Substance abuse is a major health crisis. It is costing the nation billions of dollars per year to treat people who struggle with addiction but it is also costing individuals, families, and communities precious lives. Comprehensive treatment is needed but alternative therapies, such as massage, are finding ways to help people relax and heal naturally alongside traditional therapies.
Why it Helps
Massage can help people in many stages of addiction including withdrawal, detox, and recovery. The physical, emotional, and spiritual components of recovery can be tied directly into benefits of healing powers from therapeutic touch. The nurturing contact of massage utilizes skin as the translator of a therapist’s intent to heal. Skin is the largest sensory organ in the body and the primary sense for connecting information to one’s surroundings.
Biochemistry of Addiction
Much attention is directed to the reward system, or pleasure pathway, in the brain. This area is activated in part by the release of dopamine which makes us feel good when we do pleasurable activities. It is well known dopamine is significantly involved in addiction and levels of dopamine drop during withdrawal and into early recovery as the brain recovers. Massage was found to produce increased dopamine levels naturally which decreased cortisol levels as well. The neurochemistry of a person with addiction takes time to get back into balance. Massage treatments after detox is critical for success.
How it Helps
On a physical level, circulation increases during massage which helps the lymphatic fluid flow. The systems of the body function more efficiently with improved circulation and reduces tension in soft tissues and musculature of the body.
Emotionally, part of the process of recovery is learning to identify and manage triggers which cause relapse. Regular massage can help bring awareness to the person’s body, of where and when tension rises. When tension exists it makes the body harder to open up and heal. Being conscious of the patterns, including where and when this happens, brings awareness of resistance which supports emotional release. Spiritually, massage helps deeper the inner places a person can to connect with themselves. This escape can greatly help provide inner peace and tranquility. Stress can trigger relapse and should be dealt with using positive means such as massage to help bring peace and healing. Massage can deeply impact all layers of recovery, from early stages on through the lifespan. It is something which can be beneficial to incorporate into a regular self care routine of healing.
Sound Recovery helps you get present in the moment with our programs, services and resources. We are here to guide you through the steps to recovery. If you are struggling with addiction, let us help. Call us at 561-277-3088 to get started.