By Jeff Troth, U.S. Army Medical Department Activity -- Fort Carson PAO

FORT CARSON, Colo. -- "I had very bad asthma and was on double steroid inhalers. Doctors said that I would be an asthmatic the rest of my life," said Kimberly Kuppenheimer. "As a physician assistant, I understood the need for allopathic (mainstream) medicine, but I wanted to get off the steroid inhalers. So I started looking at alternative therapies."

The alternative medicine she found was Healing Touch, a bio-field therapy that uses gentle, light or near-body touch to clear, balance, energize and support the human energy system.

"I have been asthma free for six years and I attribute it to the energy medicine," said Kuppenheimer. "My doctors didn't know why I was asthma free. I just was and still am."

She was so impressed by what this alternative medicine did for herself that she took classes and became a certified Healing Touch practitioner and instructor.

In order to show what Healing Touch can do for others and her small way of giving back to servicemen and women, Kuppenheimer is volunteering her services Thursday afternoon at the Iron Horse Family Medicine Clinic.

"Healing Touch is part of our effort to provide complementary medicine to all our patients," said Michelle Wine, a clinical psychologist at Iron Horse clinic and a facilitator at the Evans' Pain School. "This is the newest alternative treatment we offer to help reduce pain, anxiety and other things that would typically be treated with controlled medication."

Wine has referred patients to Kuppenheimer who have chronic pain, trauma, anxiety, diabetes and fibromyalgia. Healing Touch is noninvasive and does not interfere with any other medical treatment.
Kuppenheimer said that there are no side effects from receiving this alternative program, and she has used Healing Touch on all ages from babies to geriatric patients.

"When I found out that Evans was offering this, I was very interested, because I believe that a combination of alternative and traditional therapy is a good," said Jenny, who has Rheumatoid arthritis and suffers from chronic pain. "I have had two sessions and they have helped me a great deal with my pain management. I feel like the pain has lessened and I am more relaxed."

Kuppenheimer said that a lot of people think they are going to get a massage during their session with her. But they are wrong.

"I do not massage. I only apply a light touch," she said. "I do not work on the musculoskeletal system. I work on the bio-electric field that is above the body and on the main chakra energy system, the main energy system that runs mid line in the body and is at every joint. I am like an acupuncturist without needles. I use my hands instead of needles."

"This is a complementary medicine practice, so it is not something that replaces a patient's medical care," said Wine. "It works side-by-side with any kind of treatment they are getting, whether for their behavioral health or physical health."

Wine added that this is great opportunity for patients who are interested in alternatives. Evans offers other alternative treatments such as Battlefield Acupuncture (small needles placed on the ear) and dry needling. For those interested in alternatives for their pain management a weekly Pain School is offered at Iron Horse clinic on Mondays and Tuesdays from 4 to 5 p.m. General and advanced topics include: Productive Partnerships, Coping with your Feelings, Staying Safe with your Medications, Taking Control of your Pain, Knowledge is Power and Communication is Key, and Neuroplasticity.

"For active duty Soldiers, our pain clinic offers acupuncture, tai chi, yoga, massage therapy, meditation and aquatics," said Wine. "It is part of their functional restoration program that is designed to help people restore function. They don't focus on an exclusive cure for a problem, but how to help a patient regain function.

"It is nice that we are able to offer options to our patients," she added. "It is really powerful that the hospital is opening its doors for healing in a different way."

To book a Healing Touch appointment, call the Iron Horse clinic at 524-4186.