3 Reasons Acupuncture Supports Couples Facing Infertility

When you consider all the changes in our agricultural practices, the increased number of medications we take, as well as our dependence on plastic and technology that is constantly emitting low-grade radiation, it’s no surprise more couples are having trouble conceiving. Current statistics show one in six couples who are trying to conceive are facing fertility issues. And while many times infertility is thought of as a female issue, it is really a factor for both the man and woman and should therefore be addressed as such.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we talk about qi a lot, the energy or life force in everyone. Qi regulates the mental and physical body. When qi is disrupted or blocked due to poor health or other circumstances, then disease may occur. Regular acupuncture treatments help to keep the normal flow of qi moving and unblocked. A healthy flow of qi increases a couple’s chances of conceiving.

One of the most important ways acupuncture treatments can support a couple facing fertility issues is through reducing stress. Stress is frequently a key component that contributes to infertility in both men and women. When people are stressed, the brain releases a hormone known as cortisol. Too much cortisol alters the brain and changes the hormone levels which are key to the reproductive cycle. Due to the delicate balance between the brain, pituitary gland and the reproductive glands, excess stress is capable of preventing ovulation completely. Stress can also cause spasms in the uterus and fallopian tubes, which may interfere with implantation of a fertilized egg. In men, stress can alter sperm count, sperm motility and cause impotence. Acupuncture has the ability to counter the effects of stress.

Regular acupuncture treatments are also very effective at decreasing and removing excess phlegm in the lower body. This buildup of excess phlegm can be caused by numerous factors. In the United States, there are two causes that are most common. The first is the standard American diet that is saturated with fast, greasy, sugary and fried foods and lacking in fresh, whole plant-based foods. The second cause is the sedentary lifestyle that many people now live. Studies confirm that these two situations lead to increased infertility issues. But specific acupoints, herbs and exercise can all be beneficial in creating a healthy environment for a baby to be conceived.

Acupuncture can also be a great option for those facing fertility issues, because it doesn’t cost nearly as much as other options. The average cost of in vitro fertilization (IVF) is $15,000 per session and the success rates are only about 33 percent. However, the use of TCM over a 6 month period can increase success rates by nearly 65 percent for a fraction of the cost of IVF. With acupuncture, people also get the added benefits of more restful sleep, less stress and anxiety, improved digestion and better health overall.

Studies show acupuncture can increase fertility and allow couples to conceive more frequently. If you are experiencing fertility problems, acupuncture may hold the answer. Ask me today if you would like more information.

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Potent Organs in Fall

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, fall is the season associated with the lung and large intestine energetic meridians. These two meridians work in a symbiotic way to control the immune system from both the inside and outside of your body.

The large intestine channel runs up the arms, across the shoulders, up the neck, over the face and ends next to the nose. As many people now know, the health of our large intestine and gastrointestinal tract overall plays a big part in our immunity. Keeping the large intestine channel warm and preventing exposure from the elements will help to keep you healthy. Cold pathogens can enter the body through the pores or nasal cavity. By wrapping the neck and shoulders with a scarf during the fall months, you can help ward off the pathogens and prevent catching a cold or the flu.

The large intestine also has the function of transporting all waste products out of the body or to other areas for excretion. The large intestine absorbs liquid and releases anything that is no longer needed. This can be food, toxins or even emotions. This helps to cleanse the body and mind.

The lungs are the paired organ system to the large intestine in TCM. The lungs have a very special kind of energy, or qi, called the Wei Qi (pronounced “way chee”). Wei Qi is similar to what Western medicine calls the immune system. Wei Qi provides a barrier that protects the body from pathogens. When the Wei Qi is depleted or low, then the body is unable to fight off infections. Strong, healthy lungs enhance the functions of the whole body. Lung health can be weakened by poor food choices, pollution, poor genetics, emotional stress, and even unexpressed emotions such as grief or sadness.

The lungs are known as the Prime Minister in TCM. They control breath and energy, while assisting the heart with the circulation of blood throughout the body. The lungs also control the skin, which breathes through the opening and closing of the pores, helping to regulate body temperature. The pores regulate body temperature both through perspiration and shivering. This mechanism is another way the lungs help to protect the body – when we perspire, we usually release toxins from the body. Fewer toxins means less chance of getting sick.

As fall approaches, it is a good idea to start focusing on the health of your lungs and large intestine. One way to do this is by getting regular acupuncture treatments. Check in with us if you’d like to schedule extra appointments this fall to support your lungs and large intestine!

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Five Self Care Tips for Fall

Fall is a favorite season for many people. The weather starts getting a little cooler, things are beginning to slow down and preparations for the holidays are in full swing. For many others, fall is not so festive. Many people get sick during the fall months, allergies can flare up for some, and many don’t like the steady decrease in hours of sunlight, sometimes leading to seasonal depression. Here are some tips on how to get through the season without incident.

  1. Wear a scarf.

    The large intestine channel runs up the arms, across the shoulders, up the neck, over the face and ends next to the nose. As many people now know, the health of our gastrointestinal tract plays a big part in our immunity, so keeping the large intestine channel warm and preventing exposure from the elements will help keep you healthy. Cold pathogens can enter the body through the pores or nasal cavity, but wrapping the neck and shoulders with a scarf can help ward them off. Scarves don’t have to be thick or heavy, but they should cover the neck.

  2. Eat according to the season.

    Eating foods readily available during the autumn months and foods that boost the energy of the lung and large intestine meridians is a great way to keep the organs associated with fall – the lung and large intestine – in balance. In the fall, you should eat fewer cold and raw foods like salads and instead eat more warm and cooked foods. Foods to enjoy during the fall months include apples, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, pears, yams, bananas, cabbage, carrots, cranberries, ginger, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and wild rice. Hot herbal teas are another good addition to your daily diet, especially those containing ginger and lemon, which act as natural antibiotics.

  3. Stay hydrated.

    The large intestine and the lungs need to stay moist to function properly, so drinking lots of water is important during the fall. Without proper hydration, the skin, which is controlled by the lung meridian, can become dry and cracked, allowing pathogens to easily enter the body. The large intestine meridian also needs proper hydration in order to expel any pathogens that do get into the system.

  4. Let it go (literally and metaphorically).

    Fall is the season of letting go. Just as the trees let go of brightly colored leaves, you too should let go of whatever is bogging you down. This can include physical items like clothing, as well as items that are clogging up your mental closet, like unresolved emotions. Letting go of attachments can make way for growth and regeneration to occur in the spring.

  5. Get acupuncture!

    As the fall months approach, it is a good idea to increase your regular acupuncture treatments. There are many acupuncture points that help boost immunity, fight off colds, help with releasing emotions and improve digestion. Why not utilize the natural power we have to offer? By doing so, you might just survive the fall without ever getting sick and be better prepared for the upcoming months and seasons that follow.

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Research Update: Acupuncture and Respiratory Issues

The Journal of Complementary Medicine Research conducted a study that compiled the research from multiple trials to evaluate the effects of acupoint application for asthma in adults. Eight separate studies were included in the review. The results indicated acupoint application decreased the production of immunoglobulin E and increased the amount of air people could exhale in a single breath – a common way to diagnose asthma, because lung congestion reduces one’s exhalation capacity. The review concluded acupoint application, whether it be acupressure or acupuncture, helps improve pulmonary function, while reducing the levels of immunoglobulin E and interleukins in the blood.

Respiratory issues and deaths associated with them have shot up tremendously over the past 35 years in the United States. The number of deaths from chronic respiratory illnesses jumped from 41 in 100,000 in 1980 to 53 in 100,000 by 2014. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is the leading cause of respiratory deaths, but other ailments like asthma, interstitial lung disease and pneumoconiosis are also contributors. In many cases, symptoms are merely masked or managed through the use of pharmaceuticals. But, alternatives like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can address both the symptoms and the root causes of the disease.

Traditional Chinese Medicine considers how the psyche affects the physical body, making emotional wellness just as important as physical health.

In TCM, every organ is associated with a series of properties. These associations provide clues that help the TCM practitioner locate the root of the physical problems, while guiding them through the treatments. The lungs are associated with grief and sadness, the season of fall, the color white and the pungent flavor. The energy of the lungs is very important to all aspects of human life. When the body’s energy is imbalanced, disease or illness my take root.

The lungs are known as the “Prime Minister” in TCM. They control breath and energy, while assisting the heart with the circulation of blood throughout the body. The lungs also control the skin, which breathes through the opening and closing of the pores, helping to regulate body temperature both through perspiration and shivering.

Acupuncture can be a great asset in balancing the energy of the lungs. The function of the lungs is to descend and dispense energy downwards and to dissipate it outwards. When acupuncture points are stimulated the flow of your lung energy can greatly improve, while opening up the airways and increasing the uptake of oxygen within the cells of the whole body. Acupuncture also helps relax the muscles associated with breathing, allowing lung energy to flow properly.

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Healthy Foods for Fall

The season of fall brings cooler weather and shorter days. As with any season, the world adjusts accordingly. Plants begin to go dormant, animals begin scrounging for food to store to get them through the upcoming winter months and humans start winterizing everything.

As fall descends on the land, it reminds us we need to start cutting back on the numerous cooling foods that are consumed during the summer months. Things like raw foods, salads, juices and fruits should be decreased because they can create too much cold in the body, according to traditional Chinese medicine.

There are many facets to traditional Chinese medicine and nutrition is one of the most important. The ancient Chinese observed what took place in nature and followed those cues accordingly. So when the season changed to fall and the amount of daylight decreased and the temperatures cooled, the Chinese began to eat what was available. This is what it means to “eat for the season.” By eating according to the season, we can avoid many illnesses and diseases. If we continue to eat raw, cold foods during the cooler fall and winter months, then we set ourselves up for digestive problems, colds, sinus infections and even painful joints. When a person eats seasonally, they will inevitably notice that certain foods are no longer abundant or available. During fall, one should fill his or her cupboards with dried foods, heavy grains, seeds, roots and squashes. In TCM, these foods help move the body’s energy or qi (pronounced “chee”) inward.

Fall is also a time to slow down. This means that we should cook food for longer periods of time on lower heat. How we cook food will affect how the body tolerates it and how the energy is used. For fall, TCM suggests making soups and stews, using a crockpot or slow cooker, roasting and baking foods. These methods create a deeper warmth and supply greater energy from the food.

Foods that are nourishing to the lungs are very important during fall. Since many people get sick during these months, lung tonifying foods can be very beneficial. This includes foods like ginger, onion, garlic, pears, walnuts, miso, navy beans, almonds, asparagus, broccoli, apricots, bananas, apples, plums and grapes.

The drier weather can also cause chapped lips, a dry nose, an itchy throat, rough skin and even dry stools. To counter these issues, it is recommended to eat foods that promote the production of bodily fluids, such as nuts, seeds, pears, pumpkins, honey and a traditional Chinese porridge known as congee.

When we follow the cues given to us by nature, we can maintain a very healthy existence. Ask me to learn more about eating according to the seasons in TCM.

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