From medication to meditation, we know that Whole Health changes lives.

Navy Veteran Gretchen Bish has discovered that meditation, not medication, has helped her manage her chronic pain, and she credits her Whole Health work for saving her life.

“At the beginning you’re thinking, ‘This is all a bunch of hooey.’ You really don’t think it’s going to make a difference, but you’re willing to try… and just one step at a time… because it is a whole health,” she said. “It works on mind, body, spirit, but you have to be motivated.”

meditation not medication

“I call myself a survivor.”

Navy Veteran Spencer Wainright also believes he would not be alive today if it weren’t for meditation. “I’m still here. I call myself a survivor,” he said, after facing countless medical procedures and radiation treatments.

Want to spread the word

Both Veterans receive care at the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Healthcare System, and they want to spread the word about how the program has changed their view of VA health care and also their lives.

“The Whole Health program is a major cultural transformation in which we’re working to change the conversation with Veterans, to put them at the center of their care, to really deeply listen to them,” said Laurie Reisman, the Whole Health program manager for North Florida/South Georgia VA. “We want to provide support for them, to find out what matters to them, what’s important to them and what their heart’s passion is. The program is here to empower and equip you to get to the heart of what’s important to you and to live a life greater than you’d ever imagined.”

Bish and Wainright tell their Whole Health stories:

Whole Health means thinking about and approaching your health in a new way. Learn more here.

By Andrea Young is a health systems specialist for communications at the Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation

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Published on Mar. 30, 2022

Estimated reading time is 1.7 min.

Views to date: 1,064


  1. Retta K Mallady April 6, 2022 at 10:49 pm

    I’ve needed this my whole life. It seems strange to say, folks sure look at me funny when I DO say, I really need to learn how to breathe! I’d also love to learn how to meditate. I know that I’m not too old to learn now, but at 72, I do wonder if I’m too old for these things to make the difference I’ve been hoping for. I’ve been a shallow breather all of my life, to the point that I often find myself holding my breath for no good reason. I really hope this comes to the Huntsville Clinic soon.

  2. Randy Lavine April 6, 2022 at 10:42 pm

    I have used Chiropractic services offer thru the Salt Lake VA. It is second to no one! Additionally I currently use an Alpha Stimulator to cure my depression. It is MUCH better than any anti depressant drug I have been prescribed. I also use a CPAP machine nightly, and use physical therapy. These are ALL non pharma methods that do work for me, they may work for you!

  3. DMS April 6, 2022 at 8:51 pm

    I was part of the Veteran’s Yoga Program, in MPLS VAMC, for a while, until it was decided that even with the medical referrals and appointments, etc, there can be no travel pay assistance (they were only paying 1 way, anyway), so if you can’t afford the fuel (I live over 150 miles from the Hospital), you can’t take part. No matter how good a program is, it does you no good if you are not able to take part.

  4. Tamara Oster April 6, 2022 at 7:41 pm

    Please provide locations for the Whole Health programs. My husband is getting ready to retire and one of the requirements for our retirement community is the Whole Health program, I am very pleased with it and the entire Vet concept.

  5. Carol Rhodes April 6, 2022 at 7:16 pm

    I’d like to know if there is a program in my area or if there is a training video a person could watch.

  6. Michael April 6, 2022 at 6:38 pm

    I use cannabis it helps with PTSD, pain, ect. I feel let down by the VA for not being able prescribe it.

  7. Mike Harvey April 2, 2022 at 9:32 pm

    I also utilize a holistic medicine approach by utilizing medical cannabis to ensure that my endocannabinoid system is balanced. Sorry to see that VA is still in the 1930’s with the prohibition era

    • DAOUD BINBEK April 4, 2022 at 9:31 pm

      same here!

  8. Reeshy April 1, 2022 at 2:30 pm

    Whole Health, Mind Body Medicine, Holistic care all are so awesome! Practice everyday, take a deep breath before reacting!

  9. john a. guzzi March 31, 2022 at 6:54 pm

    I personally practice Transcendental Meditation (TM) twice a day for 15-20 minutes before breakfast and afternoon before dinner. Of course depending of the peron’s lifestyle I mean the night shift breakfast/dinner: But anyway two times per day. It is great research it! that is my suggestion.

  10. Charles H. Magwood March 31, 2022 at 1:08 am

    I would like to know how to contact the program in my area. San Antonio Texas

Comments are closed.

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