Call Us Today: (877) 716-9047

Holistic Addiction Recovery: Mindfulness, Meditation and Yoga

Young adult woman sitting on yoga mat sitting in meditation pose.

Ridding the body of a substance is an important part of drug addiction recovery. However, the body is one of several areas that need treatment. Achieving holistic addiction recovery means treating the physical, mental, and spiritual bodies at the same time. Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness are holistic treatment methods that offer many benefits.

The Limits of Traditional Approaches

The medical method of treating addiction involves:

  • Diagnosing addiction and co-occurring disorders
  • Prescribing medication
  • Monitoring patients during detoxification and treatment
  • Participating in individual and group therapy

When combined, the above elements are effective, which is why this traditional method is such a popular way to treat addiction. As effective as the medical method is, it is more of a blanket form of treatment that doesn’t necessarily recognize the individual’s needs.

Also, by only treating the physical aspects of addiction, the chances of relapse increase dramatically. Should a person also have a co-occurring disorder not included in traditional methods, this disorder will go untreated.

What Are Holistic Approaches in Addiction Treatment?

Types of holistic treatment approaches include yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, as well as nutritional therapy and behavioral therapy.

Holistic approaches allow a person to restore the emotional connection with themselves, their family, and their community—connections often lost during the process of addiction. The holistic approach to addiction treats the whole person.

Holistic addiction treatment programs offer a more complete recovery process to reduce the chance of relapse. They encourage personal growth and empower individuals to resume control over their addiction and their lives.

The Science Behind Holistic Approaches

In addition to the benefits to well-being and addiction recovery success that have been reported by individuals participating in holistic methods, there is also plenty of scientific evidence to confirm their effectiveness.

Several years of study and research have revealed that holistic approaches have had significant effects on brain development and function, physical health, and overall well-being and happiness.


Mindfulness is defined as remaining present in the moment, allowing thoughts and feelings to flow without attachment or judgment.

According to The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a review of 37 studies and their 3,531 total participants revealed that mindfulness-based approaches significantly reduced craving levels.1 

Another study discovered that during meditation, dopamine levels increased by well over 50%. This was a significant finding because addiction causes the natural production of dopamine to slow or stop completely. When this happens, a person must rely on a substance to achieve the good feeling that dopamine would normally provide.


Yoga is a physical exercise that combines the holding of postures and poses, along with breathing methods. The slow and controlled breathing and movements trigger endorphins to be released naturally. This 5,000-year old practice has been found to make practitioners more mindful, allowing them to experience negative thoughts and emotions in healthy ways.

For those in substance abuse treatment, yoga has shown to prevent participants from acting on urges to use substances, which dramatically reduced the risk of relapse.


The benefits of meditation for those in addiction recovery are well-documented. One analysis of the psychological effects of meditation revealed that this practice offered a way for participants to receive the benefits of psychotherapy, as well as spiritual advancement.

A review of 18 studies with a total of 1,173 patients that involved seven meditation techniques showed that those with depressive disorders were able to greatly reduce their depression symptoms with meditation.2

There are several other benefits of holistic addiction treatments, including but not limited to:

  • Better emotional stability
  • A higher degree of self-awareness
  • Improved ability to manage and reduce stress
  • Improved brain function and activity, mental health, and building of new neural connections

How Recovery Centers Can Integrate Holistic Practices

Addiction rehabilitation centers can integrate holistic practices with their traditional treatment programs in several ways.

Offering Continuous Opportunities for Holistic Therapies

Regular classes can be offered by in-house yoga, mindfulness, and meditation practitioners. A rehabilitation center can also consider partnering with local organizations that offer these holistic therapies and encourage those who are undergoing treatment to take advantage of these options when not at the facility.

Making Holistic Therapy a Requirement

The integration of holistic therapies can be communicated as part of the requirements of an addiction treatment program. Or, they can be offered as options that can be tried whenever clients wish to explore them or feel they are needed.

Discussing Specific Techniques

Specific elements from each practice can also be integrated with traditional treatments. For example, group therapy leaders may suggest a certain yoga pose or meditation technique as a solution to specific challenges that are discussed during therapy sessions.

Encouraging Therapy After Treatment

For clients who have completed recovery center  programs, it’s important to communicate the importance of continuing with holistic treatment programs and practices after they have left the treatment center.

A Leader in Holistic Therapy for Addiction

Young man sitting on his couch, focused in meditation

Meditation, mindfulness, yoga, and other holistic therapies have had far-reaching benefits for those recovering from addiction, which are also supported by scientific evidence.

If you are seeking addiction treatment for yourself or a loved one, exploring what holistic recovery options rehabilitation centers offer is an important consideration before choosing one.

Del Arroyo Recovery Center combines traditional medical approaches to addiction treatment with proven holistic therapies for individualized care. Our experience, compassion, and commitment set us apart. Begin your recovery journey with Del Arroyo Recovery Center by calling (877) 535-0636.


Blue green gradient line