Acupuncture and Women's Health
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have been treating women's health issues for thousands of years. One of the earliest TCM textbooks is the Shang Han Lun, which dates back to 200 A.D. and has acupuncture and herbal formulas for the treatment of women's health conditions like infertility, irregular menstrual cycle, and painful periods etc. Since TCM takes the whole person into account it can be used throughout a women's life to support her through transitions like:
- Menstrual issues: painful periods, heavy, irregular, short, irregular ovulation, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis
- Reproductive years: Fertility (female and male factor), healthy pregnancy, healthy postpartum
- Menopause: hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, sleep disturbances, headaches
Acupuncture and Fertility
When you think about starting a family, it is an exciting time and everyone dreams of getting pregnant easily and carrying a healthy full-term baby. Fertility is much like holding a dandelion, you blow the seeds and make a wish for a baby and hope that it will come true quickly and easily. Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as of 2013 in the U.S. "12.3% of reproductive age women had impaired fertility " This is roughly 7.5 million women who are having difficulty conceiving or suffering from miscarriages. There are countless reasons why couples have difficulty getting pregnant (both female and male factor) and if you fall into this category, you are likely seeking out all possibilities and gathering as much information as possible to decide what options are best for your individual situation.
Infertility can be one of the most stressful and painful time in a women's life! It takes it's toll physically, mentally, financially, and can strain the relationship of even the strongest couples. You are used to making your lists, getting stuff done, but you can't check this box off, this is one area of your life that feels like you have no control over. If you could "fix it," you would! Every time you go to work, go out to eat, check Facebook, there is another pregnant woman smiling happily or holding a newborn...you feel isolated, wishing it was you. Mixed feelings well up and you feel like you are in it alone.
You go to google seeking answers and are met with a plethora of information (or misinformation) and it is overwhelming to sift through what can actually help you increase your odds of a healthy pregnancy. Before you know it you are taking a dozen different supplements and don't know why, timing intercourse and wondering if you have it right, and have diagnosed yourself with numerous possible diseases. The joy and spontaneity of your sex life has dwindled and you don't know what to do next.
Will Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Work for Me?
This is where I come in. I wish I could say that acupuncture works for everyone trying to conceive and could help them fulfill their longing to become parents. While I can't make that promise, I will serve as guide that has a knowledgeable blend of Western therapies and holistic therapies and can help you sort through diet, lifestyle, supplements etc to get you on a clear path of what appropriate action steps can help improve your over all health and chances of conception. If you are open minded and ready to commit to treatment and action steps, then there is no time like the present to see what holistic medicine has to offer.
I help couples throughout all stages of their journey. Whether they have recently started trying to have a baby, have been trying for more than a year and are seeking out answers, have been trying for several years, are ready for Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART), or are advanced maternal age we will work together to create a fertility enhancing game plan. Traditional Chinese Medicine can be used alone or in conjunction with ART, it does not have to be one or the other and I do believe strongly that an integrative approach nets the best results.
Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (FABORM)
As a ABORM member, I am uniquely qualified to help couples navigate the murky waters of fertility. I have extensive training in this specialty and have taken many advanced courses as well as a comprehensive exam demonstrating my knowledge pertaining to fertility from both a TCM and biomedical standpoint. I am also very familiar with the Reproductive Clinics in the area and their protocols. There is so much information out there that it can be overwhelming to sift through what can actually help you increase your odds of a healthy pregnancy. Having a guide can help you save time, focus your efforts, and be and invaluable resource! I am committed to helping couples not only get pregnant, but have a healthy full-term baby, and joyful postpartum period. Few practitioners in the area are ABORM certified, it's important to check if they say they treat infertility. For more information visit www.aborm.org
3 Reasons to get TCM 3 Months Before Conception (A look at the Research)
As a FABORM member and a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM), I take keeping up with the latest research seriously (ok, honestly I kind of geek out on it). I love understanding how the body works and the correlations between Western medicine and TCM. Here's a look at some of the latest research:
- It takes 3 months for a follicle to develop before ovulation
- It takes sperm roughly 74 days to develop (3 months)
- Research shows receiving 12 acupuncture/TCM treatments before IVF showed 13% higher live birth rates than IVF alone
- Several concurrent weeks to months of whole system TCM makes sense clinically and biologically. Treatments are tailored to the individual and adjusted according to TCM pattern diagnosis and phases of the menstrual cycle.
- Addressing diet and lifestyle factors and incorporating whole system TCM (acupuncture, herbs, appropriate supplements etc) in both partners for a minimum of 3 months before conception means the body is more balanced and the developing egg and sperm will be healthier and will have the best chance not only at conception, but at achieving the ultimate goal of holding a healthy baby in your arms!
Source: Caughey, A. Mist, S., Opsahl, M. Rubin, L., Weimer, K. (2015). Impact of Whole Systems Traditional Chinese Medicine on In-Vitro Fertilization Outcomes. Reproductive Biomedicine Online 30 (6): 602-612 p. 1-9
My Wish for You
As a mom of 2 little angels myself, I deeply understand the desire to have children! The feelings of pain, frustration, and even guilt that comes from being unable to fulfill that deep primal desire and transition into the next phase of your life. Always feeling like that one piece is missing.
Over the years I have learned that fertility encompasses so much more than just the biology of a fertilized embryo and pregnancy. Fertility must be addressed from all aspects-mentally, physically, and emotionally. Fertility means planting a seed and watching it grow and transform. Birthing new ideas and bringing them into the world, expressing your creativity, being part of a community, contributing as you can, being true to yourself, being kind to yourself, taking care of yourself so you can live freely and joyfully in the present moment.
It is my honor to help women and couples along each step of their journey, wherever it may take them...