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Integrative Health Services for Veterans

Written by Integrative Health Daily Staff

A Path to Holistic Recovery

Veterans often carry the weight of service-related health issues, such as mental health disorders, substance dependency, PTSD, and brain injuries, at rates much higher than the civilian population. To address these health challenges, Veterans Affairs (VA) has included Complementary and Integrative Health (CIH) services to prioritize Integrative Health Services for Veterans. 

This inclusive strategy enhances traditional healthcare with additional, evidence-based options designed for the unique needs of those who have served. It’s a forward-thinking commitment to veteran health and wellness that ensures our nation’s heroes have access to the best possible care. 

Supporting Veterans Through the Integrative Health Coordinating Center

By launching the Integrative Health Coordinating Center (IHCC), the VA exemplifies its commitment to expanding Integrative Health Services for Veterans. The IHCC’s mission includes facilitating access to integrative care, providing educational resources, and developing CIH policy and clinical guidance within the VA system. For those who wish to explore local or telehealth integrative health services on their own, please visit our provider directory

Integrative Health Therapy Options

The research that has been done around veteran health finds that incorporating holistic therapies can build a foundation for progressive healing. There is evidence-based data from the Integrative Health Services for Veterans that supports veterans receiving traditional care also benefit from integrative health options. 

Starting a program that includes mindfulness, movement and other supportive methods is a step to make an immediate difference. To support findings, IHCC is working to ensure that veterans have access to a full suite of integrative therapies. In addition to expanding tele-therapies, VA centers nationwide now offer an array of in-person options that include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Biofeedback
  • Clinical hypnosis
  • Massage therapy
  • Meditation
  • Guided imagery
  • Tai Chi / Qigong
  • Yoga

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Whether veterans access these modules through the IHCC or via a trusted local practitioner, taking a step to support wellness is a step toward healing and overall health. 

Ensuring Policy Compliance and Effective Integration

The VA’s policy framework supports the inclusion of Integrative Health Services for Veterans within the standard medical benefits package, provided they align with accepted medical practices. The VA’s robust policy, approved on December 13, 2022, includes the VHA Directive 1137 which guides the integration of these health services, reflecting a shift towards a more dynamic healthcare model for veterans.

Conclusion: A Future of Whole Health for Veterans

The VA’s commitment to Integrative Health Services for Veterans represents a groundbreaking step forward in caring for our nation’s heroes. By providing comprehensive care options that go beyond conventional medicine, veterans now have access to therapies that cater to their unique needs and support their whole health.

Whether it’s finding tranquility through meditation, relief from acupuncture, or strength in Tai Chi, the expansive offerings at VA centers signal a new horizon in veteran care. These therapies are not just about treating symptoms but about fostering a deeper sense of wellness and balance.

To start your healing journey, or to recommend options to a veteran in your life, visit the IHCC veterans page or visit our directory for integrative health providers in your area. 

VA.GOV (n.d.) Integrative Health Coordinating Center. https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/professional-resources/IHCC.asp
VA.GOV (n.d.) Complementary Integrative Health. https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/professional-resources/clinician-tools/cih.asp
Olenick M, Flowers M, Diaz VJ. US veterans and their unique issues: enhancing health care professional awareness. Adv Med Educ Pract. 2015 Dec 1;6:635-9. doi: 10.2147/AMEP.S89479. PMID: 26664252; PMCID: PMC4671760.

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