Many people suffer from addiction to various substances and behaviors. Substances can include narcotics, prescriptions drugs, smoking, coffee, sugar, and many others. Eating, sex, shopping, exercise, and other habits or behaviors can be taken to their excesses as well. When someone suffers from addiction, they cannot do without some substance or activity on a regular basis. If addiction is left untreated, it can adversely affect a person’s physical, mental and emotional health, in addition to their relationships, their work and many other aspects. Once a person has decided to alter his or her behavior, we at Tao of Wellness can help by collaborating with appropriate mental health professionals, alleviating withdrawal symptoms and exploring healthy alternatives. Acupuncture, tuina bodywork, far infrared therapy, our cleansing & detoxification protocol, nutritional therapy, InfiniChi energy healing and Chinese herbal medicine have all been used successfully to help patients stop the addictive cycle.
How We Successfully Treat Addiction
When you are addicted to a substance it usually begins because the substance makes you feel better or different. This is a form a self-medicating. The mechanism underlying drug addiction is that the drug’s opiate substances bind to receptor sites normally occupied by your own body’s endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that your body produces naturally that cause feelings of happiness and relaxation. When the endorphin binds to certain sites in your brain, you experience relief from pain and stress, and a sensation of pleasure. With the use of drugs and increased exposure to the addictive substance, your body decreases its production of natural endorphins because it is being replaced by the addictive drug. The body sees its own production of natural endorphins as unnecessary. What this means is that without the addictive substance, the user gets no natural relief from pain or stress—thus, they need more of the substance to just feel normal. This is a simple explanation of addiction. In order to effectively stop the cycle of substance addiction, you will need to get your body to restore normal production of natural endorphins.
Certain activities can induce the abnormal production of endorphins, thus subjecting certain people with genetic predispositions to become addicted and indulge excessively in these activities. Addictive behavior includes gambling, sex, gaming, shopping, overeating and even exercise. These addictive behaviors can be destroy health, finances and relationships.
One of the ways acupuncture relieves withdrawal symptoms from addictions of any kind is by activating the release of previously suppressed natural endorphins, which can then occupy the receptor sites formerly dominated by the addictive substance or activity. In doing so, the acupuncture treatment has a naturally calming effect. Acupuncture also improves energy and concentration, soothes irritability, and promotes restful sleep. Additionally it can also activate the natural detoxification function of the liver, kidneys, and lungs in releasing any stored toxins from foods, drugs, and chemicals.
At Tao Of Wellness we most commonly treat patients who wish to become free of substance abuse including narcotics, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, sugar and caffeine. When dealing with nicotine, for example, patients are generally treated daily for the first week, tapering gradually week by week. After one month of treatment, a majority of patients whom consistently followed through with their treatment protocol are successful in altering their addictive habit. Drug and alcohol treatment protocols are more involved and lengthy, sometimes done in an in-patient setting at a rehab center or out-patient setting at our offices, but follow a similarly high frequency of treatment initially with tapering of treatment over time.
Regardless of how long you’ve suffered with substance abuse, making an appointment at Tao of Wellness is the first step toward addressing your addiction. We’re an integrative health center that works alongside the other specialists on your medical team which, in the case of addiction, may include a psychiatrist, psychotherapist or social worker, internist and others. We are also advocates of the 12-Step program for recovery and encourage all of our patients to participate in it.
You’ll begin at Tao of Wellness by setting up an initial consultation. One of our doctors will review your current condition alongside your medical history. We want to know all symptoms you’re experiencing right now, besides those associated with addiction, in addition to significant health and life details of your past, as Chinese Medicine considers how your addiction is related to the rest of your mental and physical health. After your consultation, you’ll be offered an individualized treatment plan that will include acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, nutritional therapy, and meditation. These are our primary therapies to treat addiction. Tuina bodywork, InfiniChi energy healing, our detoxification protocol, and far-infrared heat therapy may be recommended as necessary. Your practitioner will then answer any questions you have before beginning your therapy.
Our Customized Therapies for Overcoming Addiction
Customized Treatment Program
There is no one program fits for everyone who suffers from addiction. In addition to helping wean you off the substance or activity, we will help resolve the issues at the heart of your addiction, namely the reasons that caused you to begin the habit. At Tao of Wellness your licensed practitioner will develop a plan that is personalized just for you. Your therapies will be performed at our offices and possibly at the residential rehab center and you will be instructed in self-healing techniques for your daily life. What you do every day on your own will have a lasting impact on how you strengthen your body to lessen your cravings and withdrawal symptoms and work toward sobriety.
Much research has validated the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of addiction. In fact, it is so effective that in certain counties throughout the US, acupuncture is a legally mandated treatment protocol in lieu of prison sentencing for first time offenders. There are specific acupoints on the body for the treatment of addiction. Being that each person’s set of symptoms of addiction withdrawal is unique, so is the acupuncture treatment. We also often employ ear acupuncture as part of the protocol. Ear acupuncture therapy has been researched extensively and has proven very effective at treating addiction. With acupuncture treatment you’ll find that it’s a very relaxing experience. The same calming and mood-elevating neurotransmitters, like endorphins, serotonin and dopamine that are released from your brain during the addictive behavior, are secreted during a session of acupuncture. With regular and consistent acupuncture, your body will begin to achieve a balanced state and the cravings and withdrawal symptoms will subside. Of course, sobriety is a lifelong pursuit and acupuncture can be used as part of a maintenance plan to specifically lower the risk of relapse. Learn more about acupuncture.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese medicine has long treated substance abuse and addictive behavior and, as a result, a great deal of knowledge about specific herbs to help reduce withdrawal symptoms has been accumulated and passed down. Like any other Chinese medical therapy, there is no singular addiction formula that works for everyone. Based on your condition’s unique presentation, a customized herbal combination will be made to help ease your symptoms along with addressing your other health concerns. Learn more about Chinese herbal medicine.
People often overlook nutrition when thinking about physical or mental health. What you eat and drink can be a medicine or a poison to your body and mind. We will explore your diet and offer advice on how to use your food as medicine when treating addiction.
Certain foods can lead to poor health, affect your mood and possibly lead to cravings for the substance or behavior you are trying to quit. Other foods are particularly good at helping the body detoxify–ridding it of addictive substances and helping your liver and kidneys to work better. It is important to begin keeping a food journal to better understand any relationship between what you are consuming and your feelings or cravings. Every patient receives general nutritional guidance but undergoing a Nutritional Consultation goes much further in providing a customized menu plan, complete with meals and snacks to help your unique addiction condition. Working with our practitioners certified in traditional Chinese nutrition will allow you the flexibility to move beyond just counting calories. We’ll ensure that selecting and preparing foods will be a process that’s a right fit for you. If you’re used to eating out often and you don’t have much experience preparing your own food, then we’ll teach you new ways to care for yourself. Since you eat several times every day your diet can be an opportunity for healing as well as for enjoyment.
Taking supplements like Adrenal Support and B-complex can help your body’s energy and give it the essential ingredients to manufacture its own endorphins which will not only make you feel better but also reduce your cravings. Additional supplements may be recommended to calm the mind and improve the metabolism, which are two areas that can often compound addictions. Working with a licensed professional knowledgeable in nutritional supplements will enable you to receive a treatment plan that’s both safe and effective. Learn more about nutritional therapy.
Cleansing & Detoxification
Often when substances are abused they can disrupt the proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients from the nourishing foods we eat. This can lead to toxin build up, as well as breakdown in digestive and elimination systems, which can create compounded problems like fatigue, pain, sleep disruptions, and infection. These same physical side effects may also result from addictive behaviors as well, which may cause the body to work less optimally. Our proprietary cleansing and detoxification protocol is designed to expel toxins and inflammatory waste out of the body to restore proper functioning of your lungs, liver, kidneys, and the whole of your metabolism. This protocol consists of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, tuina bodywork, InfiniChi energy healing, nutritional therapy, mind-body exercise, and far-infrared heat therapy. Learn more about our cleansing and detoxification protocol.
Mind Body Exercise
Exercise is key for health and longevity. In our culture of “if one is good then more must be better,” some people take exercise to such extreme that they profess to be an “exercise junkie!” In general, moderate exercise is certainly helpful for most people as it can naturally increase your own endorphin release and repair the brain receptor sites. It can be enormously helpful to incorporate mind-body exercises like tai chi or qi gong. These help regulate the circulatory and nervous systems, thus promoting proper mental and physical health. At Tao of Wellness you’ll be coached by one of our doctors certified in several forms of tai chi and qi gong. Your practitioner will work with you in determining the right practice as a supplement to your other exercise and nutrition regimens. Learn more about tai chi and qi gong.
InfiniChi Energy Therapy
InfiniChi is Chinese medical energy therapy in the Tao Of Wellness tradition. This is a series of non-touch techniques that aim to strengthen and regulate the many functions of the mind and body. The main tenet of Chinese medicine is to assist the body in healing itself and InfiniChi is no exception. The imbalances in your body and mind are assessed by your certified InfiniChi practitioner, and while you rest, are restored so the healing process can take hold. You’ll have the opportunity to communicate the physical, mental or emotional changes you feel. Your doctor will likely prescribe simple practice of breathing or visualization exercises at home to keep the healing process working for you in between treatments. Learn more about InfiniChi.
Tuina is Chinese medical bodywork and our doctors are trained in several different tuina protocols to enhance organ function, eliminate pain, and enhance waste elimination. For the treatment of addiction, our tuina protocol often will include dry skin brushing, lymphatic drainage, join mobilization, and cupping of the abdomen and back. Cupping is a suction-based bodywork therapy that stimulates organ function by way of nerve and soft tissue stimulation, in addition to assisting in expelling toxins through the pores of the skin. Learn more about tuina bodywork.
Natural Healthcare for Addiction
Tao of Wellness was established in 1976 as a resource to address addiction. We strive to support you in mind and body, and invite you to make an appointment for your health and wellbeing. It would be our pleasure to serve you.