Integrative Medicine for Veterans and Military Personnel (active/retired)
To meet the growing health needs of soldiers as they return from tours of duty and face difficulties in reintegrating with life as a civilian, the Center for Integrative Medicine at Saint Francis offers a safe and comforting place for veterans and their loved ones as they cope with stress, relationships, and any physical or emotional discomfort. The following programs and services can help the healing process:
Acupuncture is an ancient practice in which very fine needles are inserted into the skin at strategic points on the body to relieve pain and treat disease. Research supports using acupuncture for treating symptoms of stress, insomnia, and nausea from medications, and some pain disorders.
Massage therapy is a holistic way of approaching stress and anxiety disorders without the harmful side effects that medication may have. Massage provides emotional and physical benefits. Research suggests that massage can reduce anxiety, stress and depression. When dealing with emotional disturbances gentle touch can be an integral part of the healing process.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction is being studied at the National Institutes of Health for soldiers with PTSD. The idea is to help veterans focus on the present moment, instead of reliving the past or worrying about the future. This experiential program has a profound effect on one’s ability to effectively regulate the mind, emotions and, to a significant degree, physical health.
Techniques as guided imagery and meditation have been clinically shown to help headaches, post surgery pain and nausea from medications. These techniques are also being studied as as options for easing the symptoms of PTSD.
Hypnosis may also help individuals cope with anxiety disorders. The principle of hypnosis is to induce a deep state of relaxation causing feelings of a safer and less anxious environment, decreasing intrusive thoughts and promoting a return to daily activities.
Spirituality is sometimes abandoned when a traumatic event occurs. When enduring stress, people often want to give up on themselves, God, and others. Individuals may find their suffering is pointless or meaningless and that no one cares. The role of spirituality is to offer nourishment, solace, and peace for the soul, with the goal of finding meaning and happiness in life.
Yoga uses movement, meditation, and breathing techniques which can improve sleep, reduce stress, and sometimes even reduce the experience of pain. It can provide a way to reconnect when life’s challenges result in feeling fatigued, stressed, or discouraged. Yoga helps to provide relief and comfort by calming the mind, the nervous system and the body as a whole.