The push to introduce more integrative medicine approaches to the nation’s veterans is nothing new. But in what could be a sign of the changing times, the U.S. Navy recently held its first-ever “resiliency medicine” summit, featuring Deepak Chopra.
An article featured in the San Diego Union Tribune, Navy’s new mission: Alternative Medicine”, discusses how researchers are giving more credence to Eastern medicinal techniques:
“In what may be a pivotal point for the no-nonsense military, researchers said they have figured out the “scientific face” of how these largely Eastern medicine techniques operate on the physical body.
For example, two doctors from Massachusetts’ Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine said their research shows meditation leads to changes at the genetic level, as shown by measuring markers in blood tests of people with inflammatory disease.”
We’re excited to hear that Navy officials, such as Cmdr. Jeff Millegan (a doctor stationed at the Navy hospital in Balboa Park) would like to see a standard mind-body component at all military hospitals.
His dedication is apparent through his efforts over the last several years. Since 2013, he has personally placed roughly 500 Navy personnel through a seven-session “mind-body” curriculum.
This curriculum includes a focus on healthy sleep, meditation, the importance of social connections, healthy diet, and regular exercise.
The costs of military health care
Beyond an increase in research demonstrating the positive effects of a holistic approach to health care, the military may be interested in changing the status quo for another reason: costs.
Between 2000 and 2012, military health costs increased 130% (after adjusting for inflation). A 2014 Congressional Budget Office analysis suggests that by 2028, 11% of the military’s entire funding might be dedicated to health care.
Army Col. Richard Petri, chief of physical medicine and integrative health servivces at Fort Bliss, Texas, told attendees at the summit that in order to curb costs, an institutional shift must be made.
“It’s not about yoga. What it’s about is empowering the patient to take responsibility for their own health and healing.”
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