On this day, many civilians find themselves acknowledging the gratitude we have for the citizens who decide to sign their names on that line and commit their lives to the protection of our country. This also tends to bring, into clear view, the quality of post-service care that is received. Needless to say, the battle for many is far from over, and is just beginning.
PTSD: The War Within
For many veterans, the war within never stops. Complications from serving in combat or military sexual trauma compound into manifestations of physical, mental, and emotional pain. These traumatic events bring a lifelong battle that casts the veteran’s own body, mind, and heart as the enemy. Without the external enemy to project all this pain onto, the peace and healing must also come from within.
PTSD can cause:
Guilt or Shame
Withdrawal from “normal life”
Disconnection/Disassociation from the body
For far too many sufferers of PTSD, medication of their condition with Opioids ultimately ends in overdose or suicide.
Breaking the Opioid Cycle
What was once prescribed as an answer to these hidden battles has now become yet another almost intrinsic enemy standing both chasing and standing in the way of the veterans’ quality of life. Addiction only compounds all these symptoms and can lead them wandering, searching for answers and safe intervention.
More veterans have died from opioid overdoses than in the Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq war, combined. The VA is working to prescribe less and less opioids to current patients, this however brings a whole other host of risks and only leaves a gap in this care.
Reducing prescriptions without a specific plan of recovery and pain management leaves veterans in the throes of withdrawal. Addiction doesn’t stop when supply runs out, it will find a way to feed the addiction outside of the restriction (heroin, fentanyl) or end it for good (suicide). Reduction in prescriptions is only part of the answer. Finding meaningful, effective, and safe interventions must be the priority so opioids are a last resort.
Complementary and Integrative Health
Recognizing this epidemic, the VA has made strides to embrace treating veterans with the Whole Health System. Instead of only viewing the symptoms through a narrow lens, veterans are seen for their individual, human experience of pain. When we as humans are seen from this perspective of wholeness, the real healing can begin.
This new holistic approach opens the door to answering questions conventional medicine has not been able to answer. Complementary and integrative health concepts are proving to be legitimate options for treatment and are fast becoming the answers we have been so desperately seeking.
Exercise + Massage + Instructed Self-Care x Core Automated Maintenance Systems = Integrated Biomechanic Therapy
Studies are showing increasingly positive results about how exercise and massage, separately, are providing relief from nearly all of the individual symptoms of PTSD. Individualized, instructed self-care for exercise and massage are also paramount to maintaining the effects received to reduce dependency on providers.
There is also mounting evidence that indicates providing hands on instruction to the caregiver* or spouse for continued performance of the instructed techniques improves pain, stress, anxiety, and fatigue. When caregivers are empowered to bring direct relief, not just manage care, this provides an additional layer of care without the additional burden of travel and expense.
Remaining mindful of the energetic strain these individuals undertake, providing this type of care with a measurable result can yield a positive emotional response. Caring for someone when you are powerless to provide any relief brings a level of frustration that becomes just an additional layer of stress.
Up until now, there has not been a system to fully integrate all three of these interventions. Each option separately has provided promising results, yet nothing exists to get the best of each option into one, holistic treatment.
Integrated Biomechanic Therapy is that system.
Combining the three interventions, utilizing the model for maintaining and tracking maintenance and status of military aircraft, (CAMS) IBT is the first and only adaptive therapy management system that provides:
Performed by licensed massage therapists certified in this standardized, trackable system, IBT ensures quality of care that is:
IBT and the Future of VA Whole Health Care
It becomes clearer, as time passes, that the VA doesn’t have all of the answers, but is at least opening their collective mind beyond conventional medicine. Anyone who has served knows the systematized methods of the military and the absolute requirement that is standardization. Unfortunately, therapies that typically get listed with those that fall under pseudo-science interfere with the credibility of ethically science-based, complementary and integrative care.
As the VA navigates the validity of these interventions and seek legitimate options for veterans, IBT, seeking to be one of these options, will continue to validate its system both within the veteran community and civilian communities.
It is no secret that change within the VA system is slow and full of hurdles. The fact that massage, in and of itself, is being considered as part of care is a milestone. The task of breaking into this system will take patience, strategy, tenacity, but most importantly data and demand.
People who ask, “How do I properly thank a veteran on this day?” If you truly want to serve those who have served, every veteran who can know of this care and receive this care, can then demand this care from the VA. The more demand, the higher the likelihood that these voices can be heard within the VA health system. If you know someone who could benefit from this, simply pass it on.
Happy Veteran’s Day, Brothers and Sisters!
Stay tuned for information on the One Veteran at a Time program. This program will provide free IBT care for the veteran community.