We see most of our veterans once a week, so we get to know them and can see their progress over time. We become part of their community, providing a safe, supportive environment where they can work on physical, mental and emotional issues one-on-one with our practitioners in complete confidence. Here are some of their stories…
Vickie began her military career in the Army as a military police officer specializing in black market investigation. During her time in the Army at the leadership academy, she developed an injury to her neck. It wasn’t apparent at first, but she ended up with “horrible knots in my back and neck that were harder than bricks.”
Vickie heard about Helios Warriors three years ago, but she didn’t come in right away. One day, someone mentioned Helios Warriors to her and she thought, “Why not come? I tried acupuncture, cupping, deep tissue massage, chiropractic, and Reiki. All of this together, it was intensive as I was coming in multiple times each week to help reduce my chronic pain.”
She has a special fondness for Emotion Code, lead by practitioner Ruth Kent, RN. “Ruth works with me using Emotion Codes and can get to the heart of the matter in five minutes. People in my life notice that I’m better. What she does is absolutely amazing.”
Vickie’s black Poodle, Shadow, frequently accompanies her to Helios Warriors. “I live alone and don’t have much social interaction. The practitioners, as well as the staff, are so loving. When you live alone, you don’t get that kind of touch with your other relationships. These people are so giving and loving in a non-judgmental way. It really re-humanizes me and puts the love back into my life. I just can’t praise the practitioners enough. I just can’t imagine not coming here.”
Vickie reports that all of the services have really helped. She especially likes the Jin Shin Jyutsu. She has shared her positive experiences at Helios Warriors with the doctors and other clinicians at the Charles George VAMC in Asheville. “They are really excited when I talk about my experiences at Helios Warriors. What they are doing here (Helios Warriors) is helping get to the root of the problem.”
A veteran of the Vietnam War, Bob has an appreciation of how effective these healing treatments can be as he was once a massage therapist. “I find all the therapies at Helios Warriors to be beneficial. I’m in much, much, better condition than when I started.”
Bob has been coming for holistic services at Helios Warriors since its inception in 2007 and has tried several therapies: acupuncture, massage, craniosacral therapy, Jin Shin Jyutsu and chiropractic. “At first, there weren’t many practitioners. I didn’t have much money, as it was before I got my disability benefits through the VA. But, they were (and still are) seeing people on a voluntary donation basis.”
Bob has a medical history of compressed discs in his back and neck, arthritis in his joints, carpal tunnel syndrome in his right hand, along with an additional injury to his right hand, a torn rotator cuff, and corresponding pain in his right forearm. He has a long-standing history of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“When I started coming to Helios Warriors, I was classified as disabled. I had so much neck, shoulder, back, and hip pain that I wasn’t able to walk. I had migraines that lasted for weeks that would force me to lie down with a pounding head. If I kept the muscle tension down, these symptoms would not appear. At first, all I could do was come to Helios Warriors and get in with one of the practitioners, at least once a week.”
Bob finds Jin Shin Jyutsu (referred to as the Grandmother of Acupuncture) to be very restful and relaxing: “Beth Molaro is beautifully kind-hearted and has a sweet energy.” Since Bob says he is not a fan of needles, he appreciated that this service uses a holistic-body-mind-spiritual approach using light touch to bring the body into harmony and balance with no needles.
Now, after five years of regular appointments with various practitioners, Bob has gone from acute pain and dysfunction to having mild or moderate pain — and actually feeling “pretty good”. “I’ve tried every service that Helios Warriors has to offer. I’m grateful that Helios Warriors is here, and I’ll do everything to keep it here. I’m not sure I would be on the planet without it. I was severely depressed, in a lot of discomfort, and it brought me back to a functional condition without constant pain. Now, I’m feeling so much better on many levels of my being, body, mind and spirit.”
In 2013, Bob joined the Helios Warriors Board of Directors to volunteer as veterans’ liaison, helping to spread the word about the multitude of benefits provided by Helios Warriors.
Over a year ago, Jesse expressed to a VA nurse during a visit that his back pain (due to multiple bone spurs, bulging disks, and a pinched nerve) was persisting even after his VA-prescribed 12 chiropractic visits were used up. That same nurse directed him to Helios Warriors, where he was able to continue getting affordable chiropractic treatments.
Since his first chiropractor appointment, he has taken advantage of many of Helios Warriors’ other healing modalities. The network chiropractor, Dr. Brian, has “made a big difference for my back” and this form of chiropractic care is “less invasive” than other chiropractic treatments. After receiving massage therapy he says, “I almost feel like I could run a marathon… everything is loosened up, and I just have a sense of well-being.”
Reiki was something that Jesse and his wife, Tammie, were skeptical about at first but he stated, “I would tell her where I hurt and without her even touching me, I could feel things loosening up.” Acupressure was another therapy that Jesse has enjoyed. “You wouldn’t believe how it helps… (he) presses on one point, and I feel relief in another.”
Jesse has found relief at Helios Warriors for PTSD, back pain, knee and foot pain, and even sleep apnea. “When I have been able to come consistently I have felt the most improvements.” Overall, Jesse appreciates that Helios Warriors is there for the veterans, and the little bit of money they do ask for is just going to the overhead. I would recommend Helios Warriors to anyone who is eligible.”
Jesse was in the National Guard for 5 years and on active duty for 9, for a total of 14 years. He spent 1 year in Baghdad during the Iraq War with the Army’s field artillery division out of Germany. He joined in March 1991 and was medically discharged from active duty in May 2005.
Brenda encourages all veterans to try the services at Helios Warriors. “Emotional and physical pain are tied together for me. Having them both treated at the same time is something I’d never experienced. This was relieving in a way I’d never had before.”
Brenda was suffering from anxiety, tension headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and neck and back pain. She was facing unemployment and was experiencing frequent mood swings. “I get free care at the VA hospital in Asheville, which is a great system, but they just wanted to give me muscle relaxers. If I take one of those, I go to bed and can’t get up. I’d be so lethargic, and my mind was always in a fog. I couldn’t even think about getting a job.” She felt that the VA was only treating the physical manifestations of her mental health problems.
Like many people, Brenda states that “my physical problems stem from my mental disabilities. I eat really well and try to do everything I can physically”. Aware that the conventional medical system was not meeting her needs and unable to afford the alternative therapies she had always valued, she decided to try Helios Warriors.
Brenda initially came to Helios Warriors seeking chiropractic treatments. “I could hardly move my neck without hurting. Overall, I felt constricted from bound-up emotions.” She also recognizes the benefits of chiropractic in healing other conditions. “When my back is out of place, then my irritable bowel syndrome will be affected.”
One particular day of treatment at Helios Warriors stands out for Brenda. It was the day she received her first Reiki treatment. “It helped me gain perspective and line me up so energy could get out, and it helped me feel whole again. I immediately felt like I could think more clearly, and all my ideas of hopelessness and feelings of despair were immediately gone. I felt a huge amount of relief and have been really stable since then.”
Brenda also notes the peer support she finds at Helios Warriors. “I have ended up meeting a lot of interesting veterans. We all have problems and can relate, and there is a sense of community here. We get to have camaraderie again.”