Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center - Richmond, VA
Whole Health and Complementary/Integrative Health
What is Whole Health?
Whole Health recognizes you as a whole person. Whole Health goes beyond your illnesses, injuries, or disabilities. It focuses on health and well-being and includes self-care and complementary/integrative therapies (such as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, Tai Chi, and meditation), along with your medical care. In Whole Health care, you are a more active partner with your health care team.
Why is the VA offering this new approach to health care?
The core mission of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is to “Honor America’s Veterans by providing exceptional health care that improves their health and well-being.” “Exceptional care” is different than it used to be. It now includes the following:
- getting to know you better
- learning what matters most to you
- focusing on your goals for your life and health
- helping you with self-care
How is Whole Health different?
Health care usually focuses on preventive care, lowering risk, and illness and disease. Are your cancer screenings and flu shot up to date? Do you feel sick or are you injured? Do you smoke or is your weight healthy? What medications are you on and how are your test results? These things are still important. And Whole Health is more than that. It focuses on what is important to you in your life and how you want to live your life. It includes self-care and things you can do to increase healing and improve your health and well-being.
What is meant by self-care?
Research shows that the most important ingredient in being healthy is how you take care of yourself, and you don’t need a medical background to do that. Medical care is important, but how you live your life between medical appointments makes the most difference. Self-care is not something you have to figure out on your own. In Whole Health care, you look at all areas of your life. You may want to start with just one or two areas. The areas of self-care include the following:
- Working Your Body — exercise and movement for energy, flexibility, and strength
- Surroundings — how things around you affect your body and emotions
- Personal Development — learning and growing throughout your lifetime
- Food and Drink — nourishing your body
- Recharge — sleep, rest, relaxation
- Family, Friends, and Co-Workers—your relationships with others
- Spirit and Soul— a sense of connection, purpose, and meaning
- Power of the Mind— tapping into your ability to heal and cope
Is there more to Whole Health Than Self -Care?
Yes, Whole Health involves Self-Care, Medical Care from your professional health care team, and involvement in and with agencies and organizations in your community. Your full Personal Health Plan will involve Conventional Medical Therapies in addition to Complementary and Integrative therapies. You will find your Personal Health Plan becoming more of a journey than a static plan on paper. As your health, your age, and your interests change, you will explore an array of ways to reach and maintain your best health status possible and to live life to its fullest.
Will I continue to see my primary care provider?
Yes. If you receive your health care from the VA either at the Medical Center or in your local community, you will continue to see your provider and health care team of nurses, social workers, dietitians, chaplains, pharmacists, and mental health professionals.
How will Whole Health help me?
Military missions are each unique. Not all maneuvers are handled in the same way. Likewise, there is no one way to help all people to be their healthiest and best. Each person is unique. In a Whole Health approach, the whole health team will get to know each individual person better and work with you to revise your plan over time as you accomplish goals or need to change them.
When can I start Whole Health?
You don’t need to wait to get started. You can complete a Personal Health Inventory with your primary care team, or you can ask them to refer you directly to the Whole Health Program. There you will begin with an Introductory Whole Health Class, during which you will explore what matters to you most and what you want your health for. During the class, you will also be offered Complementary and Integrative Health Care modalities and a number of pathways to optimal health. These pathways will empower you with the skills you will need for self-care, and will increase your awareness of Conventional and Alternative Health Care modalities.
Your Whole Health team is ready to start the Whole Health process with you at your first Introductory appointment. Share your interest in Whole Health with someone on your health care team today! Or call the Whole Health & Complementary Integrative Health Service directly at 804-675-5371 for more information, or to make an appointment. Don’t want to commit to an appointment right now? They can tell you the schedule of Introductory Classes and you can just drop in whenever you’re ready!
McGuire VA Medical Center
1201 Broad Rock Boulevard
Hours of Operation
- Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.