Author: Justin Mckibben
Using needles to heal addicts is nothing new. Those who practice and promote holistic healing are often familiar with the concept. In recovery, the needle can mean something totally different than what it meant in addiction. For some it opens up a new world of medical treatment they never knew was possible. Acupuncture itself is actually much more powerful than some may realize, and a recent study only magnifies the usefulness of going under the needle for chronic pain and mental health.
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Journals Library now features a report where the researchers show there is significant evidence to demonstrate that acupuncture provides more than a placebo effect.
To clarify, a placebo is a substance or treatment with no active therapeutic effect. These kinds of treatment may be given to a person in order to trick the recipient into thinking that it is an active treatment, meaning the answer is all in the mind.
This new data suggests there is an active therapeutic element to acupuncture.
Clinic Trials: Acupuncture VS Pain
Professor of Acupuncture Research, Hugh MacPherson, helped bring together this research with a team of scientists from the UK and US. The data is strung together using the results of 29 high-quality clinical trials. These trials specifically reviewed patients treated with acupuncture, alongside standard medical care.
For most of the clinical trials, patients with chronic pain treated with acupuncture and standard medical care were tested against those who were provided with standard medical care alone. The standard medical care includes treatment such as:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
Those examined were approximately 18,000 patients diagnosed with chronic pain of areas such as:
- Lower back
According to the published reports, the addition of acupuncture to complement standard medical treatment has a few powerful effects. Acupuncture was able to:
- Significantly reduce the number of headaches and migraine attacks
- Reduce the severity of neck and lower back pain
- Reduce the pain and disability of osteoarthritis, which led to patients being less reliant on anti-inflammatory drugs
Clinic Trials: Acupuncture VS Depression
The teams report also includes a new clinical trial for the impact on depression. During these trials acupuncture or counselling was compared to the effectiveness of antidepressants and related medications.
Researchers sourced from 755 patients with depression in the North of England. The new study shows that both acupuncture and counselling significantly reduced the severity of depression. Not only did they reduce the severity, but the benefits were generally continuous for up to 12 months after the initial treatment. So the long-term implications alone are pretty exciting to see.
Professor MacPherson, from the University of York’s Department of Health Sciences, has said:
“The front-line treatment for depression in primary care usually involves antidepressants; however, they do not work well for more than half of patients.
“In the largest study of its kind, we have now provided a solid evidence base to show that not only can acupuncture and counselling bring patients out of an episode of depression, but it can keep the condition at bay for up to a year on average.”
Professor MacPherson believes that because patients and health professionals can now make decisions on using acupuncture for treatment with more confidence, this new data provides a significant step forward in managing and treating chronic pain and depression.
Clinic Trials: True Acupuncture VS Sham Acupuncture
As stated in the beginning, many believed acupuncture’s benefits to be at least partially associated with placebo effects. With this doubt hanging over it, the uncertainty of it’s clinical effectiveness has stunted its growth.
Professor MacPherson says that this new research provides definitive evidence that acupuncture can work to treat chronic pain; that in doing so the reductions in pain are substantially more than those measured from what is called “sham acupuncture.”
Sham acupuncture is only for clinical trials for research purposes. This “sham” method involves inserting needles at the ‘wrong’ locations, or using non-inserted needles (fake needles) at the correct locations. Having data to attest that ‘true’ acupuncture has significantly more effect in reducing pain than ‘sham’ acupuncture offers evidence that it is not simply a placebo effect.
This research also asserts that this kind of treatment is cost effective. With the value for money being rated as less than the threshold of £20,000 cost per quality of life year; a metric for measuring cost-effectiveness used by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). MacPherson went on to state:
“There has been a question mark for many years over whether policy and decision makers should or should not provide wider access to acupuncture. Our aim was to bring together data from high quality clinical trials and provide a robust evidence base that will help reduce this uncertainty and support commissioners and health professionals in making informed decisions backed up with research.”
Professor MacPherson insists that not only is it more cost effective than medications, but acupuncture reduces pain levels and improves mood levels, which could reduce over reliance on drugs that can sometimes result in unwanted side effects, such as physical dependence or abuse.
In the world of addiction, pain and depression are often simultaneous with substance use disorder. Many people who battle with addiction also fight to overcome depression, and countless people have become addicted to opioids as a result of prolonged dependence on prescription pain medications. As we move toward more innovations in prevention and intervention, innovations in treatment are more important than ever.
For years Palm Partners has believed in the healing power of acupuncture and offered the opportunity for people struggling with substances to have access to this powerful resource on their path to recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now!
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
In the past, eastern medicines, theologies and practices have been observed by the western world with a heavy hint of speculation. There was a time science was limited as to what it could and could not prove through technical studies what scriptures like the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali or the Bhagavad Gita, both sacred and valued text in connection to Indian and Hindu philosophy, told us about the mind, body and spirit. However as time and science has caught up with the claims made in the ancient manuscripts we have discovered more of the remarkable catalogs of evidence to support eastern medicines and practices… especially yoga.
Yoga has become more mainstream over the last decade plus, and it would seem that since its inception into western culture there have been compiling examples of how gurus from hundreds or even thousands of years ago have actually been telling us all along about the healing power in the science of spirituality.
Today, health and human service providers across America have shown a mounting interest in using yoga as a form of holistic healing, especially as an option for treating people with mental health problems. There is a multitude of reasons why the aspects of yoga would benefit those struggling with depression.
- Mindfulness and meditation
- Exercising physical health promoting mental well-being
- Emphasis on detachment from negativity and connection to higher self
The list goes on and on… let us make a few points about how yoga can be amazing medicine for depression.
UNC Yoga Study
A recent study published in the journal Trauma, Violence, & Abuse from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found there are some exceptionally encouraging benefits to using yoga to help address mental health disorders, specifically when coupled with other forms of holistic healing and intervention.
Rebecca Macy is a researcher who works with violence and trauma survivors. She also helped lead the study at the UNC School of Social Work on utilizing yoga to treat mental health disorders. In a statement about the study Macy said she was especially interested to really know what the evidence said; is yoga something healthcare providers should be suggesting to people who struggle with various mental health problems, such as:
Overall, the researchers determined that yoga holds a high potential for helping improve anxiety, depression, PTSD and/or the psychological consequences of trauma.
Depression, Posture and the Heart Chakra
Truthfully, any asana (posture) from the yoga practice has the potential to make a drastic difference when trying to overcome depression. Yoga engages the physical body to focus the mind and create space for intuitive introspection or spiritual reflection. Every pose can make a strong contribution to rewiring the patterns in the brain, while systematically utilizing an individual’s biology to alter their mindset.
That being said, I will promote one of my favorite types of asana when it comes to changing the mood- Heart Openers!
Research does show that sudden emotional stress can actually release hormones in the body that prevent the heart from pumping normally, which of course has an adverse ripple effect. So if we can scientifically say that emotions affect the body so acutely, it would only seem logical that the body could in fact be used to influence our emotions. If you open your heart, give it space to breathe and be beat, it might just surprise you.
Back-bends are some of the simple heart-opening poses that ease breathing and reduce stress by releasing tension held in the tissues of the whole chest and lung region of the body. A variety of back-bending postures are great heart-openers, here are just a few examples:
- Bhujangasana- Cobra
- Ustrasana- Camel
- Anjaneyasana- Low Lunge
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana- Upward-facing Dog
- Dhanurasana- Bow
Physiology has a very real impression on our psychology, and it has been said that opening the heart in some yoga poses has a way of letting positive energy make its way into our system. Warm up your body, warm up your heart and start to change the language of your life by engaging in yoga that heals.
Of course a yoga teacher and a believer in the power of yoga, I am a little biased… but that’s besides the point…
In yogi traditions the heart chakra, Anahata in Sanskrit, is located in the center of the chest at the heart level. Anahata is thought of as the wellspring of love, warmth, compassion, and joy that moves love through our lives. It is said to act as an integrating focal point of energy and as love is often thought of in most spiritual practices as the ultimate element of healing, the heart chakra is thought of as the healing center of the body. So when we talk about opening the heart we are tapping into the healing inside us all.
Mindfulness is Medicine
There has also been past research suggesting that mindfulness and meditation could be considered as alternatives to anti-depressant medications, or could also be used to combat the side-effects of medications.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) may now offer a welcome alternative for people wishing to avoid long-term use of anti-depressants, and mindfulness and meditation are bread-and-butter with the practice of yoga.
The list goes on and on as to the benefits of practicing yoga for the individual struggling with mental health disorders such as severe anxiety or depression, and I could sit here and write all day about studies and strategies closely connecting yoga to incredible outcomes in recovery from mental health and addiction issues.
My personal experience itself can support the idea of using yoga to overcome depression, as I am someone who has struggled with anxiety, depression and addiction chronically in my lifetime. As someone now in long-term recovery I can say that one of the most amazing experiences I have been given is to practice yoga and cultivate an intimate understanding with how unifying the mind, body and spirit has helped me dramatically reduce anxiety attacks, overcome suicidal ideation, and even helped me find new passion and serenity while rebuilding a life devastated by drugs and alcohol. My testimony is just one of countless accounts of how yoga transforms lives in recovery, so if depression is an obstacle in your life yoga can be a means to overcome it.
At Palm Partners, we believe in treating and healing the mind, body and spirit as equally important and unified parts that make up the whole person, and yoga is one opportunity offered as part of an innovative and restorative personalized treatment plan to creating lasting change. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
Feeling down? Lift your mood by “spicing up” your life!
Saffron, an extravagant herb commonly used in Indian, Turkish, and Persian cuisine, is gaining popularity as an alternative treatment for depression.
Research has linked the red grass-like spice as a powerful tool in regulating mood and mental health. Several clinical trials show that saffron improves mild to moderate symptoms of depression.
Saffron is a flower that must be carefully hand-picked and dried. The process is extremely laborious making saffron one of the most expensive spices in the world. Luckily, it does not take much of the spice to make a huge difference in your health.
The Benefits of Saffron are Endless.
Saffron has traditionally been used for its healing properties in treating asthma, insomnia, Alzheimer’s disease, joint pain and dry skin. Women have found the spice to be beneficial for menstrual cramps and some men use it to boost fertility.
However, what really stands out is the spice’s proven ability to reduce depression and anxiety.
Saffron for Mental Health: A Depression Fighter?
Researchers determined in clinical trials that saffron improves mild to moderate depression symptoms. Patients were given 30mg of saffron a day over a period of six to eight weeks. The outcome was that saffron was equivalent in effectiveness to therapeutic doses of antidepressants.
What Does This Mean for Mental Health?
- Depression is a major health problem affecting 1 in 10 adults.
- Drug antidepressants are taken by 11% of Americans for mental illness and depression.
- Close to 90% of Antidepressant users suffer from various side effects like abnormal bleeding and sexual dysfunction.
- A natural alternative could be a great way to combat depression without those hindering side effects.
Although researchers do not know why saffron produce antidepressant effects, researchers believe the high antioxidant content of saffron could have something to do with it.
Sexual Dysfunction is one of the most common side effects of using antidepressants and in a 2012 study, results show that using 15mg doses of saffron along with antidepressant medication could improve sexual function in both men and women.
You should also consider looking at alternative methods of treatment that also can improve your mental health such as:
- Optimizing your Vitamin D
- Getting Plenty of Sleep
- Proper Nutrition
- Taking Omega 3 fats which have been proven useful for mood regulation.
Interested in Using Saffron for Depression?
- Make sure you are buying 100% real saffron from a reputable dealer.
- Ensure that the saffron only consists of the red filaments as those are the most beneficial.
- Soak the saffron in broth, milk or warm water before you cook with it. This increases the potency and makes the saffron more effective.
- An alternative way to use saffron would be to add it into a tea or some milk to consume. Combine at least ten strands of the saffron into your drink with some sweetener of your choice. Mix it well and enjoy.
- When taken at night, Saffron can also help treat depression that is associated with insomnia.
In addition to the mood-lifting properties of saffron, it also can help control compulsive eating. In 2010, a clinical trial showed that the mood enhancing properties of saffron could contribute to decrease snacking habits.
If you tend to reach for a snack when you are feeling down, try taking saffron as a way to curb those urges. Saffron mood boosting properties could help aid in maintaining a healthy exercise and nutrition regimen.
What the Future Holds for Saffron
Saffron continues to be researched for its antidepressant properties. The properties in saffron could be beneficial for treating mental illnesses like Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders and other emotional and cognitive conditions.
Only time will tell where this ancient form of treatment will fit into our modern world.
Saffron is a great option for those looking for alternative treatment options for mild to severe depression symptoms. Remember to always talk to your doctor before making any changes in your treatment plan and medications. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
There are many different signs that someone needs rehab. Some of the signs are things you may know people have done or things you may have done, either way our experience shows us how we can determine the best course of action. Not everything on this page is exact proof you need to be admitted, but if you find yourself asking ‘Do I need to go to rehab’ then it may be safe to say there is an issue.
Each person is different and knows they have a problem and need help in their own way. There are countless amounts of ways you know you need rehab, and some are pretty basic.
Do I Need to Go to Rehab: Importance of Rehab in Recovery
Statistically, the vast majority of people who become addicted to drugs or alcohol and ask ‘Do I need to go to rehab’ do not acknowledge the very real impact treatment can make on a serious substance abuse issue. Many people who struggle with alcohol and drug abuse are actually oblivious to the severity of the disease of addiction, and how real the hold it has over them can be.
Rehab is typically not the most popular vacation spot, and people may be afraid of what it will be like, or they may even deny that their problem is in any way serious enough to seek treatment. There are a few reasons people do not go to rehab, but for the most part these are really just excuses.
Sometimes people just don’t think is that important, and that there is plenty of other help out there. While there are support groups and other powerful parts of the recovery process, treatment can mean a world of difference for someone who has no idea how to find what recovery programs or cognitive behavioral therapy options will work.
Do I Need to Go to Rehab: Coping Skills
Addiction to drugs or alcohol often starts out as a habit that ultimately becomes a vital coping mechanism for anything and everything they are presented with. When people try to quit on their own, they often relapse because they have no knowledge of another way of life. Next time you ask ‘do I need to go to rehab’ ask yourself if you can truly rely on the health coping skills you know, if any.
Rehab teaches people how to cope with the problems presented in life through life skills and actions that are safer, healthier, and in the long run can grow into passions. Drug and alcohol treatment offers so much as far as teaching someone in recovery how to deal with life on life’s terms.
Do I Need to Go to Rehab: Financial Problems
Saving money was definitely not a priority for most addicts and alcoholics, unless it was for more drugs and alcohol, and even when trying to do that a lot of us can’t manage to curb our spending habits.
Do I need to go to rehab? Well if I spend every dollar I have on drugs or alcohol, probably. Or even being what some call a “functioning addict” and still paying bills and essentials, an addict can do some serious financial damage.
Going to rehab may cost some people a little money, if any, at first to get into treatment. However in the long run the kind of money someone spends in active addiction, not to mention things some people experience like court costs, fines, and jail time… is practically pennies in comparison.
Do I Need to Go to Rehab: Experiencing Holistic Healing
The real goal you should consider when you ask yourself ‘do I need to go to rehab’ goes way beyond mere abstinence. The idea is to not only get clean and sober, but to start living healthier overall. If your drinking or drug use is destroying your body, or even if you are only noticing a slight difference in your health, it may already be a huge problem.
Holistic healing is about trying to treat yourself in all areas of your life, so that you are not just getting away from the drugs, but you are improving your health. That doesn’t mean you have to be in bad shape, or even realize that you are less than at the top of your game. Holistic healing is about various levels of health:
Going to rehab and experiencing holistic healing vastly improves the odds of someone staying on the right path and maintaining their sobriety.
Do I Need to Go to Rehab: It Can Save Your Life
Again I will put it like this, because in my opinion and experience, it has proven to be a pretty good point. If you have to ask yourself, ‘do I need to go to rehab’ than it is probably a strong indicator that there is something wrong. Either you are just starting to feel unhappy, or you’re totally miserable, and rehab could save your life.
Addicts and alcoholics are in the grips of an illness that becomes more deadly on a regular basis, and every day they roll the dice with life and death when they use drugs and drink. The disease of addiction is no joke. Going to rehab can change everything, and even if you lose a week or two of your time, you gain the rest of your life-time to truly live it.
You can come up with as many excuses as you want to avoid getting the treatment and structure that you need to make a change, but if you’re honest with yourself there are so many incredible and fulfilling things that can come from making the choice and the commitment to a new path, and that path begins with going to a rehab that will give you the opportunity to building on your future. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Holistic addiction treatment programs are all about the innovative and comprehensive holistic healing techniques that are implemented in treatment centers as part of a program outline that was introduced to treatment providers at the 2011 Evolution of Treatment Conference, and there are a variety of new and exciting methods these centers are implementing in an attempt to give those suffering with substance abuse or addiction an opportunity to experience all kinds of amazing ways to improve mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.
The Native American Sweat Lodge
When people hear the phrase ‘sweat lodge’ they typically image a sauna of some sort. They think of people just sitting in a room with steam sweating and killing time, maybe they had a steam room in their gym and that’s what they expect to see. But the real Native American sweat lodge that is part of the Palm Partners holistic healing program is nothing like this.
The sweat lodge at Palm Partners is modeled after an ancient ceremony that has been practiced for thousands of years, and has been used to help people get over their addictions, compulsions and other afflictions. The ceremony is a sacred and beautiful event that is not only effective in helping individuals physically release toxins through the pores by sweating, but it is also a very personal and spiritual healing experience.
This method of healing is very unique, because the sweat lodge structure itself was built by the members of the lodge who help to lead the ceremonies, and it was done so with great love and compassion.
The heat comes from hot stones, which are taken from a fire and placed into a pit within the lodge. Once water is poured over these stones, it creates a steam that fills the structure, and helps create that healing atmosphere. There are 4 rounds of heat, each one adding stones to the lodge and making it more hot inside, and each round represented by an animal totem, which would then be used as a metaphor for the significance of that round in the lodge.
The greatest power of the Native American sweat lodge comes in the connection that is present in that sacred space between the individuals who share the lodge, mother earth and nature itself, along with whatever higher power people chose to connect with. It allows people to reflect back on the issues they face in active addiction from a unique perspective, and create new emotional attachments to replace the old destructive ones.
My Experience with the Sweat Lodge
I was very excited to share my experience with the sweat lodge, because I was fortunate enough to get very involved in the sweat lodge at Palm Partners, and I actively participated several times in the lodge. I can do not justice to the feeling first hand, but I can say a few things that became important for me that I could share with someone considering it. Lodge is a place of gratitude, of facing fears and letting go of ego and grief to move forward in the rest of recovery.
- Trust the process
When I went to the sweat lodge for the first time, I was worried that the feeling of claustrophobia would ruin it for me and I would have to give up. One assurance was that if anyone needed to quit for any reason at any time, there was no shame or hesitation to let them out of the lodge.
What happened ultimately was I learned a lot about letting go and trusting the process, which carried over into other aspects of my life. It was not easy to do, but I came to trust that I was in a safe in that sacred space and that helped me become even further connected to those participating in the lodge with me.
- It’s not about sweating, but bring water
The purpose of lodge is not strictly to sweat. Yes there is a level of detoxification, and it is important that you stay hydrated for this experience, because you will sweat… a lot! I made sure to bring as much ice water as possible each time, and to drink plenty before we even got started. Helping the body heal is a huge part of recovery, and maintaining the body during an intense and exciting activity like this is essential.
- Speaking with the spirit
To me the sweat lodge gave me many gifts, and the biggest part of that was its influence from a spiritual perspective. In lodge you don’t have to just sit in silence. The majority of the time is actually open for prayer, for speaking about your spiritual intentions or you can chose to meditate quietly, but it is often used as an opportunity to share thoughts or express any repressed feelings.
I felt in sweat lodge I was given a stage to openly seek a spiritual connection, and that energy provided in that circle of connection was an opportunity to learn from and share with others. The heat forces you to focus, and the ceremony itself creates the perfect setting to be in the moment, to share and be receptive. I have shared sweat lodge with many people, and I acknowledge them as brothers in spirit on a journey like mine.
This is an amazing ritual that heals on many levels. And each individual is meant to receive their own experience, with no expectations or required results. It is purely an opportunity to be present, and to seek some truth through whatever connection you find.
The Native American sweat lodge is an awesome and inspiring experience, and for those who value the importance of healing in a complete sense of mind, body and spirit it is an awesome method to utilize in seeking spiritual gorwth. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135