Can Acupuncture Help Pregnancy Nausea?

acupuncture for pregnancy nausea

Pregnancy is a miraculous journey filled with remarkable changes in a person’s life. However, it’s not unusual to experience some level of discomfort, especially during the first trimester. Among the many challenges expectant women and people face, pregnancy nausea is one of the most common. It can vary from barely noticeable, mild to severe, and in some instances, it may require hospitalisation. While there are conventional treatments available to alleviate these symptoms, more and more people are turning to therapies like acupuncture for pregnancy nausea. Are you interested to explore how acupuncture can provide relief from pregnancy-related nausea?

Understanding Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves the gentle insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body’s skin. These points, known as acupuncture points, are believed to be connected to energy channels or meridians within the body. Utilising Chinese medicine diagnosis techniques and thorough case history taking, acupuncturists choose points specifically for you. By stimulating these points, acupuncturists aim to restore balance to the body’s energy flow and promote a natural healing response.

How Can Acupuncture Help Alleviate Pregnancy Nausea?

Pregnancy nausea, often referred to as morning sickness, affects a significant portion of expectant individuals with some experiencing it severely. Acupuncture has gained recognition as an effective natural remedy for managing pregnancy nausea. While the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges acupuncture as an effective treatment for morning sickness, the positive experiences of many people also speak to its effectiveness.

Why Choose Fertile Ground for Acupuncture During Pregnancy?

If you’re experiencing pregnancy nausea and seeking a natural remedy to ease your discomfort, Fertile Ground is here to help. Our experienced practitioners are experts in providing acupuncture treatments during pregnancy to help people overcome a wide range of pregnancy-related symptoms, including morning sickness.

Our acupuncture team is dedicated to providing safe and effective treatments tailored to each individual’s needs. They use sterile, disposable needles and follow strict safety protocols to ensure both the patient and the baby’s safety during treatment.

In addition to acupuncture, our practitioners’ comprehensive approach to pregnancy care may also include safe Chinese herbal medicine, moxa, cupping, and diet or lifestyle suggestions to help individuals achieve optimal health during this crucial period. Over the years, our practitioners have helped literally thousands of people overcome pregnancy-related symptoms and achieve a healthy, happy pregnancy.

A Safe and Effective Natural Remedy for Nausea in Pregnancy

Acupuncture is a safe and effective natural remedy for alleviating pregnancy nausea. By stimulating the body’s natural healing mechanisms, acupuncture helps restore balance to the body’s energy flow, promoting relaxation and symptom relief. If you’re experiencing pregnancy-related nausea, consider seeking our Fertile Ground acupuncture services. Our treatments are safe and tailored to your individual needs, ultimately helping you achieve a healthy, happy pregnancy.

Your well-being and the health of your baby are our top priorities, and we are here to support you every step of the way. Embrace the healing power of acupuncture and enjoy a smoother pregnancy experience.

Book an acupuncture appointment or buy an acupuncture gift voucher for someone experiencing pregnancy nausea

Living in accordance to the menstrual cycle

the menstrual cycle, Kiah McGowan

How to optimise your self-care, diet and exercise changes in each phase of the menstrual cycle.

People who menstruate undergo hormonal fluctuations every month. Through each phase of the menstrual cycle, our internal bodies change, and we can feel this through our energy levels, physical symptoms, sociability, appetite and mood. It only makes sense that we listen to these changes and live in harmony with them. Living in accordance with your cycle is an amazing way to support your hormonal health, optimise your lifestyle habits and promote presence in your body.

How does Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) understand the menstrual cycle?

TCM understands the menstrual cycle as a complex ebb and flow of the Yin and Yang energies, as well as Blood and Qi (life force; energy). Yin and Yang are the fundamental basis of all life, and the balance of these determines one’s health. Yin is related to night time, cooling, moistening and stillness, while Yang is related to day time, warming, drying and movement. Similarly, Blood nourishes and supports bodily structures (more Yin is quality) while Qi supports bodily functions and mechanisms (more Yang in quality). When these four parts are in balance, our cycles should look like this:

  • Cycle length of 26-32 days
  • 3-5 day medium bleed
  • 30-80 mls bright red rich blood (full pad = 5ml/ full tampon = 10ml/full cup 15-30ml/ full period undies = 15-20ml)
  • No spotting, period starts straight away
  • No bloating, PMS, sore breasts, pain etc.
  • Clear signs of ovulation (days 12-20)
  • Minimum 11 day luteal phase (ovulation – day before period)

The ebbs and flows of Yin, Yang, Blood and Qi in Chinese Medicine are very similar to the hormonal fluctuations understood by Western Medicine. In both medicines, changes that occur in the cycle that do not line up with the above list are seen as imbalances. Which means that if you, say, get horrible period pain every month, this is not normal and is actually a sign that something is out of balance.

Promoting natural balance through cyclical living

The Menstrual phase: ‘Blood phase’

This phase of the menstrual cycle occurs from day 1 of full bleeding. Our pituitary gland in our brain begins producing luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which stimulates the growth of small sacs in the ovaries, known as follicles. Our uterine lining sloughs off and is lost through the menstrual bleed.

  • Blood is Yin in nature, and therefore we need to support our Yin through promoting stillness and nourishment. Think: cozy, warm and restful.
  • Self-care: Take it easy and enjoy activities such as reading, journalling, meditating and cooking.
  • Exercise: If you feel up to exercising, opt for more gentle activity that won’t deplete you. Yin or Restorative Yoga, stretching and walking is ideal.
  • Diet: Drink lots of tea and water during your period, avoiding ice-cold or refrigerated drinks. Eat plenty of cooked and warming foods like soups, stews and bone broths. Ensure your eat plenty of protein and healthy fats such as beans, meats and seafoods. You can also include TCM blood-stimulating foods like ginger, turmeric and apple cider vinegar.
  • Keep yourself warm: wear socks, stay cozy and keep a hot water bottle on your tummy, which may help promote blood circulation.

The Follicular phase: ‘Yin phase’

This phase of the menstrual cycle occurs from the start of the period until ovulation. The follicles we produced in our menstrual phase grow until one comes the most dominant. Our uterine lining, or endometrium, also thickens up.

  • After menstruation, we focus on Blood and Yin nourishment, and can enjoy the increase in energy that comes with this.
  • Self-care: we begin to feel more extroverted and energetic at this time of the month. It’s time to get out there: go on dates, make new friends, have more sex, try new things! This is a great time to get new projects together, focus on self development and take advantage of creativity.
  • Exercise: This is the time to get those gains in the gym! Lift heavy and focus on endurance, your body can handle it and recover better at this time.
  • Diet: Eat generous amounts of protein, fat, folic acid and B12. Think beans, fish, eggs, meat, cooked leafy greens, berries, avocado, tahini and nuts/ and seeds. Avoid alcohol, coffee, smoking and sugary, processed foods.

The Ovulatory phase: ‘Yang phase’

Ovulation generally occurs around day 11-16 of the menstrual cycle, NOT only day 14 which is a common misconception. Ovulation is affected by many factors, such as cycle length and our physical and mental health. The dominant follicle mentioned in the previous phase releases an egg after a surge in LH occurs. Yin and fluid levels are at their peak, which brings about stretchy (egg-white consistency) fertile mucus.

  • During this phase of the menstrual cycle, we transition from more Yin energy in to Yang, so we can live in a more Yang manner!
  • Self-care: It’s time to bring your creative projects to light! The best time of the month for presentations, work events and hosting. Your libido will be high too. If you’re trying to fall pregnant, this is the time to get busy!
  • Exercise: begin to get a little gentler while still riding on that energy high. It’s a perfect time for swimming, yoga, jogs, lighter weight lifting and HIIT.
  • Diet: begin to eat lighter meals with lots of cruciferous veggies and fibre to flush out excess estrogen. Enjoy warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, cumin, cardamom, cayenne and ginger to nourish the Yang. Limit cold and raw foods or drinks.

The Luteal Phase: ‘Qi Phase’

The egg released during ovulation now becomes the corpus luteum, a temporary hormone-secreting structure (secreting progesterone and estrogen). The corpus luteum will break down if pregnancy has not occurred around ovulation.

  • This is a very Yang time of the month: basal body temperature increases with all the extra warming Yang energy, and if you do become pregnant, Yang is needed here to support and hold the fetus. As we draw closer to the period, we promote Qi flow, which is impeded with stress, frustration, resentment and bottling up of emotions.
  • Self-care: focus on emotional release. Feeling irritable, upset and/or depressive are signs that you need to slow down. Prioritise rest and alone time; get in to breath work, journalling, meditation. Book that massage, acupuncture or facial session and take care of yourself.
  • Exercise: decrease vigorous exercise and opt for low-impact pilates, yoga, barre, body weight exercise or stretching. Many people naturally begin to feel a lack of strength post-ovulation, so listen to your body.
  • Diet: You may notice that your appetite is going a little haywire and this is because your metabolic rate is also increased, meaning you can up your caloric load (this doesn’t mean eat that entire block of Cadbury!!). Instead, opt for hearty meals, slow-cooked meats, stews, soups and broths with plenty of root veggies. Include green and/or pungent foods like basil, fennel, garlic, ginger, vinegar, rosemary dill etc, as well as magnesium and zinc-rich foods like nuts and seeds.

Our periods are our fifth vital sign. When we listen to our bodies and the symptoms that come up during our cycles, we begin to see the things we need to work on. If you suddenly had an excruciatingly painful, emotional period one month, think to yourself: what has my self-care been like this cycle? How have I been feeling emotionally? Have I been eating too much sugar, drinking too much alcohol? Have I been over exercising?

Having this presence in your life and with your body can be a game-changer for your hormonal health. However, natural changes do take time to come in to effect, so be patient with yourself. If you need extra support, acupuncture and Chinese Herbs work cyclically to support your bodies’ changes at each phase to promote hormonal balance and happy periods.

Book your acupuncture sessions with Kiah to get back in to balance naturally. Navigate to heading ‘Acupuncture > Acupuncture Initial’ and select Kiah McGowan.

Cosmetic Acupuncture – a natural alternative to Botox

Cosmetic Acupuncture, Kiah McGowan

What is Cosmetic Acupuncture?

Cosmetic Acupuncture is an ancient technique dating back thousands of years and used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to enhance beauty and skin radiance naturally. It is the insertion of fine needles into the face to stimulate the skin and muscles, and address concerns such as dryness, fine lines and wrinkles, dark, puffy or sagging eyes, discolouration, acne, scarring and much more!

How does it work?

Cosmetic Acupuncture works mainly by causing a ‘micro-trauma’ in the skin, which stimulates collagen and elastin production and increases blood and lymph flow to the face. This is thought to lead to a range of wonderful benefits that acupuncture is known for, including:

  • Improving the firmness and elasticity of the skin
  • Increasing skin hydration
  • Lifting sagging or drooping areas
  • Reducing the appearance and depth of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Softening scarring and pigmentation
  • Brightening the eye area

What to expect from treatments

Many people experience acupuncture as a dull, pinching sensation upon needle insertion that dissipates quickly, however sensitivity varies from person to person. As our skin regenerates and replaces itself approximately every 28 days, 1-2 months of treatment is usually required to see changes in the skin and achieve desired results. Of course, depending on your chosen skin concern, age and constitution, extra sessions may be needed to reach your goals, and realistic expectations will be discussed in your session.

A combination of acupuncture, facial gua sha, facial cupping, jade rolling herbal medicines and lifestyle/dietary advice may be used throughout sessions!

Rather than injecting your skin with chemicals, Cosmetic Acupuncture is a wonderful way to achieve a more youthful and refreshed complexion naturally. As Traditional Chinese Medicine is a holistic practice, treatments will also be aimed at targeting other concerns occurring in one’s body, such as digestive issues, hormonal imbalances and emotional stress, which can all contribute to the health and appearance of our skin. To do this, complementary acupuncture needles will be placed on special ‘grounding’ points on the body. By addressing the skin, mind and the body in all sessions, one is able to achieve a good, holistic harmony, which is essential for having great skin.

Registered Acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, Kiah McGowan, offers their signature Cosmetic Acu-facial treatments at Fertile Ground Health Group and The Melbourne Apothecary.

Book your initial 90 minute session with Kiah and luxuriate in your refreshed natural glow > Navigate to heading ‘Acupuncture’ > Select ‘Cosmetic Acu-Facial Initial’

Zou Yue Zi – Postpartum from a TCM Perspective

Zuo Yue Zi

Zuo Yue Zi is a long-documented practice in China supporting women/new mothers after birth. It literally translates to “Doing the Month” – this is more commonly known in Western culture as the Golden Month after birth.

What is Zuo Yue Zi?

In China, this special time is characterised by 40 days of total rest with a heavy focus on Chinese diet therapy, hygiene and behavioural precautions. This allows for the birthing mother to rest and replenish her strength, while laying the foundation of her health as mother and care giver.

Why Zuo Yue Zi is crucial in postpartum recovery?

Sufficient postpartum care can provide the healthy foundation for the mother and the newborn but also pave the way for healthy pregnancies in the future. Zuo Yue Zi is even said to help the transition into menopause later in life.

From a Chinese medicine perspective, Zuo Yue Zi is crucial for the recovery of the birthing mother. Childbirth requires tremendous amount of energy, resulting in an imbalance of yin, yang, qi and blood. Due to the expenditure of energy and yang the mother is vulnerable to invasion of cold and wind which can cause illness or possible chronic health issues.

Rules of Zuo Yue Zi

Zuo Yue Zi is based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine to protect the new mother and prevent illness. During the 40 days it’s crucial for the mother to prioritise rest, do no housework, limit visitors, stay warm, minimise time spent outside and focus on a nourishing diet that replenishes and harmonises. Traditionally, new mothers are forbidden to wash their hair, go outside, watch TV or read and have zero visitors as it could deplete their energy and unnecessary drama could affect the new family.

How you can implement Zuo Yue Zi in your postpartum journey

Zuo Yue Zi is still practiced in China today and traditionally a care giver, aunty or mother would live with the new parents. They would cook, clean and assist in maintaining the household while the new parents spend time to rest and bond with their newborn. Translating these principles into postpartum life is difficult, which is why many women turn to Traditional Chinese Medicine while implementing Chinese diet therapy.

Diet Therapy during Zuo Yue Zi

Food is one of the most important aspects of “doing the month” with ingredients and herbs carefully selected for their warming and blood building properties while strengthening qi and yang. The meals consumed during this time are always abundant in nutrients, slow cooked, energetically warm, and easy to digest. This is to replenish blood, qi and yang lost during childbirth but also and gently correct any disharmonies. Raw and cold food and drink are to avoided during this time as they are hard to digest and deplete the energy of the already vulnerable mother.

Acupuncture, Herbs and Moxibustion

During this time Traditional Chinese Medicine can be extremely beneficial as it can help to balance emotions, improve energy, help with sleep patterns, promote lactation and perineal healing. It is recommended that acupuncture can be used 2 weeks after childbirth – ideally with a home visit session if possible. Once completing the month and feeling ready to leave the home, treatments in the clinic can commence.

If a home visit for acupuncture is not possible but you still want to follow the principles and access the benefits of a nourishing treatment  – here are some ideas. Try to get someone to take you to your session so you don’t have to drive, make sure you are warmly and snuggly dressed, plan to come directly to the clinic and go home again (no ducking into the shops!) and take time to rest (with a warm bath or warm cup of  your Chinese herbs or breastfeeding tea) afterwards.

In clinic, moxibustion (moxa) is used to stimulate the points and meridians to improve circulation, relieve pain, boost energy, dispel cold and warm the body. After childbirth the moxa is used on the abdomen to warm the channel, stop bleeding and help treat postpartum urinary retention. Moxibustion (moxa) is dried mugwort and is commonly referred as Mother Warming during postpartum period. The use of moxa helps energise the mother and facilitate recovery.

Meghan Smith AcupunctureWritten by Fertile Ground registered acupuncturist, Meghan Smith.

Are you in the postpartum period yourself, or do you know someone who would benefit from this style of care and treatment? Book with Acupuncturist, Meghan, by navigating to bookings > Acupuncture > Acupuncture INITIAL (60 mins)

 

Does acupuncture really help improve IVF outcomes?

acupuncture

The latest review of evidence is out and yes the results are clear. It seems it has been missed by many as it was published in the holidays on the 2nd January 2019!

This is considered the most up to date evidence from a systematic review and meta-analysis and should help to clarify the benefits and rectify the recent misunderstanding from a study published in 2018 that put the use of acupuncture under question.

If you are interested to read the research in full, follow the link to the review and jump to the discussion section for details on effectiveness.

Here is the link: “Acupuncture performed around the time of embryo transfer: a systematic review and meta-analysis”  Smith, Caroline A. et al. Reproductive BioMedicine Online, Volume 38 , Issue 3 , 364 – 379

In this review of all of the latest and relevant evidence from English speaking publications, Smith concludes that:

  • Acupuncture with IVF may have potentially significant benefits when compared to IVF only in regard to both clinical pregnancy AND live birth rates.
  • Acupuncture seems most effective when there are more treatments (higher dose) than just pre and posttransfer acupuncture – especially with treatment in both the stimulation and implantation phase.
  • Further benefits are seen when points selected are tailored to the individual rather than using a pre-prescribed treatment protocol.
  • Benefits are especially true for women who have had multiple previous IVF cycles.

What has been confusing in recent research and discussed in this review is that when acupuncture is compared to sham acupuncture as the control, the benefits are not seen for acupuncture over sham acupuncture. Rather than negating the effects of acupuncture (which seem clearly beneficial), this begs further questions about the placebo effect of acupuncture and/or the validity of sham acupuncture – these devices or points used may not be inert after all and have some effect.

It seems acupuncture is in fact considered effective when compared to IVF alone and worth pursuing for IVF patients.

Smith also mentions how acupuncture may be working via the stress relieving and psychosocial benefits with a significant anxiolytic effect reported and potential beneficial effects such as increase in uterine blood flow, endogenous endorphins and cytokines. The non-needling benefits of acupuncture treatment (the holistic nature of a consultation with palpation, education, self-care and diagnosis etc) are discussed too.

Smith further states that acupuncture remains a low-risk intervention.

While it is so good to read this validation of the use of acupuncture during IVF, for us, although our patients having a take home baby is obviously a key desired outcome, benefits of treatment are not only about the pregnancy and live birth rates. Reduced anxiety levels and a better ability to cope with infertility and IVF is so important for people with poor outcomes, fragile emotional health, and those doing back to back cycles who need to ‘gear up again’ after a negative result. This effect cannot be underestimated. Sometimes it can be the difference between patients feeling like they have the internal resources to take on the next cycle, or need a break. Regular acupuncture with practitioners skilled in working with IVF patients can provide support they need to navigate their experience as seamlessly as possible, potentially with fewer side effects and positive outcomes more quickly.

We continue to offer acupuncture services to support IVF patients at Fertile Ground Health Group as a 1:1 appointment or in our multi-bed facility which works really well for the flexibility of fitting IVF transfer patients in on the day when they find out their transfer times.

We generally recommend patients come in at least once before the transfer as the follicles are stimulated, one to two times on the day of transfer, and another around five to seven days after transfer for implantation support.

Even more ideally where possible and time permitting, we recommend weekly appointments in the two to three cycles leading up to IVF.

Hope you find this helpful. If you are considering booking in. you can see our practitioner profiles here or go straight to our online booking page here.

Please help us share this information to anyone you know involved with IVF as a specialist, practitioner or patient to ensure they know about choices available for appropriate supportive treatments.

Our acupuncture team is more than happy to write or speak about this new systematic review and meta-analysis to IVF and fertility groups too. Please be in touch if you have an opportunity for us to be involved in spreading the word about this.

CharmaineDENNISC

 

Charmaine Dennis is the founding director of Fertile Ground Health Group and has been practicing naturopathic fertility and preconception health care for nearly 20 years. She is passionate about collaborative health care and ensuring that people going through IVF are given accurate information about all the many ways IVF outcomes can be improved with lifestyle and complementary medicine interventions.

 

 

Beautiful times through pregnancy to see your Acupuncturist

Acupuncture Pregnant Belly

Pregnancy can be so demanding on the body.

Physically and emotionally.

Acupuncture can be Oh So Useful in pregnancy.

As an Acupuncturist I often get asked – when are the most delicious times to check in with your Acupuncturist?

So let’s jump in.

 

Regularly though the first twelve weeks

Especially if it’s taken some time to conceive this babe, you’ve experienced pregnancy loss in the past, or you’re feeling particularly anxious about this pregnancy.

Also, if symptoms like nausea and fatigue are having a considerable impact, give your Acupuncturist a call. And the sooner the better on this one.

 

Through the middle of the pregnancy: as symptoms arise

And again, the sooner the better on this one. Catch things like carpal tunnel, back pain, insomnia and indigestion as they arise.

An alternative to the ‘catch things as soon as they creep in’ approach is to schedule monthly check in appointments with your Acupuncturist through the middle of the pregnancy. There is always work to do. And a month can be a very long time during pregnancy!

Go with what you feel will work best for you.

 

Weekly in the final weeks of pregnancy

Weekly from 37 weeks is ideal. This will help facilitate the smooth preparation of bringing this divine soul earthside and prepare your body for labour.

There is so much divine work going on inside your body during this time. Many women become physically more tired and sore. And it may become harder to reach good pockets of sleep.

On top of that, there can be car seats to fit, renovations to finish (why does that always happen?!), and an influx of information coming at you from your birth provider.

There’s the endless thoughts of what labour is going to be like. How we are going to work with the pain.

In other words, there is A Lot. And our minds at this time can go into overdrive.

As the To Do List can whir around us, it’s time to breathe and come home.

A space that Acupuncture is so great at facilitating.

 

More often if you pass your estimated due date

Great to book in some treatments for 40.5 weeks and even 41 weeks. It’s very common to reach these! An estimated due date is just that, an estimate.

So if you do become ‘overdue’, lets use the pins to create some calm space, and facilitate the most optimal environment for your body to go into labour.

 

On ‘the other side’

If you’re seeing an Acupuncturist, ask them what to do regarding treatment on ‘the other side’.

Once pregnancy has drawn to a close, the summit of labour has been climbed, and you have that sweet delicious soul in your arms, there may still very well be work to be done.

Stepping over the threshold from pregnancy to motherhood does not mean you no longer require support.

In general, Chinese Medicine advises that it’s absolutely best for mum and babe to stay indoors and rest for the first 6 weeks. To get to know each other, facilitate recovery from the big experience of birth, and sync up in their rhythms.

At the same time, be in contact with your Acupuncturist if any bumps arise. They may be able to help you. Or they may be able to guide you towards the correct support you may require. Early intervention can be so useful with many postpartum conditions, so please remember that it is always, always okay to ask for help.

 

AmyObrienColourAmy O’Brien is a registered Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine practitioner with a passion for preconception, fertility and pregnancy care. Amy has extensive experience in acupuncture, including a 2 year period of administering acupuncture in a Melbourne hospital. She enjoys working with every aspect of health and disease to assist you in creating fabulous health.

How is acupuncture going to help me conceive?

by Naomi Jankowski, FGHG Acupuncturist

The question I receive the most frequently in clinic is ‘How does acupuncture work?’ This is such a fantastic question with multifaceted answers. The question I like even better is ‘How is acupuncture going to help me conceive?’ When I consider this, there are two parts to the answer which are relatively easy to explain, and which are very important for patients to hear so they understand what we are doing, rather than just going along with a bunch of arbitrary needles.

The first part of this relates more broadly to the question of how acupuncture works. Through my experience in clinic, I have found that so much of acupuncture works on benefiting blood flow and circulation.  Acupuncture does not just work by bringing blood flow to the area where the needle is inserted, in fact often the needles selected will direct the blood flow to an entirely different area of the body.  For example, I routinely use points on the hands that have a direct affinity to the ovaries and uterus.  If a patient comes to see me on a day that they have menstrual cramping, using these points on the hands usually decreases the pain within a few minutes.  By facilitating blood flow to the area, the uterus is then able to function more efficiently.

In many cases, menstrual cramping is caused by a small amount of uterine clotting that is stuck.  The cramps occur when the uterus has small contractions to try to push the clots out.  Unfortunately, the contractions often become inefficient, and then we have the problem which we so often see in clinic, where a woman either has pain or heavy bleeding.  Increasing the blood flow to the uterus facilitates more efficient uterine contractions.  This in turn will decrease pain, decrease heavy bleeding, and, most importantly, create a good basis of endometrial lining.

This brings us to the next point, and our next question of ‘How is acupuncture going to help me conceive?’ Patients often tell me they have low AMH, and that their fertility specialist has told them they cannot conceive as a result of poor egg quality.  Egg quality is certainly part of the picture, and cannot be overlooked.  But let’s consider another perspective.  What good is the perfect egg if the quality of the endometrial lining is so poor that implantation cannot occur?

The analogy of soil works best to illustrate this point.  A seed will not be able to form roots in soil that is littered with rocks, debris and clumped up dirt.  No matter how much fertilizer you add, if there are enough rocks in the soil, your seed will not grow.  These rocks are the clots in the endometrial lining.  First and foremost, our job is to help eliminate this clotting.  Secondly, we work to add fertilizer to the soil i.e. thicken the endometrial lining.  Then, if necessary, we work on egg quality.  Often I never need to directly work on step three, because by that time, conception has successfully occurred.

It is important to note here that patients often have their lining measured, and are told that it looks fine.  This is a measurement in millimeters that does not take into account quality of lining and possible clotting.  Clots will, in a sense, artificially increase the ‘true’ lining of the uterus present on the scan.  It is detrimental lining that leads to a false reading in millimeters.

So to summarize and answer these clinically relevant questions, the benefit of traditional Chinese gynecology is that it takes into account the quality of the endometrial lining.  Acupuncture can facilitate blood flow to the uterus, to improve the quality of this lining which increases the ability of an embryo to implant.

NaomiJANKOWSKIColourNaomi Jankowski is a highly experienced, registered acupuncturist and Chinese herbal medicine practitioner. Naomi is known for her ability to build relationships with her patients where they feel truly supported supported, even the most difficult of fertility and reproductive journeys.

Pregnancy Acupuncture 101

Pregnancy Acupuncture

Ashley Gordon, FGHG Acupuncturist takes us through the basics of acupuncture during pregnancy and explains why it’s such a good idea.

Is it your first pregnancy? Maybe your second or third? Whichever is the case, when you are looking for pregnancy advice, if you Google it you will be inundated with pages of links and information overload. If you don’t have time to navigate the extensive library of information, here is a short spiel on pregnancy acupuncture, the best bits, to save you some time!

I’ve had many questions asked of me about acupuncture, but undoubtedly the most common is “Does it hurt?” and specifically for pregnancy acupuncture, “Is it safe?” The answer to the second question is YES, it is safe! The first question, is a bit more troublesome as it is based on an individual’s pain tolerance, which is subjective, but in general acupuncture doesn’t hurt. Sure, we are puncturing the skin with a needle, so there has to be an initial prick, but there should be no unwanted sensations after that. Some patients even fall asleep, or use the time to meditate while the needles are doing all the hard work for you!

The next most common question is “Is pregnancy acupuncture beneficial?” During the first trimester, it’s very commonly used to treat and alleviate symptoms such as nauseaheartburn and fatigue. Acupuncture aims to maintain health and restore balance within the energy flow of the body – this is crucial due to the multitude of amazing changes that occur during pregnancy. Not only do we need to give the body some credit for the incredible task it has ahead of it, but also give you as much assistance as we can to help the pregnancy move forward with ease and grace.

Equally as important as the first trimester is the third trimester. This time can be used to prepare the body for labour. This is all about blood flow, ensuring the body is well nourished and all of the key organs active in labour are supported and regulated – this is what is called birth preparation acupuncture.

But why is birth preparation acupuncture important, you ask?

Think of it as training. Would you front up to a marathon without any training? Probably not. The #1 reason for birth preparation treatments is to promote a smooth labour. Birth preparation acupuncture consists of a series of weekly treatments from 34-36 weeks onwards and can help to prepare the body for labour. Due to this preparation, your body will not be a stranger to acupuncture if used for labour promotion and will be more receptive to it’s effects. When the time arrives to assist in helping your baby engageincrease cervical ripening and dilation or strengthen contractions, acupuncture is here to help.

Here at Fertile Ground, not only do we have skilled acupuncturists, but we also have Naturopaths, massage therapists and Osteopaths to further assist you and your body throughout the incredible journey of pregnancy. It’s the wholistic approach that we love the most here at Fertile Ground and it would be our pleasure to help you on your way…

 

Ash Gordon colourAshley Gordon, FGHG Acupuncturist

Ashley is an experienced acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist who is passionate about utilising the innate healing qualities of the body in achieving the desired outcomes, be that in fertility, pregnancy or general health. He has developed a strong focus and passion for pregnancy, birth preparation and pre conception care, and is motivated by being apart of each individual journey and the emotional and physical changes of these experiences.

Who is Ashley Gordon, Acupuncturist?

Ash Acupuncture

We talk to Ashley Gordon, Acupuncturist at FGHG and discover what makes him such a fabulous, dedicated practitioner and why he has chosen to focus on reproductive health, fertility and pregnancy acupuncture.

What initially ignited your interest in studying to become a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner and acupuncturist?

Before my time as a TCM practitioner, I was a middle school Biology and Maths teacher. This was good, but I knew there was something… I was on the prowl for job satisfaction. Whilst having a treatment from my acupuncturist, she said “you seem to know a lot about it, ever thought of studying it?”… baffled at the timing of that statement, my answer was “not until now…” and the rest was history!!

How does an Eastern philosophy differ from a western philosophy in terms of fertility and reproductive support?

In my understanding, as different as they can be, they are both just as crucial as the other. Simplistically and generally, Western philosophy seems to go by numbers… if they fit, then they are good. This may not always take into consideration factors such as stress, emotions, sleep and their related symptoms in the body… this is where Eastern philosophy comes in quite strongly. Together, they can make as awesome team, but each have their own ability to stand independently. Fertility and reproductive support can be so easily affected by so many different lifestyle choices. It make sense to sort these out ASAP!

What unique challenges and rewards come from working with your patients in an independent, non-Western healthcare care setting ?

The rewards are many. In fertility and reproductive support specifically, the answer is simply sharing in the joy of people succeeding in their goal of having a baby. In general, assisting people in working towards better health and maximising all that their body and life has to offer. The body knows, we just need to point it in the right direction sometimes…

Chinese Medicine is such a broad discipline with so many different tools, could you offer some insight into how Chinese Medicine works best for you as a practitioner and which areas you particularly love treating?

Without a doubt, my passion lies in treating pregnancy with acupuncture. My fascination and intrigue with the human body is epitomised by pregnancy. Watching the body, grow, adapt and mould whilst still supporting the day-to-day life of a human, blows me away. My other favourite is pre-conception care – assisting this miracle to happen is such a joy!

 

Ash-Gordon-colourAshley Gordon, FGHG Acupuncturist

Ashley is an experienced acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist who is passionate about utilising the innate healing qualities of the body in achieving the desired outcomes. Be that in fertility, pregnancy or general health.

Ashley has a strong focus on preconception care, pregnancy and birth preparation and is motivated by the journeys and emotional and physical changes that these experiences bring. It is his privilege to a be a part of such a personal and life-changing journey.

Getting to know your practitioner – Sonia Millett, FGHG acupuncturist

Fertility Sonia

What inspired you to become an acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist, with a special interest in fertility and pregnancy?

Fertility, pregnancy and women’s health conditions are some of the most interesting and complex to treat, for this reason it has always drawn me – there are so many interesting aspects to consider, such as hormonal and emotional factors.

I love the challenges fertility issues present, and in particular the joy of hard-fought successes such as conceiving a baby after years of trying.  I also enjoy then treating  patients up until they give birth –  there is a real sense of completion and connection with the patient.

I first experienced the benefits of Chinese Medicine when my infant son did not gain weight and was diagnosed with ‘failure to thrive’, and was very unsettled. Several pediatricians were unable to provide a reason or a solution. Chinese Medicine, however, provided some notable improvements, and I was hooked.

What do you see as the strengths that acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (CM) have to offer in terms of fertility and reproductive support?

Fertility and pregnancy treatments are a major area of strength in Chinese Medicine as it fills a gap in conventional Western Medicine. This makes it a wonderful adjunct to medical treatments such as IVF.  If a pathology is not visible (eg in scans/to the eye) or does not show up in testing such as blood tests, Chinese Medicine excels. This is why Chinese Medicine can be effective with diagnoses such as ‘unexplained’ infertility, or for older patients. Traditional Chinese Medicine has a different diagnostic system and we can find a diagnosis (and therefore help treat) even when there is none in Western Medicine.

Chinese Medicine practitioners treat the individual, not the disease, and aim to strengthen underlying issues in the body.  The treatments are more patient- centred.

Also, Chinese Medicine is a holistic approach, supporting the OVERALL health and vitality of the body, as well as treating health issues directly. The principle aim of Chinese Medicine and acupuncture is to recover the equilibrium between the physical and emotional aspects of an individual, by treating the whole person. This is why we also provide lifestyle and dietary advice, and consider the emotional state of patients.

Patients often report they feel less stressed and more able to cope following acupuncture treatments, and we see this as a vital part of the treatment.

In your work you assist a lot of women on their journey to becoming pregnant, do you recommend they continue to see you after they have fallen pregnant? What does acupuncture and Chinese medicine have to offer during pregnancy?

Chinese Medicine is very useful throughout pregnancy. It offers a gentle approach to treatment without side-effects. It can help treat conditions such as nausea in early pregnancy, and any pain throughout the pregnancy. In late pregnancy, acupuncture can be used to prepare the patient for an on-time labour.

The benefits of treatment also extend to post-partum for issues such as poor milk supply and for a boost in energy when exhausted.

Your week tends to be very busy, what sort of self-care do you do to recharge outside of seeing patients?

I get lots of benefit from connecting with special friends, and possibly combining this with a walk. Also a regular yoga practice. I find that any practice that nourishes you emotionally as well as physically, has more far-reaching benefits. Whenever time permits, I also enjoy  acupuncture, kinesiology or massage treatments throughout the year.

I enjoy massage treatments primarily for stress relief, and acupuncture or kinesiology when I have a more acute condition that needs addressing such as pain.  I personally really enjoy kinesiology – it’s an eclectic mix of treatment approaches (and even incorporates some Chinese Medicine channel theory).

What are your top five tips for others to help maintain a healthy lifestyle?

  • Eat a nutritious diet with primarily fresh fruit and vegetables (no need to eat low fat foods) and get daily exercise (doesn’t need to be strenuous).
  • Make time for fun and nurture the special relationships in your life. Particularly important when going through challenging times such as when trying to conceive or with a new baby.
  • Find Gratitude – notice things in your life daily that you are grateful for
  • Get plenty of sleep, ideally within the hours of 11pm – 6.00am.
  • And of course have regular therapeutic treatments such as acupuncture, massage, naturopathy, kinesiology, to maintain health – after all, prevention is better than cure! CM is great as a preventative to help keep you in peak heath and manage stress.

Learn more about Sonia Millet on our practitioner page here: Sonia Millet, FGHG Acupuncturist