Squamish is all about living a healthy and active lifestyle.
It’s a place where adventurous souls come from all over the world to rock climb, mountain bike, ski, snowboard and take part in a wide variety of thrilling outdoor recreation options and opportunities.
Squamish Integrated Health (SIH) is a big part of helping people in the Sea to Sky community to maintain and excel in that unique lifestyle, by offering a multidisciplinary healthcare practice featuring massage therapy, physiotherapy and acupuncture, plus naturopathic and chiropractic care – all under one roof.
“I spent much of my childhood in hospital, and that fed my passion for helping others achieve their goals.” said Susan Chapelle, registered massage therapist and creator of Squamish Integrated Health.
Originally from Toronto, Chapelle owned an Artists Treatment Clinic, where she worked with performers from the National Opera Company, the National Ballet and Toronto Symphony before relocating to the West Coast and building SIH 15 years ago.
The state-of-the-art SIH centre boasts more than 20 different therapists, specializing in a range of disciplines, who work collaboratively to deliver a full complement of healthcare services, consultation and support.
“Our therapists are all experienced and have at least five years of training before becoming a part of our team,” said Chapelle. “Our two physiotherapists toured with Cirque du Soleil before becoming part of our team.”
And the facility’s mandate is to provide everyone access to that quality, integrated healthcare… and they actually mean it.
“We provide health care and education to many low income and struggling members of the Squamish population” said Chapelle.
The program sees healthcare practitioners regularly donate their time to those who may not otherwise be able to afford their services.
“With other healthcare providers and clinics in town, we provide a way to ensure that people in pain – which is often the reason for unemployment and homelessness – get regular and consistent healthcare,” she explained. “We donated over $7,000 to local charity last year through donations made on sliding scale treatments, and continue to provide assistance to those who have barriers to receiving treatment.”
That commitment to the community also extends to the environment.
“Our clinic was built locally, using recycled and non-off gassing materials and adhesives,” said Chapelle, who also sits on Squamish’s city council, and is a recent graduate of Simon Fraser University in Community Economic Development. “The clinic is made for therapists and patients to be comfortable and toxin-free. Therapists work with hydraulic tables on soft recycled wine cork floors. The wood in the clinic is all local fir. No oil is put into infrastructure through sinks that have special filters. No paper is used for charting or cleaning. We compost, recycle, and create little waste.”
Research is also a big part of the SIH mandate, and Chapelle’s research into examining the effects of manual therapy on post-surgical care for cancer patients is currently being funded through the National Institute of Medical Science at the University of New England.
“I have been a massage therapist for 20 years, however my life has been focused on providing some science to alternative medicine for the past 10.”
“I have been a massage therapist for 20 years, however my life has been focused on providing some science to alternative medicine for the past 10.” she said, adding she relishes working in science to provide evidence that prevention is an effective form of healthcare.
The clinic is open weekends and evenings, and also conveniently provides online bookings to accommodate and help maintain the wide range of rich and active lifestyles throughout the corridor.