The mild climate of Southern California makes APEX Rehab in San Diego the perfect location for addiction treatment. In addition to conventional therapies, we offer an outdoor program for our alcohol and drug rehab in San Diego, which allows patients to explore and enjoy the natural surroundings of the area. From beach outings to nature hikes and more, our holistic care offers the perfect mix of outdoor activities. Getting outside in nature helps patients relax and destress, get much needed vitamin D and get in touch with their spiritual side, all of which aids in their healing.
The healing powers of nature were recognized ages ago. In ancient Japan, there was a practice rooted in the philosophies of Shintoism and Buddhism which literally translated as “forest bathing”. The outdoor therapy as such was formally established toward the end of the seventies with Colorado Outward Bound’s Alcohol and Drug Courses. However, the beginnings were documented somewhere in 1800s, when the psychiatrists working in mental health institutions noticed that their patients were much calmer and more sociable in nature.
Doing some physical activity in the nature is part of holistic healing. Activity improves the level of fitness, lowers stress hormones and increases the levels of oxygen in the blood, all of which contributes to well-being and clarity of mind. Connecting with their thoughts and bodies, patients can process the insights from the more traditional forms of therapy.
Outdoor therapy is interesting not only because of the variety and a change of setting, but also because it uses the natural challenges to allow patients to practice their self-reliance and control. This is something a recovering addict works on in therapy – how to control negative thoughts, how to resist the impulse to start using again and how to trust oneself. Outdoor therapy enables them to experience these notions in a different, hands-on context.
Outdoor activities like hiking, mountain climbing or rock climbing provide a metaphor for the challenge that recovering users are dealing with. Conquering the goal increases self-esteem, which tends to be low with alcohol and substance users.
Outdoor activities have a social element to them, too. Group activities foster teamwork and a sense of community. Feeling closer to the other members of the group, they feel less isolated, which is beneficial for the treatment.
Spending time outdoors is similar to meditation and yoga in the sense that it can help the individual to find a path of spirituality. The feeling of being one with the nature is difficult to explain, but easy to feel.
Finally, exploring what nature has to offer is a chance for the patient to find something positive to do in their free time. Boredom and a lack of direction easily set the mood for relapse, while outdoor activities can provide a way to fill that time in an affirmative way.