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Unconventional Supplemental Treatment for Addiction

Successful drug addiction treatment and alcohol rehab programs should be founded on the management of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome and Denial, but there are a number of supplemental types of treatments that can provide additional benefits. These include acupuncture, massage therapy and biofeedback therapy, among others. Knowing that such options are available may help more drug users and alcoholics to overcome their addictions.


This ancient Chinese medicine is thought to bring harmony to the balance of yin and yang – the two fundamental energy foundations of a human according to tradition. However, it’s more likely that the benefits that addicts could derive from acupuncture is in the stimulation of endorphins. Because substance abuse alters the body’s ability to produce and regulate endorphins, acupuncture may be able to help by stimulating the production of this mood-regulating substance.

“There is strong physiological evidence supporting the use of acupuncture in this area. Research has shown that acupuncture can raise the level of endorphins in the nervous system. Resembling opiates in structure and function, endorphins are the body’s natural pain killers.” (1)

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy offers direct physical benefits such as increased blood circulation, but the primary benefit to a recovering addict or alcoholic is the same as that provided by acupuncture: the stimulation and release of endorphins such as dopamine;

“In 1998, the Touch Research Institute published the findings that a regular massage regimen produced long-term results of increasing dopamine levels. The fact that massage naturally increases dopamine levels, and decreases cortisol levels makes it a perfect addition to a standard detoxification program.” (2)

Therefore, it’s likely that massage could help addicts recovering from addiction to substances like heroin and ecstasy, which both have profound effects on the body’s ability to produce dopamine naturally.

Additionally, massage therapy offers some emotional and spiritual benefits that can be more difficult to define, but are nonetheless important. Human touch can be quite therapeutic for many people, and some recovering addicts make massage a part of their ongoing recovery efforts.


Biofeedback for drug addiction or alcoholism is a new and expanding field that essentially uses various methods to measure the body’s response to stimuli and teaches the patient to manipulate these responses. In some cases this type of therapy occurs with the use of complex medical equipment, while in other cases it may be nothing more than a relaxed private consultation with a biofeedback expert. Whatever the case may be, biofeedback has shown promising results for some addicts;

“In the current study, in excess of 50% of experimental subjects remained drug-free a year later. The study used Neurofeedback, a technique that trains patients to alter their brainwave patterns as they receive information about those patterns.”

Acupuncture, massage therapy and biofeedback therapies for addiction can be used as part of a daily, lifelong recovery effort. Other supplemental types of treatment for addiction include Equine therapy, Surf therapy, Adventure therapy and more. But if you’re suffering from an addiction right now, these therapies will have to wait. Your first task should be to call the number at the top of your screen now for a free, confidential consultation. We offer one of the most successful drug rehab centers in the nation, with expert addiction specialists standing by to take your call. Why wait? Your very life could depend on it.

(1) Acupuncture Healing Arts.COM Acupuncture & Addiction
(2) Institute for Integrative Healthcare Studies Massage: The Missing Link in Addiction Treatment 05/31/2005

About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More