There's more to getting well than popping a pill

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Juanita Pyle steadily exercises in a group class, even though she suffers from chronic back pain. Instead of popping a multitude of pills every day her doctor prescribes exercise.

"And they ask me every time I go if I've gone to exercise," said Pyle with a roll of her eyes. "So they expect me to do that."

Pyle and her classmates don't know it, but they're part of a nationwide movement to whole body wellness care, instead of the standard disease-of-the-day care. The class Pyle is in offers a variety of exercises that participants can do sitting in a chair.  It's paid for by Medicare if a doctor prescribes it.

"There's a program called Silver Sneakers and you can sign up for it," explained Meagan Durell, the instructor.  "There are facilities all over the nations with certified Silver Sneaker instructors."

The theory is the body, mind and lifestyle interact. For example, ballet can cut the stress that erodes the immune system. Other activities also work. Guests of a wellness seminar offered by Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital and hosted by Morning Glory Yoga Studio practiced yoga. They even got neck massages. The integrative medicine approach has scientific backing.

"We have more and more data that comes out every day that shows that stress in the lifestyle has got a lot to do with more disease, more incidences of mortality than ever been before," said Dr. Kavita Vyas, an internist and the seminar's guest speaker.

More medical groups say whole body wellness could be the answer to health reform. The Institute of Medicine reports preventive, predictive and personalized wellness plans are used at a growing number of academic medical centers. Representatives hope to interest Congress in the integrative medicine approach. Check with your physician or health club to see if arrangements can be made for insurance covered exercise classes.

For now, Pyle is proud to do her part, right here in East Texas.