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Holistic Approach

The Benefits of Holistic Healing in Addiction Recovery

What is Holistic Medicine?

Adventure Therapy Program
What is Holistic Medicine?

The definition of Holistic healing stems from the root of the word itself, Holism, which is the concept and philosophy of emphasizing the importance of wholeness. Holistic healing can be defined as the practice of health and wellness that considers the entirety of a person, including the mind, body, and spirit, as well as all of the internal and external factors affecting them. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), identifying the biological, environmental, and social causes and consequences of drug addiction are essential in providing treatment to those afflicted with substance use disorders. The different treatment modalities used within a holistic approach aim to address the full range of conditions and factors that may influence an individual’s health and wellness including.

  • Emotional Wellbeing
  • Mental Health
  • Physical Health
  • Social
  • Environmental
  • Spiritual Health

The Holistic treatment approach combines both alternative and conventional practitioners to meet the needs of the person seeking help. The holistic approach in the substance abuse treatment and mental health space is providing treatment that incorporates complementary health approaches into mainstream health care practices. The main goal of these practices is to empower individuals in their ability to regain and maintain optimal functioning in their own decision-making while making them aware that although they have a disease, they are not their disease.

Addiction Treatment and The Holistic Approach

In an addiction treatment program, the holistic approach can be extremely effective in treating those struggling with alcohol and drug addiction and setting them up for success for long-term recovery. Alternative modalities used in treatment centers not only serve to treat the problems with substances themselves but mental health problems, emotional stability, physical and nutritional health, social wellbeing, self-esteem, and life skills. Some of the most common modalities used in this setting are as follows.

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Adventure Therapy Program

Adventure Therapy can be a powerful approach to treating anxiety, depression, PTSD, eating disorders, and addiction. It can also be an inspiring and valuable tool used in family therapy as well. Adventure Therapy has proven to be highly effective in treating young adults but has shown positive results for older adults and family members as well. Adventure therapy fosters the growth and development of an individual’s psychological and physical wellbeing through hands-on activities. Adventure therapy often takes place in an outdoor setting or in nature with the goal to evoke change by utilizing collaborative games, problem-solving activities, and high adventure-based outdoor activities.

Some different types of adventure therapy are:

  • Equine Therapy
  • Rock Climbing
  • Surfing
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Ropes Courses

Adventure therapy is beneficial in helping individuals to garner a new sense of self-confidence and develop better communication skills. This modality also encourages responsibility, increases emotional resilience, develops skill sets in confronting real-world challenges, and assists in cultivating healthier behavioral and emotional functioning. Participating in these therapies can help the addict or alcoholic reconnect to new or previous experiences and find new hobbies and activities to replace unhealthy behaviors exhibited while in active addiction.


The practice of yoga originated in ancient India over 3,000 years ago. Yoga focuses on the mind and body connection through intentional movement, postures, and breathwork. Studies have confirmed that using a yoga practice in a medical setting can be a preventative method in treating many common health issues as well as overall support health, lowering anxiety levels, and boosting positive emotions and mental focus. Treatment providers tend to offer a variety of yoga classes and teachings about different types of yoga and breathwork.

Mindfulness and Meditation

In the practice of meditation, individuals are encouraged to sit quietly, slow the rate of breath and focus on positive intentions or affirmations. The goal of practicing meditation is to strengthen the individual’s ability to self-regulation in high-pressure situations and when in emotional distress. Many beginners enjoy following guided meditations to feel comfortable. On a physical level, meditation can lower high blood pressure, lower blood lactate which reduces anxiety attacks, decrease tension-related pain and increase serotonin production that will improve mood and behavior. On an emotional level, a regular meditation practice can decrease anxiety, foster creativity, reduce feelings of anger and frustration and help individuals gain mental clarity and awareness. Learning about mindfulness and meditation can be a great tool to help individuals understand the importance of incorporating time for self-care and wellbeing while integrating back into the normalities and demands of everyday life. By teaching clients about mediation practices, providers hope to instill greater confidence and serenity within an individual.

Nutritional Medicine

The incorporation of nutritional medicine into the treatment approach is a great way to keep individuals grounded and aware of meeting the needs of their overall health and wellness. Incorporating nutrition into the treatment process helps emphasize the importance of food and nutrition while teaching individuals how to balance and eat intuitively based on their bodies’ needs. Nutrition classes can also teach clients life skills around managing and budgeting groceries effectively, learning new recipes, and utilizing leftovers. Nutritional medicine practitioners work specifically with individuals and can design eating plans and nutrition goals to work on what is uniquely suited to help the current health status of the individual, Eating Disorders are a common co-occurring diagnosis of those struggling with addiction, so incorporating nutrition into the treatment plan is vital for some individuals in maintaining long term success in recovery.


To sum it all up, Holistic medicine is an added approach to common medical and therapeutic, and behavioral approaches. Alternative therapies aim to enrich the therapeutic experience for the individual by providing them with hands-on citations and activities that will translate into increasing their success and functioning in everyday life and daily activities. Providing holistic treatment modalities helps individuals develop enjoyment and passion for hobbies, activities, and coping mechanisms for them to utilize throughout the entirety of their lifelong recovery and journey and process. Holistic Healing approaches help build a foundation for clients to build independence and self-sufficiency.

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