FORT MCPHERSON, Ga. -- Healthy living is important, so much so that the Fort McPherson Protestant Women of the Chapel is dedicating six weeks to a health based seminar titled, "Excuses today, health problems tomorrow: Six steps to a healthy you."

The seminar, which started July 15 and runs through Aug. 26, is taught by Sarah Rufenacht, PWOC administrative coordinator and instructor, and is based on the work of Dr. Valerie Saxion, a doctor of naturopathic medicine.

Naturopathic medicine focuses on natural remedies and the body's ability to heal and maintain itself through holistic methods.

Rufenacht said she is very passionate about health and that her own health struggles led her to want to help other women with their physical wellbeing.

"I was very sick seven years ago with an autoimmune disease," she said, adding how improvements in her diet and changes in her lifestyle helped her overcome the illness. Rufenacht was also motivated to teach after attending a similar course held by the Fort Knox, Ky., PWOC, titled, "God's way to ultimate health."

"You have to take care of your temple," Rufenacht said, referring to Bible passage 1st Corinthians, chapter 6, verse 19 (6:19), where the body is referred to as the "temple of the Holy Spirit."

The classes are designed to help provide tools to help women reconstruct their temple, said Rufenacht, adding the tools are simple things that are manageable by everyone, keeping in line with Saxion's position that "the best kind of exercise is the kind you do."

"It's a cinch, inch by inch, but hard, yard by yard," Rufenacht explained.

During the first class, the group learned about the importance of water in a person's diet.

"Two percent dehydration equals a 20 percent loss of energy," Rufenacht said. "You need to drink half your body weight in ounces a day."

During the second week, the group learned about ways people could lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels through dietary choices.

Strategies on finding balance in life and cleansing the body of toxins were also discussed, with biblical scriptures such as Proverbs 11:1 and 16:11 and Daniel 5:27, used to show a Protestant reinforcement for balance and cleansing.

"I hope people make personal changes and learn to take care of their temple," Rufenacht said of what she wants attendees to get from her first two classes.

Veria Green, a retired U.S. Department of Agriculture food monitor and wife of Chief Warrant Officer 5 Clyde Green, a military intelligence officer with Third Army/U.S. Army Central (Third Army), said the class has been very helpful so far.

She said being with other women helps motivate her.

"I've been drinking more water and walking, even on days I don't feel like it," Green said.

She has also started buying supplements for her health and has changed her grocery list to make healthier choices.

Meeting with the other members of the group also provides companionship, said Green.

"With my husband downrange (Saudi Arabia), they are my other family," Green said. Shamberly Coleman, wife of Staff Sgt. Jeremy Coleman, Air Missile Defense early warning systems operator, Third Army, said she also enjoyed the fellowship.

"You meet other women and spouses in similar situations," she said. "It is great fellowship with faithful women and you grow spiritually and learn to live healthier."

Coleman said healthy living is important because of the stress many military Families endure.

"In the military lifestyle, you're up against a different type of stress that can affect you negatively," she said.

To combat that stress, Coleman said she recently began to work out.

When she was invited to the class by Rufenacht, she said it came at a good time. Green also said the class came at a perfect time, because her doctor had just informed her about some health issues she was facing.

Although the class has been in session for two weeks, there are still four more sessions to go.

Coleman said people shouldn't let missing the first two classes deter them from joining in.

"Regardless of when you come in, you'll get a benefit from it," she said. "For anyone who is curious or who has nothing going on, come in, jump in and check it out."

The class is open to all female Soldiers, Civilian employees, spouses and contractors, Rufenacht said. Although sponsored by the PWOC, she also said any faith is welcome.

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., and will be held at the Fort McPherson Chapel Center (Bldg. 51). For more information, call Donna Craven, director of religious education, U.S. Army Garrison Chaplain Office, at 464-2012.