Chinese Medicine Guidelines to Increase Fertility
Many women find acupuncture after a long stressful journey struggling with an Infertility diagnosis (and label). By the time you reach an acupuncturist you may be emotionally and financially burnt out. I find that after a few weeks of treatments that stress dissipates and you recover. The process of coming back into balance and connecting to our natural fertility requires the conscious use of the body, mind and spirit .In my experience, on the average, after six months of treatments couples are able to naturally conceive. I’ve outlined a guide to your “homework” while receiving acupuncture to enhance fertility. Journaling-while charting your cycle note emotional triggers, try to name your emotions while also tracking physical symptoms such as breast tenderness or constipation. Journaling is helpful in sorting your feelings about what is happening in your body and can expand the “clinical” mindset of charting exact temperatures and hormone levels. In this journal, also note cravings for alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, sugar, or dairy. Don’t worry about being judged. This info is helpful to your practitioner.
Food Guidelines- The Chinese have a special way of eating for health and specifically fertility. I have listed the “dos and don’ts” below;
- Cut out iced beverages and foods-this practice done in China helps woman avoid a cold uterus
- Decrease raw foods, as much as possible, cook vegetables. Eat more soups than salad. This is especially important in winter.
- Decrease dairy, and soy and cut down on refined sugar, avoid artificial sweeteners completely. If you are doing dairy Whole milk, or whole milk yogurt without artificial sweeteners is ideal. Raw milk is superior if you can get it. Warm milk to a boil then quickly turn down heat and add spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger to decrease the Dampening affect on your body. Dampness is said to block the Qi to the uterus.
- Eat only hormone free meat and dairy.
- Drink a minimal amount of alcohol. Talk to your practitioner about what you consider minimal.
- Eat protein at every meal in one of its many forms. Those who don’t eat red meat are advised to eat a moderate portion of hormone-free red meat three times a week, only if this is not an ethical challenge. Doctors from China think it is unhealthy for our fertility that many women avoid eating red meat even in small amounts .Its ironic that we generally do this for health reasons.
- Eat Whole grains daily and try to maintain a healthy weight .Too much excess fat in the body tends to hold on to estrogens and may impair fertility.
Exercise-Daily gentle exercise is best. Learn to be gentle on your body and learn what nurturance feels like in your body. Nurturance is the essence of fertility and conception. Heavy weight lifting is thought to be counter- productive to conception in Chinese medicine and must be closely watched. Vigorous exercise should be kept under 7 hours a week. During the menstrual flow running should be avoided. Incorporate Qi Gong, Tai Chi or yoga into your exercise routine. Please consult your practitioner about participating in Bikram or “hot” yoga and Ashtanga or advanced power yoga during certain times of your menstrual cycle.
Meditation- start by carving out at least 30 minutes minimum a week outside of your journaling time of simple meditation. This time may be spent in a bath without reading material or in the location of your choice. Practice using your breath to bring your awareness to your body-mind connection. This time may be used to just relax or to delve deeper into issues surrounding your femininity and fertility. Consult practitioner if you need info on breathing techniques or visualizations.
Relating to your partner- Learning to do some simple acupressure as a couple at home will double the effectiveness of your acupuncture treatments. Your spouse obviously needs to be involved in this process and bringing balance to their system will help the process of increasing fertility .These acupressure treatments require you both to give and receive acupressure massage and will be outlined by your practitioner.
Self-care- In order to keep the Qi flowing and unblock blood flow to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries abdominal massage should be performed by the patient on the patient every day. This simple relaxing procedure will be outlined by your practitioner.
Supplements- These suggestions should always be run by your doctor before any changes are made in your current medical care. A whole food supplement of magnesium can be wonderful for easing PMS symptoms. Many natural doctors use wild yam, and a combination of chaste berry and black cohosh especially during the luteal phase. Other Chinese herbal formulas will be discussed using combinations of 5-12 herbs depending on your Chinese diagnosis. Your practitioner will discuss with you your specific organ, meridian, blood, chi, yin, and yang profile and suggest herbal formulas best suited for you. It is common to take different formulas at different times in your cycle. Good luck on your Fertility journey and please contact me if I may be of assistance. Stephanie McGuirk Licensed Acupuncturist ; 913-522-1198