CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — When veterans think of a trip to the VA for an appointment, many times their first thought is negative.
That thinking is beginning to change, especially when they're willing to open themselves up to new experiences to calm their minds and bodies.
Navy veteran Sally Perales was one of a handful of veterans who recently attended a Tai Chi class at the VA Outpatient Center in Corpus Christi.
"I think it's important as I'm getting older and just taking care of yourself," said Perales.
She is enjoying the class too -- for good reason.
"In the military, we served during wartime, and you know, wore ourselves out a little," she said. "And, come here knowing there's a place that cares about me — that looks at every aspect from psychology to medicine to the holistic nutrition — it's just wonderful."
The VA's program manager of health programs John Miller says tai chi has become a popular class for veterans, according to a recent survey.
Miller said this class is part of what's called the whole-health delivery system for veterans at the VA.
"We focus on what is important to the veteran and then help them develop a personal health plan surrounding the kinds of areas in their life that may be impacting their overall health and well-being in a negative fashion," said Miller.
Perales, who has a Ph.D. in nursing, believes that the class helps bring balance and focus to her hectic life.
"I feel like it centers you," she said. "That sense of energy going out of the body — the negative, you know, with doing not only psychologically but also pushing it away (physically) helps with that," said Perales. "So it also involves every aspect of your body, you know, from the motion to the thought to the breathing, and I really feel that all the holistic approach really helps that inner core of all of us."
"To me, that's success, " said Miller. "If the individual person says 'I just feel better,' that's a success."
To find out more about tai chi or any other classes at the VA, call (361) 806-5645.