Whole Health - Cheyenne VA Medical Center
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Cheyenne VA Medical Center

 

Whole Health



“Whole Health” is VA’s cutting-edge approach to all healthcare that supports Veterans’ overall health and well-being. Whole Health services focus around what matters to you, not what is the matter with you. This means your health team will get to know you as a person, before working with you to develop a personalized health plan based on your values, needs, and goals.  Services are then designed to support your plan and help you achieve your goals.  The Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation supports the Department’s Whole Health education and implementation.

The Whole Health model is a holistic look at the many areas of life that can affect your health — your work environment, relationships, diet, sleep patterns, and more. The approach starts with you thinking about your health in a new way. Envision what matters most to you in your life. What do you want your health for? What brings you joy and happiness?

What is Whole Health?
Whole Health recognizes you as a Whole person and not by your illnesses, injuries or disabilities.

Whole Health System
The Whole Health System includes conventional treatment, but also focuses on self-empowerment, healing and self-care. The Whole Health System follows the powerful equation below:

The Whole Health System is the current vision for the Complementary and Integrative Health (CIH) integration in VA and includes three central components:

The Pathway Is EMPOWERING: We partner with you, as well as your family and community, to explore your mission, purpose, and aspirations that will guide the development of your personal health plan.

Well-Being Programs Are EQUIPPING: We work with you to build the skills and support you need to identify proactive, integrative health approaches and health coaching that will help you take charge of your health and well-being, prevent diseases, and live your life to the fullest.

Whole Health Clinical Care Is TREATING: You will work with your health team to continue to refine your personal health plan with traditional and complementary and integrative health approaches to support your health and to enhance your self-management strategies to strengthen your health.

Whole Health Coaching Our Whole Health coaches will collaborate with you in developing health and wellness goals. They are there to support you and your medical team.

Common Whole Health Services that Veterans Enjoy

Practices such as acupuncture, yoga, massage, tai chi, clinical hypnosis, biofeedback, and others, are popular treatment options for Veterans receiving VA care.  Many Veterans find that once they learn these practices, they continue to use them as a way to improve their physical and mental wellness and to gain more control over the overall health.

  • Mindfulness Meditation: Mindfulness is the l process of purposely bringing your attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgment which one can develop through the practice of meditation and through other training. Mindfulness is derived from Buddhist practices and was brought to Western clinical settings by Drs. Herbert Benson and Jon Kabat-Zinn. Mindfulness practice has been employed to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and drug addiction and to support health aging, athletic performance and weight management. Programs based on mindfulness models have been adopted across VA and non-VA medical facilities, as well as in schools, prisons, hospitals, religious organizations, and other environments.



You may be interested in this VA Mindfulness Coach app: 

 Mindfulness Coach

  • Yoga: Yoga incorporates physical postures, controlled breathing, deep relaxation, and meditation. Research suggests that the practice of yoga can influence the mental state, and has benefits for children, adults, the elderly.  In healthy individuals, research suggests that yoga influences neurotransmitters, inflammation, oxidative stress in a manner largely similar to what has been shown for anti-depressants and psychotherapy.  Safe practices have been developed for adults with a wide range of physical limitations.



  • Biofeedback & AlphaStim: Biofeedback is the process of gaining greater awareness of many body functions primarily using instruments that provide information on the activity of those same systems, with a goal of being able to better management them at will. Biofeedback focuses on managing brainwaves, muscle tone, skin conductance, and heart rate. In biofeedback, Veterans are connected to electrical sensors that provide feedback about their body, thus helping them to develop control over that body function. Biofeedback may be used to improve health, performance, and the physiological changes that often occur in conjunction with changes to thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Eventually, these changes are maintained without the use of extra equipment.
    • Exercise:  There is growing evidence that physical exercise can be a powerful tool in managing stress and symptoms of mental illness.    Exercise can reduce the risk of depression as well as cognitive decline that is age-related or secondary to illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. It has a therapeutic impact on illness such depression, anxiety, eating, addictive, and body dysmorphic disorders.  Exercise also helps address s chronic pain, age-related cognitive  decline, the severity of Alzheimer’s disease, and some symptoms of schizophrenia.  Exercise is a valuable adjunct to pharmacotherapy, and has been shown to allow some people to reduce their dosage of psychiatric medication without giving up the benefits.

    You may be interested in this VA MOVE Coach app: 

    MOVE Coach App

    • Nutrition, Diet and Weight: There is now a great deal of research evidence documenting the important link between what we eat and how our brains function. Healthy diets have beneficial impacts on us in a range of ways, protecting us from illnesses and supporting overall wellness and health aging. 
    • Acupuncture: Acupuncture therapy involves inserting very fine needles at a variety of points in the body and has been shown to be effective in treating symptoms resulting from a wide range of conditions. It has long been known to activate endorphins, the body’s natural pain relievers.  Acupuncture may be effective for patients who suffer from chronic pain, nausea, depression and other common mental illnesses, and substance dependence. Battlefield Acupuncture (BFA) is a special form of acupuncture in which the acupuncturist places needles in one ear or both ears. By confining treatment to the ears, battlefield acupuncture practitioners can give care on the battlefield or whenever a Veteran’s entire body is not available for treatment.
    • Tai Chi: Tai Chi is a form of martial arts involving various motion routines. It also incorporates breathing, mindfulness meditation, active relaxation, and slow fluid movement.  Tai Chi is accessible for individuals of all physical health and fitness levels and is associated with a wide range of physiological and psychological benefits and is increasingly used to increase wellness to help manage mental health symptoms.
    • Clinical Hypnosis: Hypnotherapy, or clinical hypnosis, can improve your health by helping you relax and focus your mind.   Someone trained in this mind-body approach can help you go into a more focused state of mind (called a “hypnotic state”) so you can learn more about yourself, improve your health, and change your habits and thought patterns. Hypnosis can draw on your ability to use your imagination to bring about helpful or healthy changes.   The hypnotherapist can offer a therapeutic idea or suggestion while you are in a relaxed and focused state. In this state of focused attention, the effect of the idea or suggestion on your mind is more powerful. That means that you are more likely to take the helpful idea seriously and act on it in the future. This can help you reach your goals faster in your daily life. Hypnosis is often used in combination with other treatments to help with physical and mental health concerns. Some examples include depression and anxiety, trauma, sleep, pain, high blood pressure, digestive system issues and nausea. 
    • Therapeutic Massage: Massage is the manipulation of soft tissues in the body. The purpose of massage is generally for the treatment of body stress or pain. Again, growing research suggests that therapeutic massage has a wide range of benefits including pain relief, and reduced  anxiety and depression, and improved sleep. 
    • Time in Nature: For thousands of years, spiritual and religious practices have recommended nature as a source of healing and wisdom. Poets and philosophers have similarly encouraged the benefits of even limited time spent in natural settings. Limited but growing research suggests that natural settings can enhance both physical and  mental health, including greater cognitive, attentional, emotional, spiritual,  and subjective well-being.   Though further  research is clearly needed, immersion in nature does appear  to reduce symptoms of stress and depression.   In hospital rooms that offer views  of natural settings, patients experience less pain and stress, have better mood and postsurgical outcomes, and are able to leave the hospital sooner
    • Spirituality: If you talk to Veterans who have successfully recovered from mental illness or an addiction, many will say that spirituality was a key resource that helped them succeed. Spirituality can involve formal religion for some, but for other Veterans it includes other spiritual practices and beliefs separate from organized religion. There is growing research to support that active spirituality is associated with a range of health benefits.



     

    Contact Info

    Location

    • Cheyenne VA

    Contact Number(s)

    • 307-778-7550 Ext. 4756
    • 970-224-1500 Ext. 2436

    Hours of Operation

    • Mon - Thurs 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
      Fri 7:30 to 11 a.m.