As Dr. James Berry was attending school to become a licensed acupuncturist, he convinced his sick father to try Chinese Medicine to help manage his various illnesses and pain that he suffered after he was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam during the war.
His veteran dad was skeptical, but he tried acupuncture to treat things like insomnia, phantom leg pain from a diabetes-caused amputation and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He began treatment where James was attending school at the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture in Florida.
“His mood completely shifted because of those treatments,” James said. “They were profound for him. I had asked him once when I was young about his time in service, and it was rage and anger. But after he was treated, I walked into a room one day and he was just talking about it like it was something he had been through. All of the feelings around it sort of lifted.”
After receiving his master’s degree in acupuncture, James continued his education to obtain a doctoral degree in acupuncture and Chinese Medicine at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego along with training in traditional Chinese herbal medicine. He ran a clinic in South Carolina for nine years and he moved to the Flathead last spring with his daughter, Dr. Devynne Berry and his partner Sara Schmidt, to open The Kalispell Collective on Main Street.
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 roots back to ancient Chinese Medicine that provides an individualized approach that also focuses on emotional and mental aspects.
With Five Element Acupuncture, only four to 10 needles are used instead of more common styles that can use dozens of needles.
Schmidt, a registered nurse and certified yoga and meditation instructor, teaches yoga and runs the apothecary side of the collective, which includes a couple hundred different pharmaceutical-grade herbs for a variety of ailments.
The pharmaceutical herbs in the apothecary require a diagnosis from James or Devynn, but there are also over-the-counter teas and broths available, which include multiple different types of sleep teas and bone broth that helps build immunity.
In addition to the acupuncture and apothecary, Cozy Kalispell offers herbal foot soaks that can be enjoyed with tea. According to James, Tibetan foot soaks have been historically used in eastern countries as an alternative way to deliver herbs to the body.
“If the herbs don’t taste good, you can soak your feet in herbal water and it opens your channels up and the body will absorb the properties,” James said. “We’ve introduced them into our clinic.”
The soaks are often used to improve circulation and the foot soak menu includes treatments like the Rest and De-Stress Soak with bergamot, lavender, sweet almond oil and more. Other soaks have 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 has 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 for veterans and first responders who can’t afford the treatments.
“The reason I give back so much to that population is because of (my dad) and the impact that I watched it have on him,” James said. “If I can help as much as I can, then that’s what I’m going to do.”
The collective also offers free wellness talks that are open to everyone, which include topics like gut health, emotional wellness, women’s health and more. There are also free yoga classes along with paid classes offered by Schmidt.
Once a month, Schmidt collaborates with James or Devynn to offer a 90-minute Yin and Pin yoga, which is combined with acupuncture.
“The beauty is it’s a seated meditation where you do long holds and melt into the floor and there’s poetry infused and in the final resting pose there’s a few acupuncture points that are placed with tea afterwards,” Schmidt said. “It’s a really special vibe and we limit it to five seats.”
Providers at Kalispell Collective hope to collaborate with nonprofits in the future for educational talks and to host the space for different community groups.
“It’s so much more than the Chinese Medicine,” James said. “It’s a little bit of everything and we’re trying to make it available for the community to be a part of. It’s wellness oriented and friendly and kind and compassionate. Compassion is on the door.”
For more information, visit www.thekalispellcollective.com.
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