Massage therapy is gaining traction as a supplemental therapy for people recovering from alcohol and drug addiction. There is increasing evidence that massage therapy offers a wide range of physical and psychological benefits. Massage helps to relieve the stress and anxiety that is a natural part of the withdrawal and recovery process, and researchers believe it can go a long way toward balancing natural neurochemistry after extended periods of substance abuse.
How Massage Therapy Helps Addiction
When a person turns to drugs or alcohol to generate “good feelings,” their body eventually becomes dependent on those substances instead of relying on its own natural mechanisms. Massage therapy can help break this cycle. Research dating back to the 1990s shows that regular massages help raise the body’s endorphin levels. Endorphin is a natural “feel-good” chemical, and multiple studies have shown that the addiction cycle can have dramatic effects on endorphin production.
Specifically, addiction can inhibit the body’s inherent ability to produce endorphin, leading to a vicious cycle in which the addicted individual becomes reliant on illicit substances to generate it. Massage therapy helps to mitigate this by stimulating the body’s natural endorphin production, which may alleviate some of the physiological and psychological effects of withdrawal. Massage therapy also helps to improve blood circulation, promoting the more efficient exchange of oxygen-rich blood into bodily tissues. This rids the body of toxins, which is another essential step in the process of physical recovery.
Massage therapy is known for helping people develop a heightened awareness of bodily responsiveness. This allows recovering addicts to identify triggers that lead to stress responses and consciously develop alternative approaches. Instead of turning to drugs or alcohol to calm stress-related triggers, recovering individuals can substitute holistic therapies that promote healing and help break the cycle of addiction.
Coast to Coast Recovery: Holistic Treatment for Addiction
Research into the benefits of massage therapy as an addiction treatment is ongoing, and as scientific understanding improves, it is a near certainty that the underlying therapeutic mechanisms will be better understood. At Coast to Coast Recovery, we encourage the use of many different techniques to help patients recover, including massage therapy. If you would like to learn more about our treatment center and our approach to addiction recovery, we encourage you to contact our accredited team.