The Deeper Meaning of “Luxury” Treatment

substance abuse disorders. We have a beautiful facility with comfortable couches, natural light, and a warm and competent staff. Client’s also receive weekly massage and biofeedback relaxation. Anyone with insurance can receive all these wonderful services for a small co-pay. The longer I work here, the more I see that these “luxuries” have a much deeper impact than you might expect.

I have the unique pleasure of being able to offer both mental health and massage therapy services at Welwynn. The other day a massage therapist friend emailed me asking if I knew of any good resources on the subject of the benefits of massage for addiction. A quick internet search found several posts on the subject including benefits like pain relief, nervous system regulation, detox, trauma healing, etc.  I’d like to add some thoughts on how massage and the other “nice things” that we offer show clients that we believe that they are “worth it.”  As they heal, they regain their own sense of worthiness, or self-esteem.

Addiction is often framed as a moral issue – addicts are “selfish” or “lack discipline.” Historically, addicts were given punishment instead of treatment, and even today many approaches to treating addiction have a punitive flavor. Many people I meet in recovery suffer from a great degree of shame for the ways in which their disease has caused them to act against their values and harm the people that they care about. At Welwynn, we have a beautiful facility and provide people in recovery with massage – a “luxury” or “treat” which they may not feel that they deserve. Massage can be a powerful antidote to the dangerously low self-esteem of many addicts, which in itself is a risk factor for relapse, or worse, suicide. I deeply believe that our clients deserve to feel better and deserve the best care, even if they have behaved poorly while hijacked by addiction.

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