Compassionate Healthcare at the Kalispell Collective - Flathead Beacon

Compassionate Healthcare at the Kalispell Collective – Flathead Beacon

While Dr. James Berry was attending school to become a licensed acupuncturist, he convinced his ailing father to try Chinese medicine to help him manage his various illnesses and pains he suffered after being exposed to the Agent Orange in Vietnam during the war.

His veteran father was skeptical, but tried acupuncture to treat things like insomnia, phantom leg pain from an amputation caused by diabetes, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He began treatment when James was attending school at the Five Element Acupuncture Academy in Florida.

“His mood has completely changed because of these treatments,” James said. “They were deep for him. I asked him once when I was young about his service, and it was rage and anger. But after he was treated, I walked into a room one day and he was talking about it like it was something he had been through. All the feelings around him somehow lifted.

After earning his master’s degree in acupuncture, James went on to pursue a doctorate in acupuncture and Chinese medicine at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, as well as training in traditional Chinese herbal medicine. He ran a clinic in South Carolina for nine years, and he moved to Flathead last spring with his daughter, Dr. Devynne Berry and partner Sara Schmidt, to open The Kalispell Collective on Main Street.

Jars of medicinal herbs and traditional Chinese remedies line a shelf at the Kalispell Collective in downtown Kalispell on November 18, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | flathead beacon

At the Kalispell Collective, the Berrys and Schmidt offer acupuncture through Jing Shen Healing Arts, herbal remedies with Ancient Ways Apothecary, and herbal foot soaks and tea with Cozy Kalispell.

James and Devynne offer Classical Five Element Acupuncture, a unique style that dates back to ancient Chinese medicine and offers an individualized approach that also focuses on the emotional and mental aspects.

With Five Element Acupuncture, only four to 10 needles are used instead of more common styles that may use dozens of needles.

Schmidt, a registered nurse and certified yoga and meditation instructor, teaches yoga and leads the apothecary side of the collective, which includes a few hundred different pharmaceutical grade herbs for a variety of ailments.

Apothecary’s Pharmaceutical Herbs require a James or Devynn diagnosis, but there are also over-the-counter teas and broths, which include several types of sleep and bone broth teas that help boost immunity .

In addition to acupuncture and apothecary, Cozy Kalispell offers herbal foot baths that can be enjoyed with tea. According to James, Tibetan footbaths have historically been used in Eastern countries as an alternative way of delivering herbs to the body.

“If the herbs don’t taste good, you can soak your feet in herbal water and it opens up your channels and the body will absorb the properties,” James said. “We introduced them to our clinic.

Soaks are often used to improve circulation, and the foot soak menu includes treatments like resting and de-stressing soaks with bergamot, lavender, sweet almond oil and more. Other soaks go by names like Joyful Radiance Soak, Illuminated Sea Soak, and Resilience Soak.

After James witnessed his father’s success with acupuncture to manage his PTSD and physical pain, he focused much of his work on helping veterans and first responders. At the Kalispell Collective, a scholarship fund has been established to provide free acupuncture once a month to veterans and first responders who cannot afford the treatments.

“The reason I give back so much to this population is because of (my dad) and the impact I’ve seen him have on him,” James said. “If I can help as much as I can, then that’s what I’ll do.”

A table at the Kalispell Collective in downtown Kalispell on November 18, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | flathead beacon

The collective also offers free wellness talks open to everyone, which include topics like gut health, emotional wellness, women’s health and more. There are also free yoga classes as well as paid classes offered by Schmidt.

Once a month, Schmidt works with James or Devynn to offer 90-minute Yin and Pin yoga, which is combined with acupuncture.

“The beauty is that it’s a seated meditation where you do long holds and melt into the ground and there’s poetry infused and in the final resting pose there’s some acupuncture points which are then placed with tea,” Schmidt said. “It’s a really special atmosphere and we limit it to five places.”

Kalispell Collective vendors hope to collaborate with nonprofit organizations in the future for educational discussions and to host the space for different community groups.

“It’s so much more than Chinese medicine,” James said. “It’s a bit of everything and we try to make it available for the community to be part of. He is wellness-oriented and friendly and kind and compassionate. Compassion is at the door.

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