If you've seen me for acupuncture, you know I talk about digestion. A LOT. Our overly processed American diets are often causing things like constipation, IBS, diarrhea, pain in the belly, gas, and the list goes on. Often a culprit of digestive irregularity is food sensitivity to something that you're eating. This isn't a food allergy, but a rejection by the small intestine, which creates an inflammatory response from a different part of the immune system (IgG response). I often recommend food sensitivity testing to my patients. Everly Well tests are my go to at-home testing kits for food allergies, but they also run thyroid panels, cholesterol, and many others. They're super easy! They mail you the kit, you mail it back, and they give you results within the same week. This will tell you for sure what your body is sensitive to, and knowing what to avoid eating will make your digestive system so much happier, which can only improve overall health. I encourage anyone with digestive irregularities to do a food sensitivity panel!
Bringing balance back to your body and improving your overall health is how acupuncture can improve your fertility. Think of it from your body’s perspective. If you’re tired, run down, your menstrual cycles are irregular, your hormones are out of balance, stress levels are high, and you’re eating poorly…. you’re not really setting up an ideal environment to conceive, right?
There’s a few things that begin to improve the first month that you receive acupuncture at The Acupuncture Studio. All of these things contribute to an improvement with your overall health and can improve your fertility.
1. Digestion – many of our patients don’t realize how off their digestive system is, until it begins to correct itself. Signs that it isn’t working optimally include gas, bloating, distended belly or abdomen, heart burn, incomplete bowel movements, loose stools, not having a bowel movement daily, fatigue after meals, and craving sugar in the afternoon.
2. Sleep – most of my patients are not sleeping enough when we first start working together. And sometimes this is because they aren’t sleeping well. Acupuncture helps balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems and lowers stress levels. This helps improve your sleep.
3. Energy – once digestion is more efficient and you’re sleeping better your energy levels improve! Crazy, right? Since acupuncture lowers cortisol levels, it continues to contribute to improved energy levels.
These 3 things are what I like to call the “First Month Side Benefits of Acupuncture”. Once these 3 things begin to improve we start to see hormones coming into balance. Signs that your hormones are more balanced include:
1. Women: regular menstrual cycles, consistent ovulation, no spotting with your period, no cramping or pain with your period, no hot flashes or night sweats, and increased libido.
2. Men: increased energy, increased libido, and a decrease in erectile dysfunction (ED).
As you can see, acupuncture treats a lot of underlying issues and symptoms. When these symptoms improve, or dissipate it means your hormones are becoming more balanced and your body is working more efficiently. By improving your overall health, we are able to improve your reproductive health, which is how acupuncture improves your fertility.
If you’re ready to see an acupuncturist that specializes in reproductive health and live in the Austin or San Antonio area, reach out to the Acupuncture Studio. Our practitioners have a combined experience of 12 years in the reproductive acupuncture field and are never too busy to help you or someone you care about improve your health. You can book an appointment here or give us a call at (210) 802-8805.
--Post by Misty Reed, L.Ac., FABORM
We're so grateful to RMA of Texas for including acupuncture as part of their patient care. Acupuncture does a body good!
It’s estimated that 1 in 7 couples have trouble getting pregnant. Many couples seek Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), including Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Acupuncture is a popular compliment to ART, as it works to promote vasodilation to increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries for improved egg quality, and to reduce the chronic stress that many experience with fertility challenges.
As a fertility acupuncture specialist, I get many questions about when to start acupuncture for IVF or IUI. Research studies suggest that 9 – 12 treatments leading up to procedure is ideal. That being said, I have folks that find me late in the process, therefore I work with patients wherever they are in their IVF/IUI cycles. It’s best to start treatments 6-8 weeks before your procedure. In your initial consult, we will go over a treatment plan that usually includes acupuncture one to two times per week, as well as diet/lifestyle/supplement recommendations to support your cycle.
The beauty of Chinese Medicine is that we look at the body as a whole system of moving parts. We look for imbalances and then look for what is causing them. With my fertility patients trying to conceive, we look to the menstrual cycle as a key marker to tell us what is going on in the body. A textbook cycle is 28 days so ovulation around day 14, bleeding for 4 days with little to no PMS (yes, ladies, this is possible!). We also look at my patient’s BBT chart to note any imbalances there. Finally we look at all the boxes checked in the new patient paperwork – what is your digestion like, how’s your sleep, what kind of stress/anxiety are your under, do you run hot or cold? All of these tidbits of information go into my Chinese Medical diagnosis and will tell me what acupuncture points to use and what herbal formula is appropriate for you.
Acupuncturist Jill Blakeway and OBGYN Sami David co-wrote a book called Making Babies, which should be on your must read list if you’re trying to conceive. It’s full of fantastic information, and Jill, who owns YinOva in NYC is one of the leaders in my field of fertility acupuncture. She breaks down TCM diagnosis into 5 categories – Stuck, Dry, Waterlogged, Pale, and Tired. Most of us are a combination of two to three of these…which one are you?
These groupings are simplified, but it gives you an idea of what we look for in our Chinese medical diagnosis. With acupuncture and herbal treatments, we go about balancing each of these types to see improvements in the menstrual cycle, digestion, sleep, and stress/anxiety, which leads to overall wellbeing that can carry a healthy pregnancy! Interested in fertility acupuncture? Give the San Antonio Acupuncture Studio a call – (210) 802-8805.
Forbes Magazine recently listed the top 50 Reproductive Endocrinology clinics in the country. As my specialty is fertility acupuncture, my first acupuncture job was seeing IVF patients at RMA of Texas, and I currently see patients at the Fertility Institute of Texas, I was curious to see how many of the Industry's leaders partnered with acupuncture clinics. It turns out a lot! Of the top 50, 16 fertility clinics actually have acupuncture available on site, and 9 of them have preferred acupuncturists listed on their websites for patients to find adjunct acupuncture care. That's 50% of the nation's leading RE's who support our work as fertility acupuncturists, and who believe that acupuncture makes a difference in their patients fertility treatments.
Research shows that acupuncture in conjunction with IVF can increase the chances of live birth, in some studies by as much as 50%! Acupuncture increases circulation to the reproductive organs, which is beneficial for the ovaries during the stim phase of the IVF cycle, and for the uterine lining for an FET. It also reduces stress, and helps to alleviate the side effects of the medications. I usually see patients 6-8 weeks before retrieval and/or transfer and once per week until beta. Many of my patients come to rely on their acupuncture sessions to get them through the stress of the IVF process!
Here are the 16 RE's that offer on site acupuncture and their locations:
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each season is related to an element and the correlation between season and element is one of the foundations of acupuncture theory. Spring is connected to the Wood Element, Summer is connected to the Fire Element, Late Summer is connected to the Earth Element, Fall is connected to the Metal Element, and finally at the close of one year and rebirth of the next, Winter is connected to the Water Element. Winter is a time to power down, reflect, and rest. The days get shorter and darkness becomes more prevalent, especially for our northern friends. This is the most yin time of the year, when the body is given time to restore its resources, and the energy turns inward.
The Kidneys and Urine Bladder are the organs of the Water Element, naturally, as they manage water metabolism in the body. In Chinese medicine, the Kidney is the foundation of the body as is in charge of birth, reproduction, and aging. The Ming Men, or vitality fire gate of the body is located just between the Kidneys. Imbalance in the kidneys can manifest as bone problems (especially in the lower body and teeth), hearing loss, premature aging or hair loss, reproductive challenges, and excessive fear. Salty and bitter are the flavors, and black is the color of the Water Element. Think dark leafy greens, scallions, black beans, sauerkraut, seaweed, asparagus, alfalfa sprouts, black sesame seeds and miso. These are great to add to hearty winter soups, especially those made with bone broth or congee, to keep you warm and nourish the kidneys. Cheerful Winter, friends!
I get this question a lot. The medicine of acupuncture has been in practice for thousands of years, and how they discovered way back then that a needle placed in the ankle has an affect on your digestion, is a testament to the medical practices of the Ancient Chinese. The fact is, they were brilliant medical professionals, and they were studying gross anatomy long before their Western medical counterparts. Most of our acupuncture points are located close to nerve bundles and blood vessel bifurcations. When we needle these areas, we are directly influencing the peripheral nervous system, which is why acupuncture has such a calming effect. The exact mechanism of acupuncture is still relatively unknown, but with modern technology, we know this:
By doing all of these things, acupuncture influences every organ system in the body, from the digestive system to the cardiovascular system to the nervous system. The end result is that the body is restored to homeostasis, or its natural balance, and when the body is happy the mind is happy!
The dreaded Cedar season is upon us in Central Texas, which makes a good portion of the population miserable for the next 6 weeks. When Zyrtec and Claritin fail you, here are some additional survival tips to make it through the season:
Acupuncture and Herbs
Acupuncture is one of the most effective ways to immediately clear congestion due to allergies or common cold. There are acupuncture points that work on opening the sinus passages for easing blockages from overaccumulation of phlegm. We also work on boosting your defensive qi, which is in charge of staving off those allergens.
Between acupuncture appointments, I suggest taking the herbal formula Easy Breather by Herbalogic (found at Whole Foods). It’s a Chinese Herbal formula specifically targeting nasal congestion, and it works when taken consistently!
You can also do acupressure by using your index fingers to apply pressure to the acupuncture point Stomach 2. It’s located on the bone just below your eye, in the indentation directly under the pupil when looking forward. Apply gentle but firm pressure to the points for 5 minutes or until you feel some movement in the area.
Keep a bottle of eucalyptus or peppermint essential oils on hand and massage a couple of drops around any areas of the face (avoiding the eye area) or chest that feel congested. Steaming a few drops in boiling water and inhaling deeply can work as well. You can find these at Whole Foods or Central Market. If you have sensitive skin, you can add a little bit of olive or coconut oil to dilute the essential oils.
Neti Pot or Nasal Rinse
Use your net pot daily to keep nasal passages free and clear of excess mucus and of the allergens that are plaguing you. Unfamiliar with the neti pot? Here’s a good explanation.
It’s important to stay warm during the winter to avoid excess cold entering the body, but it’s especially important for those who suffer from allergies as they are more sensitive to temperature change. Keep a sweater at your desk and make sure your neck and shoulders are covered, and that your feet stay warm. It sounds like an old wives tale, but in Chinese Medicine, protecting your defensive qi by keeping the body warm allows it to better function at protecting your body from pathogens and allergens.
Especially strong peppermint tea with local honey. Peppermint (called Bo He in Chinese Medicine) is brilliant at relieving sore throats, clearing the head, and relieving itchiness. Consuming locally sourced honey specifically from the Central Texas area can boost the part of your immune system that reacts to local pollen (aka cedar pollen).
Schedule your appointment to see Melsa today! You can view available appointments and book online using your email address by clicking here. Allergies are one her favorite ailments to treat. Cheers to good health!
Acupuncture Studio Blog