Difference Makers: Wellness center providing services for veterans

Paula and Kerry Ruiz

Paula and Kerry Ruiz own Alive & Well Studio, which blends the couple’s experience, passion, and love of helping others.

The studio offers private sessions, group classes and services ranging from restorative spa services to wellness services, involving nutrition and training, among other things.

The couple also runs a non-profit called Lighthouse for the Body Soul and Mind. As a way to provide help for an underserved portion of the population, Kerry Ruiz obtained a certification to become a Tai Chi instructor.

The certification allows Ruiz to provide Tai Chi classes not only to the public but to veterans.

“I’m certified through the veterans administration to provide Tai chi to veterans with PTSD, depression and anxiety,” he said. “They’ve found that it’s like a moving meditation and it helps alleviate symptoms of the trauma they’ve experienced.

“We formed the non-profit about a year ago, and it’s kind of in its infancy, but its purpose is to turn it into something where we can provide education for nutrition and trauma for people who can’t afford it,” he added. “That’s slowly getting off the ground, but in the meantime, we’re a wellness center for this community, as well as providing Tai Chi and restorative yoga for those who have anxiety, stress, and balance issues, a plethora of different illnesses that it benefits.”

Ruiz said the wellness center is a much-needed peace zone in a society that is rushing everywhere.

“We customize every experience, so you make an appointment with us and we welcome you,” Ruiz said. “We have an infrared sauna. We have a zero gravity chair for relaxation with guided meditations and then we have an exercise room with rower treadmill bicycles. Then we have our Tai Chi yoga room so you can kind of calm and escape from anything that may be stressing you out or worrying you. It’s a wonderful blessing for us that as we work with individuals from our community to see their transformation as they leave with a big smile on their face.”

For the veterans, Tai Chi serves as an escape, according to Ruiz. It helps with stresses or some nagging injuries the veterans have suffered.

He said in the class, the veterans are asked to visit their happy place, which allows their brains to relax and rest. The mental getaway helps the rest-and-relaxation process.

“For that period of time, they don’t worry about the bills. They don’t worry about projects at work. They are thinking about being on the beach, or they’re thinking about being in a rainforest,” Ruiz said. “And at the same time, they’re moving slowly and getting some balance exercises. They’re increasing their immunity, they’re lowering their blood pressure. There’s just so many wonderful things that come from it. It’s low impact so it’s perfect for anyone who suffered any kind of injuries.”

Anyone interested in receiving services should visit https://www.feelaliveandwell.com or contact Ruiz at 225-937-9736.

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