An effective detox treatment that many people are not aware of is massage therapy for addiction recovery.
During detox when the body is withdrawing from drugs or alcohol, most patients experience physical symptoms ranging from mild to severe, making the body uncomfortable or in pain.
While the first few days and weeks are the most difficult, the rehabilitation period following detox is also a challenge as patients learn to manage their behaviors and emotions while still experiencing physical symptoms from time to time.
Many people experience physical symptoms such as sore muscles and tension for months after their detox, but don’t always know why they feel the way they do. Some people may not be able to verbalize or articulate their thoughts and feelings — this is when therapeutic massage for addiction recovery can be most beneficial.
A holistic rehab approach to healing treats your mind, body and spirit as one. Many treatments focus on the mind, such as behavior therapy and group counseling. While these are helpful if the patient is willing and able to express themselves, therapeutic massage can be a pathway to work out inner tensions without any words.
Benefits of Touch
An experienced and compassionate massage therapist can do wonders for the healing process. Massage therapy for addiction recovery is one of the most popular holistic services at Beachway Therapy Center and works in conjunction with other fitness treatments for addiction rehab.
A few benefits and side effects of therapeutic massage include:
- Release of ‘feel-good’ hormones. According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), massage helps to increase serotonin and dopamine (feel-good hormones) and decrease cortisol which is related to stress. During detox and withdrawal, dopamine levels drop dramatically making for uncomfortable or even painful sensations. Therapeutic massage focuses on the body’s pressure points which are linked to the brain’s vagus nerve. This can also help lower heart rate and blood pressure.
- Reduce agitation and anxiety and ease sleep problems.
- Provides a natural, alternative method of healing, free of drugs.
- Helps with the removal of metabolic waste. Therapeutic massage triggers or stimulates the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. This in turn can increase circulation and promote the effectiveness of the lymph system. The lymph system helps to alleviate pain symptoms and is responsible for removing the body’s metabolic waste build-up.
- Provides the client with a connection to their body, and improves or increases body awareness.
- Builds trust.
Why Massage Therapy for Addiction Recovery May Create an Emotional Response
Many patients come from a place where touching was associated with negative feelings and may initially be uncomfortable with someone touching them. Massage introduces a way to rewire the brain to associate touch in a more positive light. During a massage session, patients may cry or feel sad — all perfectly normal emotional responses.
With continued massage therapy, patients can learn to trust again, and experience the physical, emotional and spiritual benefits of therapeutic touch.