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Armed forces to Holitsic Health

This article was written by ACHS Professor Abbey Skinner in honor of Veterans Day 2020. She served with the United States Air Force and was on active duty for 14 years.

Hi, my name is Abbey Skinner and I’d like to share with you how I went from “boots to books”! Since the age of 8, I was drawn to alternative approaches of medicine because I felt that allopathic medical doctors failed myself and my younger brother when we were both in a time of desperate need. That was the catalyst for what I like to call “my beautiful obsession” with health, which still motivates me to this day.

Fast forward to age 17 when another passion of mine sparked – service to others and travel. I joined the Air Force to protect our county and its people while simultaneously studying alternative medicine. I took it all in – from culture, food, health, living conditions, politics, human relations, etc. and decided I needed a break from all that globe-trotting after 14 years on active duty! Timing is everything; I was offered a teaching position at the Community College of the Air Force and fell in love with the classroom, connecting with others on meaningful topics, and learning from each other. Then the time came to make a decision – do I stay, or do I go???

I decided if I could combine my passions, teaching what I love and helping others with their health, I’d close the military chapter of my life… and off I went out into “the real world”. I hung up my uniform and traded my boots for books; 6 years later I’m still doing what I love at the American College of Healthcare Sciences – teaching holistic health!

In honor of Veterans Day, I’d like to highlight how proudexcited and happy I am to see the military and holistic health worlds collide! A military veteran is defined as “a person who served for any length of time in any military service branch (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard) and has an honorable discharge (separation or retirement) from the military” [1].

Holistic health is defined as “an approach to medical care that emphasizes the study of all aspects of a person’s health, including psychological, social, and economic influences on health status” [2].

So once again, how do these two very different worlds collide?

Bottom line, there’s a need! A pill, or surgery… that WAS the question. But today, it’s become so much more than that. The patient (veteran) is put first, our very own VA has embraced this concept and created a program called “Whole Health” – their new motto is “what matters to you”. Words cannot express how thankful I am to see approaches such as meditation, chiropractic care, yoga, diet, mind/body/soul in the military health world!!! This literally is my dream come true.

The Circle of Health is the new model to approach a veteran’s needs:

VA circle of health-1

Thank you to all of my fellow veterans out there, those of you who wholeheartedly support us, and our holistic health care advocates, you are the change our future needs – we couldn’t be here without you!

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[1]. American War Library (25 Dec 2008). What is a Veteran? Retrieved from

[2]. NA (2020). Holistic Medicine. Retrieved from–medicine

Circle of Health Photo:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a professor at the American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine. 

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