How Massage Can Help Recovering Alcoholics


April 22, 2013 by cmccune5469

People become dependent on alcohol because they come to associate it with good feelings.  Substances in the blood stream, such as serotonin and dopamine, appear to be related to these feelings.  People sense feelings that made them feel good in the past, their body craves another dose of the dopamine that goes along with it.  Therefore people are drawn toward that stimulation, training themselves to associate these good feelings, developing towards addiction.  People in early stages of withdrawal from alcohol have significantly reduced levels of dopamine in their bloodstream.  They don’t have anything else to turn to which can make them feel good making them susceptible to relapse.  Massage therapy can help them in readjusting their body and begin to enjoy other stimuli in place of alcohol.

Massage can help recovering alcoholics mainly by easing the symptoms of alcohol withdraw syndrome, with lowering the pulse rate, and encouraging them to engage into more of the process of treatment.  It is particularly helpful throughout the treatment because the body reacts to massage in a similar to alcohol and drugs.  Massage can play an important part in reawakening the rewards and pleasure pathways in the nervous system and swaying them away from the alcohol use.  One of the initial key steps for recovering addicts is to find that there are other sources of pleasure available.
The benefits for massage go much deeper than mere pleasure, especially with recovering alcoholics.  The pleasure of massage is much different than eating a sundae or being surprised at your birthday party.  Caring touch leads to other physiological changes that not only make people feel good but also substantially improve their health in many ways.

Massage makes people feel relaxed and safe, which leads to a decrease in levels of stress hormones like norepinephrine and cortisol in the blood.  This is important because stress is more than a temporary disturbance, and it affects more than just someone’s mental state.  High levels of stress hormones can have a negative impact on health as they lead to higher heart rate and blood pressure, which puts stress on the circulatory system.  Another result can be a weakened immune system, making the sufferer more susceptible to sickness.

These conditions can all be more threatening to people who are beginning their break from alcohol along with the stress their bodies are enduring in readjustment.  Massage can help to relieve this stress, and many rehabilitation programs have added massage to their regimen of treatments.  This type of therapy may be an effective addiction as the tool in the struggle out of addiction.

2 thoughts on “How Massage Can Help Recovering Alcoholics

  1. I like what you wrote. “Caring touch leads to other physiological changes that not only make people feel good but also substantially improve their health in many ways”. It’s true.


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