Why Acupuncture is Essential for Conception, Pregnancy and Post-natally.
Within the realm of Western orthodox medicine, we hear about advancements in medical technology and research constantly. It therefore may seem strange that there exists a type of medical approach that can be practised today in the same way it was over 3000 years ago, but Acupuncture and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is exactly that: a unique, traditional school of medicine where the fundamental principles and treatment techniques remain today as they were all those centuries ago. And it works, as so many studies, research, and its ever-growing popularity are proving, especially to treat the problems arising from life in our modern world.
The reason for Acupuncture and TCM’s successful practice over the centuries is because of its holistic, natural perspective on how the body responds in times of both health and disease. By working with the body’s functions and other vital components such as the Blood, quantum physical energies and body fluids, Acupuncture and TCM facilitate the necessary corrections and changes without heavily invasive, mechanical or inorganic intervention – the opposite of Western medicine techniques and drug treatment.
Increasing your chance of conception
In acupuncture for fertility, conception is best facilitated by treating both the male and the female; rarely do issues exist with only one party. A TCM acupuncture practitioner will diagnose the root cause and imbalance(s) that may be interfering with natural healthy body functions. A patient may come to us with a specific gynaecological diagnosis such as endometriosis or PCOS or poor sperm morphology, for example, or without any conclusive diagnosis such as “unexplained infertility”, but in TCM, because all complex and intricate systems are considered, a good practitioner will still be able to identify hindrances and dysfunctions through a variety of traditional diagnostic techniques even though these problems may not be manifest obvious signs/symptoms from a Western medical point of view. With treatment, super-fine sterile needles are used to penetrate the skin at specific therapeutic points along meridians (channels) that form an interrelated network within the body; this is Acupuncture. These points are linked to a particular organ system that controls the functions of the entire body, and the most important organs systems for the treatment of fertility, gynae, andrology and obstetrics are the Kidney, Spleen, Liver and Heart: controlling ovarian health, semen production, generating nutrients and regulating smooth Qi and Blood flow to name a just a few key responsibilities. In Chinese medicine, difficulties in conception are so often due to several causes unrecognised by western medicine. Examples of TCM diagnoses include invasion of Cold in the Uterus, deficient Kidney Yin energy, Yang energy or Jing Essence, Qi and Blood stagnation and stress and poor diet adversely affecting the Spleen Qi energy. These terms are unique to Chinese medicine, not only because of the different perspective of how the body works, but also because no other medical approach delves deep enough to understand nor address the underlying root causes of disease. It may be for this reason why Acupuncture and TCM seem to be able to provide the solution to infertility because of their focus within areas that Western Medicine cannot and does not identify. Once these deep-rooted systems are functioning optimally, all the corresponding and resulting functions, such as hormonal function or adverse inflammatory factors that lead to various gynaecological diseases, will then correct themselves; and without the need for synthetic drugs or invasive medical intervention.
Ultimately, the TCM treatment approach brings the body back to a state of perfect health, that is, ‘perfect’ as in by original natural design or the way the body was ‘meant’ to function. Acupuncture will improve ovarian and follicular function, thicken the endometrium layer, stabilise hormone levels in women, and increase sperm production, sperm quality and sperm quantity in men, amongst many other foundational factors involved in bringing about a healthy conception.
Staying Pregnant, Preparing for Labour and Post-natal Recovery
By keeping the body in a state of balance and regulating Qi and Blood flow, TCM is especially beneficial during pregnancy. The first 14 weeks of pregnancy are the most vulnerable as it’s reliant on the mother’s vital energy and nutritious Blood as well as smooth, regulated Blood flow to the uterus to reduce the risk of miscarriage (particularly in cases of habitual miscarriage though a more thorough assessment would be required in such cases to ensure this does not recur). Stomach Qi is regulated to soothe morning sickness and can benefit even the extreme pregnancy-associated nausea and vomiting known as hyperemesis. Later in the pregnancy, we address other structurally-related issues such as SPD (symphysis pubis disorder), carpal tunnel syndrome, and functional problems such as heartburn and digestive/bowel issues. At around 36/37 weeks, we start to prepare for labour, calming anxiety in the mother and relaxing the sinews and tendons for a smooth birth with reduced labour pains. If your baby is overdue, Acupuncture’s gentle yet powerful Qi stimulatory effects can naturally induce labour, reducing the need for induction medications.
Post-natally, the emphasis is on the care of the mother. Due to Qi exhaustion and Blood loss during labour, she will require tonification treatment to recuperate strength and endurance in her first few weeks after delivery. Similarly, if the baby is born via C-section, we use Acupuncture to increase the speed of energetic recovery, reducing inflammation and speeding up healing. All of this, in turn, reduces the risk of subsequent illnesses and post-natal diseases such as depression and insufficient breast lactation (two postnatal conditions that can be also be successfully treated with TCM). The benefits and contributions that Acupuncture and TCM have to bring about a healthy, happy baby and comfort and recovery post-natal are quite endless. The approach depends on the individual patient’s needs. Ultimately, providing this long-term health solution means that when the mother is ready to conceive again, she can do so without hindrance.
From Infertile to Fertile – the Long Term Solution
In Western medicine, illness is very much identified and managed in isolation from the rest of the body. In Acupuncture and TCM, the individual is the focus for treatment, not the disease; and the depth at which assessment is conducted on the whole body is like no other medical approach. In fact, the diagnosis of “infertility” is actually very rare and pertains mainly to structural issues (removal of fallopian tubes, adversely-shaped uterus etc.). If a woman has all her reproductive organs structurally intact, and a man produces semen, I believe they cannot be infertile! The answer to their fertility struggles is finding out what the underlying causes are to the hindrances making conception or staying pregnant difficult, and treating them as organically as possible so the body responds as best possible.
Furthermore, if I asked you what your dream family looked like, would you say it consisted of only one child? My goal is to give you a long-term solution to your fertility problems. Medical intervention such as ovulation drugs or IVF can bypass many of the structural or hormonal problems that you may be experiencing, but what about these problems in how important they are in maintaining a healthy pregnancy? And what if you wanted another baby? Will you go through it all again? With the poor success rates that IVF currently offers, and the adverse side-effects that many women experience, wouldn’t you rather opt for the solution that treats your unique problems naturally, holistically and for the long-term so you can have more naturally-conceived babies?
Whilst we never undermine nor disregard Western medical science and its technological advancements in the practice of modern medicine, fertility is one area the needs a comprehensive assessment to address root causes based on unique patterns of dysfunction that are specific to the individual, even if the manifesting symptoms or disease may be the same. Unfortunately, it’s not something modern medicine identifies with nor can it treat effectively even with synthetic medication. Acupuncture and TCM is a school of medicine that can identify and successfully treat fertility issues naturally, problems that so many Mums and Dads-to-be experience in their quest for their dream family.