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: 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
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
What is Holistic Drug and Alcohol Treatment?
Holistic is a term that means “whole” and “complete.” Therefore, when considering getting help for substance abuse, the approach of holistic drug and alcohol treatment involves methods that are specific with addressing the mind, body, and spirit together and individually in the healing process of those seeking help.
Holistic drug and alcohol treatment differs from traditional methods of addiction treatment that tend to only treat certain aspects of the client and their disease of addiction. The staff involved in holistic drug and alcohol treatment programs understands the complex nature of addiction, and the concept that it is a three-part disease:
- A physical allergy
- A mental obsession
- A spiritual malady
There is plenty of research that has found that substance abuse interventions that incorporate spiritual approaches, such as meditation, provide benefit to healing and recovery through reshaping both psychological and psychosocial factors.
Holistic Drug and Alcohol Treatment: What’s the difference?
The mind, body and spirit are so closely interlinked that holistic drug and alcohol treatment centers put an emphasis on using holistic therapy to aid in the road to recovery from drugs and alcohol, and to assist individuals in successfully developing the coping skills for the transition to everyday life.
Holistic drug and alcohol treatment programs implement therapies such as yoga, massage therapy and acupuncture to compliment the basics of clinical drug and alcohol treatments.
- Yoga- Yoga can improve the mind, body and soul through exercise, breathing and meditation techniques used during each session
- Massage therapy– Massage therapy can improve the mind, body and soul through relaxation, stress relief and the healing of muscles.
- Acupuncture- Acupuncture uses the manipulation of needles to improve the mind, body and soul and treatment experience by helping to reduce stress, pain, cause relaxation and calmness.
These are some of the most effective examples of out-of-the-box methods that you will find at a holistic drug and alcohol treatment facility. In addition to the typical treatment protocols such as individual and peer group counseling, 12 Step meetings, and relapse prevention classes that you may find in other rehab programs.
Other examples of holistic healing strategies include:
Holistic Drug and Alcohol Treatment: Detox Process
As always with addiction or alcoholism there is a period where the body experiences feelings of physical and mental discomfort commonly referred to as withdrawal. Withdrawals are not always the same for every substance, but in a holistic drug and alcohol treatment center an experienced and educated medical staff will be present to provide safe and personalized medical care to make this period as comfortable as possible.
During the detox stage of treatment modern medicines are absolutely essential to holistic drug and alcohol treatment centers to help people with their physical withdrawal, which in some extreme cases could be fatal if not handled and monitored properly. Holistic drug and alcohol treatment facilities offer non-narcotic medications which could also be a major help to those suffering from diseases such as depression, bi polar, or anxiety. This helps the body and mind to function smoother and more clearly during the earliest stages of recovery.
It is also during this initial intake and assessment period that the staff can help you to outline your recovery plan by introducing you to some of the different forms of treatment that will be available to you during inpatient holistic drug and alcohol treatment.
Why should I go to a holistic treatment program?
The most important part of a holistic drug rehab center is to see how they use these practices in conjunction with their medical treatment for drug and alcohol recovery. Most addicts and alcoholics wanting help from a drug treatment center can see exactly how these kind of holistic practices are beneficial for them before they participate.
Holistic drug and alcohol treatment centers will talk a lot about finding the meaning to life again, living life to the fullest, creating a positive change, and emphasize this. One of the biggest hurdles for many addicts and alcoholics trying to recover is the transition back into every-day life.
In the end a holistic drug and alcohol treatment program is so beneficial because of the simple fact that holistic healing is not just about the clinical side of rehab. Holistic drug and alcohol treatment believes in the idea that in order to put an individual in the best possible position for success, they should address the disease of addiction at all sides, and be exposed to a variety of spiritual, emotional, and physical exercises and strategies that can be used to overcome during the tough times that may come after treatment.
Overcoming addiction means more than just putting down the drink or the drug, and holistic drug and alcohol treatment is so powerful because it acknowledges the importance of every aspect of a healthy and happy life. Palm Partners prides itself in being one of the top holistic drug and alcohol treatment centers, and we strive to be part of what makes recovering addicts and alcoholics whole again. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Mindfulness and meditation is an amazing resource for healing on a holistic level, especially for those struggling with substance abuse. Even basic meditation techniques can have a strong enough influence to ease severe pain in arthritis and asthma patients. Meditation reduces anxiety and other symptoms of depression, and it actually improves heart health.
Meditation is such a powerful resource that some speculate it works far better than conventional methods such as medication and psychotherapy for many, if not all of these conditions. So it is no surprise that a new study has found that mindfulness and meditation can be the catalyst behind re-creating happiness in the lives of opioid drug addicts.
The Meaning of Mindfulness
Mindfulness is not as intense and unachievable as some may think, but it is not always so cut and dry. It involves a person taking time to relax, and to become aware and in tune with the present moment. To be connected with the here and now. Simple aspects of a moment are part of the awareness, such as:
- Surrounding environment
Meditation and mindfulness come from a sense of calm when a person is focusing on their emotions and thoughts.
By considering the things we think about and our emotions in the context of the present, people become better able to achieve wellness. This is possible because mindfulness requires that we approach our emotions and out thoughts without judgment. Without the concept of objective opinions and staying in the moment, meditation helps us find happiness in the present moment.
According to a recent study, this kind of present moment thinking without judging our thoughts or feelings as ‘right or wrong’ is exactly what people in the grips of opioid drug addiction need.
Opiates and Dopamine
Whether abusing heroin, oxycodone or some other morphine-derived drug, many opiate addicted individuals often experience a rush of the neurotransmitter dopamine during use as the drug binds to opioid-sensitive receptors in the brain. This causes a high full of pleasure caused by dopamine, and the brain translates that pleasure with whatever environment it occurs in, so opiate drug abuse conditions the mind to rely on the drug.
Thus, the brain develops a craving for those feelings again, and with continued use of opiates the individual experiences a weaker effect from the dopamine. As a result people typically seek higher doses of the drug, and those who start out with oxycodone and other prescriptions typically move on to heroin for a stronger dose. Based on this fact it is easy to see how the vicious cycle of addition creates itself.
Meditation is the Best Medication
One associate professor at the University Of Utah College Of Social Work named Eric Garland stated in a press release that the desensitization of opioid drug users can actually be reversed through mindfulness, and that it may even be able to keep them off the drugs.
“These findings are scientifically important because one of the major theories about how and why addiction occurs asserts that over time drug abusers become dulled to the experience of joy in everyday life, and this pushes them to use higher and higher doses of drugs to feel happiness.”
Garland and his team determined that the intervention program Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) was able to reduce cravings for opioid drugs in patients with a history of abuse.
Chronic pain patients taking these drugs underwent an 8 week intervention, during which time they were taught a “mindful savoring practice” that encouraged them to focus attention on different materials or concepts such as:
- Beautiful scenes of nature
- A sunset
- A connection with a love one
These 3 are all considered pleasant experiences which were used to help calm the mind. During meditation, the patients were asked to focus and appreciate the present moment, which involved taking in the smells, textures, and colors of a bouquet of flowers.
As the study continued researchers found through EEG scans that by pushing patients to find happiness in their day-to-day activities that their brains activated at a higher rate to such events. As to be expected the more activity they showed, the less likely they were to crave opiates. Researchers involved in the process insist that this shows scientifically the strength of meditation in changing the lives and the quality of life for opiate addicts.
Millions of Americans actively abuse opiates, whether in the form of prescriptions or heroin, and overdose deaths have more than quadrupled in the last 15 years, which supports what many have begun to suggest is an opiate epidemic. For people to want to recover, there has to be a possibility of happiness! No one who wants to recover wants to believe there is little or no possibility of living a full and exuberant life without dependence on drugs. The truth is, happiness is one of recovery’s greatest gifts.
Many people should take heed to the therapeutic values of mindfulness and meditation. Even most recovery oriented programs, 12 Step groups, and other fellowships have a strong belief in the power and the usefulness of meditation. And if the only thing keeping you from being happy is taking the time to be calm and present to appreciate the moment, then some meditation is the best medication for you.
Many people may not know what it means to be present and aware in the moment, and how mindfulness can ultimately fuel their happiness, especially battling with drugs and alcohol. There are always amazing people ready to help you on that path. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.