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Understanding the Benefits of Massage Therapy

As the concept of drug and alcohol rehab has evolved and treatment professionals have learned more and more about what works and what doesn’t, the idea of alternative treatment methods has taken off. When it comes to the idea of alternative and holistic treatment options one of the most popular and universally liked is massage therapy. 

Whether it is used as an alternative to more traditional treatment methods, or even to complement those methods, rehabilitation massage therapy is a great way for someone to get in tune with themselves physically, mentally, and even spiritually. It may be helpful to take a look at the concept of massage therapy, as well as the effectiveness of massage therapy as it relates to drug and alcohol rehab.

What Is Massage Therapy?

Dating back thousands of years, the concept of massage therapy has been used all over the world, from India to the United States. It became popular here as far back as the mid-1800s and saw its modern-day popularity peak beginning in the 1970s among athletes. 

The concept of massage therapy centers around the manipulation of soft tissue in the body for the purpose of overall wellness and managing certain health conditions. From a drug and alcohol treatment standpoint, this can be particularly useful during the detox process when the body is experiencing physical and mental pains associated with withdrawal symptoms. 

What Are Some of the Biggest Benefits of Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy not only has plenty of physical benefits but also mental and spiritual ones as well. Obviously, massage therapy can help alleviate physical pain. It can also help relax you and relieve any mental stresses that you may be experiencing. Massage therapy can be particularly beneficial when it comes to addressing the following ailments:

  • Anxiety
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Digestive issues
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Insomnia caused by anxiety and stress

Even if you aren’t suffering from one of these ailments, massage therapy can still be very beneficial. Some of the biggest benefits associated with massage therapy include:

  • Improve sleep
  • The building of trust
  • Reducing agitation and anxiety
  • Releasing “feel good” hormones
  • Providing a connection to your body
  • Improving or increasing body awareness
  • Lowering of the heart rate and blood pressure
  • Increasing serotonin and dopamine levels in the body
  • Providing an alternative, drug-free method of healing

How Can Massage Therapy Help With Addiction Treatment?

While it might seem like during massage therapy you just lay there while the therapist works on you, it is much more than that. When it comes to addiction treatment, it can either be used in place of more traditional treatment methods or even as a way to complement those methods.

During massage therapy, the therapist will knead and press on muscles and other pressure points to help with overall circulation as well as to calm the mind and relieve tension. Massage therapy is also a great way to get the body to release dopamine and other feel-good chemicals naturally and without the use of mind-altering substances. 

Massage therapy is a great way to relax and shut the mind down for a little. This can be particularly beneficial to those who are in addiction treatment and spend their days attending various therapy sessions that require their undivided attention. 

The Effectiveness of Massage Therapy as it Pertains to Addiction Treatment

We discussed some of the general benefits that are associated with massage therapy above, but what about specific benefits as it pertains to those who find themselves in addiction treatment? Well, let’s take a look at the effectiveness of massage therapy as it pertains to addiction treatment.

Reducing Pain and Discomfort

When a person stops using drugs, they begin to feel things more. That’s because the drugs were masking whatever issues the person might have had, including aches and pains. In addition, the symptoms and side effects associated with withdrawing off of drugs and alcohol can also be a painful experience. 

Massage therapy is a great and natural way to reduce and relieve some of those pains and discomforts one might feel, especially during the early stages of detox. By stimulating the blood flow in the body, the body can help naturally heal any damage it might have suffered to the tissues or muscles.

Improve Sleep Quality

One of the most common symptoms associated with withdrawing and detoxing off drugs and alcohol is the body’s inability to get a good night’s sleep. Some people might struggle to sleep throughout the night, while others might find themselves suffering from insomnia and not being able to sleep at all.

Massage therapy allows both the body and mind to relax and eases any feelings of worry or stress that someone may have. When the body and mind are rested and relaxed it is easier to not only get to sleep, but also to sleep comfortably throughout the night. 

Stimulate Relaxation 

In addition to reducing pain and discomfort and improving sleep quality, massage therapy is also a great way to stimulate pressure receptors in the brain. This can help improve the overall function of the vagus nerve, which is the primary nerve in the brain. 

When the vagus nerve is stimulated, it can help reduce blood pressure, slow down the heart rate, and reduce the stress hormones in the body. This can all create a sense of calm and relaxation all over the body in a natural way and without the need for drugs and alcohol

Healthy Hormone Balance

People who suffer from drug and alcohol addictions tend to suffer from a hormonal imbalance. This is because drugs and alcohol change up the entire chemical balance in the body. Massage therapy can be a great way to increase the body’s natural production of dopamine and serotonin, two of the main components of having a healthy hormonal balance.

What Are the Most Common Types of Massage Therapy Used in Addiction Treatment?

There are many different options available when it comes to massage therapy. Not everyone has the same threshold when it comes to pain and some people prefer different types of massages than others. That’s why there are so many options available, so everyone can get the massage therapy that works best for them. Some of the more popular massage therapy options include the following:

Deep Tissue

The ultimate goal of a deep tissue massage is to improve your overall posture and movement. A deep tissue massage can also be a great way to relieve chronic pain and even deal with lingering sports-related injuries. During a deep tissue massage, the massage therapist will focus on the connective tissue that can be found along the spine.


A shiatsu massage is ideal for someone who is looking to improve the overall function of their organs and tissues. By doing so, it will ultimately result in the boosting of energy levels. During this type of massage, the massage therapist will focus specifically on certain points along the body’s meridian pathway.


A Swedish massage is designed to help improve the circulation of the blood throughout the body. It can also help address issues with the lymph nodes. When getting a Swedish massage, the massage therapist will typically focus on the muscle tissue that is connected to the shoulders with the use of oil. 

Hot Stone

Hot stone massages are used to increase blood flow with the goal of relieving muscle pain and injuries. During a hot stone massage, the massage therapist will place the stone or stones on the area that needs to be addressed. This will likely be either the back, the hands, or the feet. 

Are You Interested in Rehabilitation Massage Therapy?

Whether it’s in place of more traditional treatment methods or as a complement to those methods, massage therapy is a great way to relieve the physical and mental pains that come along with addiction and addiction treatment. 

At Harmony Place, we are proud to offer holistic therapy options, including massage therapy as a way to complement our group and individual therapy sessions. If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction and could benefit from massage therapy, contact us today. We will discuss with you the various treatment options we offer and put together a treatment plan that is custom-made for you and to address your needs.