• Guest Blog: It was my team who knocked me up!

    by Michele Weiss, LMFT

    Realistically, I imagine that there were many factors that lead to where I am now 30 weeks pregnant. While I endured over 100 shots in my abdomen and butt, 4 frozen embryo transfers, and countless failures and disappointments, I believe it was something more than the medication and the needles that got me to a healthy pregnancy- or at least kept me going.

    I want to share my story because after hearing the stories of many infertility warriors over the years in my private practice, I feel that we need to be open and honest about the real deal. I want to share my story not just so people who have no understanding (or misunderstanding) of infertility’s devastating reach can get a glimpse into our world, but so that those of us in this community of warriors can feel less alone, less damaged and less ashamed.

    My husband and I are carriers of a Jewish genetic disorder that lead us to terminate a pregnancy. This is a choice that, I know, evokes intense feelings and convictions in other people. As a woman who longed for, prayed for, and tried mightily for a healthy baby, the choice just felt like a heart string being ripped from my chest. We decided to pursue PGD and IVF after this loss as our route to building a family. However, trying for a child at 38 years old via PGD and IVF proved to be longer and more complicated than we expected.

    What helped me through it? There were the practical things like having a doctor and an acupuncturist whom I trusted implicitly and knew were 100% in the trenches with me (Thank you again and again Dr. Eve Feinberg at Northwestern and Kelly Lyons at Pulling Down the Moon). Acupuncture at PDtM was the only place I truly felt I could deeply and fully relax. In the midst of doctor appointments, my medication regimen, diet, meditation, etc., acupuncture helped me slow down and find my center. For me, the holistic approach to treatment helped me feel like I was doing everything within my power to get to a healthy baby.

    There were 3 touchstones that kept me going

    1. Stay away from Should’s

    2. Small Joys

    3. Hope

    It was a pretty simple formula, but enormously difficult to implement in the face of failure after failure.

    Stay away from Should’s. I decided to keep going until my doctor kicked me out of the clinic. It can feel like insanity to continue treatment in the face of unending loss and trauma. I reminded myself that I still had options if I could just expand the vision of how my journey to baby “should” go. These are not the idyllic narratives recorded in baby books. They are our valid, messy stories of bravery and passion, nonetheless.

    Small Joys. I decided that I would not let infertility rob me of all moments of joy that still existed- even when those moments of joy were teeny, tiny. I continued going to SoulCycle in between cycles because I felt happy on that bike. I cuddled in my dog’s fur. I went out with my girlfriends for water and wine (guess who drank what?). I spent way too much money on delicious teas. I went to see my favorite bands in concert, my needles in tow, and shot myself up with medication in First Aid bathroom stalls. I knew I needed to create joy where I could and to stay connected to the parts of my life that made me feel like “me” while living in the crazy world of infertility.

    Hope. I am deeply Jewish in my beliefs and spiritual practices. To my own surprise, during my infertility struggles I found hope in an Evangelical preacher. I would listen daily to “my Christian Rabbi”, as I affectionately referred to him. And minus the Jesus part which did not fit into my Jewish value system, this preacher’s message helped me tap into hope in the face of hopelessness and strength in the face of vulnerability. I think that God understands that when we are in the eye of the storm, we need to be a little radical.

    Then, there was the woman who checked me in for my daily blood work and ultrasound at the infertility clinic. I think she could tell that I was particularly beaten down one morning. After the standard registration procedure, she slipped me a small blue post-it note that read, “Thanks for always coming in with a warm smile. You make my day and I pray for your family to increase with a new baby. TRUST”. Her kindness touched me and reminded me to always cling to hope. I still carry her note with me in my wallet so that I can get a dose of hope if I ever need it.

    Even though I am a therapist who specializes in infertility and perinatal challenges, I do not really believe in advice when it comes to these matters. I have heard enough stories to know that each one of us has our own very unique heartache and very personal struggle. All I can share is what helped me. I was fierce and radical as a means to keep going. I expanded my vision of family-building when it wasn’t going the way I thought it would or should. I sought hope in trusted professionals and strangers, alike (even in unexpected places). As I sit here with my 7 month bump, I feel grateful that mine was the messy, painful, beautiful story that it turned out to be. And I will soon be proud and humbled to write that story in my daughter’s baby book.

     

    Michele Weiss LMFT
    
    3166 N. Lincoln Avenue, Suite 202 Chicago, IL 60657
    
    312-213-4690
    
    mweisstherapy@gmail.com
    
    Monday, Wednesday and Friday appointments available
    
    www.mweisstherapy.com

  • Can Acupuncture Help Treat My Endometriosis?

    Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrial tissue that normally makes up the uterine lining, is displaced and found outside the uterus. This can present with an array of symptoms which includes painful periods, ovarian cysts, heavy periods, spotting before the period, and/or even infertility. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be very effective in treating it.
    According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) endometriosis is a condition that is termed as “blood stagnation”, and your acupuncture practitioner will determine the cause of it after your initial consultation. It can arise from the body’s inability to properly absorb the old stuck blood that is lingering in body. There are a myriad of acupuncture points and herbs which help break up this stagnant blood as well as strengthen the body so that it can deal effectively with the problem. The general recommendation is to come in for weekly acupuncture for at least 3 menstrual cycles. Herbs help accent the acupuncture’s therapeutic effect and treat on another level. The most notable changes that are observed, is a reduction or elimination of painful periods, regulate cycles so that there is no spotting before the onset of the period, shrink ovarian cysts, reduce the excessive flow of blood during the period, and helps increase the odds of pregnancy in those trying to conceive.
    In addition to acupuncture and herbs, it is highly recommended that the patient seek a nutrition consultation with us. In TCM we advise patients with endometriosis to have an anti-inflammatory diet, which means avoiding foods that are spicy, deep-fried, dairy, ice-cold foods/drinks, beef, grapefruits, raw foods, and do not over-eat. Include foods like dark leafy greens, chicken, pork, mint or jasmine tea, beets, seaweed, zucchini, asparagus, berries, apples, eat until you feel 80% full, to name a few helpful tips. Please feel free to email me with any questions in regards to acupuncture and the treatment of endometriosis at anna@pullingdownthemoon.com. I am available Tuesdays and Fridays at the Chicago location, but our office is open everyday of the week in the city for acupuncture appointments.  We have Acupuncture, Massage, Nutrition, Yoga available in Chicago, Highland Park, and Buffalo Grove.  Call us to learn more at: 312-321-0004 today!
    Anna Pyne LAc, MSOM, FABORM

  • Kidney 3: My Favorite Acupuncture Point for Fertility

    By Christine Davis LAc
    My first exposure to the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) happened after I had been hit by a car on my bicycle. It was a bad accident, could have been worse. As I was healing, I was introduced to a practitioner of reflexology who told me about the connections of his work to TCM. I picked up a book about reflexology, then another, then a third. I started practicing on myself, my family, and my friends. I was able to get rid of headaches, reduce allergies, aid digestion, relieve pain … all by touching someone’s feet! I was hooked. If you’ve ever seen or perhaps experienced reflexology, you know that there are zones, like a map, on the hands and feet (I later learned that the ears and even the whole body can be used similarly) that are a microcosm or imaging of the whole body. You can treat these zones with massage, acupuncture, and many other techniques to affect other areas in or functions of the body to achieve relief from symptoms and whole body wellness. Like a reflex, by stimulating one area, you get results in another.
    The reflex area that is most closely related to the reproductive organs in men and women is the inner ankle and around the inner heel of the foot. But let’s back up a second …. If you’ve experienced acupuncture before, you know that there are tiny needles inserted into specific points on the body to allow healing and wellness to be achieved. Did you know that those points are on pathways (we call them channels or meridians) that flow like a network throughout the body? The points themselves are known as access or entry points into the channel (the word for acupoint in Chinese is xuéwèi 穴位 which literally means “tiny hole.” So, when we stimulate these points, we are accessing that pathway that flows throughout the body to get blood and qi (pron “chee” – meaning function and energy) to move and regulate any problem that might be occurring on that pathway and it’s connections. The pathways/meridians are named for the primary organ that they connect with in the torso, that performs specific activities and functions in the body. The one that goes to the heart is called the Heart Meridian; the one that goes to the Lungs is called the Lung Meridian, etc.
    In TCM, the ability to reproduce is determined to by the health of the Kidney organ. Notice that I use a capital ‘K’ because in TCM, the Kidney is responsible for much more that detoxification and maintaining fluid balance as it is in Western-style physiology. In TCM, Kidney is kind of like your batteries. It contains your genetic material (not referring to DNA – this is TCM terminology, not Western), your fire. It’s what was received by you from your parents and what you pass on to your offspring. It is also your foundation energy source. When the Kidney is depleted, you might feel fatigue, difficulty sleeping, lethargy, low libido and might experience things like extreme weight loss or weight gain. When Kidney is not working correctly, you might have trouble with the emotions of fear or an overactive flight/fight response. Because the Kidney is your foundation/fire/most primal energy source, struggles with fertility are not uncommon when it is out of balance.
    Like a battery, you cannot get more material once it has been depleted and you were only given a certain amount to begin with. In TCM, we describe the process of aging by how the Kidney is functioning. How you live – getting enough rest, eating well, reducing stress, not abusing drugs/alcohol, having sex (but not too much!) etc – will impact how you preserve this material. However, TCM is an excellent way to help protect and preserve this material and to help it to be best expressed, particularly during the time while you are trying to conceive.
    So, this brings me to my favorite acupuncture point for fertility: Kidney 3. In the West, we use a numerical demarcation for each acupuncture point, but in China (and other Asian countries), there is a poetic name for each point. In Chinese, Kidney 3 is called Tai Xi 太谿 which means Great Ravine. It’s called that because it is in a depression between the medial malleolus (your ankle bone on the inside) and your Achilles tendon. Kidney 3 is located in the inner ankle, the reflex area for the organs of reproductive function and fertility. This point is known as the Yuán 源 or source point on the channel. Yuán points are critical for accessing the power of the organ for which the channel is named, addressing the root cause of the problem. While it is misleading to say that certain points are “good for” specific ailments or disease, we can say that the yuán point on the Kidney channel, Kidney 3, is very effective for all things Kidney – including fertility.
    I use Kidney 3 in almost every acupuncture treatment that I do for fertility. It’s that important! So, what can you do between treatments to help benefit this point and the Kidney channel / organ? It’s easy! Just gently massage the point each day. You can grab around to the other side of the ankle and get it from both sides if that’s easier. Use the pad of your thumb to perform gentle, rhythmic circles on the point. You can use a little bit of pressure, but not too hard. If you come for acupuncture treatment, you may also receive treatment with moxa on this point, an herb that has been charcoal-ized and is burned and held over the acupoint to warm it up.
    So, for trying to conceive or just wanting to get a boost of energy and help to promote longevity, make sure to include stimulating Kidney 3 a little bit each day! Learn more about the benefits of Acupuncture or schedule an appointment today!

  • The Other Half: Male Factor Infertility

    By Christine Davis LAc, MSOM

    At Pulling Down the Moon, we primarily treat women’s fertility concerns. Sure, we can treat just about everything: allergies, digestive problems, pain, stress … you name it. Mostly, though, we see women who want to get pregnant and have a baby. We help reduce the impact of stress on her life, we work on regulating her cycle or combating the side effects of IVF meds, and even women who are trying to conceive still have headaches and back pain and allergies. We help her body be in it’s very best condition to be able to grow new life in her belly. But there’s one thing we don’t see very often, a critical missing element, an equally important part of the equation to creating that new life: Men!

    Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is a 5,000 year old tradition. Embedded within this long history is a strong theory and framework for treatment of fertility concerns. We are fantastic at helping to resolve known fertility concerns for both men and women. So, why are only women coming in to see us? This problem goes deep and it’s one that may continue to grow based on recent assessment of global infertility rates. A recent study of sperm analysis from 1973-2011 showed 50-60% decline in male fertility rates suggesting that by 2060, most men in the US and Europe could be infertile. And here’s the scariest part: scientists don’t know why (or at least they can’t agree on it).

    Much has been written about why there is such a dearth of information and focus on male infertility. Many men see even the suggestion that there may be something “wrong” with their side of the court as an attack on their manhood. They see it as an insinuation that they are somehow less virile, less capable, less manly. Just think of the language we use to describe a man who we consider manly: “He’s got big balls!” “Balls of Steel” or unmanly: “Don’t be a girl.” This isn’t just a generational thing. Historically, much of the research and treatment of infertility has focused squarely on the female.

    So, what can we do? Let’s start talking about it! Ladies, bring research to your partners/husbands. Get evaluated by a Urologist who focuses on fertility or a Reproductive Endocrinologist. If there are identifiable issues, consider an appropriate course of action. If you are in the “unexplained” camp, there are other things you can do to support male fertility including taking CoQ10, a multi vitamin, and possibly additional selenium (ask your doctor first before beginning a new supplement). Come experience Fertility Enhancing Massage at Pulling Down the Moon.

    Acupuncture has been shown to be more effective than Western medicine in improving sperm quality and quantity. Regular acupuncture treatment (once per week, generally), helps to reduce stress, eliminate pain throughout the body, and achieve wellness by balancing the body. It has been my experience that couples who both receive regular acupuncture see so much benefit and often achieve pregnancy sooner. The needles are teeny tiny and are placed mainly on the arms and legs, never in sensitive areas (none near the genitalia). The first visit takes about an hour or so because we go through a very thorough consultation of medical history and questions about symptoms. Follow ups can be performed in 45 min or less.

    We have to open this conversation up if we are going to find a way to resolve it. Women are currently doing so much to become pregnant – thousands of shots, thousands of doctor visits, emotional stress, fielding the comments about why you’re not pregnant yet. Men, please get involved (if you are not already!). Talk with each other about your goals, fears, desires, and plans about growing your family. Seek the help if you need it. We must keep the doors open to conversation to finding solutions to this growing problem.

    Learn more about Acupuncture and schedule your consultation today!

  • Is it Hot in Here?!

    By Dr Helena Para LAc, DACM, MSTOM

    With the quickly approaching summer, and Chicago’s humid tendencies already underway, some people may be getting concerned about staying cool. One such population would be women with a tendency towards hot flashes. While we most often associate hot flashes with menopause and ladies over 45, there are other reasons for this bothersome temperature dysregulation. Pregnancy, menstruation, premature menopause and anxiety can all be causes of hot flashes, and some individuals are just heat intolerant overall. Interestingly, Traditional Chinese Medicine pays particular attention to your body’s internal and external temperature, and you may find that your acupuncturist often asks about temperature even when you don’t have any complaints associated with it.

    The best way to balance temperature and clear heat is the integration of acupuncture into your health care routine. Your acupuncturist can determine the root cause of the fluctuations you are experiencing and bring your body back into balance. If you want to carry on the heat clearing outside of the treatment room- you can also eat foods that are “cooling” in nature.

    Alfalfa sprouts Apple

    Artichoke Apricot

    Asparagus Avocado

    Bamboo Shoots Banana

    Beets Blueberry

    Bok Choy Cantaloupe

    Broccoli Cranberry

    Cabbage Fig

    Carrots Grapefruit

    Cauliflower Lemon

    Cilantro Lime

    Collards Orange

    Cucumber Peach

    Daikon Pear

    Dandelion Persimmon

    Mushroom Strawberry

    Potato Tomato

    Seaweed Watermelon

    Snow Pea Barley

    Spinach Kamut

    Squash Millet

    Watercress Rice

    Try a Nutrition Consultation in June AND a follow-up session for only $99!  It is great for general health, your fertility treatment plan, during pregnancy, and postpartum. Learn more here.

    Don’t miss the opportunity to meet Helena in Sept for our FREE Points to Ponder:  Acupuncture, Community, and Stress Reduction session in Chicago! Have more questions about how acupuncture can help you or want to schedule an initial consultation?  Call us today at: 312-321-0004.

  • Better Egg Quality and Follicular Development: Acupuncture Can Help

    by Dr. Amie Shimmel

    In honor of National Infertility Awareness month we at Pulling Down the Moon like to remind patients how acupuncture can help with better eggs and follicles.

    Here’s how it works:

    Medical research shows that acupuncture can influence hormone secretion from the pituitary hypothalamus and ovaries, collectively called the (HPO) axis. One of the most recent studies was conducted at Georgetown University Medical Center, July 2015; they found that acupuncture balances this HPO axis.

    When an acupuncture needle is inserted into a specific acupuncture point this triggers the release of prostaglandins and opioid peptides into the bloodstream which lead to the production of a substance that transmits messages to the hypothalamus and pituitary and then transmits to the ovaries.

    The acupuncture normalizes the secretion of the hormones such as (GrRH), (FSH), and (LH). This improves ovarian function creating more follicles and better egg quality.

    The (HPO) Hypothalamus pituitary ovarian axis can be disrupted by stress, poor diet, age, etc. However this (HPO) axis can be positively influenced by many things, especially acupuncture.

    The bottom line; women’s follicles and egg development can be enhanced by the balance of the endocrine system. Acupuncture balances the endocrine system.

    We, at PDtM, recommend weekly acupuncture sessions to get the hormones in better balance and to help get the body as relaxed as possible. Acupuncture is accumulative therefore regular sessions can help shift the body in the direction the patient is looking for.

  • 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!

  • Qigong for Fertility

    Qigong (pron. “chee gawng”) is a 5,000 year old tradition of self-healing exercises that is used achieve wellness within the body, mind, and spirit. The word qigong means “energy work” or “life force work.” It is the practice of connecting with the energy around you and utilizing it to balance the internal functioning of the body.

    5 Qigong Exercises for Fertility:

    Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Try to find a space that you can consistently practice in each morning. Outside in nature is ideal, but if you are inside, try listening to nature sounds or putting nature imagery around you (even on TV!). You should have space to move around a bit, at least arms’ breadth. Barefoot is preferable, but if you are outside, wear comfortable shoes.

    Bring to mind a sense of purpose, clarity of vision, and sincerity of focus. Take a few minutes to do this. Try to focus on big picture hopes and dreams rather than specific details.

    Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Feet should be flat on the ground with a firm position, but not tight. Relax shoulders away from ears. Gently roll head side to side a few times to relax neck.

    Bring your attention to your breath. Breathe in through the nose and gently out through the mouth. Try to use deep, diaphragmatic breathing rather than keeping the breath all in the chest.

    1. Swing arms front to back, loosening the shoulders, relaxing the arms. Aim for 100x, stop or make smaller movements if you feel discomfort. You should feel the arms and upper body warming up. You may feel your heart beat a little faster. Now, shake your hands as if you had water on them. Start with small movements and progress to more vigorous movement for about 2-3 minutes. Your hands will begin to pulse and feel warm, perhaps even with a vibrating sensation.

    2. Take your hands and place them over your kidneys (about the middle of your back on each side). Kidneys have a special connection to reproductive function, growth and development, and aging in Chinese medicine theory. By warming this area, you are supporting that function.

    3. Bring the attention back to the breath. Imagine good energy coming in through your nose, down your front to your belly button and then between belly button and pelvic floor. Bend the knees and scoop upward with both hands the air around you. Then, rest the hands one over the other on the area just below your belly button for about 10-15 seconds. Do this 9 times.

    4. With the next breath, tighten the pelvic floor muscles (as you would when stopping the flow of urine). As you exhale, release the pelvic floor muscles. As you breathe, imagine energy going downward toward tailbone, then traveling back up through the spine, and finally through the head and into the nose. Do this 5 times. After the 5th time, begin to imagine your breath entering the other organs involved with reproduction: the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. Imagine them doing their jobs to regulate the hormones effectively. Repeat 5 more times.

    5. Gently bend the knees again. Bring your arms into a circle shape in front of you as if you were holding a large beach ball, about the height of your belly button. Fingers should just be touching at the tips. Close your eyes and take 9 slow, deep (but with very minimal effort) breaths. In through the nose, out the mouth. After the last exhale, bring the palms of the hands, one over the other, back to the area below the belly button and hold for 10-15 seconds.

    These exercises will bring warmth and movement all throughout the body. They are great to support fertility, but also to help with longevity for anyone! Teach them to your parents!

    Christine Davis, LAc is a Licensed Acupuncturist and the Director of Acupuncture at Pulling Down the Moon.

    Make an appointment with Christine or any of our therapists by calling 312-321-0004 or booking online at www.pullingdownthemoon.com.

    Schedule your appointment!

  • Help for Secondary Infertility with Acupuncture

    Help for Secondary Infertility with Acupuncture

    by Christine Davis, L.Ac., MSOM

    You have your perfect baby or toddler or big kid! You are so happy! It was pretty easy getting pregnant the first time. You took great care of yourself during pregnancy and had an uncomplicated birth. The first year was pretty difficult (sleep is soooo over-rated!), but you made it through ok. You decide it’s time to try for another baby! You start your prenatals, pull out the pregnancy clothes and get busy. One month goes by … and your period comes. Oh well, you must have missed the window. You were traveling, he was traveling, you had that event and were too tired the day you probably were supposed to try…. Three months go by… still nothing. Oh well, you were just unlucky. This time you’ll get an ovulation predictor kit and make sure you hit the window. Another couple of months with negative pregnancy tests….

    Or maybe while trying for your second (or third, or fourth…), you become pregnant, only to suffer loss early on. You know your body is capable of this! You’ve done it once, so easily, and so perfectly before….

    You decide it’s time to see the gynecologist. She runs all the basic tests – well, your AMH is a little off, but not worrisome. Your FSH is a little high, but that’s normal for your age. According to your Gyne, that shouldn’t be a problem. Or maybe everything is “perfect!” What gives?? Why is this happening and what can you do about it? Your Gyne just says “keep trying” and “come back if nothing happens in 6 months.”

    What can you do to just get pregnant?!?

    Secondary Infertility, the inability to become pregnant or maintain pregnancy in women who have previously carried to full term one or more pregnancies without using IVF or other assisted therapies, is much more common than is often thought. While there may be measurable issues (thyroid problems, endometriosis / painful periods, etc) that could contribute, many women find themselves in the “unexplained” category. But guess what? According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM, including acupuncture, herbs and associated modalities), there is no such thing as unexplained!

    In TCM, there are many ways to evaluate and explain what is going on to cause difficulty conceiving. We go through your whole history – your pregnancy/pregnancies, periods before/after pregnancy, all other physical, mental or emotional symptoms you may be experiencing. We also look at your tongue and feel your pulse as primary diagnostic tools. All of this information together determines your TCM diagnosis. We categorize imbalances in terms of excess (inflammation, pain, swelling, etc) or deficiency (slow/low function, anemia, fatigue, etc). Treatment with acupuncture can help to balance the body and create health by strengthening areas that may be weak or clearing areas that may be stuck.

    Acupuncture is also has a kind of “adaptogenic” effect, meaning that it can help to reduce the effects of stress on the body. Regular treatment can help you to cope with anxiety, worry, and most other emotional challenges, especially while struggling to become pregnant.

    Things in your body can change (A LOT!) during and after pregnancy. Sometimes so much that it could be affecting your ability to conceive. You may have shorter or longer periods and cycles, you may have gained weight or struggle with a sluggish metabolism, and many other changes. Acupuncture therapy can help to get you back on track and find your healthiest self to not just become pregnant, but to sustain a healthy pregnancy and you!

    And don’t forget about your partner/husband! Of those couples who struggle with fertility, there is almost a 50/50 split between male and female areas of concern. If he is resistant to trying acupuncture, remind him that it’s also great for that knee pain / back pain / allergies / heartburn / headaches / etc he has! We will do a full assessment and treatment for him, too.

    Try Acupuncture with us at www.pullingdownthemoon.com

  • Acupuncture for Fertility, The Method Behind the Madness

    Acupuncture for Fertility, The Method Behind the Madness

    By Meghan Gibson, MSOM, L.Ac.

    Close your eyes. Picture this, you’re lying on a soft table, there’s a warm feeling of heat above your feet, the sounds of ocean waves and Tibetan drums playing in the background and – there’s needles all over your body!? Wait, what? Yup, that’s what an acupuncture session is like! Once you get over the initial strangeness that is having needles in your body one can find an overwhelming sense of relaxation during and after treatments. But, have you ever thought while laying down for your treatment, is there a method to this madness or am I just a pin cushion? There IS a method to the madness and it all started thousands of years ago.

    The first text books referencing acupuncture are 2,000 years old. Think about this, Western Medicine is changing and evolving every day. Text books are constantly being updated and changed with medical advancements and the use of better or new technology. Acupuncture books are the same, the points are the same, they have not changed. This medicine works and hasn’t needed updating because the points and their functions have been tried and proven for thousands of years.

    Did you know there are 365 acupuncture points along 12 meridians all over the body? Each point has a different function and is connected to a different organ. Each practitioner uses varying sets of points depending in their “style” or preference but, for example, there are heat clearing points on the arms and on the legs so depending on the practitioner you could get a seemingly different treatment but the goal was the same in both. That’s one of the things that makes this medicine so amazing, is there are so many point combinations you can use but the purpose is the same.

    The ancient Chinese gave some great names to some of the key points used for fertility. Did you know there were acupuncture points called, “Door of Infants” and one called ”Beautiful Baby”? There are so many amazing acupuncture points that aid in not only fertility but pregnancy, postpartum and beyond. Has your husband been complaining about his frozen shoulder? Yup – we’ve got points for that too. Now is a great time to check out our services and get back to feeling your best.

    Don’t worry, you’re not just a pin cushion. There’s a method to the madness and just because one treatment didn’t “feel” like the other the goal of the session was same. Any questions visit www.pullingdownthemoon.com for more information.

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