When you find yourself ready to leave a life of addiction, fed up with “life so far”, and desperate for another way, what you need is more than simply time “away” from what has kept you stuck. What you need is something new. Something different. Something that’s more than a vacation from your current life situation. What you need is something that takes you to a place where deep, holistic transformation and healing can take place.
Many treatment centers will call their programs ‘holistic’ because they work a yoga session or two into their weekly programming, offer massages, or have exercise equipment available. At Villa Kali Ma, “holistic” has a much broader meaning than just yoga and meditation. “Holistic” focuses on the whole being or whole life of a person and looks at the bigger picture of how to create lasting lifestyle changes that will provide sustainable recovery for each individual person.
Here at Villa Kali Ma, “holistic” can be used to describe our entire program, not just a small part of it, because we are treating the whole person, not just a small part of her. We employ a team of holistic healers and clinical therapists who infuse our treatment program with a variety of proven modalities, techniques, education and experiences that expand and inspire each woman’s view of herself and the possibilities for her life.
The combination of all of this new information as well as the practices and psychological processing has proven to be effective in profoundly changing the mindset, beliefs and attitudes of the clients who embark on this journey at Villa Kali Ma. The holistic approach brings about positive change that is sustainable and facilitates the awakening of the mind-body-spirit connection.
Why Holistic Treatment?
Why do we use so many mind-body focused treatment modalities? The way we see it, the truly holistic addiction treatment model provides two very important and fundamental pieces of the recovery process.
One of the main reasons women fail (and probably men as well) in most recovery programs is that they do not address the untreated trauma that is at the root of the addiction. So, in order to facilitate the processing of trauma, holistic mind-body techniques help those who come to us for treatment to “stay grounded in their bodies” and avoid becoming stuck in “flight or fight” mode which in turn, enables them to safely process emotions and do the hard work of recovery.
Second, we believe that our role is to serve as a training ground, where clients learn and develop the skills and tools necessary to continue on the path of recovery after treatment. Without holistic practices delivering healing on the level of the body and soul, permanent change is not possible, and the pattern of self-medication will continue.
Holistic Addiction Treatment Techniques We Use
Through the following holistic addiction treatment techniques, we are effectively treating the nervous system, the largest hurdle in effecting and sustaining change in holistic treatment. In teaching clients how to manage their own sense of hyper- or hypo- arousal, they are instead able to remain present to do the work – to keep on processing; to keep on letting go.
1. Pranayama and Breathwork for Transformation
Originating in India over 2000 years ago, the Pranayama practice is the perfect antidote for our busy western schedules and minds. Pranayama is basically a series of breathing exercises that bring more oxygen to the blood and to the brain. Pranayama allows the mind to relax and focus on one thing, the pattern of breathing. Through this practice, one is able to train the mind and nervous system to relax.
Studies confirm that these exercises that cultivate specific attention on the breath are successful in overriding our sympathetic nervous system, i.e. our fight or flight response that is often heightened in individuals who have experienced trauma or are under chronic stress (as is often the case with individuals in treatment for addiction). In addition to this, Pranayama is also known to improve cardiovascular and respiratory functions, decrease the effects of stress and strain on the body, and improve overall physical and mental health.
Transformational Breathwork practice is done using a specific rhythmic breath sequence which is repeated over an extended period of time while lying on your back in a relaxed comfortable position. Participants are covered in blankets for warmth and use an eye pillow over the eyes to assist in total relaxation and letting go of the outside world. This is an hour-long practice that creates states of consciousness and deep meditation that are not available in a normal state.
The practice creates an altered state of awareness and reinvigorates stuck energy – be it mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual – allowing it to be released. This release is extremely powerful and often causes intense emotion to come up and tears to flow as sadness, grief, and pain are finally released from the mind-body energetic system. This practice is an amazing holistic treatment for healing trauma.
The practice of mindfulness finds its roots in Buddhism among other eastern traditions. In more recent decades, it has been adapted by many psychologists, most notably Jon Kabat Zinn, into programs like “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” and used in various treatment modalities to promote healing and improve overall well-being.
In addition to training us to accept, understand, and become at ease with our own experiences, rather than resisting them, mindfulness as a practice has also been demonstrated to help reduce cravings and decrease your experience of stress. Through mindfulness, you will work to widen the gap between what happens to you, and your response to it, over time gaining better control over your impulses and making smart, educated choices that are congruent with your values and beliefs.
There are now programs such as Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) for treating Addiction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for treating Depression that offer specific approaches allowing us to offer tools that address each individual’s specific needs and circumstances.
3. Daily Yoga and Meditation Practices
In general, yoga practices that involve maintaining postures mindfully and with breath awareness can reduce stress levels, improve immunity, decrease blood pressure and heart rate, improve sleep, and reduce body aches and pains.
Studies have found that integrative yoga practice – which includes gentle poses that focus on quieting the mind and body – is highly successful in decreasing cortisol, which is the stress hormone that is released into the body during the fight or flight response. High levels of cortisol in the body can affect blood pressure, sleep cycles, inflammation, weight gain, and lead to irritability and mood disorders.
- Hatha yoga is what we typically imagine when we think about Yoga. The focus is on coming into balance in all areas of your life; Body, Mind, and Soul. The result is mental clarity, inner peace, and deep contentment like you have never felt before.
- Restorative yoga is an amazing way to let go and totally relax. In this practice, gentle breathing techniques are paired with postures that lead to a state of deep meditation. This practice is done using props such as bolsters, pillows, and blankets in order to find deeply relaxing positions where the body feels held and supported. This practice is about completely relaxing and letting go; mind, body, and spirit.
- Similarly, Yoga Nidra begins with gentle postures intended to release physical tension from the body, and once settled into a resting posture, you’ll be guided through a meditation focusing on sensory awareness, a full-body scan, and then into various visualizations. Yoga Nidra practiced over time will train the brain for better focus and concentration, and help to balance strong emotions.
- Kundalini yoga is an incredibly powerful practice that encompasses elements from nearly all lineages of yoga, yet what makes Kundalini truly unique is its emphasis on Kriyas. Kriyas are repetitive movements incorporated with specific chanting and/or breathing techniques that create mental and physical resistance and allow observation of mechanisms of the mind. For this reason, it is often referred to as the “Yoga of Awareness”.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese method of treating the body as a whole. It looks at how each organ system functions with each other and how much qi (life energy) and blood are flowing through each of those systems. In essence, acupuncture sees the body as an ecosystem – a complex network or interconnected system – where every single thing has an effect on another.
Acupuncture is able to assist with many of the immediate effects of substance withdrawal such as detoxing the body, alleviating physical pain without medication and regulating digestive issues caused by abuse of drugs. Acupuncture also helps with the symptoms of withdrawal such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, while also helping with alertness, relaxation, and focus.
The craniosacral system is comprised of the skull, brain, spinal cord, sacrum, and the membranes, tissues, and fluid that hold it all together. The cerebrospinal fluid has been described as being one of the most potent and vibrant elements contained in the body. It is constantly cushioning, nourishing, healing, and removing toxins from the central nervous system.
When there is stagnancy in this system, our brain and body do not function optimally. While this form of treatment is still young in the clinical trials that support its effectiveness in addiction treatment, craniosacral therapy has shown immense promise in the field of holistic trauma recovery.
6. Shamanic Healing and Journeying
Individual and group sessions combine the power of energy medicine, chakra clearing and rebalancing, guided visualizations and inner guidance in order to bring healing, clarity, and grounding to the client. As clients are guided into a deep state of relaxation, the subconscious mind surfaces, and through the various methods listed below, we are able to rewire and reprogram the brain.
- Chakra Clearing with Crystals
- Connecting with Inner Guidance System Guided Meditation
- Soul Retrieval Guided Meditation
- Meeting Your Highest Self Guided Meditation
7. Reiki and Massage Therapy
Where massage is therapeutic touch that helps to detoxify and bring a sense of calm to the body, Reiki is the transmission, with and without touch, of spiritually guided life force energy. Both mediums stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to allow for healing to take place on the physical, mental and emotional levels. As trauma is often stored in the body, these approaches target and clear blockages in specific parts of the body. Reiki takes the practice one step further, aligning the chakras and creating an energetic harmony of being.
8. Ayurveda; Treatments, Cooking and Lifestyle Counseling
At Villa Kali Ma, our clients will be introduced to the ayurvedic lifestyle through individual consultations, cooking and lifestyle classes, as well as ayurvedic body treatments. Ayurveda is both a system of healing and a lifestyle that contains thousand-year-old wisdom and brings optimum health and wellbeing to the lives of persons who dedicate themselves to living by its principals.
Ayurveda offers suggestions for specific dietary changes, lifestyle changes, daily and seasonal regimens, as well as body treatments, herbal therapies, and practices for correcting imbalances in the body and achieving and maintaining optimal health and vitality. Ultimately it helps us to understand that all of our choices, from what we eat to how we think and behave, have a profound effect on our health and wellbeing.
How Effective Are Holistic Addiction Treatment Techniques?
We have been employing our holistic addiction treatment model in our residential treatment setting for the past four years with outstanding results. Our clinical team, which is made up of very well trained and experienced practitioners, say they have never seen such amazing outcomes as they see with our model. Our clients give us rave reviews and often post their gratitude on sites like Yelp and Google My Business.
When considering treatment for yourself or someone you love, it’s important that you make a choice that reflects your goal of long-term, sustainable recovery. At Villa Kali Ma, we offer our clients a new way of life, to use the holistic techniques we teach them in order to do the immensely powerful work of healing body, mind, and soul.