THE GIVE + TAKE: HOW CHINESE MEDICINE DEALS WITH INFERTILITY
AS SEEN IN: The Chalkboard Magazine
as seen in 10.27.17 article here.
FOR SOMETHING THAT’S so natural, getting pregnant is sometimes shockingly difficult. While modern factors can make it more challenging, infertility isn’t anything new; even the ancients needed a little help. We asked our go-to acupuncture pro, Mona Dan of Vie Healing, what solutions Traditional Chinese Medicine can offer women experiencing infertility. From food to environment and everything between, discover the first things that need to change to increase fertility naturally, and successfully…
In Chinese medicine, there are two main components that may be causing infertility: deficiency or excess. There is either something lacking in the body causing this issue, or there is too much, causing internal congestion or ‘traffic.’
Within deficiency and excess, there are different diagnoses we look for in order to see what’s going on with your body. Let’s start with deficiency — but first a note: we are proud to say we work with many fertility patients who’ve had very rewarding results. Even if you’re not yet interested in fertility, it’s always important to regulate your hormones, because flow coming to town every month is very important for us ladies.
Roots of Deficiency
Heat Deficiency Causing Cold | Internal cold is mainly caused by the foods we eat, and, honestly, this is the one I diagnose most of my fertility patients with. When we consume too many raw/cold foods, we create a cold environment in our uterus, which is a very unpleasant place for a little follicle to attach. Imagine walking into a cold room and staying there for weeks on end. Not very appealing, right?
Fluid Deficiency | This is true and deep dehydration, where the body’s fluids are so consumed, they’re literally burned up. A lot of time, as women age, they naturally fall into this category, but it’s not uncommon to see this in young women as well.
Energy + Blood Deficiency | These deficiencies cause weakness, fatigue, exhaustion and paleness. This is because people are rundown by day-to-day life. Some of these patients have been yo-yo dieting for a long time or their lifestyle isn’t nourishing and replenishing. Lack of physical movement and mental fatigue can also be factors.
Roots of Excess
Poor Blood Flow Causing Stagnation | Inflammation comes to mind as the main word to describe this issue. When blood doesn’t flow properly, there is stagnation that builds up in the blood vessels causing a backup of proper fluid and energy flow as well. This is what we call inflammation.
Stuck Energy – Stress! | Major stress stunts the part of our nervous system that is supposed to relax us and assist with processing everything. This includes digestion, emotions and everything in between. When this happens our flight/flight response kicks in, which creates issues with major processing of hormones and chemical releases, hampering proper and easy fertilization.
Excessive Fluid Accumulation | A fatty diet — eating foods that are too greasy or fried — can cause this. Too much meat, alcohol, coffee, can also cause an accumulation of damp in the body. Also, disease! Poorly treated sexually transmitted diseases can cause overgrowth in the uterine area creating issues with proper circulation.
What can you do to protect yourself from all the above?
9 Simple Ways to Heal
It’s good to note that you can have a combination of a few of the diagnoses mentioned below, and truly, all the suggestions for prevention are great for overall health and wellbeing.
BLOOD-TYPE DIET. My favorite diet recommendation, with which I’ve seen the best results, is the blood type diet (learn all about it here). You would be very surprised by the few foods you should avoid; take some time apart from them and you will feel and see the difference. I do also believe that there are certain foods on the avoid list that are more or less triggering. The point behind this diet is to relax the nervous system to allow it to focus on what needs the most attention.
AVOID GREASY FOOD. The less we consume of these foods, the healthier we are overall. However, when we do consume these foods, it takes a lot longer for our bodies to digest these foods, creating stress on our nervous system, which triggers our fight/flight mode, reducing our chance of healthy processing.
REDUCE, REDUCE, REDUCE. Decrease alcohol and caffeine intake, reduce meat consumption, certain fish…etc – If we’re talking about prevention, I don’t say avoid anything; although, when talking about the blood-type diet, there are a few things I do say to avoid. When it comes to alcohol and caffeine, the point of decreasing these drinks is to reduce too much external stimulation. We want our adrenals to be as relaxed as possible. When it comes to meat, we want to reduce the amount of cholesterol and fat because they trigger hormones in the body. When it comes to fish, we want to reduce exposure to mercury poisoning. Learn about how to start (and survive!) an elimination diet here.
WARM UP YOUR DIET. Starting the day with a warm meal makes our adrenals happy. Our adrenals are responsible for releasing cortisol. Having a warm meal (eggs, oatmeal, breakfast burrito) with a hot tea is the best way to go. Coffee in the morning can stress out the adrenals, making them release cortisol too early on in the day (causing the midday crash). Try to save your coffee for after breakfast and before lunch!
HYDRATE. Hydration nourishes cells, and nourished cells replicate healthy cells. Healthy cells relax the nervous system. It’s very simple and very necessary! Make it more fun to toss back bottles of h2o with easy fruit-infused water recipes like these.
ADAPTOGEN-FILLED SUPPLEMENTS. Adaptogens give the body the extra oomph to adapt to stress better; they assist our bodies in switching from fight/flight mode into processing mode by filling the blood with nutrient-dense minerals and nutrients.
SELF CARE. Take care of yourself, constantly monitor your body and take the proper steps for treatment.There are many people who find out later in their life that they’ve been exposed to viruses and bacteria. If you’re ever diagnosed with an STD, be sure to address the issue immediately and thoroughly. This is rarely talked about, but it’s a big deal for infertility.
ACUPUNCTURE/MOXA. Acupuncture regulates the nervous system, and moxa physically warms up the midsection of the body, allowing for quick nourishment. Learn all about the benefits here.
REST. Last, but definitely not least, make sure you’re rested and you sleep well. Proper sleep nourishes the body like nothing else! Learn how to improve your sleep hygiene and get a better night’s rest here.