Biology, psychology, social, and spiritual factors are all addressed in the treatment of addiction. This approach, known as the Biopsychosocial Model of Health, is in contrast to the older Biomedical Model of Health, which considers health only as the absence of disease. Our approach is consistent with the World Health Organization definition of health*.
*Source: World Health Organization. (1946). Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/about/definition/en/print/
In keeping with current research, we recognize that thoughts and feelings can have a significant impact on physical health. This mind-body connection recognizes that psychological and physical health are interdependent, not separate, factors when achieving overall health. Stress, for example, is an important risk factor for addiction that can be effectively treated with mind-body therapies.
We treat addiction from two perspectives:
- ‘Top-down’ methods such as talk therapy that start with a client’s thoughts and feelings, and
- ‘Bottom-up’ methods which start with a client’s body, working up to the brain.
Our body/mind therapies include:
Massage therapy is the application of soft-tissue manipulation techniques to the body in order to reduce stress and fatigue while improving circulation.
Clients at Sunshine Coast Health Centre receive several 30-minute sessions during the course of their stay.
Traditional saunas use heat to warm the air around you, while an infrared sauna heats your body directly. Infrared saunas are one of the few mediums that provide infrared heat in a controlled environment. Infrared heat is an invisible electromagnetic wave that helps improve blood flow. These electromagnetic wavelengths have the ability to penetrate soft tissue up to an inch and a half, warming the body and opening blood vessels in a process called vasodilation. Vasodilation helps to increase blood flow and lower blood pressure, which are key components in healing the body quicker and more efficiently.
When you begin using the infrared sauna, it is recommended to limit yourself to 5-10 minutes during your first session. Once you become acclimated to the heat, you can slowly increase your sessions to up to 20-25 minutes. Infrared saunas have also been shown to help with general detoxification, stress and fatigue, muscle aches, arthritis, and joint relief, and immune system support.
Once a month, our clients may join local Sliammon elder, John Louie, in a traditional sweat ceremony. It’s a healing and teaching ceremony where John shares the Sliammon traditions and explains the customs around the sweat. The experience is explained as something natural, beautiful, and exhilarating.
The tradition asks to bring tobacco for the ceremony as an offering to the fire to thank the creator and mother earth. The rocks used in the sweat are specifically from the Squamish area because they are lava rocks. Before the ceremony, the men are then smudged with sacred sage or cedar to help eliminate bad energy or thoughts.
The ceremony has four parts. Heat and steam are intensified with each part, which is shortened each time. The first part of the ceremony represents men and reflects the physical side and the second represents women and reflects emotions. The third is for the world around us and represents the mental side, while the fourth is for ourselves and our spirit.
After the ceremony, each man reflects back on his personal experience and spends time in deep thought. It is a very personal and spiritually charged journey.
We also offer additional body/mind therapies as part of the Trauma Program.
For more information, visit our Trauma Program webpage.