Licensed Acupuncturist Angie Kociolek shares her experience of the 2019 Integrative Fertility Symposium

One of my favorite things to do is explore new places. It makes me feel alive. I most prefer being in natural wild places that I reach under my own muscle power. That said, I can also appreciate visiting new cities to try different foods, be immersed in the architecture, and experience a slice of life as if I were a local.

Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, a place I’d never been and heard much about. Not only did I walk along the gorgeous mountain draped waterfront, eat an ethnic array of cuisine, and see the various faces of this city, I was re-inspired at the Integrative Fertility Symposium.Angie Kociolek Fertility 2019

This four-day event draws hundreds of practitioners from around the world to focus on male and female fertility, pregnancy and postpartum care. I had the pleasure to meet a naturopathic physician and a licensed acupuncturist from Australia, a Japanese-style acupuncturist from Israel, and made a new fast friend, a fellow acupuncturist from Florida, to name a few. I also had the opportunity to connect with noted practitioners in the field of Chinese medicine.

I attended a pre-symposium lecture by Randine Lewis, PhD, famous for her book “The Infertility Cure: The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies,” and couldn’t pass up the chance for her to sign my well-worn copy. I was wowed by the keynote speaker and popular authority on alternative medicine and women’s health, Jill Blakeway, DACM, who regaled us with her experience writing “Energy Medicine: The Science and Mystery of Healing” recently published by Harper Collins. Her book sold out so fast after her talk I’ll have to buy my copy elsewhere. I also re-connected with the awesome educator Claudia Citkovitz, PhD, who we, the Montana Association for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, hosted in 2018 for a two-day seminar on acupuncture’s role in neurological rehabilitation. She is also releasing the book “Acupressure and Acupuncture during Birth: An Integrative Guide for Acupuncturists and Birth Professionals” in December 2019.

Every day of the symposium was packed with multiple choices of panels and lectures. It was hard to choose which ones to attend. I felt so well taken care of by Lorne Brown and his team of symposium organizers, I never was hungry or thirsty and had all my logistical questions answered, mostly before I even felt the need to ask them. Additionally, I had the opportunity to meet and query a wide variety of vendors including my favorite acupuncture supply store, Lhasa OMS. It just happens they donated $200 worth of high quality Seirin brand needles which I happened to win at random for filling out my game card with stamps from 30+ vendors.

There is so much sensory input at events such as this. Meeting new people, learning new things, re-visiting techniques (such as smokeless moxa alternatives) that I haven’t practiced in a while, and the charge that gives me goose bumps and causes my eyes to brim with tears. This is why I attend in-person seminars, why I carve time out of my life, and why I value being part of a profession larger than the solopreneur practice that is myself.

The 2019 Integrative Fertility Symposium was a touchstone for me. I brought back with me the renewed commitment to serve my community with a system of medicine that can support people through various stages in their lives and their children’s lives.


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