Finding the right acupuncturist for you

When you decide it’s time to choose a dentist, physician or other healthcare provider, what’s most important to you?

Surely, the most important thing in choosing an acupuncturist is to ensure he or she is licensed and in good standing with state and national regulating boards. Safety is number one.

Ok, you’ve checked the credentials - now how do you choose?angie kociolek bozeman acupuncture

Do you look for particular personality characteristics? Do you prefer someone who sticks to the specific matter at hand or someone who asks how things are going in your life? Do you prefer someone who is serious and formal or someone who is outgoing and relaxed? How much one on one time do you like to have with your practitioner? There is no single right answer and only you can decide who might be the best fit for you.

In my acupuncture training, we covered Western biomedicine topics in addition to diagnosis and treatment according to an Eastern medicine framework. Interwoven in our practical studies, my teachers emphasized the importance of rapport.

Rapport is

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Get outside and drink it in

I love being an acupuncturist because I get to help people feel better. I'm not saying I'm some amazing healer but through my training, rapport building and dedication, I am an instrument toward your self-healing. Rootstock water bottle

One of the coolest things about the mechanism of acupuncture is its bi-directionality. It can calm you if you're feeling amped. It can energize you if you are feeling sluggish. The body tends towards homeostasis - we are just reminding and encouraging it to do what it does naturally.

Remember the free therapies!

Along with regular acupuncture, joyful movement or exercise, ample rest, good nutrition and plenty of water go a long way to staying healthy in body, mind and spirit. You get the most out of your acupuncture treatment when you take advantage of these free therapies.

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For the love of Nature

It is so gratifying, as a small business owner, to contribute to Bozeman, a community I love and have called home for almost 22 years. For the month of June 2017, new Rootstock Acupuncture clients had the opportunity to select the "Support Story Mill Community Park" option when booking their first appointment. Eight new clients chose to do so!

Together, we raised $160 for Bozeman's newest and greatest park. Story Mill Community Park is not just any park - it has restored wetlands and trails that afford a true nature experience right here in town. This artist's sketch provided by the Trust for Public Lands captures the vision.StoryMill BridgerDrive Sketch

As a Master's student at The Academy for Five Element Acupuncture in Florida, one of my courses was "Inner Development of the Practitioner." Nature journaling throughout the seasons was one of the assignments - the idea being that practitioners are most effective when we are able to focus our intention. 

Only when there is stillness inside, can we focus that intention. 

"On my way to this spot

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Acupuncture for Caregivers

A small group gathers in the parlor on the first floor of The Health Collective in downtown Bozeman, where I practice acupuncture. Sometimes we sit in silence, sometimes there is quiet music playing and sometimes we talk.

Time to receive

What matters most is that these individuals who are caregivers, for 30 minutes on a given day, have chosen to receive - to take the time to care for themselves in the form of acupuncture therapy.Acupuncture for Caregivers in Bozeman flyer

Acupuncture for Caregivers is in its second year offering free acupuncture therapy for stress relief 1,2 twice a month. Its free because I volunteer my time and we are fortunate to have the help of a generous donor who pays for supplies.

Serving the underserved

Since becoming a Licensed Acupuncturist I wanted to share my skills with what I believe is an underserved population.

There were two inspirations for this community program. The first was seeing the effects of stress on my mother, the caregiver of my father for a decade. The second was during my internship at the Academy

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Acupuncture and Alzheimer's Disease

Watching the PBS documentary “Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts” brought back lots of memories for me – both of the disease that claimed my father and his unwavering caregiving by my mother. remember alz

Promising research worth pursuing
Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) which has been described as a tsunami coming our way in the not too distant future. The emphasis of the PBS special was to designate more research dollars to find a drug that will stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks. And I hope they do – for my sake as someone who may be carrying a gene for the disease and for millions of others who will be affected by this disease.

What the PBS documentary misses is other areas of promising research. Acupuncture has been shown to increase hippocampal conductivity.1 This is important because the hippocampus is an area of the cortex responsible for the formation of new memories. In a brain affected by AD, the hippocampus shrinks.2 Studies using fMRI show its possible to study the brain’s response

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What to expect at Rootstock Acupuncture

rootstockhomeAcupuncture can be an interesting hybrid between a medical procedure and a spa-like treatment. While it can address specific health concerns, it also engenders an overall feeling of ease - some clients have even described their experience as “sacred.” That said, my practice, Rootstock Acupuncture, is not a typical medical clinic or spa - it feels more like stepping into the warmth of a home. 

As a healthcare practitioner, sure, I use alcohol swabs, ask medical history questions and perform other clinical tasks. As a holistic practitioner, I also create a comforting space that invites pure relaxation in relative silence or with music to calm the mind.

I work with all kinds of people: Those who value science, those who trust their guts, those who seek alternatives, those who use complements to conventional medicine. Something almost all my clients have in common is their desire to feel better and to maintain the feeling when they do.

Acupuncture works with your body’s own internal resources to get back to a state of homeostasis. Sometimes this can happen

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Taking this time to give thanks

This Saturday, my family and I will be heading south for a week-long road trip family vacation in the Utah desert.

woman desert thanks

Thanksgiving, for us, will be bountiful views of orange sandstone formations, hikes in curvy slot canyons, and the joy of being together.

I love this time of year when we get back to what is most essential to us and actively express thankfulness for the same. 

I am thankful:

  • For my family and our health
  • I get to balance being a mom with being a health care practitioner
  • For my “village,” including my son’s preschool “school family”
  • For the trust and connection I have with my clients
  • I get to be part of something bigger than myself at The Health Collective, through my community partnerships and as a citizen of Bozeman
  • For every opportunity to improve, learn and grow

Feel the warmth. Give thanks.

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Breathe: It makes everything better

While attending acupuncture school in Florida, I saw a bumper sticker that I absolutely loved:

"If anything can go well, it will.”1

That’s Murphy’s Law turned on its head!

We can apply the same idea to smoking cessation. Perhaps instead of thinking “I want to quit smoking” try:

“I want to keep breathing!”Blog 10 lungs

Unfortunately, I’ve seen firsthand a loved one suffer from the ravages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and emphysema.

I’ve also seen the resilience and creativity of another loved one replace cigarettes with black olives for a week. This former pack-a-day, roll-your-own smoker is now happily repelled by the smell of cigarette smoke.

Some people are able to overcome a smoking addiction on their own, others need external support

Acupuncture can help reduce nicotine cravings thereby reducing the risk of cancer and other smoking-related diseases. In addition, acupuncture has been shown to decrease anxiety-like behavior following nicotine withdrawal in rats.2

There is an online community devoted to freedom from tobacco through acupuncture.3 Acupuncture helps overcome addiction, especially when done

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Summer: Balancing the energetic and lazy aspects of the season

It's official! I just heard my first ruby-crowned kinglet. We are entering the most yang, sunny, energizing phase of the year. Summer is here!

Joyful signs of the season!

I, like many, thrive in this time of the year - running, hiking and biking more. Gardening. Adventuring. Ingesting colorful eye candy otherwise known as flowers, foliage, birds, bees, snakes, mushrooms... I love it all!sun heart

I’m a planner by nature - having something to look forward to on the calendar is half the fun for me. That said, I also see the value in creating a balance of planned activities AND room for spontaneity – offering me the choice to be energetic or enjoy the concept of long, lazy days of summer.

Running-wise, I’m considering trying something a little different this summer - running for the pure pleasure of it with no obligation. Rather than sign up for a race that requires long training runs that eat up my free time, maybe I'll volunteer for the Ridge Run which has become an annual tradition in our

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Not getting pregnant? Here’s another key reason to chart BBT

When trying to conceive turns into a mystery and a labor of love, charting basal body temperature (BBT) is a proactive and inexpensive way to find some answers. 

What you’ll need:

  • A digital basal thermometer
  • A paper or digital way to record cycle day on the x axis and waking temperature on the y axis (There are lots of apps for that!)
  • A scientist’s mind: Replicate the way you take your temperature every morning as soon as you wake - before kissing your partner, before petting your cat or dog, before moving around or doing anything else.

A well-known reason to chart BBT is to determine if, when and how smoothly ovulation is occurring. carkeyBBTweb

The lens of Chinese medicine gives us another reason

Maintaining a BBT chart can illuminate these temperature irregularities or imbalances that can impact fertility:

  1. Excess heat (temperatures are too high during the follicular phase before ovulation).
  2. Deficiency (temperatures are too low in the luteal phase after ovulation).
  3. Stagnant Qi and Blood (temperatures are erratic).

I encourage my clients to chart BBT

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Volunteering brings health, happiness and greater sense of community

The title of Kelly Pohl’s recent Bozeman Daily Chronicle guest column pulled me in: “Taking part in shaping community’s future.”peoplecircle

I love the questions she posed, “Can we grow while maintaining our quality of life” that we have come to expect in Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley? “Can we grow and maintain the same expectations for public safety, access to nature, excellent schools, and a tremendous sense of community?” And I applaud her calls to action: “…Voice your opinion. Support the organizations that support your community. Vote. Volunteer…” 

Volunteering is in my blood

My volunteer history dates back to being a junior member of the Ironbound Ambulance Squad in Newark, NJ. I was a trained EMT and responded to emergency calls one night a week while in high school.

In my twenties I was a two-time Student Conservation Association volunteer (now known as Americorps). I educated the public on the environmental and cultural wonders of two very different but both incredibly wonder-filled places: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Grand Canyon National Park.

While in

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Acupuncture and the mind-body connection

As a holistic system of medicine, acupuncture is well-rooted in the belief that the mind and the body are inseparably linked. The mind not only includes functions like memory and cognition but also the ability to sleep and feel emotions. When one considers that Chinese medicine sees long-lasting or intense emotions as a cause of disease, it’s worth finding ways to move through emotions in a healthy way.

 Beyond the needles

As a former student and naturally curious person, I know it’s easy to ponder questions like “Why is my acupuncturist placing a needle in that spot?” or “I wonder what that point is for?” In my role as acupuncturist and educator, I am happy to explain my rationale in treatment AND I encourage my clients to approach each acupuncture session as an opportunity for mindfulness and relaxation.

calm water Ways to get more out of your acupuncture treatment session

Often, clients put their intentions on what they hope to manifest in their lives. Some employ visualization techniques to concentrate qi in specific energy centers

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Relief for anxiety that makes you feel good without unwanted side effects

One of the most satisfying aspects of my work is bringing relief to those suffering from anxiety. In my role as an Licensed Acupuncturist, I am trained to see the connections between the body, mind, spirit and emotions. I ask each client where in her body she feels what she calls “anxiety.” Some people report it as persistent feeling in the gut, others as heart palpitations, and others as tension in the head, for example. Anxiety may manifest itself very differently from person to person. pulse crop

You are not alone

Anxiety, worry or fear can all be a normal response to stressors, real life situations, or things that can cause harm. These emotions can motivate us to take action. But sometimes the uneasy feeling lingers, affects sleep, and diminishes quality of life.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, an estimated 40 million American adults suffer from some kind of anxiety disorder but only about a third receives treatment. Their website has a useful chart to help you determine the difference between everyday anxiety

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Chinese medicine for ultrarunners

There will be no shortage of ultrarunners training in and around Southwest Montana this spring with three of the big “local” races already full - the 2016 Bighorn Mountain Wild & Scenic Trail Run 100 MilerThe Rut 50K, and The Devil’s Backbone 50 Miler.

The challenge for many will entail not only the obvious physical and mental demands of ultrarunning, but the commitment to train with a balanced approach. Consider two major themes of Chinese medicine: Moderation and prevention.running mountains

It’s not always easy to know when enough is enough
“Is it possible to love this sport too much?” was the question posed in the June 2015 Outside Magazine article on overtraining syndrome (OTS).1 As far back as 1990, scientific research articles existed on the subject of overtraining and there was a consensus that “undertraining is better than overtraining, and this seems to be the surest way of avoiding prolonged fatigue.”2 I’m not debating whether “fatigue” is synonymous with “OTS” but for the middle-of-the-pack runner like myself there is little difference.

My run

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When I knew I would become a mom - Despite the odds

I didn’t decide that I wanted to be a mother until I was 36 years old. It’s not so much that I was taking my fertility for granted. I was just focused more on things like travel, endurance running, and career. I was also concerned about adding to the global population problem. Having a child just wasn’t something I really wanted to do – until I did. And when that switch flipped, my quest to have a child was on.

blog1personalAt first, it was a funny realization that we could probably have been having unprotected sex for years since, without any contraception, I wasn’t getting pregnant. Then after a year or so, the humor wore off.

The questioning started – Why am I not getting pregnant? Will I ever know what it is like to be a mom? Why can everyone get pregnant but me? And, perhaps, most importantly, what can I do to boost my fertility?

Like many other women in my position, I tried assisted reproductive technology, much of which was less than

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