Why Is Restoring Balance to the Central Nervous System So Important for Healing at the Cellular Level?

Addiction Recovery Publishing Addiction Recovery December 19, 2023

Why Is Restoring Balance to the Central Nervous System So Important for Healing at the Cellular Level?

There is perhaps no better example of how interconnected the mind and body are than the central nervous system. It is the way in which our entire being communicates and works together. Here on the Big Island of Hawaii, we have a traditional word that means cooperation and collaboration, and unity and harmony: LŌKAHI. This is also what our whole mind-body must experience for us to be our most optimal selves. Also, this is why we must work to heal the central nervous system when we are trying to recover from issues of addiction and/or mental illness.

Comprehensive Recovery Plans for Healing at the Cellular Level

The key to healing at the cellular level is to have a comprehensive recovery plan that includes many options, therapies, and modalities. Overarching, “one-size-fits-all” recovery plans rarely tend to work. 

This type of comprehensive care is also critical for healing and working on the central nervous system. The central nervous system takes on a lot of our tension and stress, which can build up to a particularly potent degree when we are struggling with issues of trauma, mental illness, and/or addiction. It is critical that balance be restored to the central nervous system to release this tension. This can happen when multiple tools are used.

These tools must include “traditional” mental health modalities, experiential therapies, and holistic practices. When multiple treatments are used in a recovery plan, there is a better chance that the person will heal at the cellular level. However, for this to truly come to fruition, a recovery plan must also be individualized.

Individualized Recovery Plans for Healing at the Cellular Level

Just as recovery plans must be comprehensive, they must also cater to a person’s individual needs. Even if two people have the same diagnosis, they should rarely have the same recovery plan. This is because a diagnosis is one thing, but an individual’s personal journey is something else altogether. 

Now, this is why a complete and personalized intake is critical when someone chooses to enter a recovery program. Besides the diagnosis, a reputable recovery center should take into account one’s backstory, one’s journey with active addiction and/or mental illness, family dynamics, occupation and work stresses, potential traumas, and goals for recovery. When this type of personalized approach is taken, one can start to get to the root/core causes of their problems. One can also start the process of restoring balance to the central nervous system.

An Overview: Understanding the Central Nervous System

Most people have heard of the central nervous system (perhaps even briefly studied it in school). But, most people are unaware of exactly what it does and how critical it is. This is why it can be so helpful to acquire a quick refresher on what the nervous system is, and what it does.

According to the medical write-up, Anatomy, Central Nervous System, by Doctors Thau, Reddy, and Singh, “The central nervous system’s responsibilities include receiving, processing, and responding to sensory information… The brain is an organ of nervous tissue that is responsible for responses, sensation, movement, emotions, communication, thought processing, and memory… The purpose of the spinal cord is to send motor commands from the brain to the peripheral body as well as to relay sensory information from the sensory organs to the brain.” Essentially (in very simplified terms), the central nervous system is the way by which we take in information, process that information, and thus react to that information.

So, one can see how mental health disorders and addiction can greatly affect the central nervous system because they can completely disrupt that cycle of information and reaction. This is because they affect the chemicals in the body that help to make this communication process possible. The good news is that, in most instances, the central nervous system can be fully restored via close and comprehensive treatment plans.

Why Is Restoring Balance to the Central Nervous System So Important for Healing at the Cellular Level?

Whether there is specific trauma that needs to be worked through or there is trauma caused directly by addiction and/or mental illness (this is a “chicken and the egg” situation anyway), one must understand that this trauma can lodge itself in the tissues of the central nervous system. Balancing the central nervous system can help to release this trauma.

One cannot fully function if one’s communication system is unstable. Think of it as a pilot and an air traffic controller. If there is a lack of communication between these two, there is little chance that the pilot is going to reach their destination (or worse). However, when communication is restored, air traffic control can safely help the pilot land the plane at its exact destination. For those in treatment, that destination is long-term recovery.

Now, there are many ways by which the central nervous system’s balance can be restored. As previously mentioned, it is optimal to use many of these methods. This includes psychotherapies, mindfulness techniques, yoga, the emotional freedom technique, and restoring essential nutrients to the body.

The Benefits of Vitamin and Herbal Supplements for Healing the Brain

Now, most people understand that there is a link between eating well and feeling better. However, they may not realize just how strong that link is. This is especially true when trying to balance the central nervous system to achieve long-term recovery.

One’s diet can be directly linked to their mental health. According to the 2019 article, Nutritional Modulation of Immune and Central Nervous System Homeostasis: The Role of Diet in Development of Neuroinflammation and Neurological Disease, “There is accumulating evidence on the link between diet and mental health, in particular through the dependence of systemic metabolism on the quality of diet, but also due to the effects of dietary components on immune functions and inflammation, not only at the intestinal level but also in other organs and tissues, including the central nervous system… Consequently, dietary patterns influence not only the development of immunological responses but also the homeostasis and functions of the CNS.”

This is why, here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we hold true to the maxim, “Food is medicine.” We take great care to offer individualized diet plans that are going to best suit a client’s central nervous system needs. Also, we utilize infusions and pharmaceutical-grade supplements to ensure that the proper amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are restored for healing at the cellular level. 

Many people don’t realize just how depleted of nutrients our bodies can become from addiction and mental illness. Let us take alcohol use disorder (AUD) as an example. According to the peer-reviewed article, Mechanisms of Vitamin Deficiencies in Alcoholism, “Chronic alcoholic patients are frequently deficient in one or more vitamins. The deficiencies commonly involve folate, vitamin B6, thiamine, and vitamin A. Although inadequate dietary intake is a major cause of vitamin deficiency, other possible mechanisms may also be involved. Alcoholism can affect the absorption, storage, metabolism, and activation of many of these vitamins.” 

Of course, just restoring vitamins is not going to ensure recovery of the central nervous system. Other methods, such as the emotional freedom technique, should also be employed.

Utilizing the Emotional Freedom Technique to Stimulate the Body to Relieve Stress and Reduce the Emotions Associated With Trauma

The emotional freedom technique (also known as “neural tapping”) is a way in which the central nervous system is stimulated via acupressure points in the body. It is a holistic method that has been shown to heal the central nervous system by releasing the stress and trauma that is being held by its tissue.

There is also a component of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to the emotional freedom technique, and it has a relatively set procedure. According to the 2023 article, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): Tap to Relieve Stress and Burnout, “[The emotional freedom technique] EFT begins with a simple statement of the issue of concern, called the ‘Set-up Statement.’ The format used is ‘Even though I have a problem (e.g., stress, anxiety, etc.), I deeply and completely accept myself.’ As this statement is being said, and repeated, tapping on acupressure points occurs.” This tapping happens on eight specific pressure points that have been shown to relieve stress and tension. 

Now, as the article mentioned, CBT is also a big component of the emotional freedom technique, which is why other types of psychotherapies can also help heal the central nervous system at the cellular level. These include CBT, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal therapy, and humanistic therapy.

Understanding the Benefits of Psychotherapy for the Central Nervous System

Psychotherapy is perhaps one of the most utilized modalities for mental health disorders and addiction currently being used today. This is because most psychotherapies have gone through enough reviews and studies to show overwhelming evidence-based efficacy.

Perhaps the most utilized of the psychotherapeutic modalities is CBT. This is both because it has been around the longest, and it is the forefather of most other psychotherapies. 

According to the article, The Efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Review of Meta-Analyses, “Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) refers to a class of interventions that share the basic premise that mental disorders and psychological distress are maintained by cognitive factors. The core premise of this treatment approach, as pioneered by Beck (1970) and Ellis (1962), holds that maladaptive cognitions contribute to the maintenance of emotional distress and behavioral problems. According to Beck’s model, these maladaptive cognitions include general beliefs, or schemas, about the world, the self, and the future, giving rise to specific and automatic thoughts in particular situations.” Ultimately, by changing these cognitions (thoughts), we can change the disruptive behaviors that are causing distress.

Now, one can see how a change in thinking that relieves stress can also relieve the stress that is being held onto by the central nervous system. Another, more holistic, way that this tension can be released is via mindfulness meditation.

Understanding the Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation for the Central Nervous System

Meditation has been used for thousands of years to help people calm their minds and relax their bodies. While, for much of that time, it was not questioned how mediation worked physiologically, we now know that it works by helping to release certain chemicals in the brain that promote tranquillity and serenity. This serenity is essential for balancing the central nervous system and getting the whole mind and body back into symmetry.

Mindfulness meditation can be particularly helpful with substance use disorder (SUD). According to the peer-reviewed journal Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, “As repeated mindfulness practice [mindfulness meditation] evokes the state of mindfulness, MBI [mindfulness-based intervention] participants exhibit increases in trait mindfulness over time. Trait mindfulness may be defined as the tendency to exhibit mindful qualities in daily life, including nonreactivity to distressing thoughts and emotions, as well as the tendency to observe and accept one’s momentary thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and sensations. So, beyond the context of acute mindful states, mindful traits may decrease cognitive, emotional, and behavioral tendencies that help sustain substance misuse.”

Now, while mindfulness meditation can help to quiet the mind, another practice can help to engage the body as well. This practice is yoga.

Understanding the Benefits of Yoga for the Central Nervous System

As with meditation, yoga has been practiced for thousands of years to help people find inner peace and a sense of their place within the world around them. While it was first used as a religious practice, yoga is now used around the world as a recovery tool for issues of addiction and mental health disorders.

According to the International Journal of Yoga, “Regular practice of yoga promotes strength, endurance, flexibility and facilitates characteristics of friendliness, compassion, and greater self-control while cultivating a sense of calmness and well-being. Sustained practice also leads to important outcomes such as changes in life perspective, self-awareness, and an improved sense of energy to live life fully and with genuine enjoyment. The practice of yoga produces a physiological state opposite to that of the flight-or-fight stress response and with that interruption in the stress response, a sense of balance and union between the mind and body can be achieved.” These are all essential benefits that can be correlated directly to balancing and healing the central nervous system.

The whole idea of yoga is to join the mind and body into one. That is actually what the word yoga roughly translates to: to “yolk” or to “join.” Again, this is emblematic of why comprehensive recovery is so crucial. Just as yoga is utilized to “join” the mind and body together in a single practice, a comprehensive recovery plan that utilizes nutrition, the emotional freedom technique, psychotherapies, and mindfulness meditation join together to restore balance to the central nervous system.

Healing at the Cellular Level With Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Our primary purpose is to help our clients heal at the cellular level, and we commit to that purpose every day with each and every client. We know that when we commit to that type of healing energy, everyone who joins us will commit to it as well. This is essential for recovering and balancing the central nervous system.

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we believe that recovery must start with the root/core causes of the problem and expand to the cellular level. We believe that this can best be accomplished by utilizing the expansive and varied modalities that we offer at our luxury recovery center on the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island.

There is another traditional word that we use here on Hawaii’s Big Island: HO‘OMAU. This word represents persistence, perseverance, and the importance of never giving up. We wholly embody HO‘OMAU here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, and we teach everyone who walks through our recovery center doors to do the same.

Healing the brain is a vital part of healing everything else. This includes understanding the benefits of vitamin and herbal supplements for healing the brain, as well as knowing how the emotional freedom technique can help to stimulate the body to relieve stress and reduce the emotions associated with trauma and other maladies of the mind that hinder recovery. If you feel like you or a loved one are struggling with issues of addiction, mental illness, or both, we can help you get to the root/core causes of your issues and heal at the cellular level. For more information about the importance of healing the central nervous system, please reach out to Exclusive Hawaii Rehab today at (808) 775-0200.