Tree House Recovery Colorado

Exercise and Addiction Recovery

Exercise and addiction recovery is an effective combination. Our Denver, Colorado, drug treatment center uses exercise as part of our holistic approach. ESM Exercise Therapy (ESM), or Exercitium Semita Medela, translates to “exercise is a pathway to healing” in Latin. This unique therapy approach, developed at Tree House, targets substance use disorders (SUD) by utilizing exercise to alleviate symptoms of post-acute withdrawal syndrome, normalize brain chemistry, and accelerate the neurological and biological healing process for individuals recovering from addiction.


Overcome Addiction with Exercise and Addiction Recovery

As a newly sober individual, you may experience depression, stress, difficulty focusing, and anxiety. These feelings are typical of post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), a natural response to rewiring a brain that has become accustomed to addiction. Exercise teaches you to combat PAWS symptoms with exercise and rewire your brain for better health. Our one-of-a-kind fitness-based therapy program is designed to repair brain chemistry using exercise.

Regardless of your current fitness level, ESM can help you change your life. The focus is on effort, not bodybuilding. You’ll activate your brain’s natural repair system through movement and heart rate training, improve your physical health, optimize your biology, reduce drug cravings, and learn to manage your mental state with movement. ESM sets the foundation for long-lasting recovery from addiction.

Treating Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome with Exercise

Active addiction disrupts the brain’s reward system, leading to malnutrition, sleep deprivation, and damage to the body. When the addictive substances are removed, the body begins to heal and regain balance, resulting in a variety of symptoms known as Post-Acute-Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). ESM aims to hasten the healing process and minimize PAWS effects by using exercise as a powerful tool for brain repair and activation of the body’s innate healing system. ESM effectively treats PAWS symptoms, including insomnia, anxiety, depression, fatigue, stress sensitivity, cognitive difficulties, mood swings, and drug cravings.

PAWS Symptoms Treated WITH Exercise 

• Insomnia / sleep disturbance
• Anxiety / depression & fatigue
• Stress sensitivity
• Trouble with thinking / cognition
• Mood swings (overreaction or little / no emotion)
• Drug cravings


Balancing Brain Chemistry and Strengthening Emotional Resilience

There is some evidence to suggest that active addiction can disrupt the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, including GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which plays an important role in regulating anxiety and other emotional states. Chronic drug or alcohol use can deplete GABA levels and make it more difficult for the brain to produce this neurotransmitter on its own.

Exercise has been shown to have a variety of benefits for individuals in recovery from addiction, including promoting the release of endorphins, improving mood, reducing stress and anxiety, and enhancing cognitive function.

Illustration of GABA release during exercise and addiction recovery

Optimization and Brain Cell Growth

ESM’s exercise routines are specifically designed to release key proteins in the brain that promote healing, enhance learning ability, and improve information retention. By scheduling ESM sessions before Addiction Ed classes and one-on-one sessions, clients can achieve a calm, focused mindset that primes the brain for learning. This holistic approach maximizes the benefits of time spent on self-improvement at Tree House.

The Science Behind Exercise and Addiction Recovery

The 4 Key Protein/Factors Triggered w Exercise 

Exercise promotes neurogenesis, or the growth of new brain cells, by triggering the release of four key proteins, or neurotrophins, during exercise: Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1), Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), and Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF-2). These proteins facilitate brain cell repair, growth, and learning enhancement.

Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF)

The production of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is essential for the growth and maintenance of neurons in the brain, acting like Miracle-Gro for brain cells. ESM style exercise is the quickest way to release this protein.

Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1

Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1) is a hormone that partners with insulin to deliver fuel (glucose) to the brain and muscles. During ESM workouts, the brain uptakes more IGF-1 with the assistance of BDNF, strengthening neural connections and facilitating long-term memory development.

Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)

Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) is a crucial protein for neurogenesis and is released during ESM style exercise, helping to create new blood vessels and fuel pipelines to nourish the brain.

Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF-2)

Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF-2) contributes to the development of brain cells in the hippocampus, which is associated with memory formation. ESM style exercise increases the release of FGF-2, aiding in the building of brain cells.

It's Lifestyle Recovery

There is a Better Way to Overcome Addiction
A Health-Centered Program
  • MIND
  • BODY

Exclusive to Tree House Recovery: 

More Than Just Exercise – Biological Therapy 

ESM is part of Tree House Recovery’s unique True Bio-Psych-Social Model. As the only program globally that employs ESM fitness therapy to address the biological and neurological damage caused by drug abuse, Tree House Recovery offers a distinct approach developed by All American athlete Ryan Bain. Unlike traditional treatment centers that use potentially addictive medications or offer limited gym access, our fitness therapy tackles addiction at the cellular level. Experience unparalleled strength, repair the damage, and end your addiction for good with exercise and addiction recovery program. 

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