In this article, I’m going to teach you how to use qigong for opiate addiction recovery. But first, I need to lead up to how I discovered this alternative treatment modality. A little over six years ago, I conquered a severe opiate addiction after numerous failed attempts.
Previous attempts at quitting opiates always left me feeling depressed and fatigued for months on end, so I would always end up using opiates again.
This last and final time quitting was a success because a family friend sent me specific supplements to repair healthy neurotransmission, with a focus on increasing levels of dopamine, endorphin/enkephalin, GABA, and serotonin.
Between supplementation, nutrition, and exercise, this natural triad of health had me feeling quite well soon after quitting opiates. Thus, since I felt pretty good and didn’t have any opiate cravings, I decided there was no more need to use opiates.
During these first few months after quitting opiates, I relied heavily upon intense and regular exercise to feel naturally high and improve my mental, emotional, and physical well-being. I would typically work out around five times a week for 30-90 minutes each time.
My forms of exercise were:
Things were going GREAT for about a year. Then, one evening at the gym, I was pressing a little more weight than I should’ve, and I both heard and felt a “snap.” I hurt my shoulder pretty bad and thus wasn’t able to do my normal forms of exercise for several months.
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During this time, I started seeing a massage therapist who helped work on my shoulder as well as my overall posture and health. I told him how much I was missing working out, and he recommended that I start doing something called “qigong.”
I had never heard of qigong before this, but my massage therapist likened it to tai chi and demonstrated a few qigong moves. The moves were beautiful, graceful, slow, and aligned in synch with slow breathing patterns and mindfulness.
It looked cool!
I went home and purchased a few qigong DVDs online, and when they arrived a few days later, I began a daily practice of qigong.
I was instantly hooked!!! After not being able to exercise for a few weeks, I was becoming anxious, depressed, restless, and my once strong mindset was weakening by the day.
But from my first 20-minute beginning qigong routine, I felt more:
Qigong was an excellent addition to my positive recovery habits, and since I wasn’t able to weight train or surf or swim, I relied upon it heavily for feelings of mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
I loved qigong so much that I ended up becoming a Certified Level 2 Qigong Instructor. Now I’m an Opiate Recovery Coach and the founder of this website, OpiateAddictionSupport.com, and I frequently recommend qigong to my coaching clients as a highly-effective complementary and integrative recovery modality.
Qigong (chi kung) is an ancient form of exercise that originated in China thousands of years ago. This name literally translates to “Life Energy Cultivation.”
Qigong is a moving meditation that focuses on breathing and slow, deliberate movements as a way to cultivate and balance qi (chi). In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), qi is described as “life energy.”
In Chinese medicine, there is a belief that many of the physical and psychological health issues stem from issues with qi, such as too little qi or blockages (stuck qi) where this life energy cannot move freely throughout the body in the way it naturally does.
Qigong is a practice that can help these issues, and it’s a very powerful form of exercise for anyone overcoming addiction.
How Qigong Can Help With Addiction Recovery
Qigong is a proven alternative and complimentary modality for addiction recovery. In a study from 2002, qigong was shown to be more effective than medication at relieving opiate withdrawal symptoms and at detoxing heroin from the body.
The qigong group had lower anxiety scores than the medication group, which is almost unbelievable when you think about it. It just shows you that the power of the mind and body is more impressive than any drug.
Individuals that are recovering from substance addiction often suffer from physical and mental withdrawal symptoms (both acute and post-acute). Additionally, many people that get addicted to drugs began using the substances as a way to self-medicate mental issues such as anxiety, depression, Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, etc.
Thus, once they quit using substances, these underlying issues often remain. In a study from 2013, qigong was found to be effective in the treatment and prevention of mental disorders.
In the study, Qigong was found to be helpful for the following:
- Psychological Well-Being
- Stress Management
- Sleep Disturbance
- Substance Abuse
- Cognitive Functioning
- Mood, Anxiety, and Depression
How To Use Qigong For Opiate Addiction Recovery
If you like what you’ve read so far, let me just say that I didn’t even scratch the surface of how many benefits you can experience from the regular practice of qigong. If you want to give it a try, simply go to YouTube and type “qigong” in the search bar and you’ll find a superabundance of free qigong moves and routines.
Here is a cool 9-minute YouTube video of Lee Holden teaching beginners qigong:
Qigong For Opiate Addiction – Final Thoughts
I simply cannot recommend qigong enough as a complementary and integrative form of opiate addiction recovery. I wouldn’t recommend qigong as a stand-alone form of addiction treatment, however, when added to a holistic treatment plan, qigong can improve your life and recovery in many extraordinary ways.
If you have any comments or questions on using qigong for opiate addiction recovery, please post them in the comment box below.