Integrative Medicine is an approach that integrates conventional primary care medical treatments with complementary health approaches, including mind/body practices and nutritional therapies.
Taking a Holistic Approach
What does a holistic approach look like?
• A holistic approach to addiction treatment focusing on the whole person, not just the symptoms of addiction suffering.
• An addiction program that provides addiction counseling, support, and education to help people live healthier lives.
• A program where patients are treated with respect and dignity.
• A program designed for recovery from addiction and drug-seeking behaviors.
• A place where people learn how to live sober.
• A place that offers hope and healing to people with addiction histories.
• A place to start a new life.
Integrative Medicine includes many therapy options tailored to understanding the whole person to best treat the root causes of addiction and addictive behavior. Solutions are layered together to address multiple aspects of the patient’s life: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social, environmental, occupational, financial, etc. This allows providers to create personalized care plans that meet the unique needs of every client.
Integrative Medicine Approaches to Addiction Treatment
The following list describes some standard integrative solutions and alternative treatments available at rehab centers today that is combined with medical care:
Meditation is helpful to reduce stress levels and improve overall well-being, which is crucial in addiction recovery. Mindful meditation helps clients focus attention away from negative thoughts and feelings by bringing awareness to the present moment. The practice teaches individuals to become more aware of what they are thinking and feeling to make better choices about those things.
Yoga is another form of mindfulness meditation that incorporates breathing exercises, stretching, relaxation techniques, and poses that promote strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, concentration, and calmness. Yoga improves posture, reduces tension, increases energy, relieves pain, strengthens muscles, enhances circulation, promotes digestion, and boosts immunity. These benefits have helped yoga gain popularity as a therapeutic tool among recovering addicts.
Acupuncture & Acupressure
Traditional Chinese Medicine uses acupuncture and acupressure to promote the balanced flow of qi, blood circulation, and lymphatic drainage. TCM believes these methods stimulate internal organs and glands to heal naturally. Addiction recovery programs often incorporate this type of Therapy because it addresses both mind and body simultaneously.
Therapeutic massage is an effective homeopathic health tool for reducing pain and improving muscle tone. Massage therapy has been proven to relieve chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, contributing to relapse.
Homeopathic remedies are used to support the immune system and restore normal function when dysfunction within the body. Integrative medicines work with the body’s own natural ability to heal itself. Holistic treatments help the body return to its optimal state of wellness.
Holistic Health Coaching
Holistic health coaching focuses on helping people identify their goals and develop strategies to achieve them. Holistic coaches use various tools, including goal setting, self-assessment, journal writing, exercise programs, nutritional analysis, and lifestyle changes to guide patients toward achieving positive results.
Biofeedback therapy involves monitoring physiological functions like heart rate or brain waves using sensors attached to the skin. This allows practitioners to observe bodily responses during stressful situations and learn ways to relax. Biofeedback also assists in learning new behaviors and coping mechanisms.
Hypnotherapy is based upon the mental health theory that our subconscious mind holds the information we don’t consciously remember. Hypnotists teach clients to access this unconscious knowledge and change behavior patterns.
Synergizing Conventional Medicine and the Holistic Approach
The purpose of the holistic approach is to provide patients with a comprehensive approach. Customizing safe, effective, affordable complementary approaches tailored to their individual needs. Imagine trying to complete a puzzle without being able to see the whole picture. Integrative Medicine expands the view of addiction treatment. Integrative Medicine can be likened to having the complete picture instead of working just with the pieces. Complementary treatments look at the entire person – not only their physical health but also mental, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being.
The use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is increasing in the United States. Researchers are continually studying the effects of holistic approach strategies for substance abuse and addiction. CAM treatments can benefit addiction treatment by preventing addiction, treatment, and Therapy compliance and boosting treatment outcomes for substance use disorder.
Treatment Compliance and Completion
The more compliant someone is with addiction treatment, the better their outcome and long-term recovery will be. Alternative treatment approaches can help encourage individuals to engage in their treatment for addiction more than conventional treatments alone.
- Equine-Assisted Therapy – an intervention where horses are involved during the therapy process. Results have shown equine-assisted therapy participants are twice as likely to complete treatment than those in traditional programming.
- Behavioral Therapy – including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness meditation, and others. Behavioral strategies are helpful for treatment compliance, as they may encourage healthy habits such as exercising regularly, eating right, getting enough sleep, etc., while discouraging unhealthy ones.
- Herbal Medicine – Eastern techniques used for treating addiction by combining herbs with other therapies.
- Ketamine Infusion Therapy – this Therapy treats addiction by administering ketamine intravenously. Ketamine has been proven to reduce craving and withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid addictions. The drug works on glutamate receptors which help regulate moods and emotions.
- Aromatherapy – treatment involves inhaling essential oils or vaporized cannabis oil. This helps treat anxiety and depression. Studies suggest that aromatherapy reduces stress levels and improves the quality of life.
- Naturopathic Pain Management – pain treatment using pharmacological and nonpharmacologic methods to treat the biological and psychological aspects of opioid addiction.
Holistic Health’s Path to Recovery
By caring for the whole person, naturopathic practitioners help their patients achieve optimal wellness sustained over time. Naturopathic physicians are trained to work collaboratively with their patients using various treatment plans based on individual needs and preferences. Their approach to healing begins with understanding how each Therapy works best when used together or sequentially.