Massage Therapy And Addiction Treatment:
The 10 Reasons Why You Should Try This Approach
What is Addiction Treatment Massage?
Addiction treatment massage therapy focuses on stimulating healing within the body while also boosting the central nervous system to release feel-good hormones. It has been proven to increase serotonin and dopamine and decrease cortisol, which can help those in recovery, especially in the early stages of withdrawal when dopamine often drops significantly. In addition, the body releases fewer stress hormones when being massaged. Stress hormones, including cortisol, weaken the immune system and can lead to increased pain.
As a component of addiction treatment massage works to help you in a variety of ways. Other emotional and physiological issues in recovery include pain, agitation, anxiety, and sleep problems. Addiction treatment massage, nearly any kind of massage, also helps with all of these. Addiction treatment massage further improves overall relaxation by stimulating pressure receptors, which enhance vagal activity. Since the vagus nerve is one of the twelve cranial nerves in the brain, this lowers blood pressure, decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and decreases stress hormones.
Even those who are experiencing withdrawal from alcohol, opioids, or cocaine relaxed more deeply with a simple chair massage than with 20-minute “relaxation sessions,” where participants sat in a quiet room and focused on their breathing. And those who received the massage sustained the relaxation benefits for 24 hours.
Those receiving massage generally registered reductions in pulse rate on three of the four days of treatment. Addiction treatment massage was also more useful in reducing Alcohol Withdrawal Scale scores in the early stages of the detoxification process. Respiration in the massage group was reduced toward the end of the detoxification admission. Addiction treatment massage shows promise as an addition to conventional medical detoxification for alcohol. This is according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) .
Addiction treatment massage is thought to be clinically effective in increasing awareness of tension, cueing individuals to sensory symptoms of stress, and habitual patterns of responding to stress that may be important for relapse prevention. Moreover, touch therapies used in alcohol treatment have produced decreases in physiological and psychological symptoms of stress as well as self-reported symptoms of alcohol withdrawal .
Helping relieve stress and relax the body, massage is often used in holistic treatment therapy. 
10 Benefits Of Addiction Treatment Massage
Addiction Treatment Massage Aids With The Detox Process
- Massage therapy can help ease any excess stress and tension contained in the body. The pulling and squeezing motions we attribute with a professional massage do more than just feel good. The physical touch given by a massage works to help flush lactic acid from the muscles and promote blood flow to the arms and legs. By enhancing circulation, massage therapy can also enhance the body’s ability to more efficiently remove toxic substances out during drug detox.
Addiction Treatment Massage Increases Serotonin And Dopamine In The Body
- Massage therapy is key in addiction recovery process, increasing natural chemicals levels like serotonin and dopamine, as well.
- This is especially effective during the early stages of withdrawal when the body’s dopamine levels drop. This can be a difficult time for people in recovery, but massage therapy can help give relief.
- When a person takes drugs, the brain releases hormones, serotonin, and dopamine, that make the person feel good. This is the reason why the individual continuously craves these drugs.
- What we may not realize is that there are natural ways that we can also enhance these feel-good hormones. Examples of these activities include massage therapy and exercise. There are studies implying that having a massage raises serotonin and dopamine levels by about 30%. Massage therapy can further lower cortisol levels related to stress by as much as 35%.
Addiction Treatment Massage Reduces Agitation, Pain, And Anxiety
- The body discharges fewer stress hormones when it is being massaged, which can help reduce some of the common issues people face in early recoveries, like anxiety, mood swings, and pain. Massage also promotes the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural “feel-good chemicals.” Manufactured in the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, beta-endorphins offer a chemical-free way for those in recovery to feel more like themselves. If a person is engaged in massage therapy as well as a regular exercise program, these benefits are more enhanced.
Addiction Treatment Massage Promotes Better Sleep
- Insomnia can be another usual problem that individuals in recovery experience. Those facing substance abuse issues often have trouble with insomnia, especially early in the facility’s recovery process like a cocaine rehab center. One study found that patients who received a massage twice weekly for five weeks slept and felt better. Stimulation of pressure receptors in the body decreases stress, allowing massage therapy clients to sleep better and experience deeper sleep.
Addiction Treatment Massage Promotes Self-Awareness
- Addiction recovery is a complex process, physically and emotionally, and people in recovery may not always be able to express in words what’s going on inside. Massage therapy helps individuals connect their bodies with their emotions and become more conscious of what they are feeling. Feeling more connected to the body can be empowering and improve self-awareness as a result. Understanding oneself and one’s limits leads to better self-control.
Addiction Treatment Massage Is Relaxing
- Massage makes the person feel good by encouraging them to relax. Massage works to promote relaxation by lowering blood pressure, decreasing heart rate, and decreasing stress hormones. It also helps to reduce stress hormones in the body.
Addiction Treatment Massage Builds Trust
- Some people abuse alcohol and drugs to withdraw from intimate relationships with the people around them, and touch may also be connected with negative feelings. But through massage, a person can relax, let their guard down, and be open without worrying about being hurt by the other person.
- Psychologists who study trauma say that being a victim of abuse weakens five of our most basic human needs: trust, safety, control over one’s life, experiencing closeness with others, and feeling of value. The intimacy of massage therapy provides a therapeutic and safe way to satisfy these needs, thus providing a foundation for healing.
Addiction Treatment Massage Is A Natural, Alternative Treatment
- People who have struggled with abusing prescription medications in the past may choose not to take them in recovery to reduce temptation and the likelihood of relapse. Unfortunately, this can make treating pain, depression, anxiety, sleeping difficulties, and overall discomfort difficult. In these instances, massage therapy can be a very effective alternative to medication.
Addiction Treatment Massage Helps Address Co-Occurring Disorders
- If a person suffers from co-occurring disorders such as depression, anorexia, bulimia, bipolar disorder, or PTSD, massage therapy can help by triggering the body’s relaxation response. It’s not a replacement for talk therapy, but massage can help a person feel more comfortable and open in expressing emotions. This can improve the effectiveness of the overall treatment plan, lessening the cravings to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs.
Addiction Treatment Massage Promotes Healthy Circulation
- Massage therapy can also be good for blood circulation. Having a massage is considered a physical form of therapy because it triggers and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system of the body. When this happens, it can promote better circulation as well as increase the effectiveness of the lymph system. The function of the lymph system is to help relieve pain symptoms. It is also responsible for the removal of metabolic waste build-up of the body.
Find The Right Treatment for Secondary Co-occurring Addiction
Taking a holistic approach to primary mental health and secondary addiction treatment is part of our program, ensuring clients are comfortable and surrounded by activities (including Addiction Treatment Massage) and amenities, leading to improved recovery. We know treatment is best shaped through therapies for the mind, body, and spirit in conjunction with behavioral programs and medication, as needed.
Inpatient medical detox and residential primary addiction treatment may be available at our affiliated facility at Level Up West Palm Beach Rehab. For some primary behavioral health treatment clients, medical detox and or addiction rehab may be required first. If you have a co-occurring severe substance abuse diagnosis, please contact us prior to beginning inpatient mental health therapy. Treatment services may vary. Please call us to learn which treatment options are most suited for your individual needs.