety of addiction. The human body is capable of incredible things, including self-healing. It is time to put mind over matter and say hello to a newer, brighter future.
About the Author:
Alyson Monaco is a professional dancer by trade, performing, teaching, and choreographing out of her home base of New Jersey. Her love of how the body moves lead her to become a Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor through AFAA. She loves working one on one with clients and truly enjoys helping people find a better quality of life.