Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Natural Therapies for Recovering Alcoholics

There are so many fantastic natural therapies and modalities available to support and enhance health and sobriety of recovering alcoholics and addicts. Having vast personal and professional experience with a broad range of holistic resources— various natural, complementary techniques, remedies, and healing methods from the fields of alternative health and energy medicine— I'll outline some of my personal favorites.
"God has abundantly supplied this world with fine doctors, psychologists, and practitioners of various kinds. Do not hesitated to take your health problems to such persons."Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 133  

7 Effective Natural Therapies for Recovering Alcoholics & Addicts

In no particular order, here are seven effective holistic modalities you may find helpful to support your health in recovery. After all, you didn't get clean and sober to feel like garbage or rely on other harmful substances, right? It's a lot easier to find "happy, joyous and free" when you're feeling healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually. The following can help in one or all three of those realms of well-being.

1. Nutritional Therapy for Recovery

Besides important dietary changes— like to avoid sugar (after you're over the early cravings hump!) and learn to balance your blood sugar naturally— nutritional supplementation may be ideal to help restore your biochemistry after years of depleting your vitamins and minerals with alcohol and other toxins. AA founder, Bill Wilson himself was an advocate of vitamin therapy in sobriety. Most specifically, Bill W. recommended B vitamins for recovering alcoholics based on research and his own personal experience. 

A consultation and assessment with a clinical nutritionist or naturopath may be
nutrition for recovering alcoholics
Nutrition affects gene expression
ideal to direct your nutritional therapy, especially if you have other serious medical concerns. Others may choose to work with a knowledgable health coach to receive practical customized guidance on dietary changes and nutritional support. Or, you can utilize a free online assessment to get some idea of where to begin — I like to use this free nutri-physical nutritional analysis tool. 


Considering the toll active alcoholism takes on our digestive health, recovering alcoholics and addicts would do best to take vitamins and minerals in the best absorbed format whenever possible. When you take the nutri-physical, look for the isotonix supplements recommended in the results – those have optimal absorption so you get the most out of what you take. 


2. Chiropractic Therapy Beneficial for Recovering Alcoholics 

If you've never been to a chiropractor, you may not realize that chiropractic therapies offer far more than a solution to your back pain. That being said, it certainly wouldn't hurt to get a structural check-up from the neck down. Chances are, during your active alcoholism, you probably banged yourself up in one way or another. A fall, an accident, a physical altercation, or even old sports injuries – any of these can throw your spine out of alignment and impinge on your otherwise healthy flow of information running through your spinal cord and nervous system. 

From a neurological standpoint, chiropractic adjustments can stimulate the brain in a very powerful manner. The most advanced degree available for this profession is a Diplomate in Chiropractic Neurology. Seek out a chiropractic neurologist if you'd like a chiropractic physician who utilizes functional neurology assessments to direct their physical manipulations and therapies in a specific manner to balance your brain function. Chiropractic neurology helps strengthen underlying functional weakness in the brain that can contribute to symptoms like neurologically-based depression or migraines, to name just a couple examples.


3. EMDR Therapy for Unresolved Trauma in Recovery

emdr therapy alcoholismEMDR is a holistic technique used in psychotherapy to accelerate processing of underlying causes of psychological stress. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Re-processing. This integrative approach engages the use of specific eye movements to rapidly resolve emotional disturbances. It taps into the brain's natural ability to heal from the effects of trauma by consciously using the type of eye movements that normally take place during REM sleep. With EMDR, a licensed therapist guides the process so the patient's mind and body can processes the stored experiences behind psychological stress. Extensive research supports the use of EMDR especially for trauma. What recovering alcoholic or addict does not have some degree of emotional disturbances stuck from past experiences? If you're seeking the traditional psychotherapy approach, look for a licensed professional who is certified in this phenomenal modality. You can search for a clinician on the EMDR Institute website


4. Massage Therapy or Reflexology in Recovery 

massage for recovering alcoholicTouch is so therapeutic. Especially in early recovery, a hands-on modality like therapeutic massage or reflexology is so beneficial. Besides the myriad of health benefits that massage facilitates, it can serve as a means to help you get grounded and also back in touch with your physical body which has likely been neglected, numbed, and or mistreated in any of the ways active addiction allows. On the whole, massage brings wellness benefits to many of the systems of the body that took a beating from misuse and biochemical abuse... including benefits to the nervous, circulatory, cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, and other systems!

If you are more comfortable remaining fully clothed, try foot reflexology which affects all those systems as well but by only massaging the associated reflex zones of the feet. Many reflexologists additionally train in aromatherapy which incorporates therapeutic essential oils for an even deeper holistic experience. 


5. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) 

An incredible holistic tool, whether used in the most basic format for self-care or in deeper advanced sessions with a certified practitioner to guide you, Emotional Freedom Technique is a must in your relapse prevention toolkit. This mind body technique will help you learn to bring your body into balance, get your energy flowing, calm your nervous system on your own, and find access to your intuition for clarity and confidence. EFT is brilliantly blends the wisdom of ancient chinese medicine and the energy meridians with modern psychology. Please read this concise overview on Emotional Freedom Technique and see what I mean when I tell you this natural therapy is indispensable for recovering alcoholics and addicts of any kind. Contact me if you want to learn or experience this technique – I offer distance EFT coaching sessions via phone or webcam.  


6. Neurofeedback for Recovery

Neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback that focuses on training your brain to improve its function. Utilizing a QEEG, quantitative electroencephalogram which measures the electrical output of the brain, trained neurofeedback practitioners map out your brainwave function to determine where areas of imbalance exist. Then, based on those findings, the patient undergoes a targeted series of neurofeedback training sessions. 



During the treatment sessions, the patient has sensors connected to a computer to continually measure brainwave function. By simply observing feedback that reflects your brain activity— noticing specific changes while watching a movie, a game, or listening to music that is based on your brainwave activity— the brain effortlessly learns how to regulate itself (increase or decrease certain types of brainwaves) more effectively. Neurofeedback has been effective for a wide variety of symptoms related to brain function, such as attention and memory, depression and anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, cravings, and more.  

For an interesting and informative overview of neurofeedback, check out the book A Symphony in the Brain: The Evolution of the New Brainwave Biofeedback . There is also some fascinating research related to alcoholism, substance abuse, and specific brain wave patterns! Note: one reputable neurofeedback program I have experience with is offered through chiropractic physicians who chose to undergo training in brain biofeedback, as both modalities have positive effects on brain function. In fact, chiropractic in combination with neurofeedback can enhance the results. Check out Braincore Neurofeedback for more information on that. 


7. Pulsed ElectroMagnetic Field (PEMF) Therapy 

Energy medicine has worked throughout the ages, it's just western contemporary science that is only beginning to catch up to validate it's effects. People often say "oh you mean reiki?" to which I reply, no, energy medicine encompasses far more than that one putative (not measured by conventional means) energy modality. Veritable energy fields can be measured by modern technology, such as vibrational sound and electromagnetic fields.   



One amazing realm of energy medicine utilizes cutting edge technology that generates specific electromagnetic frequencies– that are natural and normal to the body– that can stimulate specific healing functions in the body. For example, frequencies of pulsed electromagnetic fields in specific hertz (units of measurement) have been found to help with jumpstarting healthy responses in the body, such as certain frequencies for tissue repair, nerve regeneration, fracture healing, etc. 
natural healing, recovering alcoholics, holistic recovery
ONDAMED uses PEMF for healing 

There are a growing number of PEMF devices in the world, as PEMF research proves impressive outcomes. I chose to work with the sophisticated ONDAMED therapy system which was created by a brilliant biomedical engineer in Germany. This type of energy work is safe, non-invasive, extremely focused, and customized based on the client's individual response from their nervous system. Clients and practitioners report phenomenal results with stress and pain reduction, accelerated healing of acute and chronic challenges, successful smoking cessation protocol, hormonal balancing and so much more! The ONDAMED therapy often leads to profound natural physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits — all of which are conducive to supporting relapse prevention, and enhanced health and well-being in recovering alcoholics and addicts.  

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