Mount Nittany Health Foundation Supports Behavioral Health with Zen Rocking Chair

August 31, 2022
3 min read


Zen Plus Rocker

Zen Plus Rocker

Generous donations made to the Mount Nittany Health Foundation have provided another tool to meet the unique needs of the communities we serve. Mount Nittany Medical Center’s Behavioral Health Unit recently received a new behavioral health-focused Zen rocking chair, which provides a source of focus and calm for patients in the unit.

The chair provides a new and unique piece of equipment to add to the Behavioral Health Services’ holistic and solution-oriented care. With mental health issues on the rise, Mount Nittany Health provides care that is safe, comfortable, and confidential by helping patients learn and practice new coping skills through individual, family, and group therapy.

“We are so grateful for the generous donations from our community that enable the Behavioral Health staff to provide evidence-based therapeutic interventions and care for our patients,” said Tina Kephart RN, PMH-BC, Manager, Behavioral Health. “This rocking chair provides a comforting and therapeutic tool to help our patients feel calm, identify healthier coping strategies, and navigate their personal path to a successful recovery.” 

The Zen rocking chair is used for sensory intervention. The fluid rhythmic rocking motion gives patients the opportunity to self-sooth.

Evidenced-based practice of sensory modulation activities such as rocking has shown significant improvements for patients with pain, sleep issues, stress, anxiety, panic, PTSD, autism spectrum disorders, depression, and schizophrenia. The Zen rocking chair is especially helpful for those on the autism spectrum as the rocking motion can help to minimize the impact of outside stimuli.

Frequent use of a rocking chair has also been shown to improve balance and blood circulation, reduce muscle pain, anxiety, and depression.

“Patients come to our unit, for some, at the most challenging time of their life. Comfort and healing are needed and something as simple as a rocking chair has provided a moment of peace,” said Lena Zimmerman, MSW, LSW, CCTP – Behavioral Health Unit Social Worker.

The Zen rocking chair is safer than a traditional rocking chair with reinforcement to make the chair more stable and a seat weight tested to 1,000 pounds. It features minimal upholstery gaps and a fully enclosed base, which prevents concealment. Security screws and inaccessible staples prevent tampering and provide the strength and durability required for challenging environments.

Beyond the donation of the Zen rocking chair, the Mount Nittany Health Foundation will soon be funding specific Behavioral Health education and training programs for Mount Nittany Health’s Behavioral Health Unit staff.

“The Mount Nittany Health Foundation is proud to support the Behavioral Health Unit. Thanks to our generous donors for supporting innovative care,” said Wendy Garlock, Mount Nittany Health Foundation Interim Executive Director.

To learn more about how you could make a difference and support healthcare in our community, visit

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