February 14, 2017

New Wellness Center positively impacts patients’ physical and mental recovery

Written by Kevin Miner

Travis Weisbrod, Wellness Coordinator

St. Christopher’s state-of-the-art Wellness Center opened in July 2016 and Wellness Coordinator Travis Weisbrod couldn’t be more excited. On a day-to-day basis, Travis designs and implements exercise programs and routines for patients based on their goals, personal needs and physical capabilities. “The most important role that I have at St. Christopher’s is to educate and introduce patients to the concept of wellness and physical fitness,” Weisbrod said.

Weisbrod either works with individuals or groups of patients depending on the situation and circumstance. For instance, a one-on-one session is most appropriate for a patient’s first time at the Wellness Center, but Travis believes sessions with two to four guys help patients build new relationships among one another and create an environment where they challenge themselves more than they typically would in a private session. Throughout the week, Weisbrod maintains daily communication with the clinical staff regarding patient behavior and attitude during his sessions, and believes that this level of cohesion is imperative to the patient’s recovery.

Weisbrod, a kinesiology graduate student at Louisiana State University with a focus in clinical exercise physiology, began working at St. Christopher’s in December 2011 as a Recovery Advocate Supervisor following his completion of St. Christopher’s long-term program. “Like most people, I came into treatment with feelings of low energy and low self-esteem,” Weisbrod said, “Exercise helped me feel better physically and emotionally, and I’ve seen this effect in others time and time again.”

Weisbrod believes that exercise and physical activity may be the first part of the recovery process that delivers tangible results. However, for patients’ true health and balance, the fitness must follow a focused, thoughtfully designed and individualized plan. What the Wellness Center offers is a far cry from the days of old when patients were transported three times a week to a crowded YMCA and either aimlessly lifted weights, sat around doing nothing, or conversely, were hyper-focused on working out and body image without any real plan in place.

“The guys have really taken to the wellness component of the program,” he said. “The most positive impact that I’ve seen in the patients is their increased motivation to come back day after day and challenge themselves to meet their goals.” Thanks to the assortment of equipment and integration of exercises such as yoga and plyometric training, there is always something new and exciting to do at the Wellness Center.

Our newest Wellness Center addition is a Biosound therapy chair which will assist the clients during detox and moments of anxiety and restlessness. It is proven to reduce stress and withdrawal symptoms. For further improvement Weisbrod intends to incorporate nutritional wellness with cooking classes and professional dietary plans, more activities taught by outside experts such as martial arts and Pilates and frequent health monitoring tests.

The Center is open to patients in Primary, Extended Care and Recovery Home programs.