A Touch of Romance

In honor of Valentine’s day, let’s talk about the language of love: touch. Everyone understands that physical touch is one of the cornerstones of romance. Who hasn’t swooned with a simple caress at the base of their neck? Or with a hand placed on the small of their back? Or even a few fingers brushing across their hand on a first date?

Unfortunately, romance (and libido) tend to dip during times of stress. Ironically, romance is an ancient healing art for just that very thing! So for the month of February let’s turn up the heat with some targeted touch: a foot massage with five specific points to enhance romance! ***these points should not be stimulated if you might be pregnant.

Starting with your partner face down, apply pressure to the soles of the feet with your thumbs, ‘walking’ your thumbs up and down the arch of the foot. Stop just below the halfway point on the foot (slightly closer to the toe than to the heel), directly in line with the big toe. This is the adrenal reflex point. Apply pressure for at least 30 seconds, or until you feel the muscles start to relax. Melting the adrenal reflex points is an excellent way to decrease stress and stimulate relaxation, which sets the stage for our next point!

Continue walking your thumbs up the midline of the feet (directly in line with the middle toe). Stop just below the ball of the foot between the pads, and apply pressure for at least 30 seconds. This is Bubbling Spring, or Kidney 1, an acupressure point thought to awaken the body’s sexual energy.

Have your partner turn onto their back. Focus the massage on the right foot, either kneading the foot with massage oil or continuing to massage dry with thumb pressure (for extra credit, add lavender to the massage oil for relaxation, or jasmine for romance). Imagine a diagonal line connecting the inside ankle bone to the tip of the heel, and apply pressure to the middle of this line. Stimulate the same point on the outside ankle, and hold for at least 30 seconds. These points correspond to the ovaries and uterus on a woman, and the testicles and prostate on a man. Repeat on the left foot.

Massage up the foot to the toes. Gently apply pressure and pull each digit. When you get to the big toe, press the center point (you will need to use another finger or hand behind the big toe to maintain adequate pressure), and hold for at least 30 seconds. This is the pituitary reflex point, which encourages balance to the endocrine system (an important part of a healthy libido).

Continue massaging the feet and then travel up the lower leg to the knee. Stroke or ‘walk’ your thumbs up and down the inside of the tibia, just above the calf muscles. Find the point four fingers above the inside ankle bone, and press for at least 30 seconds. This is Spleen 6, and is also known to awaken sexual energy and stimulate the uterus in a woman.

Next steps? Get creative. Nothing is more intimate that communicating with your partner about what feels good – so explore and become an expert in what makes your partner feel that touch of romance!

Learn more about how massage can help your journey here !

Feng Shui for Loving Relationships

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we are surrounded by hearts, lace, and thoughts of love and romance. However, when you are in a long-term relationship, and especially when you have struggled with fertility, you may feel that the Loving Feeling may need a little of Cupid’s help!

Feng Shui, or Chinese Geomancy, is a traditional form of correcting the flow of energy with proper placement of furniture, decor, and structure in your home, office, or other living space to create balance, health, and harmony. Many techniques focus on health and wealth, but creating and maintaining loving relationships are also a big part of the picture! Here are a few tips to creating a home environment that is conducive to bring love into … or back into … your life.

First, find your Love Corner! According to Feng Shui principles, different areas of your body correspond to different aspects of your life. This is known as the Ba Gua (8 Principles). The Love Corner of your home is in the far right.

Wealth and Prosperity

Colors: Purples, Blues, Reds

Fame and Reputation

Colors: Reds, Oranges

Fire Element

Love and Relationships

Colors:

Pinks, Reds, Whites

Family and Physical Health

Colors: Greens, Florals, Stripes

Wood Element

Spiritual Health and Well Being

Yellows, Earth Tones

Earth Element

Children and Creativity

Colors: Whites, Pastels

Metal Element

Knowledge and Wisdom

Colors: Blues, Greens

Career

Color: Black

Water Element

Travel and Helpful People

Colors: Greys, Silver

Go to the main entrance of your home. Even if you enter through a side door or garage frequently, you should still go to the main entrance of the home. Point your hand to the far right corner of the house. That is your Love Corner!

Next, remove objects, colors, and other elements which would harm the flow of energy to this area:

  • Any representations of things that are alone. Images/statues of a lone figure, etc

  • Anything that reminds you of an old relationship, lost love, or other relationships that make you feel hurt or would rather not think about

  • Anything in 3’s

  • Sharp objects, prickly cactuses, unwelcoming or unsafe objects

  • Piles of stuff, clutter, storage, old boxes, “baggage” – literally or figuratively!

  • Computers, TVs, and other “distractions”

  • Games of any kind (you never want to play games in your relationships!)

  • Dead plants, dirt, dust, garbage cans

  • Anything broken or in need of repair

Once you have removed all of these objects, give the area a good cleaning. Then, consider adding some of the following elements to welcome good Love energy to the space:

  • Paint the space or bring in accents of red, pink, and/or white. It can be as simple as a throw pillow, vase, or picture frame.

  • Symbols of love. This can be through pictures, sculptures, murals, etc:

    • Fireworks

    • Animal print material

    • Wedding cake

    • Two figures together

    • Bowl of Hershey’s kisses

  • Mirrors and candles (see more on mirrors below)

  • Fresh flowers

  • Silky, sexy items

  • Romantic music (radio, guitar, piano)

  • Clean the area regularly! Don’t allow clutter to build up.

You can also look at other rooms in your house or office and apply the same principles! When you stand in the entrance of any space, the far right corner is the Love Corner, so you can use the same techniques in all of your spaces to promote love there, too!

Some special notes about the bedroom:

  • Avoid mirrors in your bedroom. Mirrors are always reflecting things, so they are considered an active item. If you have built-in mirrors, consider removing them or covering them up (especially at night with a folding screen or other decorative item.

  • Do not have water elements (fountains, images of water, reflective surfaces, etc) in the bedroom.

  • Do not place pictures of your family or religious images in the bedroom. Having these images near your bed will make you feel like you are being watched and not allow you to fully enjoy your partner.

  • No work or fitness in the bedroom. Working and love do not mix! Keep computers, papers, other things that remind you of stressful situations or work, along with any workout equipment out of the bedroom.

Have fun! Make your Love Corner a place that stimulates happy, warm, loving relationships in your life!

Christine Davis, LAc is the Director of Acupuncture at Pulling Down the Moon. She sees patients in the Highland Park office on Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat. Call 312-321-0004 or go to www.pullingdownthemoon.com to book your appointment today with Christine or any practitioner on the team at the location that works best for you!

5 Tips for Strengthening your Relationship During Infertility

The infertility journey can strain even the healthiest of relationships, which is why it’s important to protect your partnership while navigating this process. The end goal of any fertility treatment is a baby, but if you’re going through it with a partner it is essential to prioritize connection and communication. This process can be grueling at times – medications, injections, sperm samples, genetic testing – but maintaining a team approach will help your relationship thrive during (and far beyond!) this process.

  1. Avoid the blame game – PCOS, low sperm count, unexplained infertility – these terms may tempt you to assign blame to your partner. Signing up for partnership means erasing the blame and taking a team approach to whatever comes your way. Make a commitment from day one to resist the urge to place blame.

  1. Seek out fun and connection – Spend a night away, plan a date – connect! Lately I’ve been loving the app “Gottman Card Decks”. It offers helpful questions and conversation starters to deepen intimacy and connection. Regardless of what you do, spend an hour or so intentionally connecting and try not to forget the reasons you chose this person to do life with.

  1. Understand and validate your partner’s perspective – Infertility can bring up feelings of shame, guilt, and loss and it’s important to remember that you might have a different range of emotions from that of your partner. These feelings may be deeply rooted in our hopes and expectations of parenthood. Connect to your partner through this shared experience and encourage him or her whenever you can. If your partner is having an especially difficult day, offer your time and listening ear for support.

  1. Find support – We all have different needs. Perhaps an online community would feel safest for you. Maybe an in-person support group or individual therapy would help your partner process this experience. For some, coffee with a friend who “gets it” meets this need. Even within the infertility world, situations and experiences can vary from person to person. Make sure that both you and your partner are surrounded by a supportive community of people who can hear and empathize with what you’re going through. Infertility is a unique journey that stirs up lots of emotions, don’t go at it alone!

  1. Maintain hope – There’s no doubt that this process can be difficult and at times even discouraging. Try to hold onto hope, knowing that you’re doing everything you can. You may have to put some things on hold while going through the infertility process, but move forward where you can. You’re not alone and there are many people out there who have walked this path before. At the end of the day, remember there is a lot to be hopeful for.

Amanda Atkins is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She practices in Lincoln Square and specializes in perinatal mood disorders and couples & infertility. She can be reached at amanda@amandaatkinschicago.com . Check out more at amandaatkinschicago.com .

What is Yoga for Fertility all about?

Did you ever wonder what Yoga for Fertility is all about?

Learn about Brittany’s firsthand experience at: “Bottles & Banter” today!

Here feature “Does Yoga for Fertility Really Improve Fertility?” is available now.

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