Beyond fitness:

Beat Addiction With Exercise

You’re newly sober, depressed, stressed out, can’t focus, and you’re full of anxiety. No, you are not broken. What you are feeling is called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Your brain has been wired for addiction, and getting sober is painful. ESM will teach you how to combat the symptoms of PAWS with exercise and show you how to rewire your brain for health. Our ESM modality is the only fitness-based therapy in the world designed to repair your brain chemistry with exercise. If you are not fit, don’t worry. You don’t have to be an athlete or bodybuilder to change your life with ESM. The key is effort, not bodybuilding. You will use movement and heart rate training to unlock your brains built-in system for repair. You will get in the best shape of your life, optimize your biology, reduce drug cravings, and learn how to control your mental state with movement. ESM will set you up for lasting recovery from addiction.

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ESM Fitness

Repairing the body with fitness

ESM is the Latin abbreviation for Exercitium Semita Medela or Exercise as a Pathway to Healing. ESM is an intense and effective form of therapy, created at Tree House Recovery (Orange County, CA), that assists individuals in their recovery from substance abuse. ESM is a highly structured and fast paced circuit and weight training hybrid. ESM takes place five days a week. ESM utilizes research proven methods of exercise coupled with various motivational strategies that go beyond the norm of traditional measures of treatment, combining to offer our clients a tried and true pathway that carries into healthier ways of thinking and living.

Treating PAWS with Exercise

During active addiction, the reward system is hijacked by drugs that tell your brain that you are okay even though your body is malnourished, sleep-deprived, and damaged. When drugs are removed from the addicted brain, your body reacts with a series of symptoms as your body starts to heal and regain balance.

This series of symptoms is called Post-Acute-Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). ESM is built to speed up the healing process and reduce the effects of PAWS. Because exercise is an effective way to repair the effects that addiction has on the brain. In other words, movement activates your bodies built-in system for healing.

PAWS Symptoms Treated w ESM

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

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(855) 202-2138

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Balance Brain Chemistry

fortify your emotional resilience

Rebuilding the GABA to Restore Emotion Fitness

You brain is depleted of its ability to produce key neurotransmitters during active addiction. However, ESM exercise for addiction recovery rebuilds the GABA to get your emotions healthy again.



Grow new Brain Cells

Improve Learning During Treatment

Can exercise make you smarter? Yes, and the science is pouring in on the effect of exercise on learning! ESM exercise routines are not regular workouts. Our fitness therapy sessions are designed to trigger the release of key proteins in the brain that help you heal and increase your ability to learn and retain new information. We schedule ESM right before your Addiction Ed class and one on one sessions, so your brain is calm, focused, and primed for learning. This is part of our holistic approach that allows you to learn, grow, and get the most out of the time you invest in yourself at Tree House. 



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The 4 Key Protein/Factors Ignited w ESM Fitness

The new science shows that we can grow new brain cells, and ESM helps ignite the process. There are four key proteins, or neurotrophins, released during ESM styled exercise essential for not only repairing the brain but also for creating new brain cells (neurogenesis). The current research shows that Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Insulin-like Growth Factor, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor, and Fibroblast Growth Factor are all released during exercise, and once inside the brain promote stem-cells division to help us repair damaged cells, grow new ones and prime the brain for learning. 

Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor: (The Cell Fertilizer)

BDNF is a protein that stimulates the growth and maintenance of neurons in the brain. It’s like Miracle-Gro for the brain, and there is no faster way to release it then with ESM style exercise.

Insulin-like Growth Factor: (The Fuel Supercharger)

IGF-1 is a hormone that works with insulin to deliver glucose (fuel) to muscles and the brain. During ESM workouts, the brain increase uptake of IGF-1 with the help of BDNF. This aids in strengthening neural connections to develop long-term memories.

Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor: (The Fuel Pipeline Builder)

VEGF is a protein that is essential for neurogenesis and is released during ESM style workouts. It helps to build new blood vessels to bring fuel to the brain.

Fibroblast Growth Factor: (The Cell Builder)

FGF-2 helps build brain cells in the hippocampus (associated with memory) and is increased during  ESM style exercise.



Ryan Bain has recently began collaborating with John J. Ratey, MD, author of Spark and Harvard Medical School's Professor of Psychiatry to fight addiction on a national level. He serves as a Sparking Life Addiction Recovery Board Member in an effort to raise awareness of the science behind exercise as unparalleled tool to treat addiction.


ESM Developer

Ryan Bain

Ryan is a former Division 1 athlete who earned All American Honors as both a football player and wrestler. Ryan now uses his background in sports and degree in Counseling Psychology to help others. Today Ryan is the developer of ESM, THR's fitness therapy program for addiction, and oversees all our ESM staff.


Only at tree house recovery

More Than exercise-biological therapy

What’s a True Bio-Psych-Social Model?

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(855) 202-2138

ESM is part of our True Bio-Psych-Social Model. Tree House is the only program in the world that uses ESM fitness therapy to repair the biological and neurological damage caused by drug abuse. Our fitness therapy has been custom developed at Tree House Recovery to treat addiction by All American athlete Ryan Bain. Most treatment centers use abusable medications to treat the biology of addiction, some provide limited access to a gym. Masking the symptoms caused by addiction doesn’t work; it is like taking aspirin when you have a rock in your shoe. Our fitness therapy repairs the actual damage on a cellular level. Become stronger than you have ever been, repair the damage, and end your addiction for good with the help of ESM.

ESM results:

• Better Sleep
• Reduced Anxiety
• Reduced Depression
• Lessened Stress Sensitivity
• Improved Thinking

Ryan Bain
ESM Therapist

Ryan is a former Division 1 athlete who earned All American Honors as both a football player and wrestler. Ryan now uses his background in athletics and degree in Counseling Psychology to help others. Today Ryan is the developer of ESM, THR’s fitness therapy program, and oversees all our fitness therapy staff.

Arturo Valdez
Giovani Cinfio
Jake Harrell
Our Eight Modality Program
ABI Therapy
ESM Fitness
EP Yoga
Recovery in Action
Writing Therapy
Addiction Education
Process Group
1-on-1 Therapy

Ready for change?

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