Arizona Legislature Approves Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Program for Veterans

 Veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and selected PTSD conditions would be eligible to participate in hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) under a bill approved unanimously in the state House (Feb. 21), and unanimously by the Senate (Mar 26). It was signed by the Governor on March 29.
HB2513 was sponsored by Rep. Mark Finchem, Republican, (LD-11, Oro Valley, Marana & Maricopa), Vice-Chairman of the Military, Veterans and Regulatory Affairs Committee. “This bill is the culmination of 3-years of pubic comment and professional input to get our veterans access for a recuperative treatment, that has delivered remarkable results, but has thus-far not been paid for by the VA,” said Rep. Finchem
The bill provides a temporary appropriation of just $25,000 in seed money to what supporters call, a “private-sector driven,” initiative that will be overseen by the state’s Department of Veteran Services. There is a population of approximately 13,000 veterans with TBI in the state. Arizona is the only state that has formally taken this private-public partnership approach, said Sa’ad Allawi, an Oro Valley resident who helped spearhead the drive.
HBOT has been shown an effective, non-medicinal alternative abroad and selectively in the U.S., though it not offered as a Veterans Administration benefit. Patients in HBOT breathe pure oxygen in a room where pressure that is 1.5- to 2.2-times normal level. This rejuvenates cells and increases stem cell production that promotes healing. It is used for scuba divers who suffer from decompression sickness. Athletes have used HBOT since the 1960’s to treat concussions, a form of TBI.

“This bill enables us to tell prospective private donors, ‘The state is making a commitment, now it’s your turn,’” said Allawi, whose career was in healthcare cost-reduction. “It is an opportunity to heal veterans and get them back to a healthy state, rather than just manage symptoms — and do it with a far more cost-effective treatment.”

Healing Arizona Veterans, or HAV, has been established as a nonprofit that will promote contributions from small donors, charities and the private sector. HAV has is driving the private donors match effort, which will enable the first 10 veterans to be treated. The group’s goal is to treat 50 in its first phase. 
Arizona has two stand-alone HBOT private providers, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy of Arizona, of Phoenix, which has been in business for 18 years, and NorthStar Hyperbarics, of Tucson, in existence for 14. Both have six-person chambers. As many as 300 veterans could be treated annually,” says Allawi.  A full treatment cycle of 80 hours at $150 per session means a cost of $12,000 per veteran.

For a technology that is mature, the United States offers relatively few options. One of the nation’s HBOT models, Oklahoma, four years ago passed a Patriot Clinic Act that offers the therapy. Texas and Indiana passed pilot programs last year. Marine Corps now offers selective treatment and a study is underway at Louisiana State University involving 50 veterans. Brook Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, TX, the largest healthcare organization within Department of Defense, is spending $12 million on an HBOT wing. Treat Now, a veterans’ support group, estimates there are 2800 veterans have been treated in such a manner.  


For more details, please visit Healing Arizona Veterans at

Free TBI, PTSD Medical Evaluations for Veterans


Dr. Carol Henricks, a physician at NorthStar Neurology PC and NorthStar Hyperbaric, is offering free medical evaluations for veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) spectrum conditions. The Patriot Clinic evaluates and treats veterans at no charge.

“The signature injury of veterans of the recent conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan is a TBI-PTSD spectrum condition,” says Henricks. The initial evaluation is free, and veteran treatment is supported by veteran nonprofit organizations such as America’s Mighty Warriors, Mission 22 and others. A natural approach to health, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), detoxification, nutrient optimization, PEMF and other therapies are used.

Those interested can call and schedule an appointment with Henricks. More information can also be found at

Location: 7596 N. La Cholla Blvd., Tucson. For more information, call 520-229-1238, email or visit

TreatNOW using HBOT for TBI/PTSD/PCS/Concussion

THE essential elements of the argument:
1. We face an epidemic of suicide, and brain-related wounds afflicting service members’ mental and physical health

2. Billions of $$$ are being spent on research and unproven even hurtful drugs and devices that exacerbate the problems in too many cases.

3. DOD/VA/Army conducted HBOT studies that queered the outcomes with their corrupted scientific methods, but their DATA show HBOT works.

4. Business as usual affects over 800,000 wounded and their families while BILLIONS of $$$ are expended on drugs and fruitless psychological and other unproven interventions

5. The reasons for their “HBOT does not work” position are many but reduce to flawed conclusions about: cost, danger, size of problem, closed minds, and entrenched interests, especially Big Pharma

6.  The cost to the nation:  20 suicides a day, hollowing out of Special Operations forces, $60,000 cost/per year for each untreated brain injury, and corrosive effects of wounded who are told: “There is no treatment to help you.”

7.  The Treatment does exist:  Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy when used by the TreatNOW Coalition and multiple clinics across the US and world have positive scientific and clinical evidence in over 2,300 cases that HBOT helps heal wounded brains and returns patients to a life denied them by DOD/VA/Army that will not use or pay for HBOT treatment for TBI/PTSD/PCS/Concussion

8. The solution is hiding in plain sight:  allow  the use of TRICARE/Choice cards by brain-wounded to go on civilian/private market to obtain pre-approved treatment.

So much is left out; so much more to say.  An essential component of our culture:  The Concussion Protocol as practiced by the DOD/VA/Army, the NFL, the NCAA, the overwhelming ## of ERs and high schools around the world is the equivalent of criminal negligence and medical malpractice.  If you refuse to recognize and treat the wound to the brain, it isn’t going to Heal.           Symptoms will abate and the wounded may feel better, but beware the long-term effects, particularly when the insults to the head continue. And this factoid:  Since the Army now recognizes that BLAST injury is the likely CAUSE of the sequelae diagnosed as “only PTSD” we are confronted with an additional 325,000 likely misdiagnosed TBIs.


Rob Beckman

Camp Corral Gears Up for Another Summer of Serving Military Kids


By Marissa Pierre

Summer is quickly approaching, which means that thousands of military kids across the nation are looking forward to a fun-filled week at Camp Corral. This free, one-of-a-kind summer camp for children of wounded, injured or fallen veterans gives military kids the opportunity to just be kids, away from the challenges of military life.

Camp Corral partners with accredited 4H and YMCA camps across the U.S. to offer military kids ages eight to 15 endless fun in the great outdoors. Campers participate in activities such as horseback riding, rock climbing and canoeing, while building relationships with other kids who share similar military backgrounds. Since 2011, Camp Corral has provided more than 10,000 military children this “week of a lifetime” at 23 partner camps in 19 states.

A camper tries his hand at using a firehose at Camp Corral's Camp Ocala in FL

Last summer, Camp Corral partnered with the YMCA’s Triangle Y Ranch Camp in Oracle to host its first ever Arizona camp session. More than 150 children from Arizona and nearby states attended the camp, where they formed lifelong friendships and honored their parents’ sacrifices on “Hero Day.” Triangle Y Ranch Camp will welcome Camp Corral campers again this summer from July 3 to 8.

“We are very excited for another summer to serve our nation’s young heroes,” said Mary Beth Hernandez, chief executive officer of Camp Corral. “Military children are so special, and it is a privilege to be able to provide them with life changing camp experiences.”

Across the Lake Adventure

With its camp sessions growing in demand, Camp Corral hopes to serve thousands more children in the coming years. The nonprofit recently launched a Fifth Anniversary Campaign with the goal to raise funds to send more military kids to camp next summer.

The 2016 camp season kicks off on June 5 and concludes August 20. For more information on Camp Corral, camp sessions, or to make a donation to the Fifth Anniversary Campaign, visit or call 855-605-1267.

Written by Marissa Pierre.

Marissa Pierre headshot

Traumatic Brain Injury: out of the “game”, but not out of danger! by Carol Henricks, M. D.

Awareness of concussion as a consequence of playing professional football and other sports and exposure to blast injuries for military veterans has reached an all – time high. A single bomb blast causes soldiers NFL – like brain trauma. The message has been received by the public: concussion is a real injury and you should NOT “go back into the game” after the injury. However the long term medical consequences of the injury – particularly if the brain has not healed – are less well established. With the recognition of acute and sub – acute concussion, players make decisions to stop playing sports altogether – they “get out of the game” while they believe they are still “cognitively clear”. But does that solve the problem ?


Young military veterans taken out of active duty or medically discharged don’t recover from their concussions even years after their injury and are often never able to re-enter the work force. The American Headache Association presented data at their July 2012 meeting that even 8 years post concussion – injury, most veterans continued to have persistent headaches, sleep disturbance, cognitive and emotional problems. The link between concussion injury and neurodegenerative conditions in the NFL has been acknowledged ( at least by the players and the judge ) and resulted in a huge settlement to compensate injured players – and studies of concussion injured military veterans are supporting that conclusion. It is clear that a new approach to post – concussion management is necessary. It is time to put together a game plan to save the brain.


Our brains are like computers.


The brain is a complex network of fiber tracts: to carry out any brain function there is a locus of control and a network that needs to be activated.   Our brains are much more like computers than we would have believed. If the locus of control that triggers the algorithm / pathway is knocked out or there are “glitches in the system” the network cannot function as a cohesive system and the task is not completed. Multiple concussions destroy the control and networking of the brain and result in poor cognitive ability and a consequent failure to function in society.



Connections that extend from the neuron cell body and make connections with other areas of the brain are called axons. Axons gathered together form fiber tracts. The hallmark of concussive brain injury is diffuse shear injury to axons. The shear injury may involve only the fatty covering around the axon ( the myelin ) or it may also involve the underlying axon structural components. The extent of injury to the axon affects the ability to recover from the injury. A shear injury in the brain is like a glitch in a computer network.


Network connections are critical.


Fiber tract connections create networks. Fiber tracts formed from the right hemisphere ( for example ) connect to the left hemisphere through the corpus callosum. Connections through the corpus callosum allow the right side of the brain to know what the left side of the brain is doing and vice versa. Fiber tracts from the parietal lobes of the brain ( which perform sensory integration / visual association ) connect with the occipital lobes of the brain ( primary visual information processing ) so we can tell the difference between our visual reality versus stored visual images: is it real or a hallucination ? Fiber tracts connect the frontal lobes (which are responsible for decision making) with the temporal lobes of the brain (which store our memories of past experiences) so we can use our experience to help us make good decisions.   All these connections form networks which allow us to function in our world. If you disrupt these connections throughout the brain these disconnections or “glitches” result in poor cognitive function. And then things get worse.


Disconnections and loss of brain cell function are the basis for post – concussion symptoms.


Disconnections create problems in an acute injury, but if these connections never heal, there is chronic brain injury. Even if new networks are formed by “re-wiring”, the injured brain cells begin a degenerative process and as the neurons “die back” brain cells are lost. Dysfunction worsens over time if new connections are not formed and old connections and damaged neurons do not heal. Healing is not guaranteed. Spontaneous healing in both the Central Nervous System ( CNS ) and the Peripheral Nervous System ( PNS ) is a very slow process. Amazing cases of people “waking up” after spending many years in a persistent vegetative state following brain injury are examples of people naturally healing over time.


A traditional approach to recovery is observation and supportive care.


Medications do not create healing. Medications do not inhibit cell death or any neurodegenerative process. Non-healing is where the pathology of neurodegenerative disease begins. The current medical model of treatment for an individual who has sustained a concussion is to avoid further injury and let the brain heal itself over time using adjunctive therapies such as physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy. Re -evaluations by neurologists may establish that a concussion injured person has achieved a certain baseline of functional recovery, but that is not confirmation that injury has healed and that an individual will avoid future consequences of that injury. There is no standard of care therapy that has been recognized to treat brain injury.


Making the connection: the consequences of injury.


The consequence of significant untreated concussion injury is early onset neurodegenerative disease. The more concussions, the worse the cumulative brain injury. Injured brain cells that do not heal die, and may help to create the clinical syndromes of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and ALS for example. SPECT scans have been a helpful tool to identify injured areas of brain. New imaging techniques such as brain MRI with DTI may be a better choice to show the disruption of connections caused by concussion as well as providing a follow – up measure of healing. It’s time to refocus our thinking on healing. The future is now and therapies to recover brain function are available.


HBOT is essential because every healing reaction requires oxygen.


Revolutionary emerging technologies will change neurological recovery forever. The operative term here is the recoverable brain. Our brains are designed to learn all throughout our life, and brain cells may heal given the proper support. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy ( HBOT ) is the first therapy that has been demonstrated to heal brain injury. The extensive research of Dr. Paul Harch covers the basic science of healing with HBOT, animal research and human research and his work has been submitted to the FDA confirming the effectiveness. There has been more research on HBOT than on any drug or device ever approved by the FDA. Dr. Harch’s textbook “The Oxygen Revolution” outlines his years of research and experience in treating brain injury. HBOT therapy is radically different than simply providing oxygen by nasal cannula in a hospital setting at atmospheric pressure. HBOT creates oxygen radicals which in a hyperoxic environment stimulate healing mechanisms including activation of intracellular healing processes, stem cell mobilization and modification of gene expression.


Brain recovery requires building from basic nutritional essentials.


For healing to take place, nutrient optimization including consumption of proper fats, adequate proteins, critical trace minerals, balanced electrolytes and smart sugars. Without the proper building blocks for recovery, the brain cannot recover. Please see our article, written with neuropharmacologist Dr. Tim Marshall: “Nutrition for the wounded warrior: it takes more than a vitamin” for details.


Neurobiofeedback is a simple retraining of the brain.


Brain waves may be retrained to a pattern that will minimize an anxiety reaction or to help activate less active areas of the brain. Even an injured brain is able to learn, re – wire, re – network. Brain Paint for example is an excellent Neurobiofeedback program for recovery. Re-establishing the normal rhythms of the electrical activity of the brain promotes functional recovery.


Magnetic fields enhance intracellular energy so that healing can take place.


Magnetic fields, particularly pulsed electromagnetic field therapy or PEMF results in direct energy transfer intracellularly to facilitate healing. PEMF has been used in Germany to treat advanced dementia and Down’s syndrome with great results. It is being studied in the US for TBI recovery. A similar but more focused tool is transcranial magnetic stimulation ( TCMS ) which has been FDA approved to treat depression and is being studied in various neurology centers to treat patients post – stroke.







Autologous stem cell transplants boost recovery.


Safe, effective mechanisms for obtaining autologous stem cell transplants are available in the US. These procedures are primarily still under IRB protocols and are self – pay but are proving to be a powerful adjunctive therapy for recovery. Initial results from physicians performing that procedure indicate that it is a very safe treatment and results for patients with neurodegenerative conditions including severe TBI have been positive.


Save your brain.


Concussion is a major contributing factor to neurodegenerative conditions; although there are many other factors impact brain health and healing. A potentially huge “at risk” population for neurodegenerative disease exists and it is not only an “end – of – life” phenomenon. Functional recovery of an injured brain has never been as possible as it is now. Combining available therapies, a good nutritional baseline and lifestyle habits the best neurological recovery can be achieved. It is critical to anticipate the consequences of post – concussion injury and actively pursue healing therapies.


9th Annual Gathering of America Indian Veterans


Charles Spillar

Proud Veteran saluting the American flag. Photo by Nicole Thurston, BAOM

On September 26 at the Tohono O’Odam’s Desert Diamond Casino the 9th annual gathering of Arizona’s American Indian veterans took place with the partnership of the Southern Arizona VA Health Care system. I was so impressed with this event I wanted to  share it with everyone. If all of America had the respect for our Veterans as witnessed at this event we would not have  near the problems we have today with Veteran’s suicides and homelessness. We would have compassion and support for the sacrifices these men and women have made to preserve our freedom.

A huge number of veterans and their families  and friends attended as well as an array of vendors with native art work and organizations dedicated to veterans health & welfare.

The organization and program scheduling of this event was exceptional. From the opening address and throughout the day guests were entertained by traditional native dancers, music, and a delicious meal for lunch. The health related vendors were available to answer questions from the veterans attending throughout the day’s event.

Hopi Dancers Photo by Nicole Thurston, BAOM
Basket Dancer Ceremony. Photo by Nicole Thurston, BAOM
Basket Dancer Ceremony. Photo by Nicole Thurston, BAOM
Photo by Nicole Thurston, BAOM

This year the gathering was expanded to include the White Mountain Apache Tribe, and the Lopez-Hernandez American Legion Post #95 in Solomon, AZ. Next year they will include the San Carlos Apache Tribe, and  are reaching out to the Quechan and Cocopah Tribes of Yuma.

Proud veterans and members of the Color Guard. Photos by Nicole Thurston, BAOM

In the afternoon I witnessed one of the most impressive displays of appreciation of veterans I have ever seen with a ceremony titled Honoring and Presentation of Coins. Literally, every veteran that attended this event got visual and verbal recognition for their service to our nation. If the rest of America would honor our veterans in this manner it would do a great deal to help heal them from the sacrifices so many had made for our freedom. I am still in awe after witnessing this love and compassion. I have never witnessed such respect for our veterans. America could learn a lot from our Native American’s tradition.

Veterans in line to receive their recognition during the Passing of Coins ceremony. Photo by Nicole Thurston
Group photo of all the veterans in attendance at the event. photo by Nicole Thurston, BAOM

Acupuncture: Drug-Free Pain Treatment Option By Kenneth Froehlich

If you have been suffering with a chronic medical condition for many years as I have personally experienced, then take heed.  There is a treatment option that has not been widely publicized or accepted in the U. S.  It has its roots in ancient China and has been practiced for centuries by trained individuals that learned their skills from learned masters.  Many people that have their family roots in the far east have been the beneficiary of this treatment option while growing up.  If you have traveled to the far east either on business or vacation then you may have possibly experienced this treatment option.   I hope to garner enough of your interest to consider this option in your quest to tame that dreaded beast that prevents you from playing a full round of golf, several match’s of tennis, horseback riding or even taking that hiking or whitewater rafting adventure through the Grand Canyon.  I am speaking of …. Acupuncture……

Lets look at a brief history of Acupuncture.  The most reliable data has come from the remains of a mummified individual discovered in the northern Alps in September 1991.  The mummified corpse has been dated to be more than 5,000 years old and was located in the Otztal Alps and the individual was deemed “Otzi”, the Iceman. Research has identified several carbon tattoos (possibly Acupuncture points) on his body including his spine. Additional analysis of his remains indicated he had several age degeneration conditions which mimic modern day bone deformities.

I was diagnosed with two bulging discs (L4-5, L5-S1) with mild to moderate stenosis at the nerve roots  several years ago.  The downside of this condition as you may already be aware of consisted of sciatic nerve pain along my left lower back, left buttock, left thigh, left calf with numbness and tingling at the forth and fifth digits (toes) of my left foot.  Pain and discomfort were my 24-hour constant companions and no matter how I tried to position my body, relief was not to be found.

Several treatment options that were offered by the allopathic medical community (western medicine) consisted of a surgical intervention, physical therapy, a lifestyle change, prescription medications or a combination thereof.  The treatment option that I reluctantly selected consisted of an epidural lumbar injection with dexamethasone (steroid-80mg) twice per year at an interval of six months. This option provided pain relief for approximately three years but as time progressed the period of being pain free diminished to approximately eight months. Due to the potential adverse side effects of extended usage of a long -acting glucocorticoid (steroid) I was placed on prescription pain, anti-inflammatory, and muscle relaxation medications for the remaining 4 months of the year.  This cocktail of prescription medications were not at all to my personal liking and very detrimental to my lifestyle and therefore I conducted my own research on the treatment of bulging discs and sciatica.

I became aware of a medical treatment option offered by several alternative medical practitioners while residing in Cottonwood, Az. The buzz words were known as “complimentary and alternative medicine” or CAM.  I was formally introduced to Acupuncture by the late Kathy Salisbury-Lawrence of Sedona.  After careful review of my lower back pain and related symptoms, a course of Acupuncture treatments were prescribed.  Following the initial 1.5  hour consult, which included a review of my extensive medical history, I received my first Acupuncture treatment which consisted of inserting several pre-sterilized disposable needles placed at designated Acupuncture points.  I was skeptical as to the level of pain that might be felt while the needles were being inserted… trust me… I felt no such pain.  The Acupuncture points are primarily located on meridians or channels on the head, hands, arms, legs, feet, abdomen, chest, and back.  The needles were removed after approximately 20-25 minutes and I was discharged from the clinic with a scheduled follow up appointment the very next week. Within several weeks my dreaded back, leg, and foot pain had been tamed in addition to Permanently shelving my cocktail of prescription medications.

I was so intrigued by the overall success of my Acupuncture treatment, I embarked on a pathway of studying Acupuncture at the Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture in Phoenix, Az. and completed all classroom, internship, and residency requirements and graduated with a Masters Degree in Acupuncture.  I have recently completed a National board review program with the Arizona School of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (Han University of Traditional Medicine) in Tucson.  Upon completing several National board exams, I will receive my license to practice Acupuncture in the near future(2015-16) with the intent of opening an Oriental Health Clinic in Tucson.

In addition to treating disc/sciatica, Acupuncture has been recognized as a treatment option for many conditions to name just a few including allergies, angina, anorexia, anxiety, arthritis, bronchial congestion, carpal tunnel, colds/flu, constipation, depression, diverticulitis, emphysema, facial rejuvenation, fibromyalgia, gout, hemorrhoids, high blood pressure, injuries (sports, auto), insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, pain (back, hips, neck, jaw, joint), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), post surgery recovery, shingles, sinusitis, smoking cessation, stress incontinence, stroke, substance abuse, trigeminal neuralgia, ulcers, and a broad range of wellness issues for women….and many… many more…..

From a historical perspective as a U. S. army veteran, I completed my Basic Combat Training (BCT) at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri (“lost in the woods”) in 1969, Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma in 1969, and Intelligence Training at Ft. Huachuca, Az. in 1970. My overseas deployment was with the 101st Military Intelligence Company, 101st Airborne Division (Ambl), “Screaming Eagles”, to Military Region 1(I-Corps), specifically the A Shau Valley of Thua Thien Province in the Republic of Vietnam during 1970-71.

Questions and comments to Ken Froehlich:

Participants needed for Traumatic Brain Injury/ Hyperbaric oxygen Therapy research study.


This study is fully funded by the United States Government and grew out of previous experience treating military veterans and civilians who had sustained traumatic brain injury with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.  This treatment is FREE for all participants which would normally cost up to $20,000 to have received privately.  Great opportunity.

For complete details click on link below. Great opportunity for anyone suffering from a traumatic brain injury to be treated by one of the top physicians in this specialized field. You can find out more about  Dr. Paul Harch at his website: http;//  Inexpensive housing is available for participants living out of state or out of the area of New Orleans.

LSU Study