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Why Non-narcotic Care

Too often our troops leave active duty service and are expected to immediately reintegrate into civilian life without regard to the impact of repetitive deployments, trauma and pain.

We all know the numbers on the suicide rate among our service members. The 22 a day figure only scratches the surface of what is known, and does not include the suicides that happen on active duty bases, or with those not within the VA system. The factors leading up to that are many and complex, from the overuse of narcotics, to the unresolved consequences of trauma, to loss of hope, and to a host of personal and environmental factors that result in tragedy.

The reality is, many of our service members return home suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and numerous types of chronic pain. In our integrative care clinic, Healing Warriors Program offers non-narcotic treatment options too rarely provided with standard care. We offer: Healing Touch therapy, used in a ground-breaking PTS protocol developed by the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine and part of a 2-year research study with Camp Pendleton combat marines, Craniosacral Therapy which is currently undergoing research with Traumatic Brain Injuries and pain management, and Acupuncture with research-based evidence of significant pain and Post Traumatic Stress relief. All therapies provide relief from the depression, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain all too familiar to veterans. Clients, who each receive three complimentary sessions at the clinic, are encouraged to try the different modalities to see what treatment will be most therapeutic for their unique needs. 

At Healing Warriors Program, we provide clinical care with acupuncture, craniosacral therapy and Healing Touch therapy to alleviate pain, help restore sleep and achieve improvement in overall health and well-being.  In addition to our services, we work closely with our fellow community partners to be part of the Service Member’s path to relief.  Focusing healing by rekindling hope that pain can be alleviated, that trauma can heal, and that together we can find restoration of quality of life.

The care of our Service Members is our number one objective and we make our decisions by asking the question, “What is best for the veteran?”


Acupuncture is one of our most popular healing therapies. Results from a number of studies suggest that acupuncture may help ease types of pain that are often chronic such as low-back pain, neck pain, and osteoarthritis/knee pain. It also may help reduce the frequency of tension headaches and prevent migraine headaches. It is a reasonable option for people with chronic pain to consider.

Acupuncture works by using needles to stimulate the energy of very specific points of the body in order to rebalance the energy of the body. Due to wide use and patient demand, insurance companies will often cover acupuncture treatment.

What to expect during your visit

The acupuncturist will usually begin by taking your pulses and checking your tongue. This provides information about the body’s general resources and health, and assists the practitioner in determining a treatment plan. Acupuncturists might request that a specific item of clothing be pulled back or removed. For example, if working on the knee or shoulder, some of the outer wear may need to be removed.

Acupuncturists will insert fine, filiform needles superficially at the specific points. They are so fine that patients often say they don’t even feel them. The needles are sterile, used once and then disposed of according to state and federal health guidelines. The needles usually remain in the body for a specified period dependent on the condition and the client. The client rests during this time and often falls asleep. Once the acupuncturist determines that the treatment is complete, the needles are removed and the client is asked to take their time getting up.

CranioSacral Therapy

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the CranioSacral system. This is comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Practitioners release restrictions in the cranio-sacral system to improve the functioning of the central nervous system.

CST was pioneered and developed by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger following extensive scientific studies from 1975 to 1983 at Michigan State University, where he served as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics.

What to expect during your visit

The CranioSacral practitioner begins by gently touching various parts of the body to assess and monitor the rhythm of the fluid moving around the spine and central nervous system. The practitioner uses their hands to sense the pulse of the fluids to assess areas of weakness or blockage and uses subtle movement and energy to shift the appropriate areas. Often the practitioner will use very light movement to shift constricted areas.

Healing Touch

Healing Touch was developed by Janet Mentgen, RN, BSN a practicing nurse for 43 years. Janet Mentgen’s early work was with the U.S. Navy. Healing Touch utilizes light touch on the body in specific sequencing to assist in re-balancing the body and alleviating pain. Our clients have also experienced sleep improvement results with Healing Touch therapy.

A 2012 study with Scripps Hospital and Camp Pendleton returning combat marines found “…a clinically significant reduction in PTSD and related symptoms in a returning, combat­ exposed active duty military population.” 

What to expect during your visit

The Healing Touch practitioner will begin the session by assessing the body’s flow of energy. This provides information about areas of blockage or low vitality that might require attention. This also assists the practitioner in creating a treatment plan to support the body’s natural self-healing process.

The practitioner will place their hands lightly on designated areas of the body in a specific sequence. Often the client experiences a sense of deep relaxation or a sense of movement, and often falls asleep. This is common and expected and simply reflects the level of relaxation of the body. After the session, the practitioner will slowly assist the client in waking. The practitioner instructs the client to take their time sitting up and will bring them water.

Healing Warriors Program offers a 6-session PTSD Series based on the Scripps/Camp Pendleton study and a 6-session Sleep Series also utilizing Belleruth Naparstek’s Guided Imagery.

Guided Imagery

Guided imagery, sometimes called “guided meditation,” “visualization,” “mental rehearsal,” or “guided self-hypnosis,” is a gentle but powerful technique that focuses the mind and imagination in proactive, positive ways that calm the body.

Studies show that mindful-based programs may provide viable and effective interventions targeting high stress levels, anxiety, sleep quality, and autonomic balance.  Healing Warriors Program uses Belleruth Naparstek’s AM, ACSW, Guided Imagery, which is currently used in over 80 VAMC’s and Veteran centers, at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospital and U.S. military bases, hospitals and installations around the world.

We have provided a link to the Guided Imagery for Relaxation and Wellness to help ease pain.


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