National Integrative Health Services Alliance, With Injured Warriors, Vets, and Their Families -- A Transitional Community Health, Wellness, Aftercare & Continuing Care Services Program

Gerald Vest, ACSW/LISW/LMT
Integrative Health Coordinator/Trainer
575.524.2379 or 575.640.0193

Sean Pearson, BCJ, Services Rep.
Program Coordinator/Advocate Trainer
Patti McClure, MFA, Reiki Master & Owner, Tesoro Health Center, Administrative Coordinator

Mission Statement

Our National Health Services Alliance is established to serve as a volunteer community collaborative and model to engage, introduce, support, advocate, refer and guide our primary clients and participants to holistic & integrative health services, and experiences that promote awareness, healing, restoration, and resilience.

Service’s Overview

Our integrative, Health Promotion/Wellness and Stress Management approach, incorporates outreach, advocacy and continuing care services that promote awareness, healing, restoration and resilience of our Injured Warriors, Vets and Families. Additionally, our programs are designed to reduce stress, anxiety and depression while improving the quality of lives, health and relationships for individuals, groups, couples, and families returning to our communities from the Wars.

Healing, Recovery & Restoration Self-Care Plan

Our Alliance is designed so that everyone participating in our Health Care, After Care and Continuing Care Integrative Health Services are committed to becoming the "best we can be," a complete human being—physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. It is obvious to many of us that the passive, “sick-care” or conventional mental/behavioral health programs of coding, labeling and drugging of our Injured Warriors has failed. Many VA and community health services are over-whelmed and inadequately prepared to identify, engage and improve the health of our returning Warriors and their families. It is for this reason a Professional & Holistic Self-Care Plan is designed, shared with primary therapists and administered by every participant, team leaders and health practitioners to assure Recovery, Restoration & Resilience of and the development of self-care plan, willpower and improvement of the whole being. Team Coordinators & Community Service Advocates

During our Alliance orientation meetings, incoming Warriors are assigned a Team Coordinator and a team of Advocates. Warriors currently enrolled in our Alliance and graduates of our program serve as advocates assisting participants with meeting basic need requirements, community resources, developing family programs, and assisting with health benefits. The Team Coordinator also reviews and makes recommendations to the Warrior’s primary therapist for comprehensive and extensive integrative health practices.

Team Advocates Serving Veterans and their Families

Responsibilities include:

· Knowing & using community resources for Veterans

· Participating in Treatment & Self-Care Plans with Injured Warrior & Families

· Assisting with College Admission, Housing, Benefits, etc.

· Securing Meaningful Employment

· Advocating with Schools and Child Care Programs for best practices

· Engaging Injured & Wounded Warriors with understanding, respect and appreciation

· Supporting basic need requirements—housing, nutritious food, healthy touch, transportation to VA & other health care services

· Networking with community organizations to provide support, assistance and resources

· Introducing “Partner & Family Touch” and the 15-Minute StressOut Program

Community Services Advocate - See our Call for Advocates and an Overview of their Responsibilities

Warrior Recognition Picture:

SSG Lance Bradford, decorated, injured, and wounded warrior--Bronze Star with Valor & Purple Heart returns to Iraq 3 following extensive and intensive integrative health treatment, Ft. Bliss Restoration & Resilience Center & Warrior Transition Battalion. We Salute You Lance for your Dedication, Courage, Devotion and Honor for our Country. We look forward to a safe return for you and all of our great Warriors and their Families.

Alliance Programs & Activities

Integrative & Holistic Health Touch Program

The Best Practice “15-Minute StressOut Health Program”- Guidelines for Safe, Skillful, and Nourishing Touch is essential for improving the quality of health and relationships for couples and families. See, International StressOut Program –

Individual Therapy

Each Warrior will be reviewed and assessed to determine their fitness and capability to participate in selected integrative therapies. The Warrior will meet with their health practitioners and therapists on a regular basis. The therapists will customize the treatment program based on individual needs, interests and sensitive issues or coping strategies. The Primary Therapist will monitor overall progress and will review requests for additional holistic therapies, and make recommendations accordingly.

Group Therapy

Therapeutic groups are scheduled bi-weekly. The options available are individual, couple, family, spouse and designed to give every Warrior an opportunity to process transitions and traumatic experiences in a safe environment. Most Warriors find that emotional reactions and internal charges associated with trauma and war experiences are reduced when thoroughly reviewed and expressed completely, without avoidance. Sharing stories and experiences with warrior brothers & sisters in groups is often identified by graduates of the program as one of the most beneficial components of treatment. It is essential that our Warriors learn to interact with awareness and not react to external stimuli. Our group principle for healing and for restoration is to be respectful--honest, open, accepting and allowing without judgment by all participants. Some groups are organized by time of enrollment in the program. The focus is different for each group. Warriors new to the program have an opportunity to bond with other newcomers who are also transitioning in the program. Individuals nearing completion of the program often discuss future plans, participate in Advocacy Training and other individual concerns.

Family Health Education & Therapy

With Warrior authorization, confidential sessions are offered to help spouses, close friends, and other family members improve and understand how to support each other during their return to their communities—focus is on transformation and transcendence of negative patterns of conditioning and relationship building. Spouses and significant others who participate in family counseling are encouraged to use integrative approaches as massage, Reiki, meditation and Acupuncture on regularly scheduled basis and as part of daily health routine.

Support Group for Spouses and Partners

Topics include coping with PTS symptoms, communication, and stress reduction techniques. Family outings, support groups and special interest programs are planned regularly with participants.

Therapeutic outings

Weekend outings are recreational and educational experiences that expose Warriors to natural healing opportunities. Warriors practice learned stress management techniques and exposures to sensory stimuli in order to cope with crowds, shopping, and driving. Examples of outings include golf, visiting the Outdoor Market, Bicycle Rides, Walks, Camping, Fishing, Boating, Malls, Movies, museum’s, hiking, etc.

Various Meditation & Relaxation Practices

The Alliance provides many forms of meditation experience--guided progressive relaxation/meditation, moving, and sitting meditations are regular practices. The Warrior learns to become naturally calm, relaxed and at ease with themselves and with others. Benefits include more restful sleep, anger reduction, and less reactive and argumentative behaviors. (See, research benefits of meditation by Dr. Matthew Ricard)

Health Education

Regular health education programs and workshops are offered regularly to introduce and learn to improve the quality of our lives, health and relationships. Note: See Schedule of Activities with the Tesoro Integrative Health Center.

Integrative Health PracticesMovement Therapy

Movement Therapy involves yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong. These practices are used to strengthen the body’s core and increase strength, coordination flexibility and balance, as well as improving overall emotional, mental and physical well-being. Kath State Exercises by Oscar Ichazo are essential practices of the Daily Health Routine introduced to all of our participants.

Expressive Arts Therapy

Expressive therapy includes arts and crafts projects, journaling, drumming circles, and listening to music. These activities allow Warrior to express themselves in an artistic and creative manner without structure and judgment. With authorization, the art, and journals could be shared with the primary therapists and others. Visit Aura Walker's website for other expressive art programs.

Massage Therapy

The Alliance massage therapists use a number of techniques and styles, including deep tissue, sports & chair massage and stretches, trigger point/acupressure, and cranial-sacral. The benefits include pain and stress relief, increased circulation, relaxation, more restful sleep, and overall improved health.


Acupuncture Therapies is based on the theory that there are patterns of energy, called chi, flowing through the body. Disease, discomfort or pain result when this energy is disrupted, weakened, or becomes stagnant. An acupuncturist can correct the flow of energy and restore balance by inserting sterile needles a fraction of an inch in specific points on the body. The continuous free flow of energy throughout the body promotes optimal health and wellbeing. Acupuncture is used to treat pain, sleep disturbances, headaches, anxiety, and many other conditions. It also helps with cravings such as alcohol, drugs, and smoking.


Reiki is an energetic healing art that helps maintain a balanced state on all levels of the body, mind, emotions and spirit. The treatments are gentle and non-invasive--the practitioner clears and strengthens the natural flow of energy simply by placing her hands on or several inches above the body of the Warrior. This produces a deeply relaxing and healing effect. Benefits include decreased anxiety, depression and anger; improved sleep; reduction in pain levels; and accelerated recovery from injury or surgery. Reiki is especially encouraging for maintaining a regular meditation and experiencing the benefits of relaxation throughout the day.

Native American Sweat Lodge

Regularly scheduled Sweat Lodges will be offered for our Injured Warriors and Spouses as a means to calm the mind, restore Spiritual and Social relationships, resolve conflicts, trauma, express feelings of personal losses, forgiveness, and grievances experienced in War.


Our National Integrative Health Services Alliance is adapted as a Community Based Alliance for injured warriors and their families to receive holistic, intensive and extensive services when returning to our local communities. The framework is our version of the US Army’s premiere, Wm. Beaumont Army Medical Center’s, Ft. Bliss Restoration & Resilience Center, designed and administered by Dr. John Fortunato, Chief.

Author's Bio: 

National Alliance Co-Team Leader; TRICARE Provider, UNM Hospitals, Integrative and Holistic Health Practitioner