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If you are seeking a method of treatment that looks at you as a whole person rather than just addressing your addiction or symptoms, holistic treatment does just that. It encompasses both mind and body. Holistic treatment for substance addiction can include alternative medical treatments and practices for achieving and maintaining recovery. Still, what makes holistic treatment different from traditional treatment?

What Is Holism?

Addiction impacts both the mind and the body, so it makes sense that recovery necessitates treating both. Still, there is more than just an individual’s mind and body at play when it comes to addiction. Individual aspects – such as a person’s environment, community, and behavioral responses – all influence the development of addiction. As there is no one root cause of addiction, there is also no one-size-fits-all for treatment. This is why individualized treatment is necessary, as it takes into account every client’s individual needs and customizes treatment accordingly.

Holism allows for a global picture of the individual and makes it possible to include paths to treatment outside traditional medicine. Some of these modalities include yoga, art therapy, music therapy, and meditation.

Holistic Treatment in Addiction Recovery

While these treatments are considered alternative, they are effective in treating mental health and substance use disorders (SUDs). 

Let’s take a look at those modalities mentioned above and how they work to support your recovery.


You may already be familiar with yoga as a practice for well-being; however, you may be less sure of it as a technique for addiction recovery. This is because yoga is a somatic practice, meaning it is based on the physical. Yoga, like the other activities under holistic treatments, is a mindfulness-based stress reduction tool that allows you to place your attention on yourself while noticing what you are feeling, where you are feeling, and when. This knowledge is profoundly useful in addiction recovery as it helps you identify feelings and patterns that are not serving you and do so without judgment. 

Art Therapy

Have you ever made a collage, painted a canvas, or sculpted clay? These are all examples of what you might find in an art therapy setting. Art therapy uses creative expression to explore emotions and impulses in addiction recovery. The beauty of this modality is its flexibility and usefulness in reconnecting with yourself. If you already have a creative hobby, such as crocheting, it can be implemented to support your well-being. The main benefit of this tool for healing is that it allows you to sit with and express emotions non-verbally. This is a priceless tool when you do not have the ability to put your feelings into words. 

Music Therapy

Like art therapy, music therapy replaces the need for words. Instead, it meets you where you are. Tooling with an instrument means finding a way to express your emotions in an audible, creative manner. Also, like art therapy, music therapy offers an abundance of methods. Lightly strumming a guitar can help you center yourself. A drum kit can be helpful when you want to safely pound out feelings of anger or frustration. Piano offers range, and tinkering until you create a small melody can help you place your emotions into something others can enjoy listening to, giving you a voice in a new way.


Addiction is often the act of chasing a feeling different from an unpleasant one in the current moment. Meditation teaches you to sit with your feelings, identify them, and let them go without judgment. An ongoing meditation practice can help you detach from feelings of being less than. Additionally, it can aid you in noticing your emotional patterns and support you in learning to just be. Meditation is a powerful tool for reconnecting with yourself during recovery. In addition, there is evidence it has positive long-term health effects

Why Use Non-Medical Methods?

While medication-assisted therapy (MAT) may be necessary for your recovery, it only addresses a single symptom of addiction. Learning and practicing various tools in recovery makes it much easier to maintain your sobriety because you will have a much broader selection of tools to lean on going forward. 

Of course, these are not the only alternative therapies you can pursue. Movement-based therapies, such as Tai Chi or even running, are options as well. There are plenty of other ways than those listed here to express yourself artistically, such as model-building. Plus, there are multiple instruments that you have access to, including your voice. You may not have words to express your emotions, but humming or listening to music by others can help. If anything explored here feels in alignment with your needs, it’s a sobriety tool worth trying.

You may already be familiar with or employing holistic methods in your addiction recovery journey. Holistic treatment is a method employed alongside medical treatment in addressing the whole person — body and mind — instead of just their symptoms or addiction. A whole-person approach is beneficial because it acknowledges that symptoms of addiction can be the result of behavior or environment and addresses them according to their root cause. Alternative methods of treatment may include yoga, art therapy, music therapy, or meditation. These therapies are based on mindfulness, helping you gain greater awareness of your patterns and impulses when it comes to addiction. If you are seeking an approach to addiction recovery that looks at you as a whole person instead of just your symptoms, call West Coast Recovery Centers at (760) 492-6509 to learn more about our holistic approach to recovery.