The benefits of sunlight on recovery

August 26th, 2020 by

There are many aspects of South Africa that are undoubtedly outstanding. One of the first that always comes to mind is its abundant year-round sunshine.

That warmth on the skin just seems to ease any physical aches away. As well, it’s known to be beneficial to any emotional healing.

It’s not just the warmth of it either, it’s the beautiful light it gives. We know there are plenty of countries not quite as blessed – where house and streetlights are on from the mid-afternoon or sometimes all day long on particularly miserable days.

Even waking up to such a dull grayness can be reflected in our emotional state. On the other hand seeing blue skies and sunshine instantly brightens our mood.

Then that it is pretty much dependable is wonderful. It means that plans for an excursion, playing sport or relaxing by the swimming pool become reality rather than something that has to be abandoned.

As well as losing the physical benefits, this also leads to a further dampening of the spirits. This all makes recovery even harder.

However, if the spirit is lifted at the sight of the sun rising into blue skies without a cloud in sight it is only beneficial.

At the other end of the day, even though the sun is setting, these are frequently such an unforgettable blaze of yellows, reds and oranges in the sky that they are uplifting too.

Recovery from dawn until dusk

cape town south africa

As well, beautiful sunrises and sunsets are inspirational for reflection and invoking a sense of calm. Our guests are always telling us how stimulating they are to their recovery.

Nestled on the outskirts of the town of White River, we feel so fortunate that we can share our 14 hectares with guests. This includes our peaceful 100-year-old garden.

White River Manor offers an extensive treatment programme especially created for each individual guest. This is to ensure the best and most enduring recovery possible.

Positioned close to the amazing Kruger National Park, we believe there really is no better place for clients seeking peace and quiet in one of the world’s most beautiful spots.

Regarded as one of the best addiction treatment centres in South Africa, we offer first-class treatment in a tranquil setting that gives clients an absolutely life-transforming experience.

south Africa - White River Manor

Experiences include a day’s safari tour of the Kruger National Park where you can see such as elephants, lions and zebras.

There’s also the opportunity of mountain-biking or hiking through mountain and forest scenery, canoeing on the Sabie River or relaxing by the stunning Komati River.

Safari South Africa

Due to the wonderful climate South Africa is abundant with flora and fauna. Beautiful tall trees around the manor offer cooling shade for those warm afternoons.

Why vitamin D is vital to good health

Our guests say the temperature here is ideal. We frequently hear that they agree with us in our view that South Africa is the perfect rehab destination.

With a temperate climate consisting of plentiful sunny days, we are blessed to have this sub-tropical weather. It means mild winters and idyllic summers.

entrance to white river manor

Every day there are hours of natural light that encourages everyone to spend as much time as possible outdoors. This is valuable as our body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin.

Vitamin D plays a part in regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body.

These are essential to keep teeth, muscles and bones in a healthy condition.

As well, something to consider during winter months in a cold-climate country is that people spend much more time indoors. There is much less daylight, even if there are sunny days.

During this period of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions on getting out and about, it’s something to think about too. Some experts think that vitamin D reduces the risk of coronavirus, although research is still ongoing.

But studies have already shown that natural light has instant positive effects on our immune system, stress levels and blood pressure. A strong immune system of course means less chance of any illness and means the body is stronger if sickness does arise.

People with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression thought to be caused by a lack of light, also benefit greatly from South Africa’s sunshine days. This could be that  – as with everyone – sunshine lifts our mood, which boosts the immune system in itself.

In fact it’s advantageous to any type of depression. People with anxiety also report immediate benefits. In fact there’s not one mental health condition that’s not helped by bright and warm days.

A lift in mood is believed to be, at least partly, due to sunlight increasing the body’s release of the feel-good chemical serotonin. The sun’s rays also cause lower blood pressure.

It’s thought this is because nitric oxide – a molecule produced naturally – is in the top layers of our skin. It reacts to sunlight and causes blood vessels to widen as it moves into the bloodstream. This lowers blood pressure.

Our experienced team would love to welcome you to our beautiful 5-star luxury recovery and wellness centre here. Contact us today to see how we can help you or someone you care about.

The benefits of group therapy

July 14th, 2020 by

Group therapy is a popular form of treatment. It involves at least one therapist engaging with a number of people in therapy at the same time.

It has been seen that this type of therapy helps a person to talk about issues with the support of other people who are going through similar problems. It helps with connection to others.

This therapy has been shown to be particularly beneficial for people needing help with anxiety, depression, relationship issues, panic disorder, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, addictions and borderline personality disorder.

Those in a group can find out how others see them and how they relate to other people. 

This is especially helpful for those who have feelings of being isolated or who feel alone with their problems.

Group therapy also lets the therapist get the measure of progress of each group member by seeing how they interact. This includes listening to the advice they offer another person in the group.

In a therapeutic sense group therapy started in the first decades of the 20th Century. This was initially in America, and then during the Second World War, both the US and Britain developed it more to help with the war effort such as to deal with combat fatigue.

Around the same time, the 12 Steps group meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) started. Although not professional group therapy, many of the principles are strikingly similar.

From its beginnings, with two American alcoholics helping each other to stay sober, there are currently more than 115,000 AA groups. These are in 180 different countries with more than two million members.

Many other 12 Steps groups have also started to help with other addictions and behavioural problems. This includes for food disorders, drug addiction, gambling problems, workaholism and sex addiction.

The groups are often much bigger than group therapy in such as an addiction recovery centre. Some AA meetings in cities can have more than 100 people.

What happens in group therapy?

group therapy and coffee whiteriver manor

Frequently a group will be made up of three or more people in therapy, up to 12, although it is up to the therapist. Some therapists think six is the maximum number.

People in the group will often sit in a circle to face each other. The room they are in will offer good confidentiality.

A group therapy meeting often starts with everyone taking turns to introduce themselves and briefly say why they are there. They may share experiences and progress since the last meeting.

The meetings will most likely be regular sessions – sometimes even every day or more than once a day. Each person takes a turn to speak for several minutes.

Group therapy can last from just several minutes up to 90 minutes. Around 45 minutes is considered an average period.

A particular topic may be chosen to lead the meeting. This could be such as thoughts on a video the group has watched or on a passage from a self-help book that’s been read out.

It’s essential that a trained professional therapist supervises the group. A therapist can guide the group, if it’s needed, to find their own solutions.

Meetings can take different formats depending on the therapist and the group’s aims. Some meetings might be where everyone comes in to speak when they wish. Or it might be that the therapist has everyone try some new coping skills they have learned.

Groups are an excellent outlet for emotions.

There are usually guidelines in place to ensure everyone is respected. This is such as always asking another person in the group if they would welcome feedback on what they have just shared.

Increasingly, especially with lockdowns in place, group therapy meetings around the world have taken place on such as apps or videophones. These are without doubt useful, but the evidence is that face to face group meetings are most beneficial for the majority of people.

What are the benefits of group therapy?

Is group therapy for everyone?

one to one therapy on the patio at White River Manor

Group therapy offers definite advantages and disadvantages. But it is not for someone who is uncomfortable with other people or who is suffering badly from anxiety. 

For someone with trust issues, it can be a difficult form of therapy. Or someone with lots of pent-up shame that needs to be resolved.

Also, for someone with little awareness of their condition. One-to-one therapy will usually be more helpful in these instances.

Generally, though group therapy is popular and has proven success rates. That’s why at White River Manor we offer group therapy in several formats.

This is as part of a guest’s treatment plan that is tailored to you or your loved one’s specific needs and therapeutic requirements. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help.

Helping executives to stay sober beyond residential treatment

June 30th, 2020 by

Addiction recovery doesn’t end when a person finishes at rehab. Recovery is a lifelong pursuit of positive habit building, maintaining mental wellbeing and avoiding negative triggers that may lead to relapse.

Executives who leave rehab and enter back into their fast-paced, overwhelming and stress-induced work environments, though, may have a hard time avoiding relapse.

It can be easy to slip into old habits and get caught up in the culture that created an addiction in the first place.

This is especially true given that rehab is a safe and comfortable place to be – it’s designed to help people in recovery slow down, take stock and make space to overcome their unique challenges.

Leaving, then, can pose new challenges in the recovery journey.

Here’s how executives can stay sober beyond residential treatment programs.

Avoiding common temptations after rehab

It’s a tough transition to go from a safe and secure environment and back into the real world.

You may find yourself faced with common triggers or situations that spark bad habits. Old friends, certain family members and burnout at work, for instance, are all things you’ll likely face as you return to normality, and these may be the things that caused an addiction to form in the first place.

Knowing how your ‘real life’ affects you and how to spot the signs of negative habit forming, then, will help you protect yourself against relapse.

To help with this, there are a few things you can begin to do when you leave a residential treatment program, including:

Whatever it is, your life after rehab shouldn’t look the same as your life prior to it. After all, it was this old routine that caused you to feel burned out, unhappy and unfulfilled, and this led you to rehab in the first place.

Instead, encourage new and healthier habits to form, and set firm boundaries with those around you to ensure that you’re focusing on becoming your best self and not falling into old routines.

Consider attending a sober living home

Sober living homes (or halfway houses) are becoming increasingly more popular. They’re an effective middle ground between rehab and real life, and they allow you to loosen the reigns of specialist support and manage those negative triggers that still exist in your everyday life.

By attending a sober living home, executives can slowly begin to return to the workplace and venture back into the real world, all while learning how to apply the tools and techniques from rehab into their everyday environment.

Halfway houses add a layer of stability and insulation for executives recovering from addiction, and they help them avoid relapse. What’s more, they’re a great way to form social connections with others who have experienced addiction and form a strong support network prior to going home.

The benefits of staying sober

A strong support network is one of the best things you can establish as you’re leaving rehab.

After all, humans depend on humans to make good decisions and maintain healthy habits. We’re creatures of influence, and it’s easy to fall back into old addictions. Without good people around you, it can be difficult to remain sober when rehab ends.

And the benefits of remaining sober are too good to miss out on.

Besides the health benefits and the feeling of being in control of your life again, sobriety helps you:

Recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction might be the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do (much harder than the 80 hours a week you were working way back when). It’s a lifelong commitment, and by making the effort, you can find yourself with newfound strength and fulfilment in your life.

In turn, you can find yourself happy once again.

To find out how White River Manor can help you stay sober, contact our specialists today.

The benefits of quality time in the great outdoors to improve mental health

May 15th, 2020 by

Research generously and continuously supports ecotherapy as a key benefit to mental health.

In fact, just the suggestion of nature seems to improve human mental health.

A study carried out by Mind found that 95% of those interviewed said their mood improved after spending time outdoors. They noted a change from depressed, stressed and anxious, to calm and balanced.

Numerous other studies have supported the mental health benefits of the great outdoors, especially when connected to exercise, such as hiking, cycling and running. 

Here’s what you should know about how hiking and the great outdoors improves wellness.  

The mental health benefits of the great outdoors 

walking a dog in white river manor

Natural environments have been found to have restorative elements, which can ultimately give your mental health a boost.

The following mental health benefits give you ample reason to get out and get active. Your mind and body will benefit. 

Ecotherapy in South Africa

Sitting by a river at White River Manor - recovery

Ecotherapy, also known as nature or green therapy, comes from the belief that people and their psyches are not separate from their environment.

As such, connection with the Earth is a core part of ecotherapy. It recognizes the mental health benefits of the great outdoors and seeks to connect its participants with them.

South Africa has numerous options for those seeking to experience the mental and physical benefits nature provides.  


hiking south africa white river manor health benefits of being outdoors

Believe it or not, people travel from around the world to experience hiking and trekking in South Africa.

Here are some top hikes to experience during a stay in South Africa. You’ll see firsthand how hiking improves wellness. 

Kruger National Park 

south Africa - White River Manor

There’s no shortage of activities in South Africa and Kruger National Park which is located just 17kms from White River Manor is one of the best destinations to experience activities in the great outdoors. 

Located in northeastern South Africa, Kruger is one of Africa’s largest game reserves. While you may think it’s reserved purely for safaris and game drives, there are also plenty of ways you can experience the park whilst staying active.

Here are some ideas. 


cycling in white river manor

Cycling is renowned for its positive benefits to mental health and just like hiking, cycling in South Africa provides amazing scenery as well as a way to see the country. 

There are some excellent cycling routes for beginners and pros along the banks of the White River and throughout the region of Mpumalanga, from easy flat 3km trails to pro mountain bike trails.

Nature looks after you

With just 20 to 30 minutes spent in nature each day, ecotherapy will help towards improving your mental health and wellness.

There’s no excuse NOT to get outside and get active. And South Africa boasts a huge range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling, and walking safaris.

Contact us today if you’d like a confidential and free chat with one of our highly-trained professionals.

Why Luxury Rehab in South Africa is Excellent Value for Money

May 15th, 2020 by

Once you have taken the decisive step towards professional help. Your choice of where to undergo treatment should be based on finding a centre that closely matches your rehabilitation goals and offers an encompassing and safe environment.

There is a much greater likelihood of success when you have access to treatment that has a high success record treating patients with the same needs as your own.  

Factors to consider

There are basic personal and environmental factors around making the decision to undertake recovery for addiction, depression or executive burnout. The most important are family life or personal relationships, career and economic status. 

Another important consideration is the ability to remove yourself from routine and from the cycle of life that we are stuck in.

A fresh perspective and a different environment can be hugely impactful in aiding recovery and heading abroad can be just the tonic you need to change your life for the better.

Why choose South Africa?

holistic approach to recovery

South Africa is renowned for offering exceptional quality travel and accommodation.

Over the last few years, the South African Rand has seen a substantial depreciation against the Sterling and Euro, which makes South Africa excellent value for money as a travel destination and an excellent choice for clients looking for a luxury rehabilitation program.

Safari White River Manor

The benefits are boundless, but some of the main reasons our clients chose South Africa as the location for their successful recovery include.

Affordable luxury

White River Manor is a resort-style facility located in a beautiful tranquil setting in the heart of South Africa, just 17 minutes from the Kruger National Park. We provide modern luxury addiction and wellness treatment in a five-star environment. 

We are able to do this at a fraction of the cost our clients would pay in the UK, Europe or the US.

Travelling abroad for treatment means you can benefit from a professional team with decades of experience without sacrificing the quality of treatment you deserve. 

Reasons to choose South Africa

Nature has a profound effect on our wellbeing. Research shows that spending time in nature, even viewing natural scenery, helps reduce stress, fear and anxiety. We start to feel physically and emotionally better, and our vitality increases.

South Africa is well-positioned to offer everything needed for effective recovery from burnout, depression and substance abuse.

During your stay, you’ll get to explore the magnificent region, enjoying a myriad of outdoor activities which play an essential role in addiction recovery. 

This is an opportunity to live in the moment and let nature and wildlife restore you to optimum health and wellbeing

What makes White River Manor so special?

Welcome to White River Manor

White River Manor is a private rehabilitation centre built within a 100-year-old English estate with tranquil mature gardens. Located on the White River in the Mpumalanga region of South Africa, the peaceful setting is ideal for those who want to disconnect from a life of bad habits and to maximise the potential of their time in treatment and recovery. 

We practice a 360º holistic method of therapy using a combination of Western psychotherapy and Eastern wellness practices in an environment where clients feel safe, supported and connected.  

Our all-inclusive 28-day programs start from just £11,000 (12,500 €). A significantly lower cost compared to British and European treatment centres, and with the added benefit of spending time in a five-star South African lodge situated in a magnificent and natural environment. 

There is no better place to undertake your journey of recovery. Contact us today for more information.


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