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  • NEW PCOS Program Integrates Holistic Methods for Fertility

    Affecting 1 in 10 women in theU.S.and the leading cause of female infertility today, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) can cause much frustration and difficulty for women who are suffering from it and trying to conceive.  A disorder of the endocrine system that causes irregular or infrequent menstrual periods, PCOS is also associated with a lack of regular ovulation, high levels of androgenic or male hormones, polycystic ovaries, insulin-resistance and weight gain.  Pulling Down the Moon’s new PCOS program integrates acupuncture, nutrition, massage and yoga to help clients who are dealing with this disorder.

    Acupuncture/Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

    Acupuncture is extremely effective in regulating hormone levels in the body, and this is quite helpful when treating a patient who has been diagnosed with PCOS and is trying to conceive.

    By balancing the body’s hormone levels, acupuncture has been shown to make periods more regular and help ovulation. If weight is an issue, acupuncture can also support the PCOS patient by helping with weight loss. It does this through its ability to balance hormones, curb appetite and reduce stress.

    Using Chinese herbs is also an effective adjunct to the acupuncture treatments for PCOS. If you’re not undergoing assisted reproduction, or taking “time off” from medicated cycles, there are specific Chinese herbs that can reduce masses in the low abdomen, e.g. ovarian cysts. At Pulling Down the Moon, your practitioner may give you a formula specifically tailored to your TCM diagnosis. We do not advocate taking herbs during medicated fertility cycles.

    The frequency and duration of your acupuncture/herbal therapy at Pulling Down the Moon is determined at the initial treatment and based on a number of factors. In developing a treatment plan we take into account the severity of the PCOS, your constitutional level, and whether or not you’re undergoing a medicated fertility treatment cycle.


    When it comes to nutrition and healthy eating, there are basic principles that apply to most women with PCOS, but we must honor the differences between individuals and the various types of PCOS.

    When you come in for your nutrition appointment at Pulling Down the Moon, you will receive personalized nutrition recommendations that cover both your diet as well as supplements based on your unique situation. You will receive a binder with fertility nutrition guidelines, a sample meal plan, and our Fertility Go, Whoa and No foods. In addition, we’ll work on incorporating foods that aid in healing your specific type of PCOS from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective. Your nutritionist will give you a packet of recipes that includes foods that are specifically therapeutic for your type of PCOS. For example, we work on incorporating foods that through TCM are thought to decrease and shrink cysts, while minimizing foods that may exacerbate cysts. We truly merge science and traditional wisdom to maximize your ability to manage your PCOS and improve your chance of conception.


    The PCOS Massage offers you a unique massage session that integrates Eastern and Western bodywork. Techniques have been chosen to alleviate your specific PCOS symptoms and to promote healing, harmony and balance. For example, vibrational therapy helps restore depleted energy and reduces stress. Circulatory massage improves pelvic health and may encourage the menstrual cycle. Abdominal massage soothes and decreases pain, promotes organ and fluid movement and releases stagnation, which may help with cysts. Friction, stretches and joint mobilizations encourage pelvic blood flow and improve range of motion in the hips and pelvis.  Acupressure and essential oils are incorporated to help balance hormones and specifically treat your type of PCOS.

    The PCOS Massage is safe to receive throughout your cycle whether you are taking time off or trying to conceive naturally or assisted. Sessions are approximately 75 minutes with 60 minutes of massage and an additional 10-15 minutes to discuss your specific symptoms and provide self-care suggestions. Your massage therapist will work with you to determine a treatment plan that will provide the most benefits and meet your specific needs.


    Yoga has shown amazing results in women suffering from PCOS and related infertility. Yoga can help counteract PCOS symptoms by the practice of specific asanas (poses) that improve blood circulation to the ovaries and help with weight loss.

    Additionally, yoga for PCOS works at a much more subtle level, deeper than just the physical body. Your Pulling Down the Moon yoga instructor will help you release deeply stored stress in the system by combining yoga poses with pranayama and meditation. Pranayamas are powerful breathing techniques that help lower cortisol levels, relaxing the body and mind. Meditation helps in reducing stress, anxiety and boosts your immune system and body functionality.

    Private yoga sessions for PCOS are available with one of Pulling Down the Moon’s certified yoga instructors. Your yoga instructor will guide you through the best poses for your specific needs and help you in understanding why they are important for your health and fertility.

    If you have been diagnosed with PCOS or suspect you are suffering from this disorder and would like to learn more about the PCOS treatments offered by Pulling Down the Moon – Chicago, please contact us at 312.321.0004.  We are happy to discuss your symptoms and develop a treatment plan that would fit your needs.  At this time, Pulling Down the Moon – Rockville, is not offering a PCOS Passport.  However, if you are interested in getting treatment for PCOS, this location offers PCOS massage and Firstline Therapy for Fertility (FLTF) Nutrition Consultations with a focus on PCOS.  To discuss treatment options for PCOS at Pulling Down the Moon – Rockville, please contact us at 301.610.7755.

  • Pam’s Blog – Acupuncture and the Relationship between FSH and Ovarian Reserve

    What’s the relationship between FSH and Ovarian Reserve?

    Some women find it  difficult to understand why FSH levels go up in women with poor quality eggs or a diminished ovarian reserve. Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is produced by the pituitary gland.  This is the hormone that is responsible for the growth of the egg within the ovaries each month.  In younger women who usually have a large reserve of good quality eggs, small amounts of FSH are sufficient to stimulate egg growth.  As women age and egg quality and quantity decline, the pituitary gland needs to produce more FSH in order to stimulate egg growth.  Simply put, the fewer eggs a woman has remaining in her reserve, the more FSH is needed to accomplish stimulation and growth.  Thus, in women whose ovarian reserve has declined, FSH levels are high.

    How can Acupuncture help?

    For patients with poor ovarian reserve, the aim of Traditional Chinese Medicine is to improve blood flow to the ovaries thereby increasing receptivity to stimulation by the pituitary gland, thus lowering FSH.  It is uncommon for my patients to have FSH levels that do not go down with a course of acupuncture and herbal treatment.  A study on the effects of acupuncture on ovarian reserve by Dr. Paul Magerelli found that women who have poor ovarian reserve and elevated FSH who combine  acupuncture treatment with their IVF cycle can expect about the same chance of success as women with normal ovarian reserve and FSH levels who undergo IVF without acupuncture.  According to the research of Dr. Magerelli, “the use of  acupuncture in patients with poor prognosis(elevated Peak FSH, longer history of infertility, poor ovarian reserve and poor sperm morphology) can achieve similar pregnancy rates to normal prognosis patients”.

    If you have been diagnosed with poor ovarian reserve, advanced maternal age, elevated FSH or premature ovarian failure, or if you have had to cancel an IVF cycle due to poor response to stimulation, acupuncture and Chinese Medicine may offer a safe, natural, and effective solution to help you conceive.

    Pamela Policastro, MSOM,Dipl.OM, L.Ac

    Source: Paul C. Magarelli, M.D., Diane K. Cridennda, L.Ac., Mel Cohen, Ph.D.,  Changes in serum cortisol and prolactin associated with acupuncture during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in women undergoing in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer treatment,  Fertility and Sterility, Volume 92, Issue 6, December 2009, Pages 1870-1879,

  • Anna’s News: Preventing Gestational Diabetes with Complimentary Medicine

    As some of you may already know, my husband and I are expecting our 2 nd child’s arrival this April.  I had developed gestational diabetes (GD) during my first pregnancy and was scared to death that I would have the same complication this time, as the chances of acquiring GD again becomes greater.  Thankfully I was able to prevent it from happening again.  Perhaps it is purely a simple fact that each pregnancy truly is individual and completely different, but I strongly believe that the following things helped make me stronger and less stressed, which resulted in my passing the 3 hour glucose tolerance test (GTT).  Acupuncture, herbal therapy, meditation, nutrition, and exercise all had a cumulative effect on my well being for a healthier pregnancy.

    Acupuncture is extremely effective at boosting the body’s metabolism and decreasing stress.  There are specific acupuncture points that research has shown to help the body enhance its ability to absorb the sugar from the blood.* I received acupuncture about three times a week throughout my pregnancy (at least till the GTT).  There are a number of herbs which also help boost metabolism to treat diabetes, even gestational diabetes.  The exact herbal formula I put together was specific to my Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis, as there are a number of different causes or reasons for developing GD.  Nutrition played a big role in my journey to a healthier pregnancy as well.  Since having had GD once before, I learned a great deal about following a low carbohydrate diet.  From the beginning of this pregnancy I mostly followed that same low carb diet.  Taking a probiotic is another important factor, as probiotics may improve the absorption and assimilation of, not only the food we eat, but also the supplements/herbs we consume.**  Exercise was also part of my strengthening process, for I was/am running around after and lifting a one and a half year old.  I even added 30-40 minutes of walking or recumbent bike but only once a week, which is better than what I did in my first pregnancy – nothing.  Moderate to light exercise helps your muscles absorb glucose, which lowers blood sugar levels.  Meditation, along with my cheery wonderful daughter, helped to reduce my stress, making this pregnancy much different than the first. I also listened to the guided imagery meditation CD, Rod Stryker’s “Relax Into Greatness”, on a semi-regular basis.  Utilizing all of these methodologies together helped strengthen my body and calm my mind, making my second pregnancy a much healthier more pleasant experience – free from gestational diabetes!  If you have any questions or wish to make an acupuncture appointment you can email us or call our office.

    Anna Pyne LAc, MSOM, FABORM

    *Enhanced insulin sensitivity using electroacupuncture on bilateral Zusanli,

    **Microbiome: That Healthy Gut Feeling,

  • Reiki for Fertility: An Introduction

    Reiki is a Japanese form of complementary healing that has been around for over 100 years and can make a difference for women facing infertility. Reiki works to increase the flow of ‘chi’ or vital life-force energy streaming through the energetic pathways in the body. Optimal flow of chi maximizes the functioning of the organs – including the reproductive organs for both women and men. Reiki helps provide an energetically fertile site for a new life to be conceived by balancing the mental, physical and emotional self. As anxiety and negative emotions build before, during and after fertility cycles, Reiki is useful in decreasing stress levels and therefore, allowing for greater relaxation which makes conditions more optimal for conception.

    How does Reiki work? Reiki connects to the spiritual element within us, our life-force energy, and is administered by the Reiki practitioner laying hands in different positions on the body (head, shoulders, stomach, arms, legs, feet and chakras).  As the Reiki energy begins to flow, it brings a deep relaxation and sense of calm over the body and mind. It is a gentle non-invasive treatment that is safe anytime during your fertility cycle, pregnancy or, post-partem.

    Meena Wehrs, Reiki Practitioner