By The Hope Team
Addiction is a condition that corrupts and overwhelms the reward center of our brains. It prioritises drugs and alcohol as being the most enjoyable activity. This is why it is important to start enjoying the healthy activities on offer. Therefore beach weekends and sports are an important component of our program. Do not get the impression Hope is a holiday camp as anyone who has been here will tell you it is the opposite – an intensive treatment experience. However, at the end of a busy week in therapy you deserve a day of fun and relaxation. And as I have explained it serves as a way to re-stimulate your interests in healthy activities and re-program your brain.
Stimulating environmental conditions make it easier to treat addiction
According to new research, environmental conditions play a significant role in recovery and rewiring the brain. Researchers have shown that positive and stimulating environmental conditions make it easier to treat addiction. This is why we take all our clients to the island and beach even weekend to stimulate the reward center with healthy activity. Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD is a debilitating condition, and many addicts and alcoholics suffer from isolation causing SAD.
For most weekend activities we take all our clients on the short and pleasant ferry ride across to the island of Si Chang for a well-earned break. The island is within easy reach of Hope Rehab – it’s just 30 minutes away from Si Racha by boat. This is by far our most popular excursion destination.
Koh Si Chang: An Island Overlooked By Mainstream Tourism
Most tourists have never even heard of Koh Si Chang, as they tend to favour the busier islands further to the east such as Koh Samet and Koh Chang. This is good news for us because it means we get to enjoy something a bit unique and special.
Koh Si Chang covers an area of approximately 17 Square kilometres, and it has a population of around 4,500 people. The number of resorts and guest houses on the island has increased in recent years, but there are still only a handful. The coast facing the mainland is mostly rocky, but there is a beautiful beach on the other side.
Koh Si Chang: Things To Do & See
San Jao Phaw Khao Yai
One of the first things you are likely to notice when you arrive at Koh Si Chang is a huge temple on top of a cliff overlooking the harbour. This is San Jao Phaw Khao Yai, and it is one of the main attractions on the island for Thai tourists who come here to make merit. The temple has many levels, and it takes advantage of the natural caves and other structures in the cliff.
Haad Taam Khao Pang (Taam Pang Beach)
Haad Taam Khao Pang is the main beach on the island, and this is where we get to relax and enjoy some stunning natural beauty. The name ‘Taam Khao Pang’ means ‘collapsed cave’. This beach can get busy on bank holiday weekends, as it is popular with Thais, but most of the time when we go here we mainly have it to ourselves.
Rama IV Summer Palace and Gardens
Rama IV (aka Mongkut) lived in the nineteenth century, and he is one of the most revered of all the Thai kings. Westerners will usually associate him with the hit movie ‘The King and I’. The story was based on a book about the life of a Christian missionary called Anna Leonowens. The book is believed to have greatly exaggerated Anna’s relationship with the king and is considered to be mostly a work of fiction.
Rama IV kept a summer palace on Si Chang, and this is one of the popular tourist attractions on the island. The gardens surrounding it are beautiful, and it is nice to walk around here for a few hours and enjoy the sea breeze. There are some nearby caves to explore if you have the time.
Koh Si Chang Town
There is a town close to the harbour on Koh Si Chang, and here you will find some shops and a few restaurants. It’s a sleepy little place, and the local shopkeepers always seem to have time to welcome visitors.
Other Things to Look Out for On Koh Si Chang
Khao Yai View Point – for the best view on the island
Buddha footprint at the Chinese temple
Caves at Haad Taam Khao Pang
Sunset at Haad Taam Khao Pang
Health Benefits of Rehab by the Sea or Beach
One of the benefits of coming to Hope Rehab Thailand is that you are going to be staying right beside the sea. We get to the beach at least once a week, and you will be benefiting from the sea air throughout your stay. You will also get to enjoy a superb view of the Gulf of Thailand from our balcony whenever you desire.
Thailand has the perfect climate for enjoying the beach all-year-round. This is why it is one of the top destinations in the world for sun-worshipers. There are also some practical benefits of this type of environment that are of particular value to those of attempting to overcome an addiction problem including:
Sea Air Helps You Sleep Better at Night
Have you ever noticed how just being by the sea can make you feel a bit more relaxed? This phenomenon occurs because sea air differs from the air found elsewhere on the planet as it has far more negative ions. Breathing in these negative ions produces a number of beneficial effects in the body including:
It improves our ability to absorb oxygen
It impacts hormones in the body such as serotonin thus reducing anxiety and generating a feeling of relaxation
Positive ions in the atmosphere can make us feel restless but negative ions have the opposite effect
The fact that we breathe easier and feel more relaxed made it more likely that we will get a good night sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep can be a real struggle for those of us in early recovery, but being close to the sea can significantly improve the situation.
Spending Time at the Beach Improves Your Mood
It is no mystery why so many of us love going to the beach – it is the perfect place to relax and escape the stresses of normal living. Spending a bit of time beside the sea can significantly boost your mood which will then keep you motivated for the changes you need to make in rehab.
Ultraviolet light from the sun is used by the body to produce vitamin D – you can produce 25,000 IU of this chemical by exposing your skin to the sun for as little as 15 minutes. There appears to be a link between low levels of vitamin D and depression, so creating more of this substance can have an impact on mood.
Going to The Beach Environment Boosts Your Motivation
One of the other advantages of sunlight is that it increases our serotonin levels. Serotonin has been described as the ‘molecule of willpower’ – this means it increases our ability to make permanent life changes. Staying motivated is one of the keys to getting the most out of rehab and spending some time at the beach is going to help with this.
Periods of Relaxation Are Vital If You Want to Get the Most Out of Rehab
Trips to the beach are more than just a reward to those staying in rehab. You need this downtime in order to re-energize and re-motivate yourself. These periods of relaxation also give your brain a chance to digest the information and make sense the experiences you have accumulated during your time in treatment. You do need to work hard to get the most out of rehab, but you also need to have periods or rest, or you will be at risk of burnout.
Other Health Benefits of Staying in a Rehab by the Sea
Swimming in the sea can boost your immune system – this is because seawater contains amino acids, microorganisms, and other components beneficial to the body
Seawater can be good for your skin – e.g. the salt in the sea can clean cuts and wounds and help improve acne
Playing in the sea are walking on the beach is great exercise
Beach sand is a natural exfoliant – this means it removes dead skin cells and makes your skin feel soft
People who spend time in the sun tend to be happier
A bit of heat can get you to perspire which allows your body to get rid of toxins