Monday, May 27, 2013

Honoring Those Who Have Served

On this Memorial Day, I want to pause to give thanks to all the service men and women who have stood up for us, fought for us, and defended us, so that we can continue to have the freedom to choose the kind of lives we wish to live.

Since 2001, over a million US troops have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. Many of these troops have been exposed to the stress and trauma of combat zones for prolonged periods of time.  Whether they sustain bodily injuries or the invisible wounds to the psyche, all are affected to some degree.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder with disabling symptoms.  PTSD wasn't even officially recognized until 1980, and real treatments didn’t become available until the late 1990s.  In addition to PTSD, many veterans deal with chronic pain as a result of their injuries and traumas.  Being on constant pain medications and narcotics leads to addictions and side effects which can be just as debilitating as the pain they're treating.  It is not surprising, then, that the suicide rate among our veterans and active duty service men and women reached an all-time high in 2011, and is an under-reported epidemic.

Preserving the physical and mental health of these men and women is vital to ensuring the future readiness of our military force, as well as honoring and paying our debt to those who have served.

Because of this, my sister, Ana, has recently started a non-profit called the Healing Warriors Program.  The mission of HWP is to advance the individual well-being of Veterans and their families through complementary care services and education.

Their first clinic is opening in Ft. Collins, CO in June of this year, and the Denver clinic will be next.  The clinics will provide mind-body therapies such as acupuncture, cranio-sacral therapy, jin shin jyutsu, reflexology, healing touch, massage, and other treatments that have proven effective in reducing stress and pain, promote healing, and may lower the dependency on narcotics and other drugs.

This holistic approach to treating the complete person ... body, mind and spirit ... is an approach that I wholeheartedly support and think is a critical undertaking.  I applaud Ana for her hard work, dedication and tireless efforts to provide assistance and support to our military service members.  It truly makes a difference in the lives of these valiant men and women and their families.

War takes its toll on everyone involved, especially our service men and women who find that long after they leave the areas of conflict, the war continues to rage inside them.  No one leaves unscathed, even if some wounds are not visible.

If you would like more information or want to make a donation to the Healing Warriors Program, please click here.  And while you're out there enjoying all the festivities of this Memorial Day, the popularly accepted start of summer, be sure to thank and honor a soldier today ... and every day.

Happy Memorial Day!

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