Kimberly Thibeaux of Kurma Holistics on How Adult Health is Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences

Holistic nurse, Kimberly Thibeaux, owner and founder of Kurma Holistics, A Nursing Approach, joins Jan Swift of Nourish Your Health to discuss the phenomenon of ACEs, which stands for adverse childhood experiences. ACEs are more common than society recognizes or acknowledges and strikingly, may have a powerful correlation to an individual’s health a half-century later.

ACEs comes from the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study), groundbreaking research that looked at how 10 types of childhood trauma affect long-term health. The traumas studied include physical, emotional and sexual abuse; physical and emotional neglect; living with a family member who’s addicted to alcohol or other substances, or who’s depressed or has other mental illnesses; experiencing parental divorce or separation; having a family member who’s incarcerated, and witnessing a mother being abused. 

There is a powerful relation between emotional experiences we have as children and our adult emotional health, physical health, and major causes of mortality in the US. The higher a person’s ACE score, the more likely they are to suffer from heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and suicide.

When working with a client, Kimberly gets them to share their personal story and listens deeply to determine if they experienced any Adverse Childhood Experiences and at what age they were impacted by the event. Depending on when something happens in the timeline of life can indicate how the experience is perceived and what lasting effects may occur. As shown in the chart below, individuals develop coping mechanisms at certain points in their life, and the younger the child, the more an adverse experience will impact their sense of stability and worth.

Kimberly Thibeaux discusses the importance of each stage of development in life, as set forth in this graph by Erik Erikson. Issues such as neglect, abuse, or adverse family issues hinder social development in a child and can negatively impact a person’s health for their entire life.

While Kimberly is a nurse by training, her holistic practice is geared to be complementary to mainstream medical practitioners. She believes that her work with clients enables them to show up in an enhanced state of readiness to work with their other healthcare providers such as physical therapists, chiropractors, etc., to experience a return to optimal health. She brings compassion to the treatment of her clients, and shared that she has experienced her own struggles with emotional eating as a way to deal with stress; in overcoming her own pattern of unhealthy eating, she developed a “food harmony” program which helps clients change their relationship with food, give up stress-triggered overeating, and develop sustainable healthy habits.

Adverse events that happen to an individual stay within the biological framework of a person, but they can be tempered if they are acknowledged and dealt with through appropriate coping skills. As Kimberly listens to her client’s story, she “roots down” to learn what drives them and what makes them tick so that she can help guide their healing process.

Most of us are not self-aware and may not know that childhood events negatively impact our health; Kimberly’s coaching method helps her clients identify their pain points and deal with the discomfort they experience. Behaviors such as panic attacks or over-eating can be easily triggered when a client feels discomfort; tools such as relaxation techniques and breathing exercises can be used to prevent the patient’s spiral into painful behaviors they seek to avoid. When the client is ready, guided imagery is a very useful tool to help revisit the events surrounding past traumas, but in a way that is as least intrusive and harmful as possible.

As human beings, we can’t expect ourselves to be resilient if we don’t nourish our health. It’s important to hydrate our soul to be able to experience life differently. We just have to have patience.”

As a coach and holistic nurse, Kimberly works with her clients with a focus on the entire being: the mind/ body/emotional/spiritual components of a person must be treated to restore wholeness and health. She counsels that just as we don’t get ill overnight, we must also be patient in our recovery as we “slough off our old skin.” She shared a beautiful story about a recent experience watching a locust shed its skin. As the process unfolded and the skin came off, the locust was malleable and its wings were damp. The wings had to dry off before the locust could fly away. This moment in nature reinforced a life lesson for Kimberly: we are very vulnerable when we get slough off our old skin and get into our new skin….we think we are immediately ready to “fly” yet it takes time to adjust, just as it did for the locust. “As human beings, we can change our shape to experience life differently. No matter how weak or strong we think we are, we can change shape.”

We thank Kimberly of Kurma Holistics, A Nursing Approach for sharing her story and how she has dedicated her life to helping people. For more information, visit https://kurmaholistics.net/ or call (337)534-0111.