Question: When I came to Pulling Down the Moon my acupuncturist recommended acupuncture
and herbs to treat blood and qi deficiency. When I went to my RE’s
office they ran a Doppler test on my uterine arteries and said my blood
flow is fine. Do I even need acupuncture?
Answer: This is one of those great questions that help us illustrate the difference
in approach between Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western medicine.
Blood, called “xue” in TCM is in some ways the same as blood
in Western Medicine. In both systems blood is the red fluid in our veins
and arteries. However, TCM takes the function of blood further to include
the nourishment it provides to the body. Blood in TCM is what keeps our
skin and hair moistened and it is imperative for optimal fertility because
it nourishes the uterine lining, creating a thick plush surface where
the embryo can attach. When a pregnancy occurs the embryo also receives
its nourishment from blood aiding its growth and development into a fetus.
Women lose blood each month during their menses and TCM states that if
the body is deficient and unable to replenish and nourish the body adequately
women may experience things like amenorrhea, scanty menses, a thin uterine
lining, or recurrent miscarriage. Conditions including physical and emotional
stress, poor diet and lack of sleep are all things TCM teaches deplete
blood. It is also possible for a woman (or man) to have blood stagnation
or stasis which can manifest as painful periods (cramps); heat in the
blood may cause rashes or red acne on the skin.
So, for your TCM practitioner, a Doppler test showing adequate uterine
blood flow is just part of the equation. The
quality of the blood is the rest of the story. Remember, from the TCM perspective
blood nourishes all body tissues, including uterine lining, developing
eggs and sperm. Put another way, if you are trying to grow grapes you
could fill a garden bed with sand instead of soil and still provide a
thick layer of dirt for your seeds. The sand, though, would not have the
necessary nutrition to nourish the crops into ripe, juicy grapes. This
is why your practitioner would still recommend acupuncture and herbal
treatment to a woman presenting with blood deficiency EVEN IF she had
great uterine blood flow and a good uterine lining. It’s the old
adage of quality not just quantity.
Blood deficiency in TCM responds well with acupuncture, herbs and a diet
higher in protein and iron. If you are experiencing any of the fertility
blood deficiency symptoms listed above (scanty menses, amenorrhea, thin
uterine lining, and recurrent miscarriage) or other non-gynecological
symptoms (dry skin, dry hair, brittle nails, dry eyes) you might want
to explore acupuncture with an experienced practitioner to support your
medical fertility treatment.
If you are interested in learning more about this perspective, click here
to book your consult with a Pulling Down the Moon practitioner.