Is Massage Therapy Beneficial During Addiction Treatment?

Using drugs and alcohol for long periods wreaks havoc on our bodies and our minds. Addiction to drugs and alcohol can have both short and long-term negative effects on us. What affects and how they affect depends on the type of drug, how much and how often it’s taken, and the person’s general health. Overall, the effects of drug abuse and dependence can be widespread. They can impact almost every system in the human body.

Side effects of drug or alcohol abuse may include:

  • A weakened immune system, increasing the risk of illness and infection
  • Heart conditions ranging from abnormal heart rates to heart attacks and collapsed veins and blood vessel infections from injected drugs
  • Nausea and abdominal pain, which can also lead to changes in appetite and weight loss
  • Increased strain on the liver, which puts the person at risk of significant liver damage or liver failure
  • Seizures, stroke, mental confusion, and brain damage
  • Lung disease
  • Problems with memory, attention, and decision-making, which make daily living more difficult
  • Global effects of drugs on the body, such as breast development in men and increases in body temperature, which can lead to other health problems

Substance use disorders can also lead to multiple behavioral problems as well as emotional, both in the short- and long-term, which can include:

  • Depression
  • Aggressiveness
  • Impaired Judgment
  • Anxiety
  • Impulsiveness
  • Loss of Self Control

When we have had enough of, what seems like, the never-ending cycle of addiction the first step towards recovery is a detoxification facility. There many different lengths of stays and types depending on what drug you are detoxing off of but when you have been dependent on a drug for a long time medical detoxification is suggested. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH):

Medical detoxification safely manages the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal associated with stopping drug use. However, medical detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term drug use. Although detoxification alone is rarely sufficient to help addicts achieve long-term abstinence, for some individuals it is a strongly indicated precursor to effective drug addiction treatment.

During the medical detoxification phase, there is much more that can be done besides just medication-assisted detox and counseling. This includes a holistic approach to treating addiction. One of those approaches is massage therapy and it’s been proven to be very effective and helpful.


Can Massage Therapy Help Recovering Addicts?

The physical symptoms that most patients experience usually range from mild to severe during detox when the body is withdrawing from drugs or alcohol, making the body uncomfortable or in pain. The toxins start to leave the body starting from the first couple of days up to a couple of weeks making the withdrawals the most difficult. But what is also challenging is the rehabilitation period where patients learn to manage their behaviors and emotions while still experiencing physical symptoms from time to time.

When you are going through all these different feelings, physical and mental, it can be hard to understand them and therefore not be able to express how they feel to another. The physical symptoms such as sore muscles and tension for months after their detox can be very confusing and frustrating; this is when massage therapy can be most beneficial.

The majority of rehabs focus on therapy that helps your mind such as group and individual therapies. While these can be helpful, a holistic drug treatment approach with massage therapy to treat your mind, body, and spirit as one can be a pathway to work out inner tensions without needing to speak.

A few benefits and side effects of massage therapy include:

  • Release of ‘feel-good’ hormones called serotonin and dopamine and decrease cortisol, which is related to stress.
  • Help lower heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Reduce anxiety and help with insomnia.
  • Increases circulation and promotes the effectiveness of the lymph system which removes the body’s metabolic waste build-up which in turn relieves pain symptoms.
  • Improves and/or increases body awareness.
  • Builds trust with the therapist.

Massage Therapy for Treating Addiction

When it comes to Allure Detox, we provide much more than the bare minimum.  Of course, we help clients stop using safely – that’s just a given.  Almost as important as that, though, is that we offer clients the foundation for a lifetime of relief and recovery. During the treatment process, our approach includes massage therapy along with many other holistic treatments for healing the mind, body, and spirit.