4 Whole-Body Healing Techniques for Lasting Addiction Recovery

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The opioid epidemic is just one of several forms of drug addiction that are impacting families across the country. These days, nearly everyone knows someone who struggles with addiction. But not everyone really understands what it takes to overcome addiction – for good. While it’s obvious that an addicted person needs to stop using the addictive substance, what’s less obvious is that getting rid of the substance is just the beginning of addiction recovery. In order to stay sober in the long term, it’s important to replace old habits and addictions with new, healthy habits. You’ve probably experienced this in your own life; if someone says you can’t have your favorite cookie, it takes a lot of willpower to resist, and there’s a good chance you’ll eventually give in and eat the cookie. But if you’re given an equally delicious, healthy snack as an alternative, then the cookie becomes easier to ignore. Effective addiction treatment doesn’t just get people off drugs; it heals the whole person: mind, body and spirit. It addresses the root cause of addiction – whatever stress, trauma or unhappiness led the person to addiction in the first place. It also teaches healthy lifestyle habits and coping mechanisms, and gives recovering addicts a chance to practice these new skills and habits before they return home. Continue reading to learn about some of the healthy, non-medication tools and habits that we’ve used to help our clients achieve long-term addiction recovery at Elevate Addiction Services for more than 20 years.

Holistic Pain Management

For people going through detox, as well as those who are already sober and need to manage chronic pain, it’s important to have alternatives to opioid pain medications, which are highly addictive. There are a variety of alternative types of pain medication and homeopathic healing techniques that can be used instead, including:

  • Topical pain relievers
  • Physical therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Ice and heat
  • Biofeedback
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • Acupressure and acupuncture
  • Reiki
  • Yoga

Exercise and Outdoor Activities

Exercise isn’t simply good for your body; it’s also good for your mental health and provides a healthy habit to use in place of addiction. The benefits of exercise in recovery include:

  • Stress relief
  • Natural endorphin booster
  • A way to keep busy when cravings hit
  • An active form of meditation
  • Better body, better self-image

CrossFit, in particular, provides a whole-body fitness regimen that is highly supportive for those in recovery. Other excellent forms of physical activity in recovery include:

  • Recreational sports (volleyball, basketball, etc.)
  • Walking and running
  • Hiking
  • Swimming and rowing
  • Gymnastics
  • Weight lifting
  • Yoga

Meditation and Mindfulness

Letting go of worries and fears and taking time to relax into the present moment is powerfully healing. Making meditation a daily habit is a preventative form a mental health, because it lays a foundation of emotional well-being and self-awareness that helps people better handle whatever life throws their way. Mindfulness can also be used in moments of stress or temptation so the person can stay calm and make wise decisions. Some of the scientifically proven benefits of meditation include:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves self-image
  • Boosts cognition
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Improves self-control
  • Increases immune function
  • Reduces pain
  • Boosts mood
  • Improves concentration and memory


Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils – plant extracts with healing properties. Science is now unlocking the secrets of plant-based healing methods, many of which have been used by healers throughout the world for thousands of years. Essential oils are often used in addiction recovery to ease withdrawal symptoms during detox, and to support mood and physical healing during the long-term recovery process, such as during meditation. Many people use aromatherapy for general wellness, not just for addiction recovery.

How to Achieve Lasting Addiction Recovery

The majority of addiction programs are 30 days, but in most cases this is barely enough time to detox, leaving little time for the other essential goal of addiction treatment: addressing the underlying causes of addiction and teaching new, healthy habits. Studies have shown that both addiction recovery and the formation of new habits are much more likely to stick after 90 days than with a shorter duration. So if you or a loved one needs addiction treatment, be sure to look for a recovery center that offers a holistic, long-term program that helps instill healthy new habits after the detox period concludes – and one that will provide support in creating an improved life, not just a sober one.

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