My Community Project

“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Transforming Lives One Body at a Time
Bringing advanced therapeutic and medicinal massage-bodywork practices into the government/military healthcare/rehabilitation facilities for stress and pain prevention

My name is Michele Ruppert.  I am a retired naval officer of 22 years.  I am now a nationally certified and locally licensed Holistic Health Practitioner specializing in advanced therapeutic and medicinal massage-bodywork.  The focus of my practice is to help people release chronic pain and feel a new sense of freedom – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.   The intention of my practice is to release and realign connective tissue so the people feel balanced throughout their whole body, which magically opens their conscious awareness that allows people live positive, fulfilling lives.

Because of the profound benefits that advanced massage-bodywork therapies provide, I would like to share an idea with you that could change how we provide alternative healthcare to facilities who support military personnel, veterans, and people who provide direct support to government/military operations.  These target groups of people include all military (active duty, retired, people who served the military but did not retire, and their dependents) and government contractors (and their dependents).

Possibility of this Project
With the ongoing war efforts since early 2000 along with continuous, intense deployments worldwide by military, veteran, and other personnel supporting government operations and with the barriers these people and their families are experiencing in receiving adequate healthcare services when they return to the United States, there is an urgent need to help heal and reintegrate these people back into society.

In order to help government/military hospital facilities, a massage-bodywork department/division and services could be established/incorporated as a part of the healthcare system.  This is a low cost and drugless alternative.  Depending on the health of the individual, a series of sessions can be designed in order to facilitate changes in their posture which automatically lessens their physical and emotional pain.  Completing a series of therapeutic and medicinal massage-bodywork sessions would change their life in a profoundly, positive way.

A Case for Action
What is so right about this project?
What is right about this project:  Massage-bodywork is not taken seriously in the mainstream US and governmental/military healthcare systems.  Massage-bodywork is not generally included as a part of the healing process of people who experience chronic pain and trauma, like physical therapy is.  Also, massage-bodywork is an out of pocket expense for people who can afford it and for people who know and understand the multitude of benefits of massage-bodywork.  Lastly, government/military hospital facilities are not able to handle all the healthcare needs (including both psychologically and physically) of returning personnel from the war and other worldwide deployments.

This project can create a realization that a paradigm shift is ideal for considering massage-bodywork as an intricate part of a healthcare program/system in government/military hospitals and rehabilitation programs.  There are numerous articles already written reporting the benefits of massage-bodywork that help alleviate the development of post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety disorders, and other pathologies.  By doing massage-bodywork sessions, everyone who is connected within the healing process will experience the positive results of what massage-bodywork can do to heal people physically and emotionally and will see how it will change lives in positive, nurturing ways.

What is the predictable future if no action is taken?The predictable future if no action is taken is that many people returning from Iraq and other intense deployments will continue to suffer unnecessarily.  They will not be able to fully participate and contribute to society.  Only the people who are aware of their bodies and who have the money will seek massage-bodywork treatments to heal and feel better.

The way the future could be in this area if a new possibility was created in San Diego?
The way the future could be is for massage-bodywork to be implemented as a part of the government/military healthcare system, like physical therapy is today.  The Veterans Administration (VA) San Diego Healthcare System (which includes the Medical Center in La Jolla, the 5 Community Clinics (in Chula Vista, Escondido, Imperial Valley, Mission Valley, and Vista), and the Vet Centers (in San Diego and San Marcos)), the Balboa Hospital and all the supporting TRICARE facilities, and other non-profit active duty/veterans organizations can be the innovative organization(s) to make this possibility attainable.  People will recover quicker, be healthier, and we would have more productivity in their local communities.  Massage-bodywork therapies are a perfect complement to other healthcare remedies, like a proper diet, exercise, counseling, physical therapy, and more.

My Actions Taken

1.  Currently, I am networking within the San Diego community to increase awareness about the benefits of massage-bodywork therapies by …
– joining local business and social networking groups (Ocean Beach MainStreet Association, San Diego United Veterans Council, local Meetup groups, and more);
– giving talks throughout the community (San Diego Speakers Guild, People’s Organic Food Market);
– visiting other public health facilities (Scripps Integrative Medicine department);
– using the internet social networking websites (Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace).

I am available to partner with business organizations and other health professionals to help individuals create wellness/health programs that increase productive, health, wealth, and success of individuals and businesses.
I am available to speak about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle without the need for surgeries and drugs.

2.  I hosted a booth at the Veterans Health and Resource Fair on Saturday, September 27, 2008, from 10AM-1PM, at the Martin Luther Community Center.  I shared the idea of getting massage-bodywork therapies into the government healthcare systems, along with the type of advanced massage-bodywork modalities that I specialize in.  Veterans and family members learned about how massage-bodywork therapies modalities can do to stimulate the body’s natural healing process, provide pain relief, improve body posture, and improve quality of life.  Also, I provided demonstrations onto veterans and their family members.

3. Since May 2008, I’ve been working with the Vet Center of San Diego to work as a non-paid employee providing advanced massage-bodywork therapies.  In September 2008, my request was declined because of a lack of space for volunteers to help veterans at their current space and at the new location they will be moving to.

4.  Since July 2008, I have been attending the San Diego Veterans Administration (VA) “One VA” meetings.

a.  Since July, I requested formal processes for the massage-bodywork community could execute that the chiropractor and acupuncture communities went through to get their work/treatment approved within the VA Healthcare System and through their fee-basis system (outcalls to the community, which would help alleviate their space allocation problems), and to open dialogue with the VA Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) panel to help in the area of massage-bodywork therapy.  To date, I have not been provided information about who to contact, processes, etc.  The VA Healthcare System is working with Coronado Sharp Hospital in reviewing the Planetree Model of getting holistic health therapies in all the VA facilities, so maybe contacts in the future will be made with San Diego’s holistic community.

b.  In September, I was told not to attend any future “One VA” meetings since I do not represent any of the veterans’ organizations.

5.  In August 2008, I met with the VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network, Network 22 Logistic Office.  This meeting was sponsored by Southwest Veterans’ Business Resource Center.  This meeting was very informative in providing information of how veteran-owned businesses can compete for contracts within the government.

6.  In August 2008, I was declined to setup a booth for the 2008 National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic to share information about the different massage-bodywork modalities that can be utilized in athletic environments and to provide massage-bodywork therapy on athletes to get rid of pain before/after their events and for relaxation.

7.  In mid 2007, Balboa Hospital Human Resource department declined my request to provide volunteer work to the veterans and active duty personnel in the Comprehensive Combat Casualty Care Center, since they have paid employees who do massage-bodywork therapies that I do (referring to the physical therapists).

A Request for Help
I would like to receive support for this possibility and the opportunity to make this happen in our community.  What can you do to help me make this project a reality?

Here are some ideas:
1.  Having organizations provide grant support or by providing resources and money contributions.

2.  For patients, informing your VA and/or TRICARE primary physicians that therapeutic and medicinal massage-bodywork therapies will help improve/enhance your natural healing process.

3.  For healthcare personnel, informing the appropriate VA and/or TRICARE management personnel to incorporate therapeutic and medicinal massage-bodywork therapies as alternative therapies for healing for all patients and healthcare personnel.

My Contact Information
Phone: (619) 890-0111
Email: MicheleRuppert.LMT at

Mental Health Injuries Scar 300,000 U.S. Troops: Only half of vets have sought help for depression, post-traumatic stress (April 17, 2008).  Retrieved June 26, 2008, from

Military Personnel Who Serve in War Zones Face Increased Risk for Alcohol Abuse, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, and Marital and Family Conflict (November 15, 2007).  Retrieved April 29, 2008, from

RAND Invisible Wounds of War Study: A Joint Project of RAND Health and the RAND National Security Research Division (June 12, 2008).  Retrieved June 26, 2008, from

Tanielian, T. and Jaycox, L.H.  Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery (June 12, 2008).  Retrieved June 26, 2008, from

Touch Research Institute (1997).  Retrieved April 29, 2008, from

Tyson, A.S.  Pentagon Report Criticizes Troops’ Mental-Health Care (June 16, 2007).  Retrieved June 26, 2008, from

Supporters of My Community Project
United Veterans Council of San Diego County
Landmark Education