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Acupuncture For Boosting Fertility
I am often asked how acupuncture can be helpful in trying to get pregnant. Whilst I would always stress that in the first instance you should seek advice from your GP to rule out any underlying issues, acupuncture can be helpful as part of a co-ordinated plan for a variety of reasons.
Researchers have suggested that it may help by:-
- Regulating fertility hormones
- Increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs
- Increasing egg production and improving egg quality
- Enhancing luteal function
- Regulating FSH receptor expression
- Promoting embryo implantation
- Improving sperm motility and count
Most clinical trials to date suggest that acupuncture may be also useful in the embryo transfer stage of in vitro fertilisation, and results in an increased pregnancy rate and a greater number of live births.
With many years experience in this field I have helped patients with
Regulating their menstrual cycle
- Stress (high stress levels are associated with reduced chances of pregnancy)
- PCOS, endometriosis and dysmenorrhoea
According to fertility guru Zita West, ‘It’s clear that more well-designed, large prospective studies are needed into the use of acupuncture in the field of natural fertility (and alongside IVF treatments) However, the feedback from the majority of women and men up and down the country who have had acupuncture is that they have benefited enormously, feeling proactive, relaxed, acknowledged, supported and nurtured through what is a very stressful time for many’.
‘That which is essential is invisible to the eye’. Antoine St. Exupery.
What do we mean by food for warming the yang?
The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, an early Chinese medicial text dating from around the 2nd century BC says of the seasons that ‘ in the spring the yang qi of the universe begins to grow, coldness turns to warmth. In the summer the blood and qi overflow with abundance in the channels. By the autumn, as the earth takes energy back the pores of the body begin to close and the skin shrinks. By the winter the energy is of hibernating and storing.’
Coconut Lamb For Warming The Yang
From this we can get the idea that the seasonal merry-go-round is taking us towards a more inward facing space. As the season contracts around us we need to adjust our diets to include more foods that nourish the yang – ie those that warm us. The following recipe is taken from Daverick Legget’s excellent book ‘Recipes for Self Healing’, published by Meridian press. His recipe for coconut lamb is a variation on a north African dish.
Ingredients: 2 onions, a little olive oil, 1 tablespoon fresh coriander, 1 teaspoon cumin, a pinch of saffron, seasoning, 3 carrots, 2 tomatoes, 1lb diced lamb, 1 cup coconut milk.
Method: Fry chopped onions until soft. Add herbs and spices and fry gently for another minute or so. Add finely sliced carrots, then the tomatoes, then the lamb. Keep turning the mixture for a few minutes. Add the coconut milk, cover the pan and cook slowly for 30 to 40 minutes. Serve and enjoy with fresh vegetables.
According to Chinese dietary principles, lamb has a sweet taste and benefits the spleen and kidneys. It is indicated for cold conditions and is also beneficial to the blood.
Please let us know how you get on with this dish.
In the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine – written around the third millenium BCE (here translated by Maoshing NI) – the emperor Huang Di is in conversation with his minister Qi Bo. The Emperor is asking for tips on diagnosis.
Qi Bo answered, “There is one other important thing. That is the interrogation of the patient, the enquiry.”
Huang Di asked, “How does one go about this?”
Qi Bo replied, “First, select a quiet environment. Close all the doors and windows. Gain the trust of the patient so that the patient can completely convey everything that is pertinent to the condition. Be thorough and differentiate the truth. Observe the patient’s spirit. When there is spirit, the prognosis is positive. When the spirit is gone, the condition is very grave.”
The Chinese word Shen, which can be translated as “Spirit” or “Mind”, implies our consciousness, mental functions, mental health, vitality, and our “presence”. Observation of the eyes is an important part of diagnosis in Chinese Medicine.
The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine (the Neijing Suwen)
~240 B.C. translated by Maoshing Ni, Shambala Publications ISBN 1-57062-080-6 © 1995