Addiction treatment is a complex process.
Most of the time, people with substance use disorder need a variety of levels of help. Treatment must deal with the emotional, behavioral, and often mental health aspects of addiction. Through all of this, your body is also experiencing turmoil and stress. That’s why we often recommend seeking out holistic therapy, such as massage therapy, as a way to reduce some of that physical pain and encourage healing.
How Can Massage Therapy Really Help in Recovery?
Massage therapy may help you in a variety of ways during addiction treatment and through recovery. It’s not a cure for your disease. It most certainly doesn’t take the place of inpatient or outpatient treatment. Yet it can, in a variety of ways, make your recovery more effective.
It Supports the Body’s Detox Process
Massage therapy works the muscle groups and puts pressure on various areas. This helps to flush out the lactic acid that builds up in these areas. That’s why you’ll often see athletes getting massage therapy after a big game. Removing that lactic acid helps to encourage healing and natural detoxification. Massage also helps to stimulate the blood flow through the body. In doing so, it moves the toxins accumulated from substance abuse out into your bloodstream faster, helping to get them out of your body sooner.
It Reduces Chronic Pain
For men and women battling chronic pain in addiction, massage therapy can help to soothe it. It can be an exceptional way to reduce the pain and discomfort you feel during detox and also due to physical ailments you have. Other holistic treatments, including acupuncture and water therapy, may also help to reduce chronic pain, helping you to avoid turning to opioids for treatment.
It Boosts Endorphins
Feeling good during addiction recovery isn’t always easy to do. However, massage therapy can help to encourage the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormones that race through your body. Over months or years of drug use, these natural endorphins are masked by substances. Massage therapy can help to stimulate the brain’s neurotransmitters to remember how to react to these hormones, creating the natural high that you feel after a good laugh, for example.
Another holistic treatment that can do this is physical exercise. Anything from a good cardio workout to a swim session will get those endorphins racing through your body again. That’s why many people tend to feel good after a solid workout.
It Can Reduce Physical and Emotional Stress
Massage therapy has long been sought by those who are feeling physical or mental stress. When you are stressed, lactic acid builds up in your muscle groups. You feel it as tension in your shoulders or neck. With this type of therapy, some of that lactic acid is released into the bloodstream, allowing your body to naturally dispose of it.
Cortisol is the key stress hormone that impacts your body as you detox and work through recovery. It’s what gives your body the “fight or flight” ability in a dangerous situation. Prolonged amounts of it in your bloodstream stress the cells. When we create opportunities, such as with massage therapy, to reduce that stress, the body gets to work at repairing tissues and functioning properly. You may also see other benefits of reducing cortisol, such as weight loss or improved sleep.
It Can Help Manage Co-Occurring Disorders
If you have depression, anxiety, bipolar, or other types of co-occurring disorders alongside addiction, it’s quite important to find ways to balance your mental health with your recovery. Massage therapy helps to do this by creating those positive hormone flows and by helping you to relax. It can also help you to become more self-aware, understanding what’s happening around you and why it is occurring.
Is massage therapy something you should invest in?
When you work with your therapist at DK Solutions, ask questions about holistic therapy. Holistic therapy includes everything from experiential treatments to nutrition support. What you will find is that these methods can significantly improve your outlook on your recovery, not just improve your overall stress.