“There is no such thing as infertility (barring missing parts), just an imbalance! Every woman’s body longs to return to a state of balance, and therefore a state of fertility.”
-– Kaya Larson, Fertility Specialist
Fertility in Chinese Medicine
Your body is naturally fertile. If you have been trying to get pregnant and have been disappointed month after month, the question is not whether you can conceive or not, the question is what has been getting in the way of conception. In Chinese Medicine, the answer is always an imbalance in your system. And most often in our culture, the reason for this imbalance is stress.
All acupuncture releases stress from the body. The needles naturally stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system, shifting your body from ‘fight or flight’ mode to ‘rest and digest’. Along with this shift, your body is able to focus attention on your immune system and naturally begin to heal any imbalances that have accumulated over time. The needles are strategically placed to guide your body to do this healing.
Five Elements and the Organ Systems
The system imbalances that are often behind trouble conceiving involve the Spleen and Kidneys. Imbalance in these systems does not necessarily imply that there is something wrong with the organ itself. In Chinese Medicine these are simply the terms used for particular functional systems in the body that include, but are not limited to, that particular organ. Symptoms that are correlated with the Kidney system being out of balance include low back pain, ringing in the ears, feeling hot or cold, night sweats, and low libido. Symptoms that are correlated with the Spleen system being out of balance are fatigue, especially after eating, bloating, craving sweets, loose stools, bruising easily, and a heavy feeling in your arms or legs. Another system that is often involved is the Liver. Symptoms of an imbalance in this system include irritation, anger, or depression, especially premenstrually, pain or bloating at ovulation, and difficulty falling asleep. Your acupuncturist will discuss with you after your initial diagnostic session which systems are showing up out of balance, and also discuss possible diet or lifestyle shifts that can help to bring these imbalances back into balance.
Simple lifestyle shifts
Diet shifts that support fertility are ones that support the healthy functioning of your Spleen. In general, this means eating cooked fruits and vegetables as opposed to raw, eating whole foods as opposed to processed foods, and limiting intake of dairy and sugar. Some supplements or herbs may also be helpful, though it is recommended that you discuss any additions with your acupuncturist before going out and purchasing herbs or supplements.
For lifestyle shifts, all recommendations involve decreasing stress in your life. One important shift is to schedule down time into your day. The balance between movement and rest is an important one for our bodies and health, and yet oftentimes in our constantly moving culture we feel as if rest is either not an option or equated with laziness. To shift your mindset to one in which rest is not only good for you but in fact a necessity can be a difficult task, but a worthwhile one. Other lifestyle shifts that support fertility include adding meditation exercises to your day. Mindfulness practices, sitting meditation, gentle yoga, tai qi, and qi gong are all beneficial, and serve to decrease stress in your body and mind. Acupuncture can help these practices to be easier to learn, and easier to incorporate into your life. Some acupuncturists include training in these modalities as part of their treatment process.
Acupuncture has been shown in many of empirical studies to be helpful in both natural fertility as well as IVF. If you're nterested in learning more about acupuncture, you can read About Acupuncture or How Acupuncture Works. You can also learn about Eastern Medicine, Five Element Theory, or Our Philosophy. To learn more about Wisdom Traditions Acupuncture, take a look at About Us. If you have any additional questions, feel free to Contact Us or Schedule an Appointment Online.
Resources and Related Links
The American Pregnancy Association:
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine: