Thailand the best holistic rehab destination

A long-standing adage in medicine states: ‘Treat the person, not the disease.’ Such an approach may take more time and effort than a one-size-fits-all philosophy, but the added benefits of this personal dimension tend to be well worthwhile. Holistic rehab is all about getting to know each client on a personal level, and working with them to develop real physical, mental, and spiritual solutions to the challenges they face.
This article explains the concept and application of holistic rehab in Thailand, while also giving concrete examples of the types of activities to expect when entering a holistic alcohol and drug rehab. We also review practical considerations, such as costs, to help you decide if holistic rehab is right for you.

what is a holistic rehab?

Treating the person’ in a rehab context means helping each client re-connect with themselves and the world around them. In practice, this often involves spiritual exercises like yoga or meditation, physical workouts like sports and outdoor activities, and experiential activities like art therapy.

These alternative practices are used to supplement the formal course of psychological therapy that rehab clients undergo on their road to recovery. Such a strategy helps to ensure that you remain balanced, grounded, and motivated by positive experiences throughout your progress.

What to expect from holistic rehab?

Compared to psychology-based therapy, holistic treatments generally have a more physical focus. From acupuncture to nutraceutical supplements, reiki to nutritional therapy, and massage treatments to neurofeedback, the holistic approach combines a variety of complementary and alternative practices in an effort to re-centre you as a person.
These activities are normally combined with the use of herbal remedies, making for a daily application of natural and harmonious treatments. By replacing bad habits with good ones, the holistic approach aims to set you on the right track to recovery. Classes and physical activity sessions are typically scheduled throughout the day, and are combined with a more traditional approach to rehab (see below).
Woman with arms open on the beach

Traditional vs. holistic rehab

People can fall victim to addiction for any number of reasons, and so the ideal treatment for each person is likely to depend on their specific situation and preferences. Traditional rehab relies mainly on standard Western methods of treatment, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, group and individual therapy, 12-step programmes, relapse prevention, and other commonly used approaches.
Holistic rehab centres also uses trained therapists, but their roles tend to be more activity-focussed. Holistic therapists aim to get their clients involved and engaged with the world once again – leading the way on all kinds of activities, from massages to meditation and mountain climbing.
Both methods have their strengths, and each neatly complements the other’s shortcomings. A great many traditional treatments tend to take place inside rooms, where little is happening apart from guided conversation. Holistic rehab re-engages recovering addicts with the joy and wonder of the world around them.
A combination of both can offer you the best of both worlds, bringing you back more quickly to a state of wellbeing. The best alcohol and drug rehabs expertly combine the most effective psychological with holistic approaches, providing a strong starting point for long-term recovery.

The effectiveness of a holistic approach to addiction treatment

Addiction generally does not come out of the blue; it is often the result of a combination of different factors. Both biological and environmental variables can contribute to the development of an addiction. Mental health issues, traumatic events, or a variety of unfulfilled personal needs are all risk factors that can influence a person’s turn toward addictive behaviour. Holistic rehab centres goes beyond merely addressing the addiction itself, and instead makes extra strides toward building a strong foundation for a satisfying post-recovery lifestyle.
According to the NASADAD’s report, holistic approaches to rehab have been widely used for a long time, and that they often produce increased treatment retention rates. By supplementing standard treatment with a holistic approach, rehab centres can put their clients in a better position to succeed over the long run.
The use of holistic techniques can help:
  • Alleviate physical symptoms of addiction and withdrawal during detox 
  • Uncover and heal emotional wounds that may have formed the root of your addiction
  • Improve eating habits to help restore chemical balance in the brain
  • Relieve emotional stress and blockage that may accompany your addiction
  • Make you feel more at ease and relaxed, so you can respond better to treatment
  • Build the capacity to cope with challenges and obstacles during treatment  
  • Provide a healthy outlet for communication and expression of your feelings
  • Increase awareness in your body, to give you a better understanding of how your compulsive behaviours play out

Thailand - world’s top rehab destination

Long regarded as a top medical tourism destination, Thailand is one of the world’s best rehab places for foreigners to undergo holistic alcohol and drug addiction treatment. The country is virtually synonymous with holistic health and wellness therapy, thanks in large part to its respected mindfulness traditions that include meditation, yoga, and other Buddhist-influenced contemplative practices.

Thailand is also renowned for its expert massage treatments and techniques, as well as its hospitality. Indeed, the country’s steady flow of foreign visitors in recent decades has led to the growth of ‘rehab tourism’ as a significant health trend.

With quality treatment available across the country at an affordable cost, it is no wonder that Thailand continues to be a preferred destination for many addicts seeking affordable substance abuse treatment.

Woman Getting Facial Massage At Spa

How holistic rehab in Thailand works

Holistic approaches in rehab are dismissed by some as being inferior to traditional therapeutic methods. Yet there are clear benefits and justifiable reasons associated with the activities that make up the core of the holistic approach. The brief summary below may help clarify the purpose of each set of holistic rehab activities, and why so many practitioners are convinced of their efficacy.
Spiritual PracticesPhysical WellnessExperiential Therapies
MeditationNutritional supportPsychodrama
YogaFitness exerciseArt therapy
Breathing exercisesOutdoor therapyMusic therapy
Relaxation techniques Thai boxingAnimal-assisted therapy
 Spa and massage therapyBody mapping
 AcupuntureGuided imagery

Spiritual practices

People in recovery face more challenges in dealing with stress, depression, and anxiety without succumbing to negative behavioural patterns in every day circumstances. Spiritual and mindfulness-based practices such as meditation, yoga, breathing and relaxation techniques can help you re-assert control in response to the appearance of unhealthy thoughts or urges. By learning to recognise these thoughts as they appear, regard them dispassionately, and release them moments later, you can train your body and mind to stay grounded and in control.

Physical wellness

The human body has self-regulating mechanisms, provided it maintains contact with nature, exercise, and healthy food. Addictive behaviour briefly and incompletely satisfies short-term needs, at the expense of health and personal balance. Holistic rehab elements such as nutritional counselling, physical exercises, and outdoor therapy provide a more wholesome replacement for the addictive behaviour, satisfying similar needs but in a far more healthy way. Re-engaging with the world on a physical level can be one of the most effective ways of re-setting your body’s internal pathways.

Experiential therapies

Experiential therapy is a therapeutic modality that encourages you to re-experience unprocessed feelings or painful memories through a range of activities, such as play therapy, art therapy, or animal care. Psychodrama involves re-enacting key life events within a reassuring setting, to help you deal with any lingering emotional fallout. Art and animal-assisted therapy aim to create purely positive experiences, putting you in direct interaction with the forces of nature and meaning. These creative and immersive techniques can effectively broaden your horizons when you are undergoing treatment at a holistic rehab centre, helping you see beyond your personal difficulties. At their best, these and other holistic activities create a wellspring of inspiration for participants, leading them forward to achieve lasting personal progress and development.

Benefits of holistic rehab in Thailand

The combination of the above features can create the perfect replacement for unhealthy behavioural habits, by re-focusing mind, body and spirit on genuinely beneficial and interesting activities. By attending a holistic rehab centre, you will:
  • Return to a place of spiritual peace and balance
  • Build a strong physical and mental concentration through body-based activities 
  • Restore any nutritional deficiencies through a healthy diet of Thai dishes
  • Receive treatment in scenic locations in the mountains or a seaside setting 
  • Learn effective ways to relieve stress and prevent relapse in the long run
  • Eliminate unhealthy habits, create a healthier self-image and improve overall mental and physical health
  • Explore new interests and engage with the world through the many different activities Thailand has to offer

How much does holistic rehab cost?

Rehab centres that properly integrate holistic elements into a full course of psychological treatment tend to be on the mid- to higher end of the available price range. You can expect to pay US$10,000+ per 4-week period of integrated treatment at a holistic rehab centre in Thailand. It is worth noting that most rehabs in Thailand offer some holistic elements as part of their standard drug and alcohol addiction treatment programmes – although the extent of these can vary considerably from one centre to the next.

To learn more about holistic alcohol and drug rehab in Thailand, or other important information about addiction recovery in general, feel free to get in touch with us directly. We’ll help you find the best holistic rehab that meets your specific needs. This is a no-cost consultation, so call us now or fill out the contact form below.

Cameron Brown
  1. Hardey, Sarah, and Scot Thomas. “The Effectiveness of Holistic Treatment Techniques in Drug Rehab.” American Addiction Center,
  2. Patterson, Eric. “Holistic Drug Rehab Programs – What Is It? Will Insurance Cover It?”, 12 June 2019,
  3. Traditional, Alternative, or Complementary Therapies, in Addiction Treatment (TATAC) Report: National and State Profiles.National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, 2015, pp. 1–15,Traditional, Alternative, or Complementary Therapies, in Addiction Treatment (TATAC) Report: National and State Profiles.

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