From a Chinese medical perspective, a big part of our general health has to do with the quality and quantity of blood in our bodies. The concept of blood includes more than just the red liquid flowing through us � it’s a type of energy. Although Qi and Blood are thought to move through the body together, they are different but cooperative substances responsible for different roles. In Chinese medicine, blood disorders are varied: patients may present with blood deficiency in one or more system, blood stagnation, or a combination of both.
Although it cannot be automatically concluded, we often find that patients who have a blood deficiency in their energetic disharmony, also have anemia or iron deficiency found in a blood test. Many symptoms of anemia overlap with symptoms of blood deficiency such as; fatigue, weakness, dizziness, feeling cold, depression, insomnia and a pale complexion. Iron supplements can help patients with iron deficiency.
The quantity and quality of blood in the system also plays a large part in all gynecological functions, including regulating the menstrual cycle and optimizing fertility. Some women who seek fertility treatment at Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs, fall into the diagnostic group of blood deficiency.
Hence, it comes as no real surprise to find a study published in the New York Times announcing the following:
Fertility: Iron Supplements May Reduce Risk of Infertility
By NICHOLAS BAKALAR
Published: November 14, 2006
Taking iron supplements may reduce the risk of infertility, a new study suggests.
Researchers examined data on women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II, a prospective study of registered nurses, ages 24 to 42. Over eight years of follow-up, researchers recorded more than 3,500 cases of infertility among more than 18,000 women who were trying to become pregnant. Of these, 2,165 underwent medical investigation to determine the cause, and 438 were found to suffer from ovulatory infertility, or the inability to produce viable eggs.
After statistically adjusting for age, smoking, physical activity and dietary patterns, the women who used iron supplements had, on average, 40 percent less risk of ovulatory infertility than those who used none. Moreover, the higher the dose of the iron supplements, the lower the risk, so that women who took the highest doses – more than 41 milligrams a day – reduced their risk of ovulatory infertility by 62 percent.
Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and Chinese Medicine For Infertility
It can be extremely useful in all stages of gynecological and obstetric care.
For thousands of years, women have been treated for help conceiving, through all stages of pregnancy, and during and after childbirth. At Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs, Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist has been helping women become pregnant for over a decade. Below are more details on specific aspects of care with Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine has been shown to increase blood circulation to the ovaries and uterus and hence increase the capacity for fertility and conception. Chinese medicine can be used to increase the chances of conceiving naturally or alongside medical interventions.
Women who experience irregular cycles, painful periods, PMS, or complications such as cysts or fibroids may be less fertile due to energetic imbalances causing those symptoms. Acupuncture along with Chinese herbs and Chinese Medicine can help balance and regulate the menstrual cycle, thus improving fertility levels.
Some patients that have been diagnosed with infertility are advised to undergo fertility treatment such as IUI (intra uterine insemination) or IVF (in vitro fertilization). It is quite useful to have the support of acupuncture and herbs through the ups and downs of assisted reproductive technology as well.
Studies have shown that IVF combined with acupuncture is 40%-60% more successful than IVF alonei. Results from another study showed a pregnancy was twice as likely to occur if acupuncture was used on the day of the embryo transferii.
Additionally, many couples have difficulty achieving pregnancy due in large part to the stress in their lifestyle. Stress can be a major factor involved in health problems and acupuncture treatment can significantly reduce the stress response in the body. Relaxing the body and mind allows the body to carry out a natural process like conception more smoothly, and often pregnancy is achieved in a healthy couple more quickly once tension and imbalances are removed.
“Years ago, I saw Juliette when I wanted to be come pregnant. A fertility specialist told me I needed IVF, but after 3 months of acupuncture, I was pregnant. Since then, she has helped me though morning sickness, colds, and allergies. Each time, I’ve found her comprehensive and effective. She takes time with her patients and you always feel as if you are being well cared for”. -N.C. READ MORE HERE
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Pregnancy – 1st Trimester
Acupuncture can provide relief for some of the most common complaints in early pregnancy, such as nausea, vomiting, exhaustion and headaches. Treatment can also help support appetite and energy, and avoid medications for ailments like allergies, colds, and pain syndromes. In addition, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and Chinese Medicine can reduce the chances of miscarriage, which is at highest risk during the first trimester.
Pregnancy – 2nd Trimester
Though most women are feeling relatively healthy during the 2nd trimester, continued treatment will support fetal growth and healthy development through balancing and strengthening the mother’s energy systems.
Pregnancy – 3rd Trimester
Acupuncture helps ease many of the discomforts of the 3rd trimester, such as back pain, sciatica, swelling, and insomnia. Treatment can also gently prepare the body for labor by ensuring smooth circulation of blood and energy to all tissues and organs involved. Patients who get acupuncture treatments throughout the pregnancy, especially the third trimester, report faster and less complicated deliveriesiii.
“I have been coming to Juliette on an off for 4 years. Each and every experience amazes me. Not only is her treatment incredibly effective but I’m also calmed the moment I walk through her door. Juliette has helped me flip a breach baby late in pregnancy, cope with kidney stones when no other treatment was possible, and helped me achieve a successful VBAC. I can’t recommend her work enough! She is truly an amazing healer”. -Jacqueline
Pregnancy – End Stage
Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture and an adjunctive technique, moxabustion are quite effective in turning breech babies, especially between weeks 32-37. In a 1998 Italian study, 130 women with breech presentation had daily moxabustion treatments during the 35th week of gestation. The study showed a 75% success rate in turning the breech babies head down. In a Japanese study conducted in 2000, 357 women had daily moxabustion, with a very impressive 92.5% correction rate. For specific research check these studies.
Induction and/or Labor
Treatment with acupuncture has been shown to be helpful in preparing the body for labor as well as shortening the duration and minimizing the intensity of pain levels. It can also assist with relaxation of mind and body in this potentially stressful time.
Acupuncture is also a safe method used to induce labors that are overdue and start contractions without the use of drugs. Some patients receive acupuncture for pain relief during labor if the doctor, midwife, hospital or birthing center allow it. Acupressure at certain acupoints on the body during labor has also been shown to provide relief.
“HOORAY + thank you !!! My water broke…we took our time getting to the hospital, and she was born [11 hour labor total]. 3 pushes and she was out! It was an amazing birth.. better than I could have hoped for…. I owe it all to you (and the gods above to be sure). It was literally night and day from [our older child’s birth] which was so stressful, in the dead of a cold, snowy, February night. This was filled with light and warmth and the beauty of spring… I was and am in a state of total bliss! I really cannot thank you enough, from the [acupuncture support through] IVF treatments, through the sciatica and helping me gently coax her into this world [we avoided a medical labor induction with acupuncture], I am forever in your debt. My family is complete and I am filled with gratitude. My little lady is such a piece of heaven.. i’m so in love!” -S.M. Age 38
Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and Chinese Medicine have been used for centuries to help mothers recover from delivery. Childbirth is an experience that drains energy, and Chinese herbs especially can provide a much-needed boost to combat the blood loss and fatigue most people experience. A quick recovery by the parent means the best care for the new baby!
Further, treatment can help if there are imbalances causing lactation problems or other nursing disorders. It is also possible to speed recovery from cesarean section and reduce the appearance of scars with acupuncture.
Acupuncture can also be used to treat emotional imbalances such as anxiety, post-partum depression or other mood disorders.
Many mothers who had acupuncture at times during or throughout their pregnancy report especially beautiful babies! This speaks not only to appearance (aren’t all babies beautiful?) but also to temperament- the baby’s disposition is often peaceful and happy!
Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author, Creator of HealthyStuffU.com Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs 32 Union Square East, Suite 615N New York, NY 10003 (646) 504.2251
– – – – – – – iLiang, Lifang, OMD, PhD, Lac. Acupuncture & IVF – Increase IVF Success By 40-60%. September 2003, Boulder CO. iiAcupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial, April 2006; Westergaard LG, Mao Q, Krogslund M, Sandrini S, Lenz S, Grinsted J; Fertility and Sterility; May 2006 (Vol. 85, Issue 5, Pages 1341-1346) iiiAcupuncture: Review and analysis of reports on controlled clinical trials, World Health Organization, Geneva, 2002. www.who.int/medicines