If you are a veteran or love a veteran, you should take a look at this article in the Washington Post about some of the new alternative therapies the VA is trying as a way to help those suffering from chronic pain and other ailments without the use of pain pills. Looking at alternative therapy programs are aimed at decreasing veterans’ dependency on opiate painkillers (and probably the subsequent medications used to help regulate mood and energy levels).

Its fantastic the VA is looking at these types of untraditional therapies for treatment. Everyone should support funding for these types of programs in the future. Maybe when this next group of vets come home we’ll have figured out a way to help them that doesn’t include pumping them full of pain killers.

At VA, exploring alternative therapies for chronic pain and other ailments.

The alternative-therapy programs mark a dramatic departure in the treatment offered to troops who are returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and seeking relief from pain.

Among the options: Equine therapy. Alpha stimulation. Qigong. Guided imagery. Life coaching. Yoga and Pilates. Hypnosis. Aqua therapy. Botox.

The Richmond hospital and three other pilot programs offering these therapies are part of an effort by the Veterans Health Administration to reduce the dependence of tens of thousands on opiate painkillers. While doctors say the highly addictive drugs can help in the short term, they also can be harmful and often require another round of prescription pills to counteract side effects that can include insomnia, constipation, bone pain, anxiety and depression.

This article was written by: Rachel Baker – Click to Become a Patron or to follow on Twitter.