Mother Nature’s Healing Hands

The following article was written and submitted by Constance Ray.  

Constance co-created RecoveryWell to offer a safe place where people can share their stories about addiction and substance abuse.  So that others can learn from them and benefit in their own lives. 

Mother Nature’s Healing Hands

Science has come a long way in helping us manage drug and alcohol addiction but, sometimes, the best medicine isn’t made in a lab.

Resistance in recovery

We all know that exercise is important for our bodies, but blood pumping through our veins has a noticeable effect on our emotions as well. Nashville’s Vanderbilt University goes as far as to claim that physical activity, and specifically resistance training, can reduce depression, ease anxiety, and improve overall mood. Depression is one of many internal relapse triggers so anything that can be done to create a sense of internal harmony will reduce your likelihood of experiencing a treatment setback. And don’t worry, you don’t have to have fancy equipment or several hours each day to devote to working out. Check out this article from US News for more information on an easy 10-week workout program that you can start anytime.

Alternative activities

When a traditional workout isn’t appealing, there are still plenty of ways to prioritize physical fitness without bulking up your biceps. The addiction specialists at DrugRehab.org mention swimming, meditation, and yoga as three of the most effective alternative coping methods. In addition to the physical benefits of these low- to-no-impact activities, swimming and yoga offer the opportunity for self-reflection and a chance to simply be alone with yourself without interruption. Many recovering addicts report that a combination of yoga and meditation helps them achieve a sense of inner peace, which has the positive consequence of eliminating the temptation to chase external gratifiers.

Herbal help

For as long as there have been aches, pains, and diseases, there have been natural remedies to squash symptoms. Modern medicine is absolutely essential to our overall health and well-being but, tried and true tricks shouldn’t be overlooked. During recovery, you’ll need to find creative ways to cope with stress and anxiety. Fortunately, you need not look further than your neighborhood farmer’s market. There are a number of natural beverages, including chamomile and green tea, that have a measurable effect on the brain. Valerian root is another popular herbal supplement that can taper tension and help you sleep, which is especially important during the early stages of recovery, as insomnia is strongly related to withdrawal.

Whole and holistic

Holistic medicine isn’t, contrary to media portrayal, something reserved for compound-dwelling hippies. It’s been around as long as time itself. The Maori of New Zealand and the few remaining traditional Native American tribes continue to rely on natural medicine for many day-to-day ailments. Holistic medicine, according to the American Holistic Health Association, is simply that which focuses on a person’s entire being – mind, body, and soul. Many holistic practitioners integrate both conventional and alternative therapies to treat diseases, including addiction. You can think of holistic medicine as a way to invoke optimal health and to bolster your conscious pursuit of a healthy lifestyle from the inside out.

A conscious effort

Breaking the chains of addiction is not a one-time activity. It requires a new commitment each and every morning. Holistic treatments, herbal remedies, and exercise, though easily available, likewise require the same level of steadfastness in order to be effective. You cannot simply work out and drink a cup of chamomile tea one day and expect to see benefits. Gradually adopt these things into your daily routine and they will become an effective and integral part of your long-term treatment plan.

Regardless of what lifestyle changes you adopt, do your research. Most doctors are not educated in natural remedies so talk with a qualified health practitioner before beginning any new exercise program or herbal supplement. You’ll want to ensure any changes you enact are safe for your current health condition. Avoid products labeled with hyped up marketing phrases such as “Miracle Formula” and “100% Guaranteed.” Often, these are made in unregulated facilities and have not been subjected to reasonable quality control procedures. Stick with local manufacturers, pharmacy brand supplements, and good old fashioned common sense.

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