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Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital


Be Physically Active: Integrated Medicine Program

Leslie Barnes: Integrated Medicine Program Manager

Leslie Barnes: Integrated Medicine Program Manager

By Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program
Tuesday, September 8, 2015

September Healthy Living Message-Be Physically Active

We all want to feel good about our health, but sometimes programs aimed at increasing our health call for activities that simply don’t fit for us.  Did you know that the Truman VA Integrative Medicine Program offers options for Veterans to gently increase physical activity, even when medical problems make exercise difficult? 

The Integrative Medicine (IM) Program was started in August 2014, and offers various classes and services aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of Veterans.  Directed by IM Nurse Leslie Barnes, this program does not replace your regular VA health care; rather, this program is meant to complement the care provided by your Primary Care or Behavioral Health care team.

The IM program offers two different classes that teach Veterans simple movements to gently work the whole body, improve strength & balance, and lower stress.   Qi Gong (pronounced “chee gong”) is a form of exercise that has been practiced for centuries among many Asian cultures.  It uses a series of gentle flowing movements & postures to move and stretch different parts of the body.  Veterans who have tried Qi Gong report that it has: helped them feel more relaxed & calm, reduce pain & negative emotions, increased daily energy levels, lowered blood pressure, improved sleep, and gave them a greater sense of well-being.

Tai Chi is a type of Qi Gong that also uses flowing, slow-motion movements.  However, Tai Chi uses a longer series of movements that mimic many used martial arts.   Leslie says “in both Qi Gong & Tai Chi, the movements are geared to the Veteran’s comfort level and physical ability, and we always start out easy.”  Anyone regardless of their physical ability can participate in Tai Chi and Qi Gong. Whether you can stand, sit in a chair/wheelchair, or need to lie on a table, you can learn the movements. 

If you are looking for a way to improve your health and overall well-being, contact Leslie Barnes, RN at (573) 814-6000 extension 53581 or ask your Truman VA PACT team member for a referral to the Integrative Medicine Program.  Tai Chi and Qi Gong are FREE clinics and never have a co-payment for services.

To learn more about being physically active and using Qi Gong and Tai Chi, go to:


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