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Healing the Whole Person: Benefits of Holistic Addiction Treatment

Mind, Body, Spirit

Treatment for drug and alcohol addiction today is completely unrecognizable from the practices of decades past. There’s been a massive paradigm shift – from substance use as a moral failing to the disease model of addiction – that has informed many of the new therapies being used in rehabilitation centers around the world. Just as we’ve progressed from hospital-like settings to homey accommodations for detox and rehab, the medical community has embraced a holistic model of substance use treatment.


What is Holistic Addiction Treatment?

“Holistic” means “treating the whole person.” This means combining medical remedies with other best practices. The reason is simple: addiction affects every part of your life. It’s not purely a psychological problem, nor is it only a bodily dependence. Substance use disorders are a combination of neurological changes, engrained behaviors, and physical cravings. Recognizing this allows us to treat the whole patient – mind, body, and spirit – and address the root causes of addiction, as well as any physical symptoms associated with it. We’ve outlined a few of our favorite Vista Taos holistic therapies below. Read on to learn more.


Massage Therapy

Touch therapy has a long, documented history of use in pain relief and stress management. Archaeological evidence of these applications has been found in many ancient civilizations, including China, Japan, Egypt, Rome, and Greece. More recently, research has discovered a link between the use of massage and improved outcomes in detox and addiction treatment.

Specifically in the case of alcohol treatment, studies show that massage decreases psychological and physiological indicators of stress, as well as self-reported symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Other research indicates that substance abuse can be viewed as a maladaptive response to stress, discomfort, and emotional pain – in this case, massage can directly address these three points and enable complete healing.



While traditionally used for pain relief, acupuncture can also have a therapeutic effect in early recovery. Its famed healing properties have now gained popularity for overall wellness, stress management, and addiction treatment. Research has shown that acupuncture can play an important role in reducing reinforcing effects of abused drugs. This provides evidence for the biological effects of the practice, as well as its impact for our clients at Vista Taos.

In their longitudinal analysis of acupuncture for alcohol withdrawal symptoms, Karst and colleagues found that patients who received this therapy had a tendency towards better outcomes and significantly fewer withdrawal symptoms than those who did not.



Studies show that yoga isn’t just great physical exercise – it can also have a dramatic impact on your bodily awareness, emotional regulation, and eventual recovery. Many readers may not know that yoga consists of far more than poses and meditation. The practice is actually rooted in a philosophy of “eight limbs,” which include ethical disciplines, individual observances, breath control, and concentration, among other philosophical focuses.

In their narrative review of yoga and mindfulness as complementary therapies for addiction, researchers Surbhi Khanna and Jeffrey M. Greeson state that today’s theoretical models “suggest that the skills, insights, and self-awareness learned through yoga can target multiple psychological, neural, physiological, and behavioral processes implicated in addiction and relapse.”



Meditation hinges on the concept of mindfulness, which is defined as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.”

Studies show that meditative techniques can be used successfully for relapse prevention in early recovery; additionally, they resulted in high levels of client satisfaction. Learning mindfulness techniques that put you in the moment can be indispensable for ongoing sobriety and mental strength against potential triggers.


Holistic Healing

At Vista Taos, we believe in healing the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. Our complimentary therapies are performed by skilled professionals. If you’re interested in learning more about our comprehensive approach, feel free to give us a call at 575.613.9014 or submit a confidential inquiry.

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