Self care to strengthen your lungs

With the equinox a month away on Sept 22, 2017, you’ve probably felt the crisp morning air telling us we are moving from summer into autumn.

Autumn is one of the best times for a seasonal acupuncture tune up! Angie Kociolek acupuncture woman tree

Now is the time of year when energy flows in and down. You may feel melancholy or contemplative. It’s nature’s way of reminding us it’s okay to let go. Yes, like the iconic image of trees dropping their leaves.

It’s also a time of the year when our Lungs are most susceptible to external pathogens. And for us in Bozeman, this year is a moderately bad year for smoke from many burning fires across Montana. While wildfires, in and of themselves, play a beneficial role in our ecology, the smoke they produce does bring what Chinese medicine terms an External Cause of Disease, namely Dryness. If you were born with a weak constitution or get sick frequently, you’ll want to be particularly mindful at this time of year. Taking Chinese herbal supplements is a proactive way

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Ancient wisdom for today's ultrarunners

Are you or someone you know training for an ultra?Angie Kociolek of Rootstock Acupuncture Bozeman treats runners

Outside Bozeman just published my article about the importance

of moderation and prevention as part of a wise training approach. 

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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 the opioid crisis

You've heard a lot about the opioid crisis. But did you know that acupuncture is a safe alternative for treating chronic pain without the risk of addiction?

smile

We here in the Bozeman area are so fortunate to have access to acupuncture and a wide variety of alternatives for pain management.

Check out this Bozeman Magazine commentary that I co-authored.

 

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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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5 ways to proactively stay healthy (and have fun) in Winter

1. Wear a scarf!  We all know that hand washing is one of the best lines of defense against external pathogens. But did you know that wearing a scarf owl scarfprotects you from what Chinese medicine calls “Feng.” Feng, which translates to English as “Wind," is not just the literal movement of air. It carries with it other nasty things that can cause illness like "Han” which translates as “Cold” and “Shi” which translates as “Dampness.”  By keeping your neck warm and covered, you give your immune system the edge. Plus, a plethora of styles and colors makes scarf wearing fun!

2. Exercise outside in the sunlight (or indoors, if you prefer). The key is to not overdo it and be sure to not get caught out in the cold when you are sweaty. When you sweat, your pores are open and less able to fend off Wind and other external pathogens.

3. Drink hot miso and scallion soup at the first telltale signs of a cold coming on and bundle up to break a

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Feeling “at home:” A powerfully content place to be

Acupuncture acts as a compass leading us back to a state of homeostasis. Modern research shows numerous examples of acupuncture's bi-directional regulatory action:1

     “... lowers the blood pressure in patients with hypertension and elevates it in patients with hypotension…” 

    “… increases gastric secretion in patients with hypoacidity, and decreases it in patients with hyperacidity…”

     “… has holistic and bi-directional regulatory effects on immune function.2

Beyond the physiological and biochemical effects, acupuncture also helps us feel more relaxed and grounded within ourselves.

As a Five Element acupuncturist, I take the time to treat clients based on their constitution - not just their symptoms. fiveelementtheory

What is Five Element Acupuncture?

Five Element theory is rooted in understanding the essential energetic qualities found in nature: The elements of Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal.

In nature, as within our bodies, the elements “work interdependently in an elegant and systematic balance, each one sustaining and supporting the next in the cycle as with the change of seasons.”3

My training focused

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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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Acupuncture can improve quality of life for allergy sufferers

If you and pollen don’t get along, then you probably know that tree pollen levels are high in Bozeman today and Accuweather maps our area as one of the three highest overall pollen counts in the nation.More importantly, you may be seeking relief from itchy, watery eyes; ear or throat irritation; sneezing; post-nasal drip or all of the above.

Evidence for relief without unwanted side effectstree pollen

Whatever you call it, “hay fever,” “seasonal allergies,” or “allergic rhinitis (AR),” acupuncture and Chinese herbs can bring you relief and offer an alternative to allergy medications and their unwanted side effects.

There is evidence that acupuncture is useful in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. It’s likely due to its potential to modulate the immune system.

A recent meta-analysis involving 2,365 participants found a significant reduction in nasal symptoms, medication necessity, and serum immunoglobulin E, an antibody that plays a role in hypersensitivity to allergens. Additional data “ultimately point to the efficacy of acupuncture treatment in improving quality of life in AR patients.”2

It’s best to

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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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Three good reasons to include acupuncture in post partum care

Last week I saw Melissa Bang’s performance of “Playing Monopoly with God” and attended her meet & greet with Bozeman area professionals to expand and diversify the medical model for post partum women.

In addition to services such as naturopathy, mental health counseling, and lactation consulting, acupuncture is a great option for post partum care. breastfeeding2

Reason #1: Replenish
Pregnancy and birthing can be fulfilling and depleting at the same time. Sleep patterns can change dramatically after baby is born and fatigue often results. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs serve to replenish a new mother’s qi (the vital energy behind every bodily function) and blood. It also promotes better sleep and can improve energy levels so that mom is in the best position to nourish the little one(s).

Reason #2: Manage milk flow
Breastfeeding is not always as intuitive as you’d think and, even with lactation support, issues can arise. Acupuncture can be used to boost milk supply1 and there are accounts that it can hasten recovery from mastitis. It may also help to stop lactation,

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Acupuncture: A standard complement to cancer care

In Bozeman, we are fortunate to have access to a wide variety of health-related treatment options. When it comes to cancer treatment, the Bozeman Deaconess Cancer Center offers comprehensive standard care services and acupuncture is offered in private clinics throughout our fair city.

Acupuncture is a recognized complement to standard cancer careacu crop

I teach an Introduction to Complementary Medicine class for people with cancer. The focus is on how acupuncture can relieve side effects often caused by cancer treatments and improving immune response.

The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (under the US Department of Health and Human Services) publishes an Acupuncture Physician Data Query (PDQ).1 It is an independent source chock full of information about the research and theories behind acupuncture and how it has the potential to ease the suffering of cancer.

Hope for reducing side effects of cancer treatment

Surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and other anticancer drugs are known to cause a huge range of negative side effects. Fortunately, there is mounting scientific evidence from decades of

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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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Why try acupuncture for migraines?

Acupuncture excels at alleviating pain. So it’s no surprise that it can relieve migraines and other types of headaches. The American Headache Society published a review concluding that “Acupuncture seems to be at least as effective as conventional drug preventative therapy for migraine and is safe, long lasting, and cost-effective.”1 Reduced reliance on medication is expected during acupuncture treatment.2

What’s happening in the brain?brain

Recent neural research is providing insight into what happens when tiny acupuncture needles are inserted into strategic acupoints on the head and body:

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) showed that migraine without aura patients had “significantly decreased functional connectivity in certain brain regions within the frontal and temporal lobe when compared with healthy controls.” After acupuncture treatment, “brain regions showing decreased functional connectivity revealed significant reduction” compared to before acupuncture treatment. This means that acupuncture could prevent and relieve migraines by restoring normal brain functions in migraine without aura patients.3 In this study, acupuncture treatment was given five times a week for four weeks.4

How soon can

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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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