The word prana is a hindu word meaning breath or the source of life. Pranayama is the practice of breathing techniques to energize, calm,a dns sustain the body. Pranic healing is the use of breath work to help the mind, the body, and the spirit. Mindfulness and meditation are popular techniques in treatment because of their effectiveness in reducing symptoms of stress and alleviating symptoms of co-occurring mental health conditions with addiction like depression and anxiety. Both practices encourage the practitioner to focus on their breath and use the breath as an anchor to staying in the present moment. By staying present, people stay out of both depression and anxiety, which can cause stress or be caused by stress. Often it is said that when you are living in the past you are depressed and when you are living in the future you are anxious. Learning to breath and stay in the present is an invaluable tool to those both inside and outside of recovery for addiction.
Lakehouse Recovery Center uses pranic healing as one of our integrative healing modalities. Medical Xpress recently reported on how yogic breathing, essentially the same as pranic healing practice, can help fight not just symptoms of depression, but major depression. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry “found significant improvement in symptoms of depression and anxiety in medicated patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who participated in the breathing technique compared to medicated patients who did not partake,” the website explains.
Using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale to evaluate the severity of depression, researchers found that after two months, participants utilizing the yogic breathing methods reduced their score by “several points”. The control group who did not partake showed no improvements. The Hamilton scale is widely used by psychiatrists to evaluate different areas of depression including feelings of guilt and shame.
Practices which reduce the severity of depression should be considered seriously, despite their origins. According to the website, “more than half of the 41 million Americans who take antidepressants do not fully respond.” Half of those who have depression and are treated with prescription medications do not see any improvements. That is a startling and saddening statistic. “What’s more,” the website emphasizes, “patients who don’t fully respond to antidepressants are especially at risk of relapse.”
When depression is co-occurring with substance use disorders including drug addiction and alcoholism, a relapse in depression can mean a relapse in using drugs and alcohol. Without relief from or improvement of depression, one can be encouraged to continue using drugs and alcohol to cope with difficult symptoms.
Integrative activities and alternative methods of healing are important to our program at Lakehouse Recovery Center. Your path to recovery starts here. Call us today at 877.762.3707 for more information.