It’s that time of year again, when amidst the tinsel and egg nog, I encourage you to create moments that add up to the YOU that you know– and may be missing. Here’s how…
1. BE GOOD TO YOU
The holidays are a time of giving. It seems simple, yet it can be surprisingly difficult to give to ourselves when the gifts under the Christmas tree are designated for everyone else. Take a minimum of 10 minutes daily to do something kind for yourself. Take a walk. Dance. Soak in a bubble bath. Buy yourself a treat. Put a gift under the Christmas tree labelled To: Me. Do something that makes you connect to your heart and to yourself. Every. Day.
2. TAKE A MOMENT TO REFLECT
Why wait to reflect on those New Year’s resolutions? Ask yourself now– “How am I doing?” and “What do I need to get through the holidays this year?” Take an emotional barometer reading often, and don’t be afraid to change course depending on what answers you discover along the way.
3. FIND YOUR KRYPTONITE
What makes you feel powerful? Brave? Strong? Holiday stress offers many opportunities to draw upon your own personal power source. That fire within that makes you feel like the bad-ass you are. Own your kryptonite and use it as needed.
4. REHEARSE YOUR SCRIPT
With your holiday calendar full of social events, you may be confronted with those uncomfortable or inappropriate “kids” questions. These questions may not be something that you want to discuss over Chanukah latkes, so practice what you want to say. If you feel comfortable with the person asking, you may receive support by sharing a little about what is going on. However, it is possible that your great Aunt or husband’s colleague will corner you at the party. In these cases, you can deflect and say, “Great question!” or “We’ll make sure to keep you posted.” And move onto the next topic. You can also be more direct and say, “I’ll let you know if I want to talk about having kids.” Or “We’ve got this. No need to discuss.” Feel free to excuse yourself from the conversation, or make it an early night if you are better off being cozy in your bed at home.
5. SEEK LOVE
Plan a date night or a special trip just for you and your partner. Create new holiday rituals with your family or friends. Cuddle with your dog. Tell your best friends that you need a girls’ night out. You will feel a whole lot better finding strength in the connections that nourish your spirit right now.
6. SAY “NO”
There is a tendency to over-schedule during the holidays. Remember that your time is valuable. And your well-being is even more valuable. I encourage you to decline invitations to holiday celebrations that may be too stressful—especially if there will be a lot of children or pregnant women. Be mindful of engaging in activities that re-charge you—and saying “No” to those that don’t.
7. WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL…LIKE YOU??
It may seem like an odd question. But, I have found that infertility is one of those things that can make you lose track of what makes you feel most like yourself. With so many rules about taking medications, having sex and exercising, many people just plain don’t feel like themselves. Ask yourself what you can do this holiday season that will help you connect with something important about who you are or that will make the holidays feel special. Even if you can’t do it fully (ie: travel abroad or hop on that SoulCycle bike), maybe you can incorporate a different version into your life (ie: plan a weekend getaway or do a yoga class).
8. FEEL YOUR FEELINGS WITHOUT JUDGMENT
Perhaps this year you give yourself a Free Pass to not rejoice or be in the holiday spirit, if that is not how you are feeling. Remind yourself that the infertility landscape is a complicated buffet of sadness, worry, disappointment, hope, hopelessness–and everything in between–even during the holidays. You are already working so hard. Accept what you are feeling rather than adding more struggle to the mix.
9. TAKE A BREAK
Give yourself a break–a real break. Not the kind where you are in a spin class running through your To Do List. Maybe skip the gym. Take time alone. Chill out in front of a funny TV show. Read that book that’s been sitting on your dresser for a year. Some people even choose to give themselves a break from infertility treatments during the holidays. You may find it has never felt so good to do nothing for awhile.
Even though the holidays pose a unique set of challenges, try to count your blessings. Express appreciation to family and friends who have loved and supported you through the high’s and the low’s. And back to “#1 BE GOOD TO YOU”–The holidays are exactly the right time to express gratitude toward yourself. For all that you have faced head-on this year. For being a positive influence in someone else’s life. For things big and small that you do every day. Take a moment to give yourself the holiday gift of gratitude.
By Diana Zic
As I write this, it’s the start of the holiday season. Some would say it’s the most wonderful time of the year and I would agree, except for the encouragement to do everything in excess. It starts with early commercials from car dealerships and jewelry stores, leading people to believe it’s necessary to buy extravagant gifts, in order to have a joyous holiday (I’m still waiting for my Lexus with a red bow). Then come the food and liquor companies’ ads, promoting their views on how holiday cheer should look and feel. Generally, that picture looks like a cocktail in hand, and a huge table of food nearby, to accompany it. Before I go any further, I want to state that I’m not trying to be the Grinch who stole Christmas, but I find that now, more than at other times of the year, drinking becomes much more prevalent, and acceptable. For example, I received a text from my neighbor: “Feel free to swing by for a glass of wine! We’re drinking all day!” If you’re curious, I didn’t go, as that certainly didn’t sound like a “glass of wine” type of invitation.
In the “pre-pregnant” stage of life, it’s hard to say no when you’re not yet pregnant. Or, you may be in the two-week wait, and don’t want to disclose to your grandmother that you may be pregnant soon. If you are new to pre-pregnant terminology, as referred to in the book, “ It Starts with the Egg ,” this means “protecting your eggs the way you would protect a growing baby if you were pregnant.” So, what’s a hopeful mom to do?
Let’s start with what moderate, and excessive drinking looks like. According to the Centers for Disease Control [CDC] , moderate drinking is defined as up to one drink per day for women, and up to two drinks per day, for men. Excessive, or heavy drinking, is defined as eight drinks or more per week for women, and 15 drinks or more per week, for men. The CDC also recommends that women who are, or may be pregnant, not drink alcohol at all. Oddly, there is no mention that men should not drink while trying to father a child, even though studies indicate that alcohol consumption decreases sperm count, sperm motility, and fertilization rates. Not to mention the oxidative stress alcohol causes throughout the body.
And of course there’s the issue of size, in our oversized culture. If you’re like the pre-research me, you may not have a clear understanding of what one drink actually looked like , because the glass typically given at a restaurant or bar is huge, so let me describe. A standard drink is defined as12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol content); 8 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content); 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol content); or 1.5 ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey). Now that we understand what moderate and excessive drinking looks like, and what a drink size actually looks like, I was curious if it was okay to have drinks in moderation on my pre-pregnant journey. What I found was quite clear to me. See what you think about these five different studies:
- First up, during an 18-year period, 252 women underwent infertility examinations and what it revealed was high alcohol consumption increased risk of infertility and fewer first and second trimester pregnancies in those women compared to moderate or low consumers of alcohol.
- Next up was a bit different, it’s a study done with 430 Danish couples trying to conceive for the first time. They found that women consuming five or fewer drinks per week led to decreased fecundability. That would mean moderate drinking would not be recommended, although they do say further corroboration is needed.
- Another study done in Denmark, was conducted to determine if alcohol use is a predictor for infertility. It’s finding was interesting as researchers found more problems among women in the later reproductive age group above 30 years of age who were drinking seven or more drinks per week.
- This study researched whether alcohol consumption affects female fecundability. It indicated that “consumption of 14 or more servings of alcohol a week was slightly associated with reduced fecundability, but consumption of lower amounts seemed to have no discernible effect on fertility. Nonetheless, because the fetus may be particularly vulnerable to alcohol during the first few weeks after conception, it would seem prudent for women who are actively trying to become pregnant to abstain from alcohol during their fertile window until a pregnancy has been ruled out.”
- Last but not least, there’s data indicating that alcohol has a negative effect on IVF success rates . This study determined that as few as four alcoholic drinks per week are associated with a decrease in IVF live birth rate.
In my personal research on hormonal health, and its connection with the gut, I’ve found that alcohol is an inflammation-causing agent . This means that alcohol can inflame the intestinal track, and hinder nutrients from being absorbed properly. So, if you’re trying to conceive it may be best not to interrupt this process whenever possibly, as being deficient in nutrients can negatively impact upon pregnancy, and pregnancy potential.
After researching the issue, it’s become quite clear to me that steering clear of excessive drinking is important while trying to conceive, whether it’s with assisted reproductive treatment or not, and of course, giving it up while pregnant. Unfortunately, because of the social pressures of the holiday season, avoiding it may be more difficult.
So here’s my trick. It works every time! Have sparkling water in a glass with a lemon or lime wedge. Most people will think you’re drinking a cocktail.
I wish you the best of luck on your journey, and happy holidays!
Diana Zic is a Health and Wellness Coach specializing in fertility health, Yoga Instructor (RYT) and Prenatal Yoga Instructor (RPYT) in Chicago, Illinois. Struggling to start her own family, she has devoted herself to learning how our lifestyles can affect our fertility health. She has made it her mission to help individuals with fertility challenges get balanced in their bodies so they can be in the most healthful place while trying to conceive.
by Margaret Eich, MS, RDN
As we transition into 2018, it’s so tempting to make New Year’s resolutions that are sweeping and very non-specific, such as “I’m going to eat healthier” or “lose weight” or “be more organized.” Ultimately, these resolutions are well intentioned, but often we focus on overly lofty goals that are difficult to continue beyond a few months, and we are left feeling demoralized and disappointed that we weren’t able to stick to our resolution.
One way to get around this, in my opinion, is to think about our intentions for the New Year and then get really specific about the behaviors we need to implement to get there. For example, if your intention is to improve your diet to maximize fertility, then it’s important to look at your diet and decide what areas need improvement. Do I need to reduce my sugar intake? Increase my intake of vegetables in order to increase my nutrient/fiber/antioxidant intake? Eat more home cooked meals instead of eating out so frequently? Once you’ve decided the habits that need improvement, then it’s important to choose small, specific, and very doable changes that you feel you can make for the long-term. For example, if you decide to focus on increasing your vegetable intake, first assess your current vegetable intake. If you do that and find you’re eating about 1-2 servings of vegetables per day, the next logical step may be to set a goal of eating at least 3 servings of vegetables per day (1 serving = 1/2 cup) instead of jumping right to 5 servings per day, which may prove to be quite challenging. Then decide how you’re going to achieve that. Strategies you might find helpful include adding vegetables to smoothies, eggs, soups, and chili. Roast a large batch of vegetables every Sunday to eat for the first part of the week. Check out this previous blog post about ways to eat more greens. Once eating 3 servings per day becomes a habit, you can always increase to 4-5 servings per day.
The most important thing for your goal setting to help propel you forward and build your confidence instead of get discouraged, which is what can happen when we overcommit ourselves to too many goals and goals that are too difficult to fit into our already busy lives. Tiny Habits is a great a resource when you’re thinking about habit change for 2018 or anytime of the year.
Cathy McCauley, LMT
As 2017 comes to a close, you may be writing and sharing resolutions for 2018 or imagining what’s in store for the new year. This passing of time may give you pause to reflect and look forward to letting go of some things and creating space for others.
The coming of the new year also brings the opportunity to renew your commitment to your health, and we would want nothing more than for you to turn to Pulling Down the Moon for support.
It’s no secret that keeping resolutions can be difficult. Instead, a cleansing ritual can be the perfect way to commit to your health without the pressure and stress of maintaining a resolution. Some cleansing rituals may involve quiet reflection or meditation, conscious breathing, gratitude, writing, burning sage or reciting health-focused mantras or affirmations. Another ritual could be receiving a massage like the Cleanse the Body or Detox session at Pulling Down the Moon.
This amazing massage triggers your body’s detoxification response through the use of therapeutic-grade essential oils and light-touch lymphatic massage. It is safe for anyone who is currently not in an ART medicated cycle and provides an array of benefits. The session can help to bring the body back into hormonal balance, reduce stress and anxiety, aid the body in detoxing, improve immune function and increase feelings of emotional well-being. Clients who receive this massage often comment on how relaxed and lifted they feel after it is over.
Turn this massage into a cleansing ritual by taking some easy steps. In the days before the massage session, carve out some time to focus on your health. Perhaps spend some time in meditation, yoga or actively breathing. Next, write down anything that came up for you as you were quietly focused. Maybe it’s a goal of letting go, starting new or inviting in. Maybe a vision came to mind or a prayer, mantra or intention. Then say thank you. Gratitude will shift your perspective from what is lacking to the abundance that exists.
When you come to Pulling Down the Moon to receive your Cleanse the Body session, do so with an open heart. Be willing to let go of what is not serving your optimum health. Visualize the joy of starting something new. Imagine your body releasing toxicity, rebalancing hormonally and refreshing emotionally.
After your massage session, be gentle with yourself. Nourish your body by drinking plenty of clean, fresh water and eating food that supports your system. Rest and relax. Offer yourself gratitude. And revel in the beauty of starting a healthful new year!
Cathy McCauley, LMT, practices the Fertility Enhancing Massage protocol as well as prenatal, postpartum and therapeutic massage at Pulling Down the Moon. She started her work as a fertility massage therapist in 2011 and soon found her passion for rubbing bellies! Having dealt with a PCOS diagnosis and receiving holistic treatments to manage it, she supports and encourages clients struggling with reproductive health issues while providing them with specialized massages for wherever they were on their journey.
After taking some time away in 2014, Cathy recently returned to the Moon with a renewed spirit and connection to fertility massage. Her love for the work is rooted in her trust in the feminine spirit that ties us all together. She deeply believes in Pulling Down the Moon’s mission of providing holistic care for fertility, pregnancy and family health, and she has immense gratitude for the company, its owners, directors, practitioners and staff.
It’s officially cold in Chicago, dry in our homes, and time to get down to the business of hydrating our way into a new year! Whatever your goals are, make sure you hydrate. If you are frequently cold and dry, it will warm and moisten you. If you have heat, it will clear it out, via sweat and urine. Remember, blood is mostly water. So to keep the blood moving, and warming those toes, drink water, eat a piece of fresh fruit or veggie. Drink broth, eat soup, sit by a fire, and hydrate! If you are actively warming up by having a cocktail, enjoy it and rehydrate between drinks.
Winter is as yin as it gets. Build your most yin substances—blood and water, and remember to hydrate!
Have a wonderful season,
Kelly Lyons, L.Ac., MSOM
Pulling Down the Moon
Meet Our Co-owner and Yoga Instructor, Beth Heller:
Favorite Pose: “No Hands” Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
“This pose is deceptively simple looking and may not look like a fertility pose at first glance, but it really helps students understand the sensation of pelvic alignment while stretching hamstrings, low back, quadratus lumborum, and oblique abdominal muscles. The key to the pose is a) not worrying whether the leg that is on the wall is straight, b) leveling the hip bones and c) extending upward from the waist to allow the hips to level. You know good things are happening when you start to learn how to drop the hip of the raised leg level with that of the standing leg while extending arms even higher. It’s possible to feel your oblique abdominal muscles (and sometimes the entire body) shaking while working on this “simple” pose and the feeling you get when you release is euphoric!”
Instructions: Stand a leg’s length away from the wall, ground through the standing leg and make sure the toes of the standing foot are pointing straight to the wall. Place the sole of the opposite foot on the wall, both knees softly bent at first, and the begin to straighten both legs to the best of your ability. Reach arms high. Focus on dropping the “hip point” of the raised leg even with that of the standing leg. Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes and switch sides.
Benefits: I love this pose because it’s a hip opener that also releases tension in the low back and pelvis. And, when you release the pose, there’s a definite “mood elevating” rush!
Meet Yoga for Fertility and Prenatal Yoga Instructor, Diana Zic:
Favorite Pose and Benefits : Tree Pose (or Vrikshasana)
“It helps to bring balance in my body when the world around me feel out of control. It strengthens the feet, ankles, legs, hips, abdomen and arms. Also, gives a nice stretch to the groin area. It’s great to bring focus and patience in the present moment. Also, encourages downward and outward energy (apana) in body.”
Meet Yoga Team Leader and Highland Park Yoga Instructor, Cassie Harrison:
Favorite Pose: Modified Half Moon Ardha Chandrasana
“When my students are in this pose or any standing pose for that matter, I ask them to focus all their attention on what they are feeling and doing in their physical body. To feel the muscles work and the sturdiness of their bone structure. If they are tight, begin to feel the release in the body. This pose is warm up for side angle and triangle poses.”
Instructions: Start in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Ground the feet and feel the legs strengthen. Lift both arms up towards the sky with an inhale, gaze to follow. Be careful to extend from the shoulders and lengthen the spin, but not to create tension in the shoulders and neck. Grasp wrist with opposite hand and arch to opposite side of the held wrist (I.e. Grasp right wrist with left hand and reach over the head to the left, arching the right side). Gently use the hand that is grasping the wrist to gently stretch and guide the arm up over the head. Lift out of the pelvis and lengthen through the side body, through the hips and down to the outside edge of the foot. Breath into the side body allowing an opening, lengthening & warming. Inhale reach, exhale arch. Try to keep body in one plane, keeping shoulders, elbows, arms in line with the body. Pelvis down is steady, unmoving.
Benefits: Standing poses provide grounding, help us feel confident, stretch the hips and groin muscles as well as strengthen our leg muscles. Excellent when feeling off-balance, out of sync with life.
Meet Prenatal Yoga Instructor, Kellie Greene:
Favorite Pose and Benefits : Tree Pose (or Vrikshasana)
“The pose is strengthening, balancing, and allows you to feel grounded. Adding tree pose to your practice can also strengthen and stimulate bone cells to make stronger bones. Practice with your toes on the ground or a block to start and build to your heel at your pelvic floor.”
Meet Yoga for Fertility Instructor, Alison Lautz:
Favorite Pose and Benefits: “My favorite yoga pose is Dancer’s pose (Natarajasana- Sankrit name). We all need balance in our life and Dancer’s pose is the perfect pose to weave more balance in. When you are fully concentrated on this pose and its proper alignment, you will find that all other concerns in the world seem to dissolve, because you’re in that focused state of mind. This is an opportunity to cultivate an ability to shift out of the multi-tasking mentality the world seems to demand and move into this essential, centralized energy and space. This spine strengthener has many great benefits. It tones and lengthens the entire leg and hip muscles. Dancer’s pose opens the chest and ribcage for your lungs to create more space for your breath. It also stretches shoulders and biceps; and most importantly, this pose improves balance and concentration.
Instructions: Starting from Tadasana (Mountain pose), release your right elbow to your right hip. The elbow crease faces outward and the palm faces up. Bend the right knee and grab the inside of the right foot with all five fingers of your right hand.Find balance by bringing your knees to touch and find your drishti, your point of focus.With every inhale, lengthen through the spine and all the way through your left fingertips. And with every exhale, slowly begin to kick your right foot into your right hand. Naturally, your torso will lower down and your left hand reaches out in front of you. Remember, to keep your hips leveled. So even kicking, even stretching.Hold this pose for at least five breaths, then repeat on the other side.”
We often discuss the importance of choosing organic fruits and vegetables when possible to minimize pesticide exposure with the idea that pesticide exposure may negatively impact fertility and a developing baby. Animal studies have shown that ingestion of pesticides reduces litter size. Until now the studies in humans were limited to studies of women with occupational pesticide exposure or those who lived in or near agricultural areas. In these studies, pesticide exposure was linked to increased risk for infertility and adverse pregnancy outcomes. A new study published in October 2017 looked specifically at women going through fertility treatments to determine the impact of pesticide exposure from dietary fruits and vegetables on pregnancy and live birth rates.
A group of 325 women underwent 541 ART (assisted reproductive technology) cycles. Prior to initiation of fertility treatment, the women filled out a food frequency questionnaire to assess their intake of specific fruits and vegetables. Each fruit and vegetable was assigned a scored based on the pesticide residues from US Department of Agriculture data. Intake of organic versus conventional fruits and vegetables was also assessed.
Here were the results. Total fruit and vegetable intake was unrelated to probability of implantation, clinical pregnancy, or live birth. Women with highest intakes of high pesticide residue fruits and vegetables (≥ 2.3 servings/day) had an 18% lower likelihood of clinical pregnancy and 26% lower likelihood of live birth compared to women with the lowest intakes of high pesticide fruits and vegetables (<1 serving per day). High pesticide residue fruit and vegetable intake was also associated with increased risk of pregnancy loss. Higher intakes of low pesticide residue fruits and vegetables intake were associated with lower risk for early pregnancy loss. The authors then used a model to estimate the impact of replacing high pesticide fruits and vegetables with low pesticide fruits and vegetables. Based on this model, replacing 1 serving per day of high pesticide fruits and vegetables with 1 serving of low pesticide fruits and vegetables would result in a 79% higher odds of clinical pregnancy and 88% higher odds of live birth. The possible mechanisms for the effect of pesticide exposure of pregnancy and live birth rates include the possibility that pesticide exposure may cause placental dysfunction induced by oxidative stress, and/or may cause decreased cell division, cell death, and/or impaired implantation.
The bottom line is, according to these results, higher intake of pesticides from fruits and vegetables may reduce the likelihood of having a live birth when undergoing fertility treatment. Taking steps to reduce your pesticide exposure from fruits and vegetables in your diet is a helpful step to optimizing your chances of success and a healthy pregnancy. How can you reduce your pesticide exposure from fruits and vegetables? Choose organic when possible. When you’re choosing which fruits and vegetables to buy organic, the Dirty Dozen are the highest priority to buy organic, while the Clean 15 tend to be lower in pesticide residues, so they aren’t as high priority to buy organic versions. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce to view the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists and for more information.
Reference: Chiu Y, Williams PL, Gillman MW. Association between pesticide residue intake from consumption of fruits and vegetables and pregnancy outcomes among women undergoing fertility treatment with assisted reproductive technology. JAMA. 2017.
The most wonderful time of the year…so nostalgic…so many memories…so much celebration…and so much stress!
Financial stress, shopping stress, calorie stress, and in some cases, emotional stress. Though this is a time that much loved family comes together, it can also be a time to get repeatedly grilled by nosey relatives (’So…don’t you think it’s time you and your sweetie started having some kids?’) And getting together with extended family can also become a reminder of currently unfulfilled desires to create your own. When you’re trying to keep your fertility journey close to the chest, it’s common to feel alone even in the midst of dozens of people.
If you’ve got the holiday blues, here are a few helpful hints to keep your spirits high during the next 30 days:
Give yourself permission: Acknowledge how you’re feeling. Find someone you can share your heart with, whether a partner, a close friend, or even a journal. Though you don’t want to wallow in them, once you’ve voiced those negative thoughts, they tend not to have as much power over you.
Focus on the future: Where do you see yourself in 12 months? Will your relationship be thriving? Will you be professionally happy? Will you have a growing family of your own? Having a vision for the upcoming year can help you get past the stumbling blocks of today.
Focus on others: Are there other people or communities you could support during this time? Oftentimes, helping others solve their problems is an effective way to get a little relief from our own.
Be realistic: Nobody’s holiday is picture perfect, though the seasonal movies we watch might convince us that they should be. Enjoy the moments that are precious, and have a sense of humor about the ones that aren’t.
Maintain healthy habits (but give yourself a few allowances): You’ve worked hard to achieve the health and wellness you now possess, and should enjoy the way your body feels when you treat it well! That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a cookie or slice of pie – just be intentional about what you say ‘yes’ to, and really enjoy those bites!
Find a few ways to pamper yourself: In addition to those few delicious treats, find ways to really nurture your mind, spirit, and body. Schedule a date night, take a yoga class, or book a massage. Give yourself some things on the calendar to look forward to that can help fill up your emotional tank! Finding small ways to thank and honor yourself can give you the reserves to really enjoy (and not just survive) the most wonderful time of the year!
Winter Weather Exacerbating Your Aches and Pains?
We all have that relative who swears they can predict rain with their neck pain, but have you noticed that pain really does flare with temperature change? Whether it is just light stiffness due to dropping temperatures, or chronic pain flaring on rainy days, acupuncture is an excellent way to keep you comfortable. For most, it isn’t until that pain starts to last for a long time or stops responding to medications that they really start looking for a new approach.
Chronic pain is the most common cause of long term disability, and part of the reason our country is experiencing an opioid crisis. Due to the negative effects of long term pain medications, many doctors and patients are seeking alternative therapies such as acupuncture. Chronic pain is the leading indication for use of complementary alternative medicine. Whether the musculoskeletal injury is from overuse, acute injury, surgery, or inflammation; Chinese medicine can offer a multimodality treatment approach. Acupuncture has the ability to tackle the multidimensional nature of pain with few or no serious adverse effects.
A 2005 meta-analysis on acupuncture for low back pain showed that it had a positive effect on short term pain relief, long term pain relief, patients could return to work sooner and decrease pain medications faster. In fact, the American College of Physicians recommends acupuncture as the first line of treatment for back pain, before resorting to pharmacological treatments.
Research has shown that acupuncture is significantly better than no treatment and at least as good as, if not better than, standard medical care for back pain. It appears to be particularly useful as an adjunct to conventional care, for patients with more severe symptoms and for those wishing to avoid analgesic drugs. Acupuncture also accelerates recovery time after traumatic injury and post-surgically resulting in decreased use of pain medications.
Chinese medicine sees pain as an obstruction of energy in the body. When these obstructions are removed and free flow is reestablished, the body it can begin to heal itself. A detailed health history and assessment of symptoms is used to make a Chinese medical diagnosis. Based on this diagnosis, your acupuncturist with select points along meridians, or channels, in your body that carry out specific functions. In a more western medical sense, acupuncture can help chronic pain by:
Providing pain relief – by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins.
Reducing inflammation – by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors
Improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility – by increasing local microcirculation which aids dispersal of swelling and bruising.
Reducing the use of medication for pain conditions
Providing a more cost-effective treatment over a longer period of time
Avoiding invasive and costly interventions such as surgery.
Improving the outcome when added to conventional treatments such as rehabilitation exercises
Contact an acupuncturist today! Book Online Now
Manheimer E, White A, Berman B, Forys K, Ernst E. Meta-analysis: acupuncture for low back pain. Annals of Internal Medicine 2005; 142(8): 651-663. [PubMed]
Qaseem, Amir, Timothy J. Wilt, Robert M. McLean, and Mary Ann Forciea. “Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of PhysiciansNoninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain.” Annals of Internal Medicine (2017).
“Back Pain.” The British Acupuncture Council. 04 Feb. 2015. https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/back-pain.html .
Accessed 02 May 2017.
“Chronic Pain.” The British Acupuncture Council. 04 Feb. 2015. https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/chronic-pain.html . Accessed 02 May 2017.
“Post-Operative Pain.” The British Acupuncture Council. 04 Feb. 2015. https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/post-operative-pain.html . Accessed 02 May 2017.
Pregnancy Loss Journey invited our amazing Acupuncture Director, Christine Davis to participate in their podcast. Hear this feature at: ” Episode 45: Acupuncture and Pregnancy Loss ” and learn more about the benefits of Acpuncture/Traditional Chinese Medicine when coping with loss.
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