Skip to content

Vancouver Island society bringing in new ‘holistic’ brain rehabilitation program

Non-profit partners with B.C. business to treat range of cognitive challenges
Kix Citton, Nanaimo Brain Injury Society executive director, and Shaun Porter, ABI Wellness chief operating officer, test the Axis Cognitive Rehab program on a computer at the society’s office on March 31. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo Brain Injury Society hopes to help people sharpen their minds as they suffer from issues like concussions and COVID-19-caused mental impairment.

The non-profit is teaming with ABI Wellness, a company that deals with cognitive rehabilitation, to offer the Axis Cognitive Rehab clinic, aiding people in brain injury recovery. Powered by ABI’s Brain Enhance and Recovery System, it is based on aerobic activity, cognitive training, meditation exercises and progress tracking, and includes use of a computer.

A demonstration was held March 31 at the society’s downtown Nanaimo office.

Shaun Porter, ABI Wellness chief operating officer, said Axis was initially intended for people suffering from concussions, but can be applied to anyone.

“Even in the first research study that we did … we ended up opening it up to moderate and severe traumatic brain injury,” said Porter. “We saw such an incredible response, regardless of initial diagnosis, that we realized this program is really applicable to anybody with a brain. They don’t even have to have an injury. Since we’ve launched it clinically, we’ve worked with people with stroke, chemo brain, long COVID, aging … and so if you can engage in the program, you can benefit.”

Patients are assessed and then programs are tailored to individuals while adhering to core principles, according to Porter.

“We identify what would be challenging for them physically and we’re just trying to get heart rate up, blood flow to the brain, to prepare the brain for the cognitive intervention,” he said. “Then we do the cognitive training and we look through our initial assessments, we identify what areas are a struggle point for them. We have different cognitive exercises that target those. We make sure that it’s set to a level that will challenge them appropriately and then they just get to work.”

According to a press release, the “holistic” program involves cognitive training, physical exercise, mindfulness and progress tracking and has shown “impressive” patient outcomes.

Nanaimo Brain Injury Society first intake for the recovery system is set to start later this month at the society’s facility on Bastion Street, with program costs starting at $500 per month for six months.

“We are interested in partnerships and sponsorships with folks because this is a fee-for-service program,” said Kix Citton, the society’s executive director. “We don’t have any grants or donations that support people at this point, so we’re looking to access resources for folks, which include the potential for businesses to sponsor a position.”

People can find out more at the society’s website,

READ ALSO: Grant will help Nanaimo Brain Injury Society bolster programs

Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram

Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

I joined Black Press in 2010 and cover education, court and RDN. I am a Ma Murray and CCNA award winner.
Read more