Why Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture?
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year on unprotected intercourse ( after 6 months for women over 35 ) or the inability to carry a viable pregnancy to live birth. With those guidelines in mind, as of 2011 , the Center of Disease Control estimates that about 6.7 million American women suffer from infertility, and that number is growing. Additionally, about 12% of US males ages 25-44 ( 4 million ) experience some form of infertility. It has been reported that over 7 million US women have used fertility services in their lifetime.
We all know that fertility treatments like IVF ( in vitro fertilization ) and IUI ( intrauterine insemination ) can be cost prohibitive for many couples. IVF costs an average of $12,000-$15,000 per cycle, and generally two or more cycles are needed to achieve pregnancy. As such, assisted reproductive technologies, such as IVF, are used in less than 3% of infertility cases. Despite high emotional and financial costs, and invasive and time intensive treatment regimens, current IVF success rates in the US remain low (about 30% across all cycles in 2012 ), but especially for women over 35 years of age.
We understand that a couples desire to conceive is important and emotional, and we want to be part of their success. Because of both the emotional and financial toll ART (assisted reproductive therapies) takes on our patients, we try to help guide, support and educate them on the best ways to conceive for them.
At Integrative Acupuncture we focus on 5 key areas to promote optimal fertility.
#1 Blood Flow : Traditional Chinese Medicine ( TCM) and Acupuncture increase the blood flow to your reproductive organs. In order to achieve pregnancy all of your reproductive organs require an abundance of blood, electricity and nutrients to support health tissue, hormone production and regular cycles. In our Modern Lifestyle there are many ways things that disrupt the optimal flow of blood to the very organs that are involved in reproduction. We target these blockages to help each patient have the most optimal blood flow needed to achieve pregnancy.
#2 Hormone Balance: Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture have been shown to be very effective in optimizing Hormone Balance. We see that time and time again our patients have their fertility struggles rooted in the imbalance of their hormones. This is seen as scanty periods, irregular periods, PCOS or Dysmenorrhea. When patients come in reporting irregularities or dysfunction in their cycles we work closely to help balance their hormone & endocrine system. In our practice we sit down with each patient for 90 minutes to complete a comprehensive health history – just so that we can get to the source of exact imbalances and use treatment strategies to correct them. One of the areas that we pay special attention to is our patients Nutrition. Our fertility patients often work with our Holistic Nutritionist to develop a personalized nutrition for their conception.
#3 Emotional Health: One of the major road blocks in fertility for many patients is their Emotional Health. Patients are often living with high stress that is exacerbated with trying to get pregnant. Our patients often come in with stress symptoms, anxiety and depression that we address directly. According to TCM, emotional health plays such a significant part in infertility struggles because emotions and moods directly affect our hormones. We use acupuncture and many other therapies to help balance both moods and hormones, leaving our patients with more peace, joy and freedom to move towards their health goals.
#4 Pre-Conception Plan: We strive to help our patients develop a “pre-conception plan.” At Integrative Acupuncture we work with each woman to make sure that their body is strong and ready to conceive. Although we do often see women who are already receiving ART, we strongly suggest to our current patients that working to create a healthy and rich environment for pregnancy is both in the best interest of their baby and their own bodies. When this is accomplished, pregnancy is often more easily achieved and the pregnancy itself is easier for their bodies.
#5 Chart Your Cycle: After looking at hundreds of BBT charts we quickly started recognizing distinct relationships between the waves of a woman’s BBT chart and her ovulation patterns, quality and quantity of cervical discharge, estrogen and progesterone levels, FSH, egg quality, and likelihood to present with PMS. In fact, with looking at a patients BBT chart, we can often pinpoint the major reasons a woman is struggling to get pregnant.
While many women keep BBT charts as a way to predict ovulation, there’s actually SOOOOOO much more a BBT chart can tell you — and when ovulation is occurring is usually the least important. We work closely with each patient to help discern exactly what those temperatures mean and help them work towards a cycle where conception is best. Of course, charting your basal body temperature can help you determine when you’re ovulating, whether ovulation occurs on the optimal day and if your body is at a temperature conducive for fertility. Western medicine believes in this one, too!
In our practice we are very aware that many factors that come into play when women are trying to conceive. An expanding body of medical literature suggests that what we eat and drink, our weight, our health history, how much we exercise, our stress levels and our level of toxicity can all effect not only our ability to conceive but also the health of the children we have.
Integrative Acupuncture has personalized programs to help each patient create a physical and emotional environment that is optimal for fertility.