Complementary and Integrative Health
Complementary and Integrative Health (CIH) is a specialty program that emphasizes patient empowerment, self-activation, preventative self-care, and wellness by offering a variety of individualized mind/body treatments and well-being classes.
Services are considered complementary because they can come alongside the standard health care received in traditional medical or mental health programs. They are considered integrative because they focus on the whole person, are informed by evidence, and optimize health and wellbeing by making use of all appropriate therapeutic and lifestyle approaches, healthcare professionals, and health disciplines. All CIH services are beginner friendly, trauma-sensitive, and accessible for a range of abilities. CIH welcomes Veterans who are brand new as well as those looking to deepen their skills. CIH also offers multiple modalities in Affinity Groups. You can find the following CIH modalities at the VA Salt Lake City Healthcare System:
Biofeedback is an individualized mind-body intervention, using equipment to monitor physiological information (i.e., heart-rate, breathing, muscle tension, sweat gland activity, temperature) to enhance awareness and help train for improved self-management of symptoms.
Neurofeedback (or EEG biofeedback) is a type of biofeedback that specifically uses brain wave signals to bring about healthy state changes such as attention/focus, drowsiness, emotion regulation, cognitive clarity, motivation, and fatigue.
Biofeedback is especially suited for Veterans who are motivated to increase awareness of how their physiology is affected by their presenting symptoms, and to develop a self-management routine of skills that are generalizable to daily life. Clinical biofeedback sessions involve interaction between a provider, a client wearing surface level electrodes, and a computer providing feedback from body-derived signals.
Clinical hypnosis facilitates positive therapeutic change by helping you learn to relax your body and focus your mind, while opening up to useful suggestions for better physical and psychological health. Clinical hypnosis and hypnotherapy are used extensively in the medical and mental health fields.
Guided imagery is a practice of using the imagination and multi-sensory memory to create a desired internal experience, be it changes in physiology, emotions, or mental state for the purpose of activating the body’s healing properties. Guided imagery services may begin with relaxation techniques or instruction on active imagination with the option to formulate a self-guided practice.
Meditation and CIH Mindfulness Program
Meditation is a defined practice or technique, often arising from a contemplative tradition, that focuses on training your mind to focus on specific capacities of concentration, compassion, or insight.
The CIH Mindfulness Program offers a variety of mindfulness interventions. Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment, on purpose, without judgement. Meditation may include formal practices such as focusing on the breath or sensations in the body and paying attention to your surroundings with acceptance and kindness. CIH offers traditional methods such as Mindfulness Based Interventions, as well as non-traditional services that incorporate creativity, nature, and presence in relationships.
Check out these mindfulness & meditation exercises.
Tai Chi / Qigong
Tai Chi is an exercise combining slow-flowing intentional movements with breathing, awareness, and visualization to enhance vitality and harmony in the body and mind. Rooted in the Asian traditions of martial arts, Chinese medicine and philosophy, Tai Chi enhances relaxation, vitality, focus, posture, balance, strength, flexibility, and mood.
Qigong is an ancient Chinese healing art and wellness practice, older than, and similar to Tai Chi. The focus is on cultivating the body’s vital energy of qi (pronounced chee) with a moving medication practice. It involves the coordination of slow gentle and focused movement, with the breath, posture, awareness, and visualization, in a relaxed meditative state.
Yoga is a mind and body practice with origins in ancient Indian philosophy. The various styles of yoga typically combine physical postures, breathing techniques, meditation or relaxation, and discussion on applications to daily life.
Yoga therapy applies yogic tools of posture, breathwork, meditation, lifestyle, and mindfulness education to address an individual’s unique physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. Yoga therapy can include both individual and group classes.
For additional information about CIH programming, call 801-588-5991