Content reviewed by Nicholas G. Glines, Executive Director at New Hope Ranch

Holistic treatment approaches are forms of healing that consider the entire person rather than just their diagnosis or specific symptoms. Typically, holistic healing approaches address healing as a triad that includes the mind, body and spirit, although some approaches consider emotions as a fourth component. In general, the term “holistic” is best described as dealing with the whole, complete person.

Holistic healing addresses several dimensions of both health and illness, including:

  • Psychological
  • Familial
  • Societal
  • Ethical
  • Spiritual
  • Biological

An increasing number of mental health and addiction treatment facilities offer holistic treatment modalities to integrate and complement traditional therapeutic interventions, such as psychotherapy. It is essential to acknowledge holistic treatment as an effective way to enhance both addiction treatment and long-term recovery.

Holistic Treatment Complements Traditional Addiction Treatment

It is important to recognize that the term “holistic treatment” may be used synonymously with other terms, including:

  • Complementary medicine/therapy
  • Alternative medicine/therapy
  • Integrative health

However, each of these terms holds different meanings. When a non-mainstream treatment approach is combined with conventional medicine, the treatment is considered complementary. When a non-mainstream treatment approach is used in place of traditional medicine, the treatment is viewed as an alternative. Integrative health brings both complementary and conventional treatment together in a coordinated way.

It is also crucial to understand that holistic medicine is not intended to be used in place of traditional treatment. Instead, holistic treatment is used to complement traditional treatment. When holistic approaches are used effectively, they strengthen treatment outcomes.

Types of Holistic Therapies in Addiction Recovery

Holistic treatment is an umbrella term that describes a variety of different treatments. Holistic interventions encourage self-discovery and emotional awareness to help patients recognize all the factors that influence their overall well-being.

Holistic therapies utilize a range of different techniques and approaches to help patients understand and overcome unique symptoms. All of the methods used help patients make deeper connections between their mind, body, personal experiences and relationships and identify how these elements play a role in their mental health, especially for those who struggle with addiction.

Mindfulness Meditation

One of the main techniques used in holistic treatment is mindfulness. Mindfulness is the state of being fully aware of the present moment, including awareness of both internal forces and external stimuli. In everyday life, most people go about their days on autopilot. People are immersed in their habitual behaviors without consciously thinking about what they are doing or how certain behaviors make them feel. Mindfulness helps people notice everything happening in the now instead of focusing on the past or future.

Mindfulness meditation may be used as a therapy in treatment, although it can also be utilized alone. To practice it, locate a quiet spot with little to no distractions. Set a timer for as little or as long as necessary. For beginners, try to start with five to 10 minutes. Then, sit or lay down in a comfortable position. For the duration of the practice, focus on your breath. If your mind begins to wander, gently bring your attention back to your breath. For mindfulness meditation to be effective, it is crucial to practice it consistently for several minutes every day.


Yoga is another popular holistic modality as it encourages physical activity while focusing the mind on the breath. Yoga involves quieting your mind while flowing through a series of different poses intended to provide flexibility and strength. There are many different styles of yoga to choose from. Each yoga style is designed to explore different and unique intentions.

Guided Imagery

Guided imagery is a valuable holistic approach, especially for those in recovery from substance use disorder. Guided imagery helps individuals to tap into their five senses, using visualization to improve an individual’s emotional state. It is often recognized as a form of hypnotherapy as it temporarily helps the patient access different emotional states and connections outside of their current circumstance.

Guided imagery involves guidance and direction by an addiction therapist. Over time, sessions help a patient fully listen to another person’s voice, directly lowering individual stress levels and helping transform coping styles. Guided imagery may involve visualization, storytelling and even fantasy exploration as creative ways to foster imagination and help surface repressed emotions.


Breathwork is an umbrella term to describe different breathing techniques that can be used to help enhance emotional awareness and awareness of thoughts and behaviors. Breathing is naturally an automatic process. When we consciously tune into our breath, we actively allow our brains to discover and work through underlying issues that fuel addiction if left unresolved. Breathwork helps individuals process and work through past trauma and experience relaxation in addiction recovery.

New Hope Ranch is an addiction treatment facility for men that prioritizes the use of holistic treatment modalities. We believe that holistic treatments effectively complement traditional therapies and help to provide greater clarity in your treatment and recovery journey. We offer many forms of experiential and holistic therapy at our treatment center. To learn more about holistic therapies or our array of addiction treatment programs, give us a call today at (737) 600-8565.