Thousands of service members every year are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder — a diagnosis that labels one as having either experienced or witnessed some sort of traumatic event. Often with PTSD comes a number of physical and psychological symptoms along with a social stigma that the individual has a mental illness — or in other terms, is broken.
Nobody wants to be characterized as “being broken” and nobody wants to hire someone who is labeled as such. As a result, many service members are hesitant to even seek help.
When help is sought, the “cure” is often an ever-expanding list of prescription drugs. The Department of Veterans Affairs’ national formulary, a catalog of drugs and supplies prescribed by VA doctors, contains more than 1,500 items, ranging from Band Aids to all sorts of prescription drugs — mainly opiates.
The “cure” is often doctors relying on trial and error to figure out what works for an individual patient. Meanwhile, the veteran can experience a number of symptoms and reactions from the drug cocktail.
As a result, many veterans are beginning to seek treatment that doesn’t involve being prescribed medication.
Holistic healing, while not widely publicized, is recognized and used by the VA as a protocol for treating numerous health issues — including PTSD. The alternative healing therapies most familiar to the general public include: massage, Reiki, acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic, colon therapy, water therapy and healing touch. Through these and other specialized alternative methods, a master energy practitioner helps improve overall health and well-being, thereby many times accelerating the healing process.
Heaven and Earth Oasis, a 501 (c) 3 based in Los Angeles founded by Valerie Heath and Chantal Benedict, focuses primarily on healing military personnel. They apply an array of established alternative and complementary methods of treatment that tend to produce positive results.
The treatments are provided free of charge to veterans via donations and fundraising campaigns. To learn more, visit www.HeavenandEarthoasis.org.
Bottom line: While these treatments can’t yet be labeled a “cure,” scientific research is continuing to demonstrate the effectiveness of alternative therapies used in healing health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
— By Michael Schindler
Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.” He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.