Helping Heal the Hidden Wounds of Our Veterans
by Anne Akers
Tournesol Wellness’ VETWELL Program – a community based holistic wellness approach
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself” – Joseph Campbell
This Memorial Day, we memorialize those that died serving our country. It is easy to forget that we have a real war on our hands right here, as Veterans returning home are committing suicide at the rate of 20 per day. Now, the trend towards holistic care is showing that there is light for those who fight and return both physically, and emotionally wounded.
Recognizing the need to address “the hidden wounds of war”, Tournesol Wellness, Operation Warrior Shield and Anne Akers, Veterans Advocate, have partnered to launch VETWELL, providing a menu of complimentary and alternative therapies designed to address the most common conditions faced by
our Veterans today. This includes anxiety and stress as well as fostering a sense of community, often lost in today’s society.
With the number of Veterans dealing with anxiety and stress, PTSD and suicide on the increase, the need for alternative therapies has risen. As a result, a variety of nontraditional techniques –from yoga to meditation to equine therapy –are being employed to help veterans cope with life after service.
At Tournesol Wellness, the VETWELL program provided at no-cost to qualifying Veterans, includes an initial assessment developed by an Integrative MD to identify services needed, evidence based Vibroacoustic Therapy (VAT), transcendental meditation training provided by the David Lynch Foundation, yoga, community acupuncture, and custom workshops designed to address eating, sleeping, moving, breathing and emotional stability as factors in overall emotional well being and quality of life.
VAT therapy, a service unique to the NY Metro area, has been recognized by the NIH (National Institutes of Health) as a significant factor in reducing pain in Veterans, with reported results of up to a 50% decrease in pain and related symptoms. In addition, Veterans currently enrolled in a pilot program at Tournesol are reporting positive results from “my range of motion has improved” to “the experience at Tournesol Wellness has given me a new lease on life. I feel more calm and confident and as though I can better handle life”.
The fiscal sponsor for the VETWELL program is Operation Warrior Shield, a 501c-3, whose mission is to provide comprehensive support for service members, Veterans, first responders and their families. OWS, under the leadership of its Chairman, CMSgt (retired) Ed Schloeman, was selected as the most innovative not-for-profit of 2017 by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. Through the combined efforts of Operation Warrior Shield, Tournesol Wellness and Anne Akers, we are able to provide all services to our Veterans at no cost. If you would like information on how you can help to support future efforts of this program, including donations and volunteer services, please contact Anne Akers at firstname.lastname@example.org.