Chinese medicine is a very effective treatment modality for fertility/infertility. Acupuncture alone can be a very important tool however the treatment of infertility according to Chinese Medicine principles never takes place in isolation. We need to look at lifestyle, dietary, emotional and other factors that are just as important if we want to optimize one’s fertility potential. Here I will be giving some general and practical advice to help you with conception.
If you have had acupuncture before for fertility I am sure that your therapist told you to keep your low abdomen warm. In this way, the blood circulation to the pelvic organs will be maximized, creating a ‘cosy’ environment for egg/sperm production, fertilization and implantation.
In Chinese Medicine external environmental factors can have a major influence on one’s internal environment. Most of the time, here in the UK the weather is cold and damp so we have to make sure that we wrap up properly and keep ourselves warm. In the old days in China for example women didn’t wash their hair when they were menstruating as they believed that they were exposing their bodies to cold and this can lead to disease. These days we have warm houses and hairdryers however not once I catch my early morning clients coming in for treatment with wet hair. So I always warn them to dry their hair before they go out in the cold. Also keep your feet warm too and wear appropriate shoes according to weather. Don’t wear sandals or slippers if it’s too cold or wet outside.
To keep our bodies warm we need to eat warm and cooked food too. The last meal shouldn’t be too late either and in that way we are helping our ‘Spleen’ to transform our food efficiently for optimal absorption. In Chinese Medicine one of the major functions of the Spleen is to provide our bodies with fuel that is extracted from the food and fluids we consume. That fuel is very important to support the reproductive system with energy as all the stages of reproduction is very much energy dependent. So if you feel tired in general, your Spleen might be underperforming making conception harder. To maintain the Spleen’s function you have to cut out on excessive sugar consumption, omitting food from diet that are fried in oil or contain too much fat and eat as much warm, cooked and good quality food as possible.
Sleep is another important factor to enhance fertility. Not just the number of hours we sleep but the quality of sleep too. When we sleep certain hormones are released which allow the body to regenerate, grow and repair damaged tissues and cells and strengthen the immune system. Studies suggest that both male and female fertility can be adversely affected by sleep deprivation or disrupted sleep patterns. So if you are one of those who goes to sleep too late then make sure that you are in bed by no later than 11pm and if you find difficult to fall asleep then perhaps listen to some guided meditation or some soothing music that will help you to unwind.
And finally I would like to talk about stress. Interestingly some of the women I treat are not even aware that they are under stress. They have hectic lifestyles with very busy jobs, constantly multi tasking, flying from one end of the world to the other end within short period of times and constantly meeting deadlines. They often don’t eat regularly and their meals are mostly processed and lacking in nutrients and go to bed in the early morning hours. Not an ideal lifestyle trying to get pregnant! Often they tell me they love their jobs and they don’t feel excessively tired. Still, they find it very difficult to conceive. But they don’t realize that actually they are running on their reserves making it difficult for their bodies to maintain harmony and balance. In Chinese Medicine we say that they are depleting their ‘Essence’ or “Jing’. Jing is stored in the Kidneys and is yin in nature, which means it nourishes, fuels and cools the body. I think it’s fair to say that it provides the material basis for healthy eggs and sperm. It is believed that we are born with a fixed amount of Jing and if we pursue a balanced and healthy lifestyle then we can preserve this precious source. I understand that sometimes it seems impossible to change one’s lifestyle radically to preserve Jing however since I have been helping women to conceive either naturally or through assisted conception I observed that the ones who make those changes seem to have better outcomes.