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Detox Local

Finding a Holistic Drug Detox Center

Written By: Gary Bowers

Article Updated: 01/26/2021

Number of References: 14 Sources

Holistic drug detox is an emerging trend in the detox and drug rehabilitation community. Although many aspects of holistic drug detox have been used for thousands of years in a variety of settings, there hasn’t been much research on how these practices affect addiction or their efficacy in preventing relapse. However, the body of evidence that supports the use of holistic components for overall well-being is strong. Holistic drug detox is a viable alternative to more traditional detox programs. In this guide, we will detail some of the most effective holistic therapies in use today.

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What Is Holistic Drug Detox?

Holistic detox is a combination of therapies that seek to treat the entire person and not just the symptoms of the disease. Rest assured, holistic drug detox may also include components of medical detox, but instead of simply offering ibuprofen for a headache, holistic detox will also offer a variety of therapies that will work together to ease pain, relieve tension, and promote healing.

Further to the use of holistic approaches simply for detox or withdrawal, these approaches can provide a ‘lifeline’ to someone in recovery. For example, learning to meditate in holistic drug detox is a skill that can be used for the rest of someone’s life to lower stress levels and improve mood. Studies have shown that the use of meditation can aid in the treatment of a number of conditions.

Holistic approaches aren’t just being used during detox and withdrawal. The use of similar practices is becoming more common in the military, as people are increasingly seeking more well-rounded and in some cases, alternative, modes of healing.

Types Of Holistic Therapies Used By Detox Centers

By definition, ‘holistic’ detox would include a variety of approaches to treat withdrawal. By using a combination of therapies, including traditional medicine, holistic detox centers seek to improve the overall care of a person, addressing their physical and emotional needs. There are many new tools being added to the collection of holistic therapies that are commonly used in detox centers today. Music therapy and art therapy are growing in acceptance, and showing promise when used in conjunction with other forms of therapy.

Here are some of the more common elements used in holistic drug detox:


Drug withdrawal and detox can be a stressful and challenging experience. During the detoxification process, the body’s systems are in a temporary state of upheaval. Someone experiencing detox may have irrational thoughts, a depressed mood, and trouble concentrating. Meditation can step in as a complementary form of therapy in these cases.

Meditation can be practiced in many ways, and mindfulness meditation is rising in popularity due to its simplicity and benefits. Mindfulness meditation would typically involve deep breathing and objective observation of what is happening in the body and mind at that moment and that moment alone. When the mind strays to other thoughts, mindfulness meditation teaches us to bring our minds and bodies back into the present moment.

Meditation practices have been used for thousands of years, and have repeatedly been shown to reduce stress, improve mood, and increase concentration. Meditation is a skill that can not only be applied to ease the stress of someone involved with detox but applied in all aspects of their life as a coping skill.


Acupuncture has been used in China for over 2,000 years, and the practice has gained the attention of western medicine. Acupuncture is seen as a viable form of therapy or an adjunct to therapy treating a number of conditions including and insomnia, COPD, and headaches.

In holistic detox centers, acupuncture is used alongside other forms of therapy to relieve stress, improve mood, promote better sleep, and address cravings. In all, the WHO (World Health Organization) has recognized acupuncture as a form of treatment for over 40 conditions.

Acupuncture therapy would begin with an assessment by an acupuncturist. The health assessment will guide the acupuncturist in their approach, determining what acupuncture points would need to be addressed. Following the assessment, acupuncture typically involves sitting or lying quietly while an acupuncturist inserts very thin needles into various spots on the body based on the needs (symptoms) of the patient.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is the practice of joint and spinal manipulation with the intention of realizing a number of health benefits, such as reducing back pain, tension relief, and managing headaches among others. Chiropractic care is increasingly being used in conjunction with traditional medicine as a useful tool in treatment.

In a holistic detox center, chiropractic care will be used to correct alignments in the spine and neck which can stimulate hormones like endorphins and neurotransmitters such as dopamine. Endorphin flow and increased dopamine levels make us feel good! Stimulating these body functions naturally can help in addressing the body/mind association with drugs and their cravings.


To some, massage therapy may seem too basic or simple for detox treatment, but massage therapy is becoming increasingly popular in detox centers for one reason: it works! Although there aren’t any firmly documented studies showing how massage therapy specifically treats addiction, massage therapy is a valuable component to a holistic detox treatment plan.

Massage therapy works as an adjunct to detox treatment because it feels good. A professional massage in a detox facility will help relieve stress and ease tension. Studies have shown that a massage can also reduce cortisol, a stress-induced hormone, and release serotonin and dopamine – feel-good neurotransmitters!

What To Look For In Holistic Detox Centers

Finding the right detox center for you can be an important part of recovery. There are many factors to consider when making this decision. Remember the term “holistic’ in this context implies that a wide range of therapies is being used, not just one single approach. With this in mind, you can piece together what options and therapies are most likely to provide the most benefit and result in long-term wellness in recovery.

Diverse Therapy Options

A quality holistic detox center will have a diverse set of therapeutic options. While more doesn’t always equal “better”, holistic detox centers should have therapies that focus on mind, body, and spirit.

In addition to the forms of therapy discussed in this article, other forms of holistic detox therapy would include Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Yoga, Adventure Therapy, and Therapeutic Exercise.

Staff Credentials and Certifications

Having professionally certified clinicians, staff and instructors will be an important factor in your decision. Although certain therapies like meditation and acupuncture have extremely low numbers of incident side effects, having professional care can help ensure quality, consistent, and comprehensive care.

Some of the certifications you can look for in holistic detox centers:

  • Meditation: Although meditation can be practiced without the need for a license, there are some special certifications and accredited programs that can be a mark of quality in this field:

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals recognizes Certified Meditation Instructors with the C-MI designation. Certified Meditation Instructors must undergo a rigorous vetting and training process that includes 190 hours of continuing education and holds a requisite undergraduate degree in a healthcare-related field of study.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) certification would include the CMF designation for Certified Mindfulness Facilitator. Earning this certification requires an intensive 8-week training program.

The International Mindfulness Meditation Alliance also maintains a list of accredited mindfulness and mediation schools.

A quality acupuncturist will also proudly display their credentials. Some common insignias are:
C.A., C.Ac – Certified Acupuncturist
D.C.M – Doctor of Chinese Medicine
Dipl. Ac. – Diplomate in Acupuncture
M.A.O.M. – Masters of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
R.A., R.Ac. – Registered Acupuncturist

  • Chiropractic Care: In order to practice chiropractic care, one must first obtain the D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic) as well as be certified/licensed by the state in which they operate. A quality chiropractor will also display their credentials.

Some common credential insignias include:
D.C. – Doctor of Chiropractic
D.A.C.R.B – Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Rehabilitation (ACA)
D.A.C.O – Diplomate of the American Academy of Chiropractic Orthopedics

  • Massage Therapy: Most states require licensure of Massage Therapists and regulation of the Massage Therapy industry has raised the standards and quality of care received from a Massage Therapist. Look for Massage Therapists that have the “LMT” (Licensed Massage Therapist) credential – this would indicate they have completed the requisite training, education, and background checks necessary to be licensed.

Additionally, most professional Massage Therapists will be board certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB). The credential for board-certified massage therapists is BCTMB.

Medical Detox - An Important Component To Quality Care

In this article, we have covered the components and benefits of holistic care in drug detox, but medical care is very necessary during detox and drug withdrawal. Medical care would be administered by a medical professional. Any quality holistic detox center will have the medical staff required to treat the physical and psychological effects of the detoxification process.

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