Category Archives: News

Floating – The New therapy

15119919 – wellness – young woman floating in spa or swimming pool, she is very relaxed

To be honest, I had no idea that this was a real therapy. I just knew that it felt really good when I had the pool all to myself. According to those who know, here are the benefits of floating:

• Increased energy levels
• Improved quality of sleep
• Heightened production of endorphins
• Diminished anxiety, depression and tension
• Enhanced creativity and problem-solving abilities
• Increased concentration, memory and mental clarity
• Improved athletic performance
• Quickened rehabilitation and recovery
• Reduced blood pressure and heart rate
• Improved circulation
• Reduced instances of neuromuscular aches and pains, inflammation and tendonitis, sprains/strains
• Strengthened immune system

So what is it? It’s exactly what it sounds like except not in a big pool. Some places have small float chambers that are just a little bigger than a coffin while others have chambers as big as a small room measuring 8 ft long x 6 ft wide with an 8 ft ceiling. These enclosures are large enough to allow stretching out completely or standing up. Very little is necessary to prepare for a session though you don’t want to go in while you are too full or hungry. You also want to make sure you empty your bladder as they don’t want you peeing in this pool.

During a float, you step into a quiet, warm, private spa called a float tank and lay back in water in which 1000-1200 lbs of Epsom salts have been dissolved. The water is denser than the Dead Sea, so you will float right on top! You will be fully supported, and you will expend no physical energy to stay afloat. The water is kept at a constant temperature of around 95 degrees, which feels warm at first but soon becomes almost imperceptible. When you choose to turn out the lights, your eyes can rest in a comforting darkness that is the same whether you open or close them. External sounds are kept to an absolute minimum through extensive soundproofing, earplugs, and the design of the tanks themselves.
The length of a session varies, but you could choose to be in there for 90 minutes. I’m pretty good at entertaining myself, but I’m not sure if I could do it for that long. Perhaps if I can fall asleep as I often fall asleep during my 90 minute massage. I believe I’ll give it a try and let you know.

The One VA Benefit that Could Save Your Life

If you get your healthcare from the VA, then you can use their electronic records system called ebenefits. Through ebenefits you can renew prescriptions, make appointments, email your providers, track various aspects of your health and even request copies of your military records. But you know the best thing you can do on ebenefits? You can read your own medical records! And I don’t mean the general sheet they give you after an appointment that tells you your vital statistics for that day, I’m talking the nitty gritty.

Most places act like your medical records are top secret information. Next time you’re at the doctor and the nurse is writing in your chart, just ask her if you can see it. I bet she won’t. They never leave them anywhere where you might get access to them. Honestly, I have no idea why. There can’t be anything in there we don’t know, right?

With ebenefits, you get it all. Let’s say you go to the doctor with stomach pain. Your doctor suspects a stomach ulcer and decides to do a CT scan of your abdomen. You have the procedure and wait for your follow up visit to get the results. Meanwhile, the Radiologist reads the test and sends the results to your doctor. Your doctor looks at the result and tells you, “No, you don’t have an ulcer”, or, “Yes, you do have an ulcer.” Then he proceeds to treat you for said ulcer. But did you know that the Radiologist’s report actually goes over every organ in your abdomen? With ebenefits you get to read the whole thing.

This is how the above example could have gone differently. Prior to your follow up visit to get the results, you got on ebenefits and read the Radiologist’s full report so you already knew that you did or didn’t have an ulcer. But as you’re reading about the other organs in your body, you get to the pancreas and you see the words “possible IPMN – verify with ultrasound.” If you’re like most of the population, you have no idea what this means, so you turn to Google and find that this means you may have a tumor on your pancreas that 70% of the time turns into aggressive pancreatic cancer. Now, when you go to be told about the ulcer you already know about, you could ask about this pancreas thing. Because, remember? The doctor never mentioned the pancreas thing. He just told you about the ulcer because that is the only part of the report he looked at.

In the real life version of this story, the patient had read their records prior to the follow up and did ask the doctor about the pancreas. The doctor looked at the rest of the report right there and also had to Google “IPMN” to find out what it was. Thankfully, that patient is now being seen by the gut doctors.

If you have access to your medical records, READ them! Thoroughly!

A Home of Their Own

165492_1739178126037_5694844_nThough it shouldn’t, the lengths people will go in their get rich quick schemes and scams still amazes me. The very idea that they will use servicemembers, veterans and their families disgusts me. Everything from false injury notifications to obtain credit card information to fake charities that prey on America’s love for its military has been tried. The latter are some of the most heinous as they take monetary donations from caring people and then use that money as their own. It makes it hard for a person to know who they can trust to use their donation in the manner in which it was intended. This lack of trust created by continuing news stories of these fake charities or even real charity organizations who misuse funds can make it harder for those groups who operate with integrity. Today, however, I want to share with you a group that really “puts their money where their mouth is” and I pray they always will.

According to their website, Operation Homefront “assists military families during difficult financial times by providing food assistance, auto and home repair, vision care, travel and transportation, moving assistance, essential home items, and financial assistance.” They also list a number of other programs. I don’t claim to know everything about this organization, but if they are pocketing money for themselves on the sly then they must receive record donations. I’ve heard complaints against large well-known charities that actually provide very little actual assistance to those they claim to serve. Operation Homefront (OPH) is not one of them. How do I know? Because I have seen what this group has done for just ONE military family.

My son-in-law joined the Army in 2009. The past seven years have been filled with the usual ups and downs that most military families can expect; deployments, sick children, births, and the death of family members far away. Through all of this, OPH has stood behind them. For this article, I asked my daughter if she could list everything they have been provided by OPH. She just laughed and said she would try. Here is the list, short one item, this one family received from OPH:

High chair
Electric breast pump
$500 in designer baby clothes
$50 gift card for Toys R Us
200 diapers
Christmas toys every year for 3 years
Christmas dinner every year for 3 years
$20 Wal-Mart gift card for Christmas ham every year for 3 years
Plane ticket home for a morale and welfare leave
Spouse night out which included dinner, pampering and a goodie 2 years
Back to school supplies 2 years

In itself, that is one impressive list, but you may have noticed that I had said this list was “short one item”. That’s because one item that this ONE family received deserves a discussion all its own. On 13 December 2016, this family will be presented the keys to a mortgage-free home. Now, as my son-in-law transitions out of the military and back to civilian life their biggest concern is no longer a worry. The monetary value of the gift is, of course, extraordinary, but that pales in comparison to the piece of mind and continued sense of stability this gift gives to this veteran family. That is a gift beyond measure and shows that OPH understands the true needs of our veteran population.

So how did they get a house and how can you get one, too? Visit Operation Homefront’s website at and check out their “Homes on the Homefront” program. It’s open to most veterans not just those transitioning from active duty. Look at the homes they have available and read up on the rules and such. It’s an amazing program.

Come on out to Mooresville, Indiana, on December 13th and join in the celebration as this family receives their house keys! Come out and support this organization that is doing great things for veterans and is deserving or your support. Hope to see you there!

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

9781882883592In honor of Brain Injury Awareness Month, throughout March the publisher of Faces of Combat will be giving three books for the price of one!

Purchase Faces of Combat on our website and you will also receive Brain Injury Rewiring for Survivors: A Lifeline to New Connections as well as Brain Injury Rewiring for Loved Ones: A Lifeline to New Connections.

And remember…every purchase of Faces of Combat results in a donated copy for us to get out to a veteran.

About the books:

Traumatic brain injury causes damage to the connections in many parts of the brain besides the focal point of the injury. It’s not enough to heal medically. Brain Injury Rewiring for Survivors discusses medical care and goes beyond that to help the survivor heal spiritually, emotionally, cognitively, physically, socially, and vocationally through traditional and complementary medicine and good nutrition.

Brain Injury Rewiring for Survivors is one of two well-received books designed to help survivors of brain injuries. The companion book, Brain Injury Rewiring for Loved Ones, describes how family and friends of the survivor can help the survivor during recovery.



Faces of Combat 2016!

Because PTSD doesn't just affect the Veteran.

Because PTSD doesn’t just affect the Veteran.

Here at Faces of Combat, we know that many veterans rarely talk to their family or loved ones about their feelings and experiences which often results in a veteran becoming isolated from those who most want to help. So this year, along with our parent non-profit organization, Pine Winds Connections, we will continue our mission of getting this life-saving book out into the veteran community. We know that this book can help those loved ones better understand their veteran just as we know it helps the veteran to realize that he/she is not alone and can learn to live with their experiences.

It’s a new year here at Faces of Combat and we have set some pretty lofty goals. In the past couple of years, we have given out over 2,000 copies of our book to veterans’ organizations, veterans themselves, or to those who love a troubled veteran. This year, we want to reach even more.

We have all seen the movies or read the reports in the media where some veteran has supposedly gone “postal” due to their PTSD. We wish that stereotype would just stop. I have spoken with many, many veterans and, in reality; those with PTSD are more likely to hurt themselves than others. According to the current reports, it is to the tune of 22 per day. Twenty-two veterans per day take their own lives and that is only the number of those who succeed.

Many veterans try for years to hold their demons at bay through a combination of drugs and alcohol and many have ended up in trouble with the law due to this self-medication. Before we throw the key away on these veterans, we want to reach them. Throughout this country, there are now special veterans’ courts. A veteran can choose to go through this system for their non-violent offense and the judge is then able to consider the veteran’s military service and combat experience in relation to their sentencing. Sentencing can even result in inpatient, intensive PTSD treatment. It is these veterans we want to reach in 2016. (Please note that these courts are ONLY for non-violent offenders. The veterans I have spoken with feel that those veterans who use PTSD as their defense for their violent, criminal actions are an affront to the tens of thousands of veterans who suffer from PTSD and only encourage the ridiculous stereotype portrayed by Hollywood.)

For 2016, our first goal is to provide copies of our book to the 160 Veteran Justice Outreach Specialists in the country. This will ensure that each veteran who comes through their program will receive a copy of the book and information on our website. Currently, our website has over 200 free resources for veterans and their families. We hope that each of these veterans will read this book, see themselves in it, and get the help that they need before it’s too late. That’s what happened with me and that’s why I do this today.

Also in 2016, we will be preparing and starting our non-traditional healing classes. Like many of you, I’ve been to the Veteran’s Administration. I’ve taken their pills, still take some. I’ve participated in a number of their therapy programs and I have learned an important thing. Not every program works the same for everyone person. We are all different. We all have different values, belief systems, etc. Everything that makes us unique as an individual is exactly what makes it difficult to find just the right therapy for you. So this year, in our local area, we will be offering healing classes using expressive writing, meditation and shamanistic rituals. We hope that by next year, we will be able to offer some of these programs across the country.

Speaking of “across the country”, the first week of April starts my annual Faces of Combat road trip sharing our programs along the I-90 corridor. Last year, I was accompanied east by one set of grandchildren and west by the other set. We had quite a time! If you are a veteran group and you are along the I-90 corridor, I’d be happy to stop in, drop off some books and discuss what we are all about! (Just as an FYI, this trip is fully-funded by me, not our organization. They only provide the books.)

2016 is going to be exciting! If you like what we are doing, visit the “Get Involved” page on our website and join us!

Lori Barnes
Faces of Combat

ICYMI: #ExploreVA Facebook chat on Vet Center counseling and services

Have you served in a combat zone, area of hostility or experienced a military sexual trauma? If so, you qualify for free community-based counseling at a Vet Center and you qualify whether you are active duty now, recently separated or served many years ago. Families dealing with bereavement are also eligible for counseling. There are 300 Vet Centers across the nation that offer free counseling, referral services and other assistance to eligible Veterans, Servicemembers and their families.

On Jan. 28, VA partnered with Team Red White & Blue for an #ExploreVA Facebook to spread the word about the services that VA Vet Centers provide….continue interview