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3 Helpful Supplements for Endometriosis

After hours of reading studies on endometriosis, researching supplements for the treatment of endometriosis, and reading others blogs on this subject, I came across an interesting article in Vogue.  

Did you know Lena Dunham had a hysterectomy at the age of 31 due to Endometriosis pain? I know that’s a scary thought, and obviously not an option for everyone. (Read her story here

It’s definitely a reality check when someone so young would take the option of removing an organ, giving up her potential to carry a baby to term and give birth because she never wanted to go another day feeling the pain that she did. She would say “okay” to early menopause and hormone therapy willingly, just to ease her pain. 

While I can’t completely understand the severity of the pain Lena, and some of my patients feel daily, weekly, or monthly, or the extreme cases of infertility and endometriomas that can come along with this diagnosis, I do empathize with the fact that sometimes we are dealt these crappy hands in life and we just have to do what’s best for us. 

I also can’t pretend to know how alone some of my patients feel in dealing with this diagnosis. To enjoy life is something that everyone deserves, and for some, removal of the uterus has been the eventual answer, but it doesn’t come without risk and ideally should be a last resort. So I want to share some options that can offer hope, particularly if you want to try to preserve your fertility. 

So let’s dive into three ‘easy to find at your local health food store’ supplements that research shows helps to reduce pain, ovarian endometriomas and endometrial-like tissue in the presence of Endometriosis.

Pycnogenol

Pycnogenol or Pine Bark extract has been known to have many analgesic properties. This extract taken in capsule form has been shown to reduce pain in many conditions from osteoarthritis to dysmenorrhea or painful periods, which is a common symptom of Endometriosis.

This natural supplement has been proven in studies to have lasting and compounding effects. In one study pycnogenol was found to be more effective in treating painful periods in Endometriosis than Gn-RHa or gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist, a common hormone therapy treatment for endometriosis. Not only were the effects of pycnogenol long lasting with results lasting even after discontinuing use but the longer the supplement was taken, the better results patients received. 

Another study showed that the use of pycnogenol reduced pain scores of dysmenorrhea significantly as well as the need for analgesics. Even after the women stopped using the pycnogenol, fewer analgesics were needed and the analgesic effect of pycnogenol continued.

Melatonin

This well known supplement for sleep has also been found to help reduce chronic pelvic pain in those diagnosed with Endometriosis. You may think of Melatonin as a sleep aid, but that’s not all it can do. Melatonin has been found to help reduce inflammation, reduce pain, and is also an antioxidant.

In a 2013 study of 40 women, 10mg of melatonin taken daily was found to decrease daily pain, pain during sex, pain during urination and painful periods. Daily use of melatonin was found to improve sleep quality, and reduced the risk of using pain medication by 80%.

NAC

NAC or N-Acetyl cysteine is a form of the amino acid cysteine naturally found in chicken, eggs, and garlic. NAC is responsible for the increase of natural glutathione which is a detoxifier/ antioxidant responsible for the destruction of free radicals in the body, as well as the ability to reduce and inhibit the growth of epithelial cells, or endometriosis like tissue.

One recent study of 47 women taking 600 mg of NAC three times a day for three consecutive months, found the women did not experience endometrioma (cyst) growth. They had a greater number of cysts shrink, eight women had cysts disappear completely, half of the women cancelled their laparoscopic surgery, and eight women became pregnant during the study or within 12 months. 

Please note that it’s always important to consult with a registered health practitioner before taking any supplement to make sure that it is the appropriate supplement and dose for your case. 

While there is currently no cure for Endometriosis, there are options like acupuncture and supplements that can help those suffering with this silent disease. More research needs to be done to continue to increase awareness. 

If you or someone you know suffers from Endometriosis or endometriosis-like symptoms, feel free to contact us for a free 15-minute q & a to explore the options that we offer, we are happy to help!

You don’t have to suffer alone. 

Image: Tio Cuchillos

Resources

PMID: 18567279
PMID: 28367412
PMID: 17879831
PMID: 23602498
PMID: 23737821
doi.org/10.1155/2013/240702

Together While Socially Distancing: Free E-Health Events

We are aware that it’s extra important for our WELLBEING as humans to remain socially CONNECTED as we are physically distanced.

Especially as we are collectively experiencing the stress and anxiety of this extraordinary time.

We really are in this
TOGETHER.

Please join us for the following  

FREE
Facebook Live Events:


March 23rd & 30th
7pm

YOGA-PRESSURE
FOR ALL THE PEOPLE 

Calming postures & acupressure points
for everyone. 

w/ Mykayla
Registered Acupuncturist & Yoga Teacher 



March 24th
7pm

YOGA-PRESSURE
FOR FERTILITY

Balancing postures & acupressure points
to support fertility.

w/ Mykayla
Registered Acupuncturist & Yoga Teacher



March 25th & April 1st
7pm

MINDFULNESS MEDITATION 
FOR ALL THE PEOPLE 

Breathing & bringing presence & resilience into these times.  

w/ Dr. Alda
Registered Doctor of TCM, Acupuncturist & Mindfulness Instructor 



March 31st
7pm

SUPPORTING FERTILITY 
What you can do during home isolation to keep supporting your fertility.  

w/ Christina
Registered Acupuncturist & Fertility Specialist 


April 2nd
7pm

IMMUNE BOOSTING FOODS  
Learn what foods help to boost your immune system. Alicia will share an easy recipe that you can prepare at home.  

w/ Alicia
Holistic Nutritional Consultant


Click on the Link Below to Access These Events
Facebook

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month

About 1 in 10 Womxn have endometriosis.

Endometriosis is when tissue similar to the uterine lining (endometrium) grows outside of the uterus and responds to hormonal changes, as the endometrium does. So during menstruation, it also bleeds, but unlike the endometrium – it has nowhere to go.

This tissue forms endometrial adhesions in the pelvis and causes all kinds of issues including inflammation, scarring, nerve pressure, and even organ damage and dysfunction.

Severe and often debilitating pain, heavy / prolonged menstruation, digestive disorders, infertility and chronic fatigue are among some of the symptoms of endometriosis.

It is a part of the period poverty landscape, as it can be a barrier to opportunity, with its often debilitating symptoms. Endometriosis is estimated to cost the US over $78 billion each year in medical costs and work productivity.

It has long been theorized to be due to retrograde menstruation – period blood that goes the wrong way through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity. This is apparently a common occurrence in all womxn, but only develops into endometriosis 10% of the time.

Although the above theory may be true in some cases, endometriosis present in fetal development – before any kind of menstruation takes place, let alone retrograde menstruation – suggests that may not be true in all cases.

So there is ultimately no proven cause or cure for endometriosis.
Other theories suggest a genetic component. Those who have a close relative with endometriosis are 5-7 times more likely to also have it.
Theories involving stem cells, the lymphatic system, immune system and complex inflammatory responses have been proposed, but mechanisms are poorly understood.

It can take upwards of 7-10 years for a proper diagnosis, and the only definitive diagnosis for endometriosis is through laparoscopic surgery and biopsy.

️Follow us throughout the month to learn more about endometriosis, and ways to support yourself, or those you know who struggle with it.

Acupuncture For Stress & Sperm

We all know what a negative toll stress can take on our bodies. But what about when we add a little more stress to the scenario?

For all my TTCvers, that fertility window isn’t always the ‘Let’s jump each other’s bones’ time. It sometimes feels scheduled and can be a stressful time period for both partners. Here’s where Acupuncture comes in.

This is a great time for not only women to come in for acupuncture, but it’s also a great time for men to have treatments as well!

Not only does acupuncture make you feel like putty, it stimulates that all-important parasympathetic nervous system. It helps to reduce cortisol, and improves overall blood flow to the reproductive organs in both men and women. In men, acupuncture helps give sperm an extra boost too.

A 2005 study tested men’s sperm after receiving acupuncture 2x a week for 5 weeks, and guess what?! They found an improvement in sperm quality (1)! Great news for all those men who are not only feeling stressed during that window, but who may also need some extra sperm boost.

If there is an underlying male factor issue or your man is facing high stress levels, acupuncture can help him out!

For more information on how we can support your fertility, contact us for a free 15-minute phone consult or schedule an initial consult today.

References:
1. Pei J et al 2005. Quantitative evaluation of spermatozoa ultrastructure after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility. Fertility and Sterility 141-7.

Why Grass-Fed Beef is Better


Perhaps you have heard some of the buzz surrounding grass-fed beef.  Among the plethora of reasons why grass-fed beef is an incredible nutrient resource, there are some real gems in this superfood that can benefit everyone’s health. In honour of Movember we want to highlight the different nutritional aspects that benefit our wonderful men.

2 reasons Omega-3 fatty acids are good for us:

Grass-fed beef contains between 2 & 5 times more omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef. (1)

  • Omega-3 fatty acids can protect the body from various inflammatory disorders.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids can improve sperm parameters, including motility and concentration.

Chronic inflammation is something that we all want to minimize. However, some inflammatory diseases are more prevalent among men, such as heart disease and cancer.  Depression, another prevalent men’s health issue, is also associated with high amounts of inflammation.

2 reasons antioxidants support men’s health:

Grass-fed beef contains significantly higher amounts of beta-carotenoids, vitamin E, CLA, glutathione, superoxide dismutase and catalase – all potent antioxidants! (1)

  • Antioxidants protect the body’s cells against damage from free radicals by enhancing immune function. 
  • Antioxidants improve sperm concentration, morphology, motility and DNA integrity.

The protection against free radicals prevents the development of cancer and also helps to prevent or delay coronary heart disease. (1)

Sperm is a biomarker for overall health and longevity as well.  A study between 1963 and 2001 performed on 51,543 men showed that higher sperm counts were correlated with significantly lower mortality rates. (2)

Why zinc is an essential trace element for men:

All beef contains a high amount of zinc, however, grass-fed cattle contains a higher level of zinc than grain-fed cattle, especially if raised with organic methods. (3) 

  • Zinc balances testosterone, improving prostate and sexual health.
  • Zinc functions as an antibacterial agent in men’s urea system.
  • Zinc has a positive effect on spermatogenesis and improves the physiology of sperm.

A deficiency of zinc has been shown to impede spermatogenesis and is a direct reason for sperm abnormalities and poor sperm testosterone concentration.  While zinc improves men’s fertility parameters, it also helps to improve overall reproductive health, prostate health, sexual health and the hormonal balance of men. (3) 

Grass-fed beef has better nutrient retention

Due to its high concentration of beta-carotenoids, vitamin E and antioxidants, grass fed beef has a slower rate of degradation.  This means that it browns much slower than grain-fed beef!  

It is even protected against the nutrient degradation that occurs when beef is cooked at high temperatures such as grilling or frying!  (4)

Want to Learn More?

On December 1st, we are teaming up with Chef Blair Lebsack at Edmonton’s popular restaurant RGE RD, to co-host a Mindful Eating for Men Cooking Class. Come and learn how easy it is to eat healthily and mindfully. Chef Blair will demonstrate how to transform beautiful raw ingredients into a delectably healthy meal while we enlighten you on the health benefits of it all. Then you get to taste it, and take a Range Road recipe home. All proceeds will go to Movember.

Check our events page for more info or to register call 587-200-5590.

Space is limited!

  1. Daley, Cynthia al. “A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef.” Nutrition journal vol. 9 10. 10 Mar. 2010, doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-10 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2846864/ 
  2. Harvard Health Publishing. “Sperm Count May Be Good Predictor of Men’s Overall Health, from Harvard Men’s Health Watch.” Harvard Health  https://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/sperm-count-may-be-good-predictor-of-mens-overall-health 
  3. Fallah, Ali et al. “Zinc is and Essential Element for Male Fertility: A Review of Zn Roles in Men’s Health, zgermination, Sperm Quality and Fertilization.” Journal of reproduction & infertility vol. 19,2 (2019): 69-81 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6010824/
  4. Domaradzki, Poitr et al. “Evaluation of the Mineral Concentration in Beef from Polish Native Cattle.” Biological trace element research vol. 171,2 (2016): 328-332. doi:10.1007/s12011-015-0549-3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4856721/ 

I am 1 in 4

October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month

1 in 4 experience pregnancy loss. Thousands of empty-armed parents grieve the loss of their child in pregnancy, at birth or in infancy per year in Canada.

They often grieve on their own, isolated in silence. Because the cultural & social infrastructure to support them is lost in the stigma of the death of their children. The stigma is rooted in our silence.

It wasn’t until I miscarried … twice … each time after trying to conceive for at least a few years.. words can’t describe the happiness & hope I felt with those + pregnancy tests! My love for baby grew each day & week & month along with my breasts, nausea & fatigue. It wasn’t until I lost both pregnancies in a row, that I learned that everyone I knew had either had a miscarriage or was close to someone who had had a miscarriage.

It wasn’t until I helped my dear friend birth her daughter still, and saw her daughter’s lovingly bathed and dressed still little body.. only for my friend to return home to an empty nursery with empty aching arms but heart full of love and nowhere physical to pour it into. Breasts full of milk & no body to nourish…

It wasn’t until I met my other dear friend on one of her first outings, months after she still-birthed her full term son. We went to her local coffee shop, only to be greeted by the young teenaged barista who had watched her belly grow to term, excitedly asking my friend where her baby was…

It wasn’t until these moments that I touched the immeasurability of this kind of grief. And my heart grows with understanding and love for all who ride these waves of grief & sadness & anger & love.. & more..

Is there a particular moment you remember that could help others to understand the depth of your experience? Maybe if we all feel it together – at least for a moment – we can help you to bear the weight of your heart’s sadness… so you don’t have to carry it all by yourself…

Please contact us if you or someone you know needs support with moving through the loss of still birth, infant loss, recurrent pregnancy loss or infertility.

5 Ways to Manage PCOS Naturally

WHAT IS PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS ) affects 1 in 10 people. It is a common endocrine disorder and one of the leading causes of infertility. It can present with a broad spectrum of possible symptoms, so the medical community formed a panel to come to a consensus.

According to this Rotterdam panel, a PCOS diagnosis is confirmed with the presentation of a minimum of 2 out of the 3 following criteria:

  • Ovulatory dysfunction (which can present as irregular cycles or no cycles at all)

  • Enlarged ovaries with at least 12 follicles each
  • Elevated androgens in your blood-work (which can manifest as excess hair growth on the chin and/or chest as well as acne)


Luckily, PCOS is treatable!

HERE ARE 5 WAYS TO MANAGE PCOS NATURALLY:

1.            DIET:

Insulin resistance, sugar metabolism and weight gain are commonly present with PCOS. A study shows that even 8 weeks of low-starch and low-dairy diet results in weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity and reduced testosterone in people with PCOS.

The following dietary principals help to stabilize blood sugar and decrease inflammation:

– Stick to a carbohydrate – restricted, low- glycemic index foods diet

– Eat regular protein-dense snacks

– Eat plenty of colourful veggies and dark leafy greens

– Combine your fruit with other foods, and avoid eating tropical fruits. Go for berries instead (they have a lower glycemic index)

– Avoid trans-fats and incorporate more healthy fats, like long chain Omega-3 fatty acids found in high quality fish oils or use coconut oil, avocado oil, or extra virgin olive oil

– eliminate inflammatory foods like sugar, dairy, wheat and flour products, processed/ pre-packaged foods and artificial sweeteners from your diet

2.            EXERCISE:

A study shows that structured exercise with three 30-minute stationary bike sessions per week regulates menstruation and improves insulin sensitivity, fertility and androgen levels in people with PCOS.  It has also been shown that exercise improves micro vascular function (blood flow) in the uterus, which is a known cause of implantation failure in those with PCOS.

High intensity interval training has also been shown to improve insulin resistance in women with PCOS, even in the absence of weight loss.

Weight gain is often a presentation of PCOS, but there’s no pressure to become a lean machine to reverse the condition. Even a 5-10% weight loss restores ovulation.

3.            REDUCE ENVIRONMENTAL ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS

Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the most common industrial endocrine disruptors found in common household products. It is a significant endocrine disruptor in PCOS and has been found in higher levels in people with PCOS.

BPA can be found in high levels in people with and without PCOS. However, in people with PCOS, BPA causes testosterone levels to increase unlike in those without the condition. The higher the levels of BPA in the blood, the higher the levels of testosterone there is too.

BPA can be found in:
Industrial packaging
Food cans
Plastic bottles
Plastic water pipes
Thermal paper (receipts)
Cosmetics
Healthcare equipment
Children’s toys and clothing

Try to avoid using the following:
Canned food, unless the label says that it’s BPA-free
Plastic, use glass or stainless steel containers instead
Receipts

4.            MINDFULNESS MEDITATION:

People with PCOS have a higher risk of anxiety and depression. This is related to the stressful symptoms of PCOS, associated inflammation in the body and hormone imbalance.

Research shows that a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program significantly reduces stress, depressive and anxiety symptoms, as well as salivary cortisol concentrations while increasing Life Satisfaction and Quality of Life scores in women with PCOS.

5.            ACUPUNCTURE

Acupuncture increases blood flow, regulates inflammation, balances hormones and decreases stress. One study shows that both acupuncture and exercise reduce high levels of testosterone and lead to more regular menstruation in PCOS patients.

Do you or someone you know need help with PCOS? Contact us for a free 15-minute Q & A to find out more about our PCOS Treatment Plan.


Read Kay’s Pregnancy Success story in the face of PCOS.

Pregnancy Success with PCOS: a Journey of Courage & Triumph

A lot of my patients that have PCOS see this diagnosis as a battle, and in a sense it is.  Menstrual cycles are typically irregular and weight, hair growth, and acne can be an issue. You know, all the fun stuff a woman has to deal with, but on an exponentially elevated level. Where do we go from here?

Sometimes there isn’t a whole lot of support to manage this type diagnosis. All we truly know is that our body isn’t functioning quite right and when we are trying to conceive, this just adds to the frustration. Fortunately, with the right tools, a strong willpower to make some lifestyle changes, and finding support and guidance with the right people in our corner, we can manage this confusing and frustrating diagnosis. 

I am honoured to share one of my patient’s personal journeys with PCOS that she is so courageously willing to share…

Kay’s journey with PCOS: 

I was officially diagnosed with PCOS about 9 years ago. Even if this was when I was officially diagnosed, I had known for a long time that something wasn’t right. 

My biggest warning signs were that I had excessive body hair, irregular periods and despite trying everything to lose weight, I couldn’t.

When I was diagnosed, I was told it would be very hard to conceive and that there was not much I could do to help the symptoms. This was a shock to my 21 year-old self.

Busy with a new job in a new province, I didn’t think to question or look into ways to help myself. Fast forward a few years, I’m married and we are wanting to have a baby. I still have all of the symptoms but they have all gotten worse. Trying to conceive while not knowing if my cycle will be 20 days or 96 days is a challenge.

So we tried for over two years and got into the fertility clinic where we did all the testing, followed protocols and were told that we would have a slim chance of success. We took the chance, did a round of medicated IUI and were blessed with our now 1.5 year-old baby boy.

Then the time came that we wanted to try again. However in the year after the birth of our son, I had only had one period. (I wasn’t breastfeeding.) Knowing that the odds were against us and we would need to wait until the fertility clinic had room for us, I mentally prepared myself for another long road. 

While talking to a friend who has her own fertility issues, we decided to try a different approach. That’s when a simple internet search lead me to Whole Family Health and Christina.

At the end of February 2019, I took the chance and attended my first ever acupuncture treatment with the attitude that I have nothing to waste because I need to wait for the fertility clinic to get me in anyways. Well that February day, my life completely changed. I found someone who understood PCOS and how a female body works and genuinely wanted to help me conceive.

We started a regular acupuncture program; by the end of the 3rd month I had my first period in over a year with a positive ovulation. So we continued treatments and the next couple of months produced the same results, until a few weeks ago when the period never arrived but a positive pregnancy test did.

As I am so early in my pregnancy I’m not sure what the future holds, however I do know that I will be continuing acupuncture for probably the rest of my life. My PCOS is responding so positively and my mood and all around health has improved so much in the last 6 months. I truly believe that the natural approach and Christina’s knowledge and dedication has forever changed the way I will battle my PCOS.”

If you are a woman suffering with PCOS, you don’t have to battle this alone, the amazing qualified practitioners at Whole Family Health are happy to support you through your journey with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine!

Contact us today!

3 Supplements for Fertility

Upon the occasion that I clean and clear out my cupboards, I used to come across the dreaded “supplement graveyard” – you know, the old supplements that were purchased in a spur of the moment attempt to correct some mild physical ailment.  Without a clear clinical direction, I would take these with little understanding of how they would interact with the other various supplements I was taking, or how they would truly affect my unique physiology.  

This changed a number of years ago when my mentor and Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor prescribed me a combination of supplements that made a huge impact on my expression of health.  Within weeks I could feel a profound difference in my energy levels, my mood and the symptoms that ailed me. I was surprised to realize that the approach I had taken while attaining my own supplements was not as effective as it could have been.  What a difference it can make, to follow the guidance of a practitioner who is well acquainted with one’s particular constellation of symptoms.

The quality, quantity and combinations of supplements are unique and responsive to each individual situation and constitution.  A directed and specific treatment plan can have remarkable physiological effects, however, a supplement that might be effective for one person, might be completely unsuitable for another.  Even the dosages recommended by a knowledgeable professional can vary from the suggestions on the bottle. When it comes to following a supplemental regimen, it is wise to step into it with the guidance of an expert. 

At Whole Family Health, we carry a carefully curated collection of supplements and vitamins.  With due diligence to research, we stay on the cutting edge of supplemental medicine, especially where fertility support is concerned.

3 Fertility Supplements:

Here are a few snippets of research that support three of the products that we carry, illustrated within the researched field of reproductive health:

  • Coenzyme Q10 was shown in a 2015 study to restore mitochondrial function and fertile potential in the oocytes of human females. (1)  Another randomized controlled trial showed that treatment with Coenzyme Q10 in the preconception stages improved ovarian response and embryo quality in women with decreased ovarian reserves.  (2)
  • A study in 2011 showed that an increased intake of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in the preconception stage can improve embryo morphology as well as the number of follicles maturing in an IVF cycle. (3) Another 2008 study discusses the importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in fetal and newborn neurodevelopment, the lack of dietary intake of Omega-3 Fatty Acids as well as the importance of supplementation. (4)
  • An evidence based review, conducted in 2016, indicates that oral antioxidant supplements improve sperm concentration, motility, morphology, DNA damage and fertility rate.  Many of these vitamins and antioxidants are included in a Male Fertility SAP supplement. (5)

It is comforting to know that there is valid and thorough research backing up your supplemental treatment strategy!  I am proud of my current supplement cupboard. Each item inside of my cupboard has been carefully chosen in response to my current physiological condition.  

If you are curious about which supplements might support your unique constitution, please book in for a free 15 minute phone Q & A.  

1.  Ben-Meir, A., Burstein, E., Borrego-Alvarez, A., Chong, J., Wong, E., Yavorska, T., … Jurisicova, A. (2015). Coenzyme Q10 restores oocyte mitochondrial function and fertility during reproductive aging. Aging cell, 14(5), 887–895. doi:10.1111/acel.12368

2. Xu, Y., Nisenblat, V., Lu, C., Li, R., Qiao, J., Zhen, X., & Wang, S. (2018). Pretreatment with coenzyme Q10 improves ovarian response and embryo quality in low-prognosis young women with decreased ovarian reserve: a randomized controlled trial. Reproductive biology and endocrinology : RB&E, 16(1), 29. doi:10.1186/s12958-018-0343-0

3.  Hammiche, Fatima et al. (2011). Increased preconception omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake improves embryo morphology, Fertility and Sterility, Volume 95, Issue 5, 1820 – 1823

4. Greenberg, James A et al. “Omega-3 Fatty Acid supplementation during pregnancy.” Reviews in obstetrics & gynecology vol. 1,4 (2008): 162-9.

5. Ahmadi, S., Bashiri, R., Ghadiri-Anari, A., & Nadjarzadeh, A. (2016). Antioxidant supplements and semen parameters: An evidence based review. International Journal of Reproductive BioMedicine, 14(12), 729-736. doi:10.29252/ijrm.14.12.729


How does Acupuncture Work for Infertility?

What does Acupuncture do to help or improve Fertility?

Acupuncture improves fertility by increasing blood flow. Doppler studies show that stimulation of specific acupuncture points increases circulation in blood vessels.

Treatments also stimulate angiogenesis – which means that they actually encourage new blood vessels to grow.

Acupuncture also helps fertility by regulating inflammation, balancing hormones and decreasing stress.

Studies show that certain acupuncture points decrease stress hormones and block chronic stress neurological pathways.

Where do the needles go?

Are you considering acupuncture for fertility and wondering where the needles go when you receive the treatment? 

The needles can be placed in the abdomen, chest, back, arms, legs, hands, feet, head or ears.

Needles are ultra-fine and hair-thin. Upon insertion, they feel like a mosquito bite at most.

Here are 3 most commonly used acupuncture points located on the leg, abdomen and head (Translation of point names and meanings from ‘Characters of Wisdom by Debra Kaatz):

1. ST36 Zusanli (To Walk in the Great Strength of Stillness)

This point is located just below the knee and is a storehouse for putting things into action, it gives us extra strength when things are not easy and strengthens vitality.

Studies have shown that this point is therapeutic for inflammation, stress, pain inhibition, perfusion/ circulation, parasympathetic activity,gastric function and ART reproductive outcomes.

2. DU20 Baihui (The Meeting in Grand Unity)

This point is located on the top of the head and is where chaos can be restored to unity, bringing tranquillity and calm.

Studies have shown that this point helps with anxiety, insomnia and ART reproductive outcomes.

3. CV4 Guanyuan (Gateway of Origin)

This point is located on the lower abdomen and opens our inner fertile gardens; it is where the goodness and vitality is allowed in, opening our life to warmth and harmony.

Studies have shown that this point helps with pelvic pain, endometriosis, primary dysmenorrhea, depression and anxiety.

How often do I need to have acupuncture done to improve my fertility?

The effects of acupuncture treatments are cumulative and treatment plans differ depending on each case.

The frequency of acupuncture treatments varies from 1 to 3 times per week for 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the recommended protocol.

How many acupuncture sessions will it take to get pregnant? How long does it take?

The aim is a healthy pregnancy, so we want to create the healthiest embryo and uterine lining as possible. This means we need healthy egg, sperm and lining.

It takes about 4-6 weeks to effectively increase the blood flow of the lining.

It takes about 90-100 days for egg and sperm to ripen and mature in the body before they are released for conception. We know that if we optimize the environment that they develop in, we are supporting them to grow to their peak potential.

So ideally, we want to focus on this key 3-month preconception time-frame to optimize egg and sperm quality while also optimizing blood flow in the uterus. This minimum time frame gives you the best chance of success.

What kind of success rate does acupuncture for infertility have?

Success rates are dependent on so many factors, including age and the nature of the diagnosis.

Studies show that acupuncture support for IVF increases the chances of success by 15-30%.

How much does fertility acupuncture cost?

At Whole Family Health, an Initial Consult is 60-90 minutes long and costs $144. Follow-up treatments are 50-60 minutes long and cost $96 each.

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