HomeTreatmentPrograms and Services

Health and Wellness Program

The Health and Wellness Program at the Austen Riggs Center provides our patients with avenues for improving their physical health, and for reducing stress.

Our Philosophy

We believe that attending to the body is a crucial element in healing. By participating in the Health and Wellness Program, patients have an opportunity to become more aware of their bodies, develop self-regulation skills, and build resilience. As people develop these skills, they can begin to respond reflectively, rather than reflexively, to stress.

Core Services

Based on current patient interest, we provide several core services designed to improve physical health, reduce stress, and enhance overall health and wellbeing including:

  • Yoga (including trauma-informed yoga)
  • Nutritional Counseling and Mindful Eating
  • Personal Fitness Training
  • Rest and Restore Meditation (based on the principles of Yoga Nidra and Integrative Restoration)
  • Outdoor Exercise and Activities (such as: daily walks, hikes, snowshoeing, and more)
  • Mindful Approaches to Coping Skills Group

Detailed information below. Yoga and meditation can be an integral part of treatment for those struggling with anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and substance use disorder issues (detailed information below).

Patients are encouraged to experiment with the range of approaches offered and can receive ongoing guidance to strengthen their ability to meet their personal health goals.

Additional Services

We offer one-on-one sessions that provide specialized support for patients dealing with a range of issues, including symptoms of insomnia, trauma, and chronic pain. For many, pain and the emotional distress associated with trauma are signals of a problematic or strained relationship with their bodies. By providing additional support, including a treatment plan tailored to the individuals’ needs, our trained teachers can facilitate patients’ capacity to care for their body.

Core Services Detail


Our yoga classes support patients gradually increasing their body awareness and developing the skills of self-regulation in a safe and comfortable environment.

Trauma-Informed Yoga

A subset of our yoga classes is designed to address the specific needs of patients with histories of abuse and trauma. The goal of trauma-informed yoga is to help patients build resilience and self-regulatory capacities.

Nutritional Counseling and Mindful Eating

Our nutritional counseling emphasizes mindful eating and nutrition. Patients learn to listen to and understand the language of their body, particularly their hunger and satiation cues. By understanding the relationship between what they put in their body and how they feel, patients work toward self-awareness and agency in their decisions.

Personal Fitness Training

Patients have the option to work one-on-one or in a group context with our personal trainer to develop personalized fitness or weight loss goals.

Rest and Restore Meditation

Our particular form of meditation, Rest, Restore, and Revision, is based on the principles of Yoga Nidra (the meditation sister of traditional Yoga) and the more contemporary, trauma-informed Integrative Restoration (or iRest) developed by Dr. Richard Miller for the military and used with soldiers experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These approaches are combined and adapted to meet the needs of our particular patient population. The process is fully guided and includes: orienting to the five senses, setting an intention, scanning the body, developing an inner resource, exploring opposites of feelings or emotions, and paying attention to the journey of the breath in and out of the body. Through continued practice, participants are able to become more in touch and comfortable with bodily sensations and feelings.

Outdoor Exercise and Activities

There are a number of regular, planned and unplanned outdoor exercise and activity opportunities available to patients including: daily Nursing Walks facilitated by a nursing staff member and outdoor activities facilitated by staff members most weekends, including hikes, snowshoeing, and water sports.

Mindful Approaches to Coping Skills Group

This group focuses the application of mindfulness skills in the context of interpersonal relationships. By increasing their self-awareness and capacity to understand and integrate their emotions, patients can make thoughtful, reflective decisions in their relationships. In addition, the group teaches skills to manage symptoms of chronic pain, insomnia, and anxiety.


Services are offered based on current patient interest.


Health and Wellness Flyer

Empirical support for our Health and Wellness Program offerings

Blog Posts About the Health and Wellness Program

The Therapeutic Community Program at Riggs: New Health and Wellness Program for Patients

The Health and Wellness Program at the Austen Riggs Center offers patients an opportunity to enhance their overall health and wellbeing through a range of offerings.The Health and Wellness Program, part of the Therapeutic Community Program, is an interconnected series of activities aimed at enhancing patient authority, fostering interpersonal learning and creating an environment that supports treatment. 


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