Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine
Conception, Pregnancy and Beyond with Traditional Chinese Medicine. with Karen Lam Dr. TCM, R.Ac.
Oriental medicine has a long history when it comes to enhancing fertility for both men and women. In fact, evidence that acupuncture and herbal medicine have been used to aid fertility can be found in early medical literature dating back to 3AD.
In the understanding of TCM theory, the female body in pregnancy is considered in a state of constant change.
The womb an extraordinary organ and the body the universe surrounding it. Emotional balance and the state of mind are imperative to well-being for the mother and fetus during the months of gestation. Learn more at Dr. Lam’s website »
How Acupuncture Can Enhance Fertility
According to the principles of Oriental medicine, a person's health is determined by the quality of Qi, the vital life energy, and blood circulating through the body. When Qi and blood are circulating properly, the body is properly nourished and functioning optimally which, in turn, enhances fertility.
Researchers have confirmed its benefit in the following areas:
- Regulate menstrual cycle.
- Improve ovulation in PCOS patients.
- Improve sperm count and motility.
- Reduce stress and anxiety associated with infertility.
- Normalize hormones and endocrine systems.
- Improve blood flow in the uterus.
- Decrease chance of miscarriage.
- Increase the chance of pregnancy for women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Fertility treatments vary from person to person, but are usually scheduled for at least three consecutive cycles (twelve weeks). Treatments can include acupuncture, customized herbal therapy, stress reduction and dietary counseling. Treatments work alone but are an excellent addition to any Western intervention.
Acupuncture Increases IVF Success by 65%
The remarkable success rate occurred across seven acupuncture trials involving 1,366 women in a systematic review and meta-analysis published in a February, 2008 issue of the British Medical Journal. Women undergoing IVF are 65 percent more likely to become pregnant when they combined the procedure with acupuncture as the recent study has shown. Acupuncture was delivered either just before or just after embryo transfer – a step in the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF) whereby one or several embryos are placed into the uterus. The research was carried out by scientists from the University of Maryland in the United States and the VU University of Amsterdam in Holland. It is thought that acupuncture stimulates the neurotransmitters that trigger the production of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone, which controls the menstrual cycle and a woman's ovulation. Acupuncture is also thought to stimulate blood flow to the uterus and boost the production of endogenous opioids, inducing the body to relax.
Preparing for Conception
"Your body is like a garden... As in all gardens, the seed we hope to plant in our bodies grows best when we cultivate the ground and plant and nurture the seed in harmony with the laws of nature. You wouldn't put a tender plant in clay soil without first tilling and amending the earth - at least not if you wanted to give that plant its best start. You wouldn't plant in the dead of winter, or in the dry season without water, or in a sunless place. Likewise, if we tend our bodies, minds, and spirits with an awareness of the laws of nature, we improve our chances of welcoming the gifts of Quan Yin, the fertility goddess."
- Angela Wu, L.Ac., author of Fertility Wisdom.
The general recommended time for pre-conceptive health care is 3 – 12 months. Gentle cleansing, diet changes and lifestyle modification are a part of this special time of preparation.
Coordination between acupuncture sessions and consultations with your midwife or physician can prevent illness, harmonize pregnancy, encourage healing and helps prepares for birthing.
- Subdue morning sickness and nausea
- Relieve pain and reduce stress
- Increase circulation to promote healing
- Improve lymphatic function
- Change breech presentation
- Enhances natural preparation for birthing/cervical ripening/induction
Facts about Acupuncture and TCM:
- Reduces stress and negative emotions
- Calms and rebalance the mind and body
- Creates communication between the brain and central nervous system
- Encourages healthy growth and regulation of the fetus
- Increases endorphin secretions and neurotransmitters levels
- Fertility, pre-conception and pre-natal TCM literature and Acupuncture goes back over 3000 years in China
Reasons to use Acupuncture and TCM during pregnancy:
- Helps shorten time of labour
- Preparation for the perineum
- Decreases hypertension, Headache
- Joint problems
- Relieves pain
Acupuncture can start anytime during pregnancy. Recommended is 1 treatment per month until 37 weeks then weekly afterwards until your baby arrives.
Special care of the mother after her birth journey is a focus in TCM. Traditionally these methods are passed from generation to generation from mother to daughter. This special time is often referred to as “Golden Month” where the mother has time to heal, rebuild and restore her essence after childbirthing. It is a time for family bonding and caring with special attention for the mother and child. With Dr. Lam, care is focused, treatment is applied with the TCM philosophy in mind, using herbs to restore and rebuild the essence and acupuncture to help re-align the energies within a healing mother. Encouragement, self care techniques and diet are also of importance at this time.
Recommended treatment is 1-3 sessions within the “Golden Month” for best results.
About your care provider
Karen Lam, a mother, Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Registered Acupuncturist has practiced at Integrative Healing Arts for more than a decade. She has been of service to mothers in her role as a Doula and Acupuncturist.
Support before, during and after pregnancy is quickly becoming more important in our modern time and her knowledge and training in this specialized area has proven invaluable to many women of all ages and backgrounds.
Treatment packages are available and include: 3, 6 or 10 individual consultation & treatment sessions.