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How Recovery Unplugged's Vibe Room is Revolutionizing Addiction Treatment

by Billy McEntee

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday April 23, 2021

The Vibe Room at Recovery Unplugged's Austin facility.
The Vibe Room at Recovery Unplugged's Austin facility.  (Source:Recovery Unplugged)

The power of music is profound.

A song's tone, tempo, and key each elicit different feelings and moods, while lyrics can often unleash emotions otherwise buried.

Music can also be curative, as proven by Recovery Unplugged.

The science behind music's therapeutic qualities led to creating the Vibe Room, a new offering that's become another asset to Recovery Unplugged's success.

With treatment, detox, and rehabilitation locations in Florida, Texas, Virginia, and Tennessee, Recovery Unplugged is an industry leader for inclusive, music-based addiction recovery. The company is noted for its integration of music with clinical-based therapies and LGBTQ inclusivity.

"I love being able to integrate music into my patients' care," says Dr. Isela Werchan, Recovery Unplugged's medical director in Austin, Texas.

Recovery Unplugged uses music-assisted treatment as a therapeutic modality during addiction treatment. Listening to music helps the brain release dopamine, the same feel-good chemical associated with sex and some drugs.

The musical "highs" of Recovery Unplugged's programs help replace the feelings users might get from drugs and alcohol.

One of Recovery Unplugged's latest innovations is the Vibe Room, a soundproof chamber where high-tech speakers and subwoofers, built just beneath the floor, resonate sub-60 megahertz frequencies.

The proximity and exposure to these frequencies in a single space induce relaxation and decrease stress, empowering participants to connect more deeply with their path toward sobriety.

Though, to even invite the notion of safety and healing, patients need to know that they are in a center that is, first and foremost, welcoming.

"If LGBTQ patients do not have a space they feel is safe for treatment, then the level of care they receive will not be optimal," shares Dr. Werchan, whose current primary focus involves the assessment and treatment of substance abuse disorders. "It's crucial to be able to provide optimal care for all patients, and that being sensitive to the needs and specific challenges that LGBTQ patients face helps tailor their care so that they can get the most out of their time at Recovery Unplugged."

LGBTQ patients are not only welcome at Recovery Unplugged; they are also celebrated. The connection to this community began organically: several years ago, the husband of a counselor at the company's Austin facility came out as transgender. That counselor saw an opportunity to educate the staff about the trans community, an effort which, over time, generated word of mouth that the facility is a haven for the LGBTQ community.

Recovery Unplugged even offers a non-gender sober living space in Northern Virginia, which creates a supportive environment for the tough work of getting clean.

Vibe Room similarly evokes a sense of community and healing. How does it work, and what can users expect to experience once inside?

Inside Vibe Room

Inside Vibe Room
The Vibe Room at Recovery Unplugged's Austin facility.  (Source: Recovery Unplugged)

"Vibe Room is a unique room set up at Recovery Unplugged to help patients engage in therapy, meditation, and groups with more sensory engagement," says Dr. Werchan. "It is set up with a special lighting system that coordinates with sound played through speakers, which provide enough resonance in the room to create the sensation of vibrations."

The specific experience within will vary depending on an individual—and the music.

Inside Vibe Room, Dr. Werchan says, "experience is variable based on whom you ask.

Some patients describe feeling the bass throughout their entire bodies when listening to EDM or hip hop, while others describe a deeper sense of relaxation when focusing on the lighting displays that come up with folk or classical music."

The communal aspect plays a role, too. "Most patients who experience [Vibe Room] enjoy the room for groups and meditations," Dr. Werchan adds.

Currently, Vibe Room is available at Recovery Unplugged's Austin facility, but the company is hoping to install the room in Nashville, Annandale, Fort Lauderdale, and Lake Worth.

"Whether they have a musical background or not," Dr. Werchan says, "Recovery Unplugged provides a distinctive treatment experience for anyone who is here."

Are you or someone you love struggling with drugs or alcohol? Recovery Unplugged offers LGBTQ-welcoming substance abuse treatment. Visit recoveryunplugged.com or call 855-909-8818.

How Music Medicine Heals

This story is part of our special report titled How Music Medicine Heals. Want to read more? Here's the full list.

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