Physical, Social, Emotional, Spiritual, Intellectual: Healing at the Cellular Level

Addiction Recovery Publishing Addiction Recovery February 25, 2024

Physical, Social, Emotional, Spiritual, Intellectual: Healing at the Cellular Level

An ancient Hawaiin saying that we have here on the Big Island is, “NĀNĀ I KE KUMU.” This saying represents our ability to find our place in the world, connect with our inner spirit, and, ultimately, find our truth. Also, this saying permeates what it means to heal at the cellular level. But, we must ask ourselves, “What exactly does healing at the cellular level mean?”

What Does It Mean to Heal at the Cellular Level?

Healing at the cellular level means healing in all aspects of our lives. This means that we connect to the core/root issues connected to our problems and address them physically, socially, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually.

Healing at the cellular level also has a lot to do with interconnectedness. This means that the only way we are to heal one facet of our lives is if we heal all the other facets of our lives. For example, we may recover our physical wellness, but that wellness will not last if we are not on strong emotional footing. Eventually, our negative emotional state will interrupt our willingness to focus on our physical selves. Essentially, “without the whole, we have nothing,” and we cannot heal at the cellular level. In recovery, this is why comprehensive addiction and mental health care is so critical.

The Importance of Individualized and Comprehensive Mental Health and Addiction Care

Now, the reality is that single-modality mental health and addiction care rarely seem to work. Of course, if it does work for some individuals, that is great. However, to heal at the cellular level, “one-note” recovery rarely (if ever) covers all of the areas that need to be addressed. 

Of course, the next question that must be asked is, “How does one know which modalities to use?” This is why individualized mental health and addiction care is so important. “One-size-fits-all” recovery cannot possibly meet every client’s needs. Even if two people have the exact same diagnosis, their stories and how they got there will almost surely differ. These people will only be able to heal at the cellular level with individualized and comprehensive care. This is also known as the “multi-angle” approach to recovery.

What Is the Multi-Angle Approach to Recovery?

The multi-angle approach to recovery denotes using the means, methods, and modalities that address every aspect of a person’s mental illness and/or addiction issues. As previously mentioned, this means all the issues associated with our physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual lives.

The good news is that there are many effective ways to address all of these issues, and many of these ways address multiple issues at the same time. For example, surf therapy is certainly going to address the physical needs of one’s recovery, but it is also going to offer intellectual insight into one’s mental state, perspective on where one’s emotions lie, a spiritual opportunity to commune with nature, and a chance for social interaction with other surfers (and other people in recovery). This type of multi-angled healing can be found across many different areas of recovery, including those with the basis for emotional healing.

Emotional Healing at the Cellular Level

There can be little doubt that one’s addiction and mental health issues correlate with how they are doing emotionally. The way we feel at our emotional core is, almost always, how we are going interact with the world around us. When we feel emotionally vulnerable or distraught, this is where mental illness and/or addictive behaviors can begin to manifest.

This is why addressing these emotional issues is so vital. One of the most common ways of addressing these emotional issues is via psychotherapy, and one of the most popular psychotherapies is cognitive-behavioral therapy.

The Benefits of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an “evidence-based” psychotherapy that has been utilized since the 1960s. According to the clinical write-up, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, from the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, “[CBT] is a combination of two therapeutic approaches, known as cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. Which methods of treatment are applied depends on the illness or problem to be treated. The basic principle behind the therapy is however always the same: What we think, how we feel, and how we behave are all closely connected – and all of these factors have a decisive influence on our well-being.”

Now, the emotional aspect lies in the “how we feel” portion of the CBT equation. According to Doctors Chand, Kuckel, and Huecker in their clinical thesis, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, the “cognitive model is as follows; ”A straightforward, common-sense model of the relationships among cognition, emotion, and behavior,” and “Three aspects of cognition are emphasized: automatic thoughts, cognitive distortions, and underlying beliefs or schemas.” These cognitions (thoughts) are what influence our emotions.

When one’s distorted cognitions are addressed, then the emotions associated with them can be addressed. Lastly, the behaviors associated with one’s emotions can be managed, changed, or, if necessary, eliminated. The concept of opening up and connecting to one’s negative thinking can be difficult for some people. For some, ketamine therapy can help with this opening-up process. 

The Benefits of Ketamine Therapy

Ketamine therapy has become more prominent in recent years because it has both been shown to be highly effective and the stigma surrounding it has been significantly reduced. One of the benefits of ketamine therapy is it can help people better get in touch with the root/core emotional causes of their issues. This is especially true for individuals who are struggling with depression.

There have been many studies conducted that show the efficacy of ketamine therapy for treating depression. According to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, “[A] Single dose of ketamine has rapid action on depressive symptoms, and this action persists even for a week, which suggests its possible role in neuroplasticity. Many studies showed remission of depressive symptoms 1-week post-infusion. A recent meta-analysis showed antidepressant efficacy from day 1 in patients of unipolar and bipolar depression.” These types of results have also been showing up in the treatment of other types of mental health and addiction issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and opioid use disorder (OUD).

Ketamine therapy also works to help people with the cognitive (mental/intellectual) aspect of their recovery. It helps them open up for intellectual healing at the cellular level.

Intellectual Healing at the Cellular Level

Now, what exactly does intellectual healing mean? While it can mean many things, in recovery it means healing the “mental” aspect of mental illness and addiction, and it means gaining an understanding of the process of how one is recovering. It could also be considered the “learning about ourselves” aspect of recovery.

Of course, this can happen with virtually any modality (as long as one remains active and engaged). However, it can be particularly prominent when utilizing tools of “personal development,” such as the personal development tool of mission therapy.

Personal Development: The Benefits of Mission Therapy

Mission therapy is all about finding one’s purpose both in recovery as well as in life outside of recovery. Without purpose, we can find it very hard to move forward and progress in recovery, which is essential.

The renowned Swiss psychologist and proponent of recovery, Carl Jung once said, “As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” Mission therapy is a holistic practice with an intellectual component of discovering who we really are and what we want out of life.

The intellectual aspect of therapy is creating a mission statement that represents oneself and the goals one wishes to achieve both in recovery as well as in one’s life beyond the recovery center doors. It is an intellectual exercise that will pay dividends down the recovery road. However, that is not the only “exercise” that we must undertake to heal at the cellular level. We must also exercise our physical body for optimal wellness.

Physical Healing at the Cellular Level

While it may seem obvious, when one is physically unwell, they can be emotionally, mentally, and spiritually unwell also. This is the “interconnectedness” aspect of recovery that was mentioned earlier.

Of course, in recovery, as with other methods, physical wellness must be undertaken with a level of focus and vigor that is much more involved than, say, simply going for a jog or “hitting the weight room.” No, for physical wellness to heal us at the cellular level, we must choose modalities that fulfill us: mind, body, and soul. Surf therapy can check all three boxes.

The Benefits of Surf Therapy

Surf therapy has gained a lot of traction in recent years, especially in its ability to help people struggling with PTSD. This has been shown in studies with combat veterans. 

According to the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Psychology, “One environmental context that has received less attention is water-based physical activity, with researchers suggesting that swimming and other water-based activities (e.g., kayaking, surfing) may provide superior benefits for the promotion of human well-being due to greater affordances. These activities have heightened the psychological benefits (e.g., reduced anxiety, depression, and perceived stress, increased positive affect, and increased quality of life) associated with exercise and nature among US war veterans.” Also, these are not the only benefits that surf therapy offers.

According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Carefully planned water activities tailored to the needs of the individual can contribute to correct psychosocial and cognitive development. The International Surf Therapy Organization summarizes the benefits of adequately indicated surf therapy as follows: improved physical health and mobility; improved mental health, including reduction of specific symptoms, such as posttraumatic stress and depression; improved well-being (strengthening of trust and confidence, encouragement of independence, resilience and protective coping strategies) and improved social skills.” Surf therapy can also help to heal us spiritually at the cellular level. 

Surfing can help us connect to something greater than ourselves, like the immense and beautifully blue Pacific Ocean and the nature of Hawaii’s Big Island. Other methods that can help us heal spiritually are yoga and meditation.

Spiritual Healing at the Cellular Level

Holistic means of recovery have long been used to help individuals with something less tangible than one’s mental, emotional, or physical state: their spiritual life. For many people, their spiritual life has become the cornerstone of their recovery.

Active addiction and mental illness can rob us of everything that we hold dear. This includes our spiritual life and/or something greater outside of ourselves. Now, some people get this sense of spirituality confused with religion. One’s spiritual life does not have to be religious (though, for some, it is). No, one’s spiritual life can be of one’s own making as long as it helps them heal at the cellular level. For many people, they find this spiritual healing through yoga.

The Benefits of Yoga

There is little doubt that yoga can be beneficial across all spectrums of recovery. It can address the spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, intellectual, and even social facets of recovery (if one works with a teacher or takes yoga classes with others).

Yoga has been benefiting people for thousands of years, and those benefits continue to be vast and varied. According to the International Journal of Yoga, “Therapeutic yoga is defined as the application of yoga postures and practice to the treatment of health conditions. Yoga therapy involves instruction in yogic practices and teachings to prevent reduce or alleviate structural, physiological, emotional, and spiritual pain, suffering, or limitations. Yogic practices enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, promote recovery from and treatment of addiction, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life.”

Of course, the spiritual benefits of yoga tend to primarily be a personal matter. One’s connection to one’s spiritual life is one’s journey. However, that journey can be greatly supported by a sound and healthy recovery community.

Social Healing at the Cellular Level

There is a saying often heard in recovery circles that goes, “You have to give it away to keep it.” Yes, recovery is best done in the company of, and service to, others.

This is why recovery is often referred to as a “we” program rather than a “me” program. Healing with others is an ideal way to recover, and healing with others by utilizing Ho’oponopono is particularly special and unique on the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island.

Social Healing With Ho’oponopono

Ho’oponopono has long been practiced in Hawaii. It was originally a way for communities to resolve their conflicts peacefully so that crucial work could continue for the survival of all. Now, Ho’oponopono can be utilized for the recovery of all.

Ho’oponopono is a social exercise in which the group mediates on their issues and comes together to solve and resolve them. It allows for an essential, safe space for individuals to share their resentments and other issues so they do not grow into bigger issues. Also, it is a way to connect to others, which is essential as many people, prior to their recovery journey, had pushed everyone away. It is connecting with others, in order to connect to ourselves. Ultimately, it is socially healing at the cellular level.

Healing at the Cellular Level With Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

There is another phrase here on Hawaii’s Big Island, “‘IKE LOA,” which means that we are always aiming to expand our lives beyond where they currently are. At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, one can do this physically, emotionally, socially, intellectually, and spiritually. 

To fully recover, we must do so at the cellular level. We must remember that recovery is all about the journey, never the destination, and there is no better place to start that journey than under the healing sun on Hawaii’s Big Island. 

It is important that “no stone is left unturned” before an individual leaves a recovery center. One of the best ways to ensure that this happens is by utilizing the “multi-angle” approach to recovery. This means utilizing comprehensive treatment plans that focus on the physical, social, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of one’s mental health and/or addiction issues. If you feel like you or a loved one may be struggling with addiction, mental illness, or both, we can help get you on the right road to long-term recovery. For more information about the importance of individualized and comprehensive mental health and addiction care for healing at the cellular level, please call Exclusive Hawaii Rehab today at (808) 775-0200.