Martial arts have been around since the earliest forms of civilization. Often coming from Mesopotamian and East Asian origins, they can be traced back to ancient forms of illustration of people bandaging their fists to engage in close combat boxing. The Tang Dynasty of China introduced the use of weapons for different forms of martial arts. From these different techniques emerged other popular East Asian martial arts concepts such as Shaolin of China, sumo of Japan, and Taekkyon of Korea.
Throughout its history, the martial arts have been popular as a sport and recreation. It is often offered in some of the best luxury alcohol rehab centers as therapy—physical, mental, and spiritual.
How do rehabilitation centers use martial arts for recovery?
The goal of the martial arts is to "master the mind" so that the body can follow and replace harmful thought patterns and behaviors with healthy ones. That also applies to recovery from substance abuse.
Many holistic rehab centers provide a variety of programs to meet the needs and the interests of their patients. Comprehensive substance abuse treatments at high-quality rehab centers address mental health, nutrition, counseling, medical health, educational services, and physical fitness, including the martial arts.
The benefits of martial arts
Just like any physical activity, martial arts has many health benefits for those recovering from addiction. More than just a physical activity, it also trains the mind to develop new cognitive coping skills as well as teaching self-discipline. Here are some of the best benefits of the martial arts.
Martial arts help with physical fitness.
People who are recovering from addiction often have less-than-ideal bodily states. They may have neglected nutrition and physical activity due to being preoccupied with their drug or alcohol use, leading to muscle atrophy, a weakened immune system, and loss of energy.
Martial arts can serve as a form of physical activity to help those in recovery gain back their strength. When paired with a nutritious diet, martial arts can improve cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength.
One of the best martial arts for physical fitness is Muay Thai, which is known to incorporate both upper and lower body strength training along with cardio.
Martial arts aid in weight loss.
Obesity is a common co-condition for those with addictions. Alcoholics are prone to weight gain since the overconsumption of alcohol leads to excess energy intake. A single 12-ounce serving of regular beer contains about 155 calories, which can add up over an evening's drinking. Alcohol is considered a source of "empty calories" with no nutritional value that can leave a person feeling hungry even after several drinks.
Martial arts can help build confidence.
The great thing about martial arts is that it improves an individual's muscles, overall fitness, and self-confidence.
A person going through recovery will have moments of self-doubt, a loss of interest in daily activities, and a lack of purpose.
Martial arts is a skill that one can build on over time, providing a sense of accomplishment. It may become a passion. Actor Robert Downey Jr. credits kung fu martial arts training for helping him in recovery.
Martial arts can help in socialization.
People in recovery have many barriers to socialization They can find it difficult to initiate conversations in regular settings such as parks, malls, or even the workplace. Martial arts can help because it is a social sport
It takes two to tango, but it also takes two to box. A beginner needs at least one partner, a teacher or fellow student. Even when the martial arts are taught in large groups, usually each individual is matched with a partner with whom to practice.
Attending a martial arts class provides opportunities to socialize with others in a fun, healthy, and engaging way. It is an opportunity to meet others from different walks of life who share the same interests.
Martial arts can improve discipline.
Like any other physical activity, patients who join in martial arts sessions can enjoy the benefits of exercising the body, socializing with others, and building self-confidence. What sets it apart from other forms of physical activity is its high emphasis on discipline.
People who are undergoing addiction recovery may often report a loss of control over their cravings, during and after withdrawal. Discipline is central to the martial arts and is its major therapeutic benefit to those in recovery. The martial arts student learns to accept the discomfort, such as may happen during training sessions or recovery, as necessary to grow in strength and develop self-control.
Discipline ignores excuses, laziness, discomfort, and anxiety. Discipline drives a person towards a higher goal. Discipline exposes the rotten core of substance abuse. Although it may look attractive from the outside, it is poisonous.
The principles of martial arts also focuses on self-control. Self-control means learning to win the battle with the right strategy. Learning to endure every punch, every sweat, and every fall will teach the person not to give in too easily to the enemy. When applied to the recovery process, it can be similarly thought of as exercising the mind to resist the temptation to give in to drugs or alcohol.
The important thing is to do whatever it takes to stay sober during and after recovery. Exercise can help. The martial arts can have particular benefits.
About the Author
Charles Watson is a freelance health and addiction writer for Elite Rehab Placement. He can be reached directly on Twitter at the handle @charleswatson00.