Category Archives: Eastern Theories

Addition and Eastern Theories

Holistic Approach to Alcoholism

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“Having only drank for one year of my life, I hardly consider myself an alcoholic. But I know how important it is for me to see it as any other drug so I am welcomed to AA as NA/CA just the same. I wanted to understand holistic approaches to alcoholism just as I understand the addiction. Turns out their not really much different. This blog can help not only a drunky but a junky too.” -Love, Robyn

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Alcohol addiction is a multifaceted brain disorder which is one of the reasons it is so difficult to treat and why a holistic approach to alcoholism is the prescription needed for craving-free and long-term sobriety

The roots of alcoholism lie in an imbalance or depletion of neurotransmitters in the brain that is caused by the alcohol itself, nutritional deficiencies, low blood sugar, allergy, poor diet, hypothyroidism, toxins in the environment, childhood abuse,chronic stress or many of the other things that disrupt neurotransmitters.

However, these biochemical roots affect every aspect of an individual’s life. It alters personality, cognitive functioning and spiritual connections. It impacts the physical, emotional, social, cognitive and spiritual levels deeply.

We’ll call these other issues, secondary contributors to alcoholism. Although they are not the core root, if they are not addressed they have the power to sabotage recovery.

The physical, emotional and spiritual elements are deeply intertwined. The biochemical/physical impacts the spiritual and the psychological and the spiritual affects the biochemical and psychological and vice versa.

When an individual addresses the true biochemical roots of their addiction with a holistic approach to alcoholism, physical healing begins and biochemical repair is essential to success in long-term sobriety. Deep spiritual and emotional healing can’t be complete without it. However, if one only addresses the biochemical and neglects the spiritual and emotional then they are still at risk of relapse or relapse.

The damage that is done on the physical level has a great impact on the psychological and the spiritual. When your brain and body systems aren’t functioning properly, it has a profound impact on emotional and spiritual health which is often exhibited in a variety of negative psychological symptoms.

Incorporating a holistic approach to alcoholism into your recovery plan helps the individual to heal on all these levels and therefore increases the success rates of long-term sobriety quite drastically.

Unique Aspects of a Holistic Approach to Alcoholism

Alcoholism is unique from other diseases in that it often destroys marriages or relationships or alienates family and friends. Family members and friends must often distance themselves from the alcoholic in order to save their own sanity and in some cases protect themselves emotionally and/or physically. When this occurs, the alcoholic is left in a position without much support. For those who stick around, there is usually a great deal of damage done to the relationship and healing is required.

Another unique component to alcoholism, is that after one engages in the alcoholic lifestyle for an extended period of time, it then becomes a learned behavior to some degree. They learn to respond to stress, pain, sadness, anger etc. by taking a drink or a drug. It becomes a habitual response without thought. These types of behaviors must be unlearned and replaced with healthier behaviors. Habits and routines must be broken. A new lifestyle needs to be embraced.

Alcoholism recovery is also unique in that there is likely to be a great deal of shame, guilt and remorse for actions and behaviors that the alcoholic engaged in while intoxicated, which must be dealt with in a healthy manner to keep them from interfering in sobriety.

Depending on factors such as each individuals background and how long one has been living with alcoholism, there can be a variety of other secondary factors that need to be taken into consideration and addressed, such as relationship issues, childhood sexual or physical abuse, impact on marriage, parenting issues and interpersonal skills. Many people who’ve lived with alcoholism for a long time may be lacking in a variety of social skills that are necessary to get through life. These factors will not apply to everyone, but for those who it does, this is where traditional counseling is called for.

And yet another exclusive aspect of alcoholism is that sometimes the individual goes through a grieving period when they begin recovery. Giving up alcohol is like losing a very good friend or a loved one. Emotional support is a crucial for those who have this experience.

With all these different factors weighing in the alcoholism recovery equation, to address only one aspect will not lead to successful long-term sobriety. All issues must be addressed simultaneously or they become possible triggers for relapse and undermine recovery.

A holistic approach to alcoholism may include the following:

1. Biochemical repairs that addresses the physical as well as the psychological:

  • Identify neurotransmitter imbalances and metabolic disorders
  • Nutritional support during detox and later
  • Changes in diet and nutrition
  • Recognizing environmental factors
  • Addressing nutritional deficiencies
  • Individualized diet plans
  • Dietary and nutritional counseling
  • Exercise

2. Counseling, groups or seminars for social and emotional issues:

  • Childhood physical, emotional or sexual abuse and neglect
  • Dealing with loss and grief of alcoholism
  • Coping skills
  • Parenting skills
  • Lifestyle adjustment
  • Communication skills
  • Assertiveness training
  • What to do with loneliness, boredom, too much time on your hands
  • Repair relationships

3. Discovering spiritual connections:

  • Developing a relationship with yourself
  • Connecting more deeply with yourself
  • Healing relationships
  • Engaging in spiritually fulfilling activities
  • Forgiveness of self
  • Activities that make you feel whole, complete and connected
  • Deep and meaningful activities
  • Mindfulness based meditation
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Communing with nature

Another very important component in the holistic approach to alcoholism is that treatment is individualized and personalized according to each persons needs and issues.

One person may have many secondary issues while another individual may have none or only one. Treatment approaches will vary to some degree in the biochemical aspect as well as the emotional and spiritual aspects.

Someone who has been drinking for 20 years may have a lot more complex biochemical and social issues than someone who become an alcoholic two years ago after their husband died.

An individual who lived with childhood sexual, emotional or physical abuse or neglect may have more challenges to face than someone who had a loving childhood. Their alcoholism recovery plan would likely include a lot more focus on the counseling aspect.

One person may need a great deal of counseling and training in areas such as communication and assertiveness while others may be quite competent in these areas. Some people may adjust easier to a new lifestyle while another may struggle a great deal. All these details need to be taken into account and adjusted for specifically for the individual.

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Massage and Recovery from Addiction

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“This article was written in 2005 and since then there have been hundred of other studies that have shown the same results: massage helps people. You don’t have to be at a resort or use the excuse of you Birthday to get a massage. The simple excuse of being human is enough. Everyone can benefit from the holistic treatment of massage therapy. And I’m not just saying this because I am a certifiedcpractitioner, I’m saying it because its true. Massage has not only physical but mental benefits as well. In this article you’ll find how massage therapy can help promote a greater sense of well being while in recovery from active addiction. The informat of is backed up by facts that are hard to ignore. You may want to consider taking the money that used to be spent on drugs and alcohol to put towards a weekly treatment. Look for a local massage therapist and ask them about possible discounts that can be given if you schedule a regular session. Let them know your condition and work with them to start your healing process.” -With endless love, Robyn

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Substance abuse is a major public health problem. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, substance abuse costs our nation more than $484 billion per year. This includes costs related to crime, medical care, treatment, social welfare programs, and time lost from work.

Comprehensive treatment for the addicted individual is the key to turning this health crisis around. In the October 2003 edition of Counselor, The Magazine for Addiction Professionals, Joni Kosakoski, BSN, RN, CARN gives us the fuel to propel massage therapists into the realm of drug and alcohol treatment. In her article “Massage: Hands Down, a Treatment for Addiction”, Kosakoski gives us a clear and concise analysis of massage’s benefits for this population and its place in addiction treatment.

Incorporating massage into a substance abuse program is advantageous in all of the stages of quitting an addiction: withdrawal, detoxification and abstinence. The physical, emotional and spiritual components of recovery all can be directly benefited by the healing power of therapeutic touch. The nurturing contact of massage utilizes skin as the translator of the therapist’s intent. Skin, the largest sensory organ in our body, is our primary sense for connecting information from our external surroundings to our internal environment.

The Touch Research Institute in Miami, Florida has performed scientific research documenting the physiological effects of massage on the body. Kosakoski reminds us of some of their findings on massage such as decreased pain, diminished autoimmune response, enhanced immune response, and increased alertness and performance. These effects appear to be related to massage’s ability to reduce cortisol, a stress hormone, as reported by the Touch Research Institute in 2003. Several of the Touch Research Institute’s studies positively document the ability of massage to decrease anxiety, depression, agitation, and cravings.

In order to understand the connection between massage therapy and its benefit in addiction treatment, Kosakoski explains the neurological biochemistry of addiction: “Much attention has been directed to the mesolimbic reward system, the so-called ‘pleasure pathway’ of the brain. The area is activated in part by the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, the chemical messenger responsible for making us feel good when we engage in any pleasurable activity. It is well known that dopamine is significantly involved in addiction and that dopamine levels are lower than average during the withdrawal process and into early recovery until brain chemistry normalizes.”

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.

The neurochemistry of an addict takes time to get back into balance, so massage treatments after the initial detoxification phase is crucial. When a person uses a substance to feel good, his/her body stops manufacturing its own “feel good” chemicals, (endorphins), and the substance takes over that task. Therefore, when a person quits using an abused substance, they lose their source of feeling good. Since it takes time for the body to start manufacturing its own endorphins again, this is a challenging interim to endure. This interim is the recovering addict’s most vulnerable time to relapse.

In the 1989 edition of General Pharmacology, Kaada and Torsteinbo of Norway reported on study results that massage therapy increased the amount of beta-endorphins in the blood by 16 percent. The release of endorphins during a massage allows the recipient to feel normal, even fantastic, without the aid of a drug. This can be a powerful, even life-changing experience for the client.

On a physical level, the circulation that occurs with massage is also a desired occurrence during the detoxification process. Therapeutic massage’s invigoration of blood and lymphatic fluid allows for a more efficient exchange of oxygen rich nutrition into the body’s tissues, and the delivery of toxic waste products out of the body’s tissues. Kosakoski adds that “All systems of the body function more efficiently with improved circulation and a reduction in tension of the soft tissues and musculature…”

On an emotional level, part of an addict’s recovery process is learning to identify and manage the triggers that cause them to desire escape. Regular massage sessions can aid the client’s awareness of his or her own body, including where and when tension exists. Being conscious of these patterns is a step toward recognizing one’s own resistance, which can lead to healthfully addressing emotions associated with cravings and stress. In addition Kosakoski says that “Emotional release can commonly occur with massage, which provides a safe, non-threatening opportunity to begin the process of recovering long-buried emotions and memories.”

On a spiritual level, the deep relaxation of a massage can provide a still inner place for the recipient to connect with themselves. Being grounded, centered and fully present can be experienced when receiving therapeutic touch from a grounded, centered and fully present practitioner. A recovering addict has a whole new world opened to them when they acknowledge that they can simultaneously be anchored, present, feel good and be substance-free. As Kosakoski explains, “To allow oneself to surrender to the practitioner’s hands — to breathe fully and easily, to acknowledge and receive the gifts of nurturing, surrender and relaxation ….is an invaluable addition to the newly recovering person’s repertoire of relapse-prevention skills.”

Massage has the unique ability to affect all of our layers of being — from the spiritual plane all the way up to and including our body’s chemical composition. In the process of abandoning an addiction, these many parts of ourselves become fragmented. It is merely a matter of time before all addiction and recovery treatment programs recognize massage’s ability to mend the mind-body connection. When that happens, therapeutic massage will be integrated into addiction treatment, and clients will be optimally prepared to succeed in their recovery.

From IntergrativeHealthcare.org

Taoism and Addiction

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“As I am going to study philosophy next year, I often think of how religions and other theories of life might view addiction and recovery. Is it acceptable? Is there a reason? Is there a cure? To start my regime on educating myself with the various opinions I took a look at some articles. This one is written by Elizabeth Reninger from About.com and it gives some insight on addiction using the practice of Taoism. If your interested in “The Way” (as tao the ching is translated), or are even struggling finding your Higher Power, this article may shed some light on the matter. Keep in mind, Taoism is not a religion, its a philosophy, a “way” of life.” -Love and light, Robyn

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Any kind of addictive behavior makes it really difficult to conserve our “qi” — to garner a beneficial surplus of life-force energy — for the simple reason that addictive behaviors, with their corresponding mental/emotional patterns, almost universally drain our qi.

Can Taoist practice help us unwind addictions?

I would say: yes! I’ve touched on this in my essay, Addiction, Habit & Ritual — making a distinction between, on the one hand, flowing with the (seemingly repeating) patterns of the Tao, in a way that is awake and responsive; and, on the other hand, becoming a slave to the unconscious impulsive dictates of an addiction.

On a very practical level, there are ear-acupuncture protocols (NADA and ACACD) which have been hugely beneficial — in conjunction with counseling, education and group support — in resolving addictions.

Here a recovering alcoholic, in expressing how, as an atheist, he was able to make 12-step programs work for him, articulates quite beautifully the process of realigning with the rhythms of the natural world, a quintessentially Taoist approach to sanity:

“But, you might ask, if there’s nothing there, no sentient god, how do you get restored to sanity? Again, simple. A tide lifts a boat without being asked and without being sentient. Meet the conditions: place a boat on a tidal body of water. Wait. Then it happens. Be open to understanding the principles that govern your world and do your best to act in harmony with them, do your best not to waste your energy in trying to change the things you cannot change, turn your efforts to identifying and changing the things that can be changed, and the tide will lift your boat. Simple, no?”

Aligning with the elemental wisdom and rhythms of the natural world can be hugely supportive in transforming addictive behavior and perception. In doing so, we establish a perspective or view that’s in alignment with reality, and supports spontaneously “right” — healthy and harmonious — action.

In Buddhist practice, a similar notion is spoken of in terms of Samma Ditthi or Right View. The Pali word Samma was, as I understand it, originally a musical term, and points to a kind of “right” that means “attuned” — in tune with the contexts unfolding in the present moment. It’s about becoming sensitive to our surroundings, and our relationship to them, in a way that allows us then to act skillfully — rather than out of unconscious (e.g. addictive) preconceptions.

Written by Elizabeth Reninger from About.com

Do Holistic Therapies Work for Addiction?

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“After posting so many blogs about holistic theories and their effects with addiction, disorders and diseases, its time I took another approach. Do they even work? What is the evidence that proves that they might? Here is an article from Psychology Today that briefly talks about it. The full article can be read by the link below.” -Love, Robyn
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No question about it – holistic therapies are “in” at addiction rehabs, particularly ones at the more elite end of the rehab spectrum. One of the ways that treatment facilities attempt to attend to the whole person and to individualize care is by providing such alternative treatments—sometimes called “complementary” or “integrative” therapies—including acupuncture, energy psychology, equine-assisted therapy, neurofeedback, psychodrama, Reiki, somatic experiencing, and massage therapy. Yet when I investigated scientifically sound approaches for helping people with addictions for my book,Inside Rehab, none of these holistic therapies surfaced.

Do these holistic interventions add to the quality of the rehab experience, increasing the chances of recovery from addiction? Could their benefit be in the user’s head—that is, just a placebo effect? Are they worth the added expense? Or could some of them pose harm?

Where’s the evidence? Some experts said that, in general, there’s no evidence that such holistic approaches are beneficial for addiction, nor that they’ll improve the odds of getting and staying sober, as suggested by a claim at a famous rehab’s website that holistic treatments have “proven” to be highly effective in improving recovery rates and preventing relapse. I asked Yale University psychologist Kathleen Carroll, PhD, whose careeris devoted to studying approaches most likely to help people with substance problems, to take a look at some of the testimonials I’d heard, as well as the “experiential/integrative” offerings of some high-end rehabs. Her reaction was, “There is no evidence base for experiential therapy—no randomized clinical trial, no evidence of help with addictions. It may feel great to get a massage or to let oneself cry, but none of that appears to lead to sustainable change. Although sometimes very important, simple expression of emotion alone has not been shown to be an effective ingredient in improving addictions or mood disorders, such as depression.” She added, “The other problem with these alternative therapies is that the providers are, essentially, making claims about effectiveness of unproved interventions and may be charging an insurance company or using public funds to do things like whack around nerf balls. Finally, time spent in alternative therapies is time not spent providing good quality, evidence-based treatment.”

Source: Psychology Today

Read more here!

Addiction and Doshas

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“When I studied Ayurveda in India I was able to speak to several Ayurvedic Gurukuls, asking any questions that came to mind. I made a list of questions to ask and at the top of my list was about treating addiction. I was still in denial but I was convinced it ran in my family and I didn’t technically have a problem. This is what I found…”

Madatya is the term used in Ayurvedic medicine to describe a person who suffers with substance abuse. As we know, addiction doesn’t discriminate.  However, according to ancient Indian theories, there is a way to differentiate the causes and the proper treatment depending on the individuals ‘dosha’. Based on these theories, everyone can be diagnosed once their dosha is determined. There are physical, mental and emotional qualities of each dosha that are used to discern which one you are. Below is a checklist for you to use to find if you are vata, pitta or kappa dominent.

Dosha Checklist

Now that you know your dosha we can make connections as to why your addiction began in the first place.

Vata: Many people who are vata dominant get into drug use to reduce anxiety or help with sleep. They tend to be energized and into drugs that calm them down. Already very creative at heart, they find using  drugs (such as hallucinogens) to further stimulate they’re third eye (the chakra that governs inspiration and light). Also most sex addicts are vata because they have a high libito.

Pitta: These people tend to use drugs to increase energy. Pitta people are effected mainly by external influences and pressures to get things done so they may rely on stimulants. They are driven and can appear completely normal on the outside but can struggle with addiction the most because they feel that they don’t have a problem. They “use to live,” not “live to use.” Also, alcohol consumption increases the fire (or angi) which causes pitta to increase– you can tell this by simply observing the eyes; look for glossy, dim and dull expressions.

Kapha: Kaphas can struggle with using but also overeating. They find pleasure in comfort and once they find that in drugs, alcohol or food, they may wind up over doing it. They often fall into depression which can lead to isolation and loss of energy. That is why they are namely attracted to using opiates, downers and alcohol.

You may find that you are not one or the other, but a combination of 2 or even all 3 of the doshas. This is completely normal but a little difficult to treat. Thats why I recommend the assistance of a properly trained therapist or Ayurvedic doctor. With their help, you may find the perfect remedy.

The alternative medicine of Ayurveda and, what is called, Panchakarma therapy can enhance physical, mental and emotional progression during your recovery. Treatment can include diet change, yoga practice, herbal teas, medicated oil massage (with or without herbal compresses) and detox cleansing like Nasya (nasal cleaning), Basti (enemas), and Virechana (purgation).  Later I will post some instructions and recipes for do-it-yourself treatments! Stay tuned and leave any questions or comments below.

Chakras and Addiction

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“I absolutely love this article! Kelley Young, a writer for Mind Body Spirit Healing, gives an introduction to the theories of chakras in their basic form and goes on to describe their effects through substance abuse. I try to go a little more in depth, noting physical and mental correlation’s and how they effected us during our us and can aid us in recovery. We learn that all the 7 chakras can benefit a different part of our lives and are all equally important. We can easily incorporate these spiritual beliefs into our daily meditation and yoga routine. Each chakra holds a different association to the mind and body. Certain colours also stimulate these chakras, so even meditation on an object of this colour can enhance the energy flow. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below!” -Namaste, Robyn 

What role do Chakra’s play in addictions and behavioral health and how can we treat addictions and behavioral health issues by working with the body’s energy system? For starters lets look at what a “chakra” is. Wiki defines Chakras as follows, “Chakra is a concept referring to wheel-like vortices which, according to traditional Indian medicine, are believed to exist in the surface of the subtle body of living beings.] The chakras are said to be “force centers” or whorls of energy permeating, from a point on the physical body, the layers of the subtle bodies in an ever-increasing fan-shaped formation. Rotating vortices of subtle matter, they are considered the focal points for the reception and transmission of energies.”

When these chakras are out of balance, either over or under active, or when they have built up toxins, the physical body will attempt to balance them through negative behavior patterns and addictions, by literally reaching out for some kind of fix. Each chakra relates to specific issues, and therefore specific addictions or behavioral patterns. By balancing each chakra and removing toxins that have built up in the energy patterns, it is possible to treat and overcome addictions and behavioral health issues Common treatments for addictions do not always entail spiritual healing, but only touch on aspects of spirituality for healing. For example, in a traditional addictions treatment program, there may be a specific group or topic of a group called something similar to spirituality for addictions. Perhaps this group would meet once per week and discuss the topic for about an hour or so. Then group parts ways and perhaps the addicted person may further discuss spirituality with an individual counselor or attend AA meetings, but that is different than actually changing the bodies energy system. With my chakra cleansing program the addicted individual is given the opportunity to heal on all levels, mind, body, and spirit in a private and safe setting. One on one energy work until balance in each chakra and the energy system as a whole is found. Removing blockages and toxins that deter healing on all three energy bodies..physical, etheric and astral… clearing what is unhealthy and replacing it with health. Health is energy with grace.

chakras

As I said above, each chakra relates to specific addictions and behavioral patterns. They are as follows:

Chakra 1 The Root Chakra: Related to heroin, cocaine, alcohol, milk, fat, meats. “Located at the base of the spine, it is a symbol of foundation. It is related to security, survival and potential. It governs sexuality and stability, giving us the ability to be sensual yet balanced which is something many of us have struggled with in and out of recovery. Weaknesses in the root chakra manifest in unbalanced sex life, overspending, cutting and overall health.”

Chakra 2 The Sacral Chakra: Gluten, wheat, starchy carbs, grain based alcohol, chocolate. “Located in the sacrum, it is associated to reproductive organs and sex hormones. Stimulation helps reproduction, creativity, joy and enthusiasm. Issues tend to be with relationships, violence, emotional needs including (but not limited to) pleasure. Excuses to use drugs often stem from these deficiencies.”

Chakra 3 The Solar Plexus Chakra: Cannabis, cocaine, caffeine, carbonated beverages, corn based alcohol, beer, corn processed sugars. “Located near the navel, this chakra plays a valuable role in digestion and adrenaline— both of which are highly effected by drug use by simply using and manipulating the way the body normally reacts while stable. Issues include personal power, fear, anxiety, self-identification and growth. With addiction, much of these emotional/mental formations are skewed and attempted to cover-up through use.”

Chakra 4 The Heart Chakra: Ecstasy, smoking, sugars and sweets, wine. “Located (obviously) at the heart, this chakra deals with circulation, the immune system and endocrine system. Emotional problems that arise have to do with compassion, tenderness, love for self and others, rejection and well-being. Many people that PTSD from relationships tend to have weak heart chakras. Also, after recovering from opiate or heroine use, that sugar craving can arise and effect the heart chakra in a negative way.”

Chakra 5 The Throat Chakra: Smoking, food in general. “Located at the throat, this chakra can effect the thyroid and is normally associated to compulsiveness. This relation can be found in the natural compulsive behaviour of using, shopping, overeating and even mania in people who are bipolar. Mentally it governs independence and thought.”

Chakra 6 The Third Eye Chakra: All mood-altering substances, chocolate, caffeine. “Located in the center between the brows, this chakra deals with the pineal gland and melatonin which regulates sleep. Physically, addicts normally struggle with sleeping problems with either lack or excess and bad dreams. Mentally it deals with visual consciousness, clarity and intuition, trust and inner guidance. Meditation on this chakra can raise awareness and bring a sense of ecstasy through heightened thoughts.”

Chakra 7 The Crown Chakra: All mind-altering substances. “Located at the top of the head, this chakra deals with the nervous system and the base of consciousness. It deals with the release of karma, spirituality, meditation, mental reactions, creative force and unity or oneness. This is especially important to open during meditation because it is what brings us closer to our higher power and gives us a sense of peace in an unaltered reality.”

You may have noticed that some of the addictions or behaviors are found in more than one chakra, so it is necessary to treat each chakra that the issue is found in. The Chakra cleansing program is for anyone who wants to overcome on not just a physical level but spiritual and emotional level as well. My personal opinion is that in traditional treatment centers, relapse is so common because only the physical and emotional bodies are being treated typically. So many issues and toxins literally get stuck in the individuals astral and etheric bodies where they “creep” back into the physical body which can then lead to relapse. The goal of this program is to offer an opportunity for holistic healing for the addicted person or for the person with negative thought or behavioral patterns.

Addictions Effect on the Liver Channel

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A lot of us learn that because of our use, we have damaged our body in sometimes irreparable ways. At times we have clenched over in pain, as though somebody was stabbing a sharp knife into our right side. What we don’t realize at first is that this pain is our liver trying to tell us something. And if we don’t stop using and keep ignoring these symptoms, it can lead to further problems such as Liver disease

Everyone pretty much knows that drugs and alcohol aren’t the best for the liver… Yet, we didn’t care. We seemed not to care about anything but our next fix. But now that we are working towards recovery, we can take time to repair our body, inside and out. While in time the liver does heal itself, by eating certain foods and modifying our diet, we can help accelerate the process. Below is a section from an article originally posted by the Huffington Post that lists the top 10 foods that help promote proper liver function.

Garlic:
Garlic helps your liver activate enzymes that can flush out toxins. It also has a high amount of allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansingsays holistic nutritionist Hermeet Suri.

Grapefruit:
Eating or drinking grapefruit juice can help your liver flush out carcinogens and toxins. This fruit is also high in both vitamin C and antioxidant properties.

Beets:
Beets are high in plant-flavonoids, which can improve the overall functions of your liver.

Leafy Greens:
Leafy greens like spinach and lettuce have the ability to neutralize metals, chemicals and pesticides that may be in our foods, and act as a protective mechanism for the liver, Suri says.

Green Tea:
Green tea is full of plant antioxidants known as catechins, which have been known to improve the functions of our liver.

Avocados:
Adding more avocados to your diet can help your body produce a type of antioxidant called glutathione, which is needed for our livers to filter out harmful materials, Suri says.

Crucferous Vegetables:
Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts also increase the amount of glucosinolate (organic compounds) in our bodies that helps create enzyme production for digestion, Suri says.

Lemons:
We all know citrus fruits like lemons are full of vitamin C, but lemons also help our bodies cleanse out toxic materials and aid the digestion process.

Turmeric:
Used as a spice, tumeric has been known to help our bodies digest fats and stimulate the production of bile. It can also act as a natural form of detox for your liver.

Walnuts:
Walnuts are also high in glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, which help support our liver through its cleansing process.

According to traditional Chinese medicine theories (or TCM), diseases of the liver pose far more importance in the body than just digestive benefits. The liver channel that is used in acupuncture and acupressure reveals it self in the following line throughout the body:
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As you can see, it travels all the way up from the outer side of the big toe, to the inner shin, up the inner thigh, passes up the pelvis, surrounds points around the livers location, goes on the outside of the pectoral region and curves, making its way to a slight medial area on the neck. What this diagram does not show is its energy around the face which travels in the center of the checks, around the lips, then up to the direct middle of the eyes and to the crown of the head.

This meridian can reveal signs of liver deficiencies and manifest itself through pain throughout the line. Having pain in the inner ankle, difficulty abducting the legs or tenderness in the pectoral region are all physical signs. There are even mental signals that normally appear through ones outer expression and emotion that are associated with the liver meridian. With imbalances, people tend to feel hopeless, desperate and worthless because they cannot find meaning or purpose in everyday life. They may perceive a certain polluted path to be correct and blindly follow it. However, when health in the liver is restored, people are able to see clearer and pull themselves out of even the darkest places.

If you notice any of the symptoms in your life, you may want to consider the possibilities seeking alternative care. I highly recommend seeing a licensed acupuncturist  and/or an Asian Bodyworker who has knowledge in TCM theories. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and be involved in your treatment. Something I would make sure to ask is what you can do everyday (beside changing your diet) to help boost productivity in the liver channel like incorporating certain yoga poses to your practice.

If you have any questions for me, feel free to leave a comment below or message me on our Facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/HippyHealing <

Mind and Life: The Dalai Lama Talks Recovery

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ATTENTION!

There will be live webcasts of “Mind and Life XXVII – Craving, Desire, and Addiction” from Dharamsala, India on October 28 – November 1, 2013. The conference will focus its attention on craving, desire, and addiction, as these are among the most pressing causes of human suffering. By bringing contemplative practitioners and scholars from Buddhist and Christian traditions together with a broad array of scientific researchers in the fields of desire and addiction, hopefully new understandings will arise that may ultimately lead to improved treatment of the root causes of craving and its many manifestations. Live webcasts can be viewed at http://dalailama.com/live-english.

The sessions will be available for downloading and streaming after the event athttp://dalailama.com/

All times Indian Standard Time (IST = GMT+5.30)
There will be two session each day.
Morning session: 9:00am – 11:30am IST
Afternoon session: 1:00pm – 3:00pm IST

Day One – October 28: The Problem of Craving and Addiction
Morning Session: Introductory remarks
Afternoon sessions: The Role of Craving in the Cycle of Addictive Behavior

Day Two – October 29: Cognitive and Buddhist Theory
Morning session: Brain Generators of Intense Wanting and Liking
Afternoon session: Psychology of Desire, Craving, and Action: A Buddhist Perspective

Day Three – October 30: Biological and Cultural Views
Morning Session: The Role of Dopamine in the Addicted Human Brain
Afternoon Session: Beyond the Individual – The Role of Society and Culture in Addiction

Day Four – October 31: Contemplative Perspectives
Morning Session: From Craving to Freedom and Flourishing: Buddhist Perspectives on Desire
Afternoon Session: Contemplative Christianity, Desire, and Addiction

Day Five – November 1: Into the World
Morning Session: Application of Contemplative Practices in Treatment of Addiction
Afternoon Session: Concluding Remarks

For times in your region 9:00am IST on October 28th in Dharamsala, India is the same as 8:30pm PDT October 27th in Los Angeles, CA, USA: and 4:30pm BST on October 28th in London, England.

Photo of the Mind and Life XXIII Conference held in Dharamsala, India in October 2013. (Photo by Tenzin Choejor)

(copied from Dalai Lama Facebook page)

A Holistic Approach to Health in Early Recovery: Diet and Nutrition

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By Maura Henninger N.D from the Huffington Post

When it comes to the health of a recovering addict/alcoholic, the approach of natural medicine can positively alter the course of treatment — and definitively increase chances of getting and staying sober. In the first part of this series, I talked about withdrawal and insomnia, two of the most crucial problems that lead to relapse. I support my patients from several perspectives, encompassing mental, emotional, spiritual and physical. Detoxification, 12-step meetings, group and individual therapy, carefully prescribed medications, and family involvement are all integral to the success of a recovering addict in putting down his drink or drug of choice. But I’ve also found that the proper diet, along with targeted vitamin supplementation, can work miracles in the lives of early recovering addicts and alcoholics.

The link between sugar and alcoholism is not to be denied. The active alcoholic often typically consumes 50 percent or more of his or her total calories in the form of alcohol. Remaining calories are often in the form of junk foods: empty calories that actually deplete the body’s stores of essential nutrients.

Alcohol affects the body’s relationship with nutrition in several ways. First, it influences the cells of the midbrain that regulate sensations of appetite by suppressing desire for food while encouraging alcohol intake. [1] Second, it provides a lot of calories without essential nutrients so energy provided is short-lived and leaves the body without proper nutritional stores to draw on. And third, after the initial rush of energy provided by alcohol, there’s a severe drop in blood glucose levels that leads to fatigue, depression, and loss of energy and the subsequent consumption of more sugar and refined carbohydrates, as well as caffeine, to swing the body’s energy back up. Because of this my patients who are recovering addicts often think they need sugar and caffeine to feel good — to even feel normal.

I encourage a diet free of sugar and all its forms. This is a departure from average recovery wisdom that tells recovering addicts to eat all the candy and ice cream they want. But this kind of sugar consumption leads to prolonged cravings, fatigue, anxiety, hormonal imbalance, diabetes and simply a new form of dependence. To stabilize blood sugar, I have my patients focus on eating complex carbohydrates that take longer to digest and therefore provide longer and more stable sources of energy with fewer cravings. My prescription is frequent small meals to regulate blood sugar: three moderate meals a day with two sizeable snacks in between.

The diet I endorse is 45 percent carbohydrate, 30 percent fat and 25 percent protein. The best complex carbohydrates grains are: brown and wild rice, oats, amaranth, millet, spelt, beans, and lentils. People often don’t think of vegetables and fruits as sources of complex carbohydrates but they are some of the best we have available. All of this fiber helps cut alcohol cravings, as well.

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For my patients, I can’t stress the importance of protein enough. Proteins helps the body repair tissue and the alcoholic/addict needs this in abundance to help restore organs affected by chronic abuse including the liver, pancreas, kidneys, heart, and brain. Protein is also necessary for blood sugar stabilization. Eggs, lean red meats, chicken, fish, and turkey are all to be eaten in abundance. Nuts are the protein snack of choice among my patients. Proper and adequate intake of fats is essential for absorption of vitamins and nutrients and for cellular repair. Olive oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, butter, and avocado are good sources. These oils are vital, too, to provide essential fatty acids. Deficiency of these leads to a host of problems, particularly for the recovering alcoholic, most notably depression. [2]

Because it overstimulates the nervous system causing increased anxiety and insomnia, caffeine consumption is to be minimized if not completely eliminated. I ask my recovering addicts and alcoholics to try herbal coffee substitutes like Pero or Cafix to get the taste fix. If elimination is impossible, I recommend no more than two cups of caffeinated beverages per day. Decaffeinated coffee, which still contains some caffeine, is preferable.

I urge people in recovery to eat nothing artificial to ease the load on the liver, which has to struggle to break down chemicals and preservatives. Foods should be in as close to their natural state as possible. I have found great success in cutting alcohol cravings by eliminating common food allergens, most notably wheat and dairy.

B vitamins are essential during detoxification from alcohol and drugs. Supplementing with vitamin B1 (thiamine) is essential, ensuring proper brain function and decreasing fatigue, brain fog and poor memory. Wernickie-Korsakoff syndrome, or alcoholic encephalopathy, is a pronounced form of thiamin deficiency. [3] Research has shown that vitamin B3, or niacin, helps alcoholics detox from alcohol. [4] Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, helps support adrenal function and also helps rid the body of alcohol. For the recovering alcoholic suffering from insomnia and anxiety, vitamin B6, pyridoxine, is crucial for the production of serotonin and melatonin. Commonly, I give my recovering addicts/alcoholics a high quality B-complex supplement, along with vitamin A and vitamin C, which they are usually deficient in.

It’s my goal, as a doctor, to facilitate a physical recovery so that the emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of recovery have a better chance of succeeding. Food is a crucial medicine in restoring this balance of health. The sooner a newly-sober person feels great, I’ve found, the sooner he or she will begin to accept a life free of crippling attachments to substances — the life they are truly are meant to live.

REFERENCES:

1. Xiao, et al. “Effect of ethanol on midbrain neurons: role of opioid receptors.” Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2007 Jul; 31(7): 1106-13.

2. “Deficiency of Dietary Omega-3s May Explain Depressive Behaviors.” Science Daily. Jan 30, 2011. https://www. Sciencedaily.com.

3. Martin, et al. “The Role of Thiamin Deficiency in Alcoholic Brain Disease.: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. July 2004. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov.

4.Cleary JP. Etiology and biological treatment of alcohol addiction. J Neuro Ortho Med Surg 1985;6:75-7.

For more by Maura Henninger, N.D., click here.

For more on natural health, click here.

An Introduction to Acupuncture and Psychiatric Disorders

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“I have studied oriental theories and traditional Chinese medicine at Pacific College. Before I took any pills to treat my bipolar disorder, I inquired about other, more holistic approaches to treat my condition. Sure enough, yoga and meditation can compliment Western treatments for mood disorders and acupuncture can also help a great deal. This is a great article briefly describing Eastern theories and how they approach mental illness.” – Peace and Love, Robyn

Acupuncture is an ancient form of traditional Chinese medicine. It works on the principle of stimulating points in the body to correct imbalances in the flow of energy (Qi) through channels known as meridians. This belief is based on the interaction of the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) and having profound effects on internal organs, which are either yin or yang.

Traditional Chinese medicine also recognizes the mind and body interacting as one, meaning that emotions have a physiological effect on the body. Five emotions are represented by the five elements:

  • Water (fear)
  • Wood (anger)
  • Fire (happiness)
  • Earth (worry)
  • Metal (grief)

Western medical practitioners traditionally have questioned the validity of traditional Chinese medicines such as acupuncture. More recently, acupuncture has been recognized as a legitimate treatment for some conditions and is growing in popularity.

acupuncture

ANXIETY 

Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses worldwide. Many people suffer some form of anxiety occasionally but others cannot manage this natural response to a stressful situation. When a person experiences a highly stressful or threatening scenario, the mind can be overloaded and fail to develop ways of coping.

Although the symptoms can be as manageable as an ominous feeling in the pit of the stomach, some suffer much worse. Anxiety can trigger the following responses:

  • physical, such as an irregular heartbeat
  • cognitive, which can cause negative thoughts
  • behavioral, which may include uncharacteristic aggression or restlessness
  • emotional, such as fear.

Depending on which of these symptoms are suffered, different anxiety disorders may be diagnosed. These include:

  • generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • panic disorder
  • social anxiety disorder
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

There are a variety of causes of anxiety; all have different treatments. A person’s personality, behavior or thinking style can cause them to be more susceptible to anxiety. Research has proven it also can be hereditary. Biochemical factors such as a chemical imbalance in the brain also has been proven to cause anxiety.

Traditional Chinese medicine relates anxiety to an imbalance of the heart and kidney. Fire represents the heart and joy according to the five elements. The diagnosis is that too much heat in the heart will imbalance the interaction with the kidney (represented as water and fear). This will result in the water organ failing to contain the fire organ rising up to the mind, leading to anxiety. Acupuncture on points around the heart, kidney, spleen and ear are used to treat anxiety.

In a comprehensive literature review appearing in a recent edition ofCNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics, it was proved that acupuncture is comparable to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which psychologists commonly use to treat anxiety (Errington-Evans, 2011). Another study published in the Journal of Endocrinology in March 2013 discovered stress hormones were lower in rats after receiving electric acupuncture (Eshkevari, Permaul and Mulroney, 2013).

DEPRESSION

It is estimated that approximately one in five people will experience clinical depression at least once in their lifetime. Although it is natural to feel sad and down at times, especially after experiencing loss, these slight effects can be managed with gradual lifestyle adjustments. Clinical depression, however, refers to a long-lasting and intense emotional, physical and cognitive state that greatly affects day-to-day life. Symptoms include:

  • Loss of positive associations and sense of achievement (lack of interest in normally pleasurable activities)
  • Negative thoughts (often worrying about the future)
  • Irritability, agitation and exhaustion
  • Changes in sleeping patterns (too much or too little)
  • Hopelessness (feeling trapped or suicidal)

The causes of depression are known to be similar to the causes of anxiety. It is traditionally treated with antidepressant medication, psychological methods or a combination of both.

Depression is considered to be a problem with circulating Qi around your body, according to traditional Chinese beliefs. The main organ responsible for circulating Qi is recognized as the liver with the heart and spleen playing supporting roles. The most common acupuncture treatment used to increase the flow of Qi is known as The Four Gates. This involves stimulating source points on both hands between the thumb and index finger and both feet between the big toe and second toe.

Anxiety and depression remain two of the most common mental disorders worldwide. As further research continues, acupuncture and other forms of complementary therapies are gradually being proved to be legitimate treatments for anxiety, depression and other illnesses. Perhaps more important than anything for our health is varying our lifestyles by trying alternative therapies, including exercise, yoga and meditation. It is important, however, to always get a second opinion and consult a doctor any time complementary therapies are tried.

References

Errington-Evans, N. (2011). Acupuncture for anxiety. CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics, 18(4), 277-284. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-5949.2011.00254.x

Eshkevari, L., Permaul, E., & Mulroney, S.E. (2013). Acupuncture blocks cold stress-induced increases in the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal axis in the rat. Journal of Endocrinology, 217(1), 95-104. doi: 10.1530/JOE-12-040

Source:

http://psychcentral.com/lib/acupuncture-anxiety-depression/00017321