Categories > Stress Relief

Yoga for Fertility

Does Yoga Help Fertility?

Lately I have been coming across many people that are interested in the benefits that yoga may have for them on their fertility journey. From the direct experience of my personal yoga practice, I have noticed positive changes in my own stress levels and emotional well being. So, what are the benefits that a fertility focused yoga practice has you ask? Here are some interesting facts:

A 2015 study looked at the effect yoga had on anxiety and women going through fertility treatments. The researchers found that after taking a 6 week yoga program, anxiety scores of participants were significantly lower in the yoga group than in the control group.

This 2018 study found the full scope of yoga postures, breathing techniques, and meditation to be beneficial in stress management as couples went through assisted reproductive techniques. The same study found yoga was helpful to reduce pain and decrease anxiety and stress in couples going through IVF.

Yoga taps into the parasympathetic nervous system and our “rest and digest” functions. Throughout the yoga practice, the body is able to relax and this allows for a shift in the nervous system that increases circulation throughout the body which is so beneficial in all aspects of health.

Fertility focused yoga emphasizes a slower and more restorative practice that provides the space for the body and mind to connect on a more subtle level. It’s a beautiful combination of body, breath, and mind that will leave you with a deep sense of comfort!

I would love to see you on the mat!

Register now!
For our upcoming 6-week YogaPuncture for Fertility series
Thursdays, Sept 19 – Oct 24
6:15 – 7:15pm
$150

Help for IVF Anxiety

In my own clinical practice, as well as in my own life, I have had the honour to witness acupuncture’s positive effects on anxiety. Nothing beats the feeling of melting into a treatment table and allowing your body to relax under the effects of the needles. All of the whirling thoughts tend to slow down as you feel listened to, cared for and supported. 

Anyone who has been in the vicinity of the life creating processes of IVF know that emotional support can be of huge benefit to the couple undergoing the procedure. For centuries, Traditional Chinese Medicine physicians have observed and recorded how excessive emotions and overthinking can contribute to the progression towards imbalance. What could cause more deeply felt emotions and excessive rumination than the suspense associated with expanding your family through IVF? 

Indeed, previous studies have indicated that 25 percent of women are at risk of clinical distress following an IVF cycle. However, a clinical trial involving over 800 women, aged 18 – 42 and across 16 different IVF clinics, studied how anxiety associated with IVF responds to acupuncture treatment. The study, spanning from 2011 to 2015, showed that acupuncture during an IVF cycle significantly reduced the feeling of anxiety on the day of embryo transfer. (1)

Acupuncturists have a variety of treatment protocols that can help to calm the mind, balance the nervous system and relax the body. Spending time on the treatment table can cultivate your sense of calm and thus help to improve the ease and success of your cycle.

If you are experiencing anxiety associated with your IVF cycle, we can help you. At Whole Family Health, we combine the time tested truths of ancient medicine with cutting edge modern medical knowledge.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our practitioners please give us a call to book in for a free Q & A

Reference: 

1. Smith, Caroline A., et al. “The Effects of Acupuncture on the Secondary Outcomes of Anxiety and Quality of Life for Women Undergoing IVF: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Acta Obstetricia Et Gynecologica Scandinavica, vol. 98, no. 4, 2019, pp. 460–469., doi:10.1111/ aogs.13528. 

My Favorite Resource For Pregnant Mothers To Be

By Christina Pistotnik

The time between that positive pregnancy test and holding your newborn in your hands can be filled with a mixture of emotions. On one hand you are so excited that you are going to be a mother but on the other hand you can’t help but feel anxious because it is hard to know what you can and cannot do. Some of you invested time, energy, and financial contributions in order to get to this place, and of course you want to do everything you can to safely maintain this pregnancy.

One of my favorite resources that I refer to and suggest to newly expectant mothers is called Motherisk. It is a Canadian site and program facilitated by the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children and they provide evidence-based information about what is and is not safe during pregnancy. I really enjoy it because it is easy to use and contains a vast array of information all on one site. Plus they have a toll free number (1-877-439-2744 ) that you can call and speak directly to a nurse that will help you out with any concerns you may have.

Having reliable resources and specialists to support you during pregnancy is important because it can help ease uncertainty surrounding an important time in your life.

What about acupuncture, is it safe during pregnancy?

Since the majority of my patients start seeing me while in the process of trying to conceive, I get this question quite a lot in my practice and the answer is; Yes, acupuncture is a safe and effective form of treatment in pregnancy. This is because it utilizes the body’s own healing process to help maintain pregnancy by keeping the uterus calm and stabilizing progesterone which keeps the lining secure until the placenta takes over. Plus it helps to minimize uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms which include; nausea and vomiting, aches/ pains, insomnia, and energy issues.
Plus, an added bonus when receiving acupuncture treatments is that it has a very calming affect on the body. Therefor, it can help with stress and anxiety that you may be experiencing during this time.

As an acupuncturist specializing in fertility and pregnancy, I am happy to safely treat you for any of your pregnancy concerns. Call Whole Family Health to book your appointment or learn more about our Fertility Services today!

Moving Forward From Pregnancy Loss: 4 Things That Help

October is Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Awareness Month, and in honor of heartbroken parents, blessed little lost ones, and all dear folk touched by this grief, we recognize this all too commonly shared experience.

We all process this kind of loss in our own way, and in our own time. One of life’s humbling mysteries – sometimes there is an explanation, and other times there is not. Either way, we are left to grapple with that which we don’t have control over, and to practice with somehow making peace with it, while sorting out how to move forward.

Often losses can be isolating, held close and private, locked in the silent hope of the first trimester. Hopefully to be spoken of later, perhaps when a little less emotionally raw.

While later term losses or stillbirths may be collectively grieved; empty-armed parents, navigating how to move forward at the mercy of often unpredictable waves of emotion. Moving through a life unchanged and yet forever changed – buoyed or sunken by the community’s varying depth of understanding and expectation.

It is said that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage by age 35, and once we start talking about it, we realize that everyone knows at least one person who has suffered a loss- if they haven’t experienced one themselves.

What does life after loss look like? There is no right or wrong way to grieve, we all do it in our own way and in our own time. Some of us are de-railed for a short time, and others of us never quite ‘get over it.’ Some of us need potato chips, while some of us need long walks, or both. Whatever it may be, allow the time and space to be with it in whatever way works best.

Here are some things that will help in the wake of pregnancy loss:

1. Breathe. Studies show that Mindful breathing exercises shift us out of fight or flight and activate our pre-frontal cortex- which is responsible for higher executive functioning. This supports our recovery from traumatic events and helps us to be present with and to integrate these experiences in a healthy way.

Mindfulness allows us to have the perspective we need to see our way through difficult times, without avoiding or being completely high-jacked by the negative impacts of the associated stress. Accessing resources like a Mindfulness class or a Mindfulness App like Headspace have far-reaching benefits.

2. Nourish and renew. Pregnancy loss and stillbirth can be draining both physically and emotionally. Eat replenishing foods, that are nutrient-rich and tonifying. Try to stay away from refined and processed foods, while gravitating toward a whole foods diet.

Stick to warm and cooked meals, especially in the colder seasons. These are more easily digested, and your body doesn’t have to work as hard to metabolize them. Bone broths, which are rich in amino acids, vitamins and minerals are easily absorbed, rehydrating, and fortifying.

3. Follow up. Follow up with your doctor. Especially if bleeding or pain persists or if your energy levels are slow to recover. Your doctor can run standard blood-work to check on hormone and iron levels after a loss. He or she can also determine if there is any indication for ultrasound imaging to ensure that no pregnancy products remain and/or that healing from any procedure is going smoothly.

If you have had more than one loss, your doctor will likely want to run a Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Panel, to rule out any potential contributing physiological factors.

4. Acupuncture. Acupuncture promotes blood flow, regulates inflammation, supports hormone balance, and decreases stress. It helps with recovery from both spontaneous miscarriage, procedures and stillbirths, as well as supports regulation of your cycle after loss.

Treatment plans are individualized, based on factors relevant to your particular case, and can include regular acupuncture, customized Chinese herbs, and a review of recommended supplements, diet and exercise.

If a Western diagnosis has been identified, and/or Western Medical treatment is necessary, we make modifications to support this process. The primary aim is to help your body re-set. Should you plan to create and carry another healthy pregnancy, then we also help to prepare for this, while supporting the mental-emotional process and doing what we can to prevent another loss.

Pregnancy and infancy loss is not uncommon, and the more we speak to it, the better
we are able to understand and support one another. Bless the hearts of those who know
this kind of loss first-hand and bless the hearts of those who love and support them.

 

Dr. Alda Ngo

For more information on how we can support recovery and prevention of pregnancy
loss, please feel free to contact us for a free 15-minute phone consultation.

Mindfulness Meditation Class

Mindfulness Meditation: the art of seeing clearly what is happening and how we are relating to it.
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Tips For Getting A Better Sleep

Sleep, everybody needs it, but not everyone can seem to get enough of it. People often fill their day with too many tasks and don’t leave enough time for quality shut-eye. But then there are people who have the time to sleep, but still wake up feeling tired and not well rested. This can happen for a number of reasons and it can be frustrating, but the good news is there are steps you can take to provide yourself with a better sleep every night.

Sleep vs.Good Sleep

You might be sleeping, but are you getting a good sleep? Sometimes we don’t sleep as well as we should, for a variety of reasons. A common problem that many people experience is that they are not sleeping deeply enough or are wakeful throughout the night.

There are a number of reasons why a person might not be getting the deep rest they need. Sometimes those problems are biological. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea may interrupt normal sleep cycles, reducing the quality of sleep and causing the person to still be tired in the morning. Often sleep is restless because of environmental factors. Things such as excess lights and sounds or uncomfortable temperatures can cause wakefulness throughout the night. Anxiety and stress can also reduce sleep quality. If your mind is not relaxed, you may become restless and wakeful throughout the night, which reduces your quality of sleep.

Setting Up a Good Sleep Environment

If your sleep issues are environmental, there are steps you can take to improve your environment for sleeping. For instance, if light bothers you, you might want to consider a blackout shade in your bedroom. The light from a streetlight might seem fairly dim and distant, but it can be enough to compromise your sleep quality.

If noise is the issue, you might want to consider getting heavier curtains to filter out outdoor sounds. A white noise machine may also be effective in covering disruptive noises, providing for a more peaceful sleep.

Dealing with Health Issues

If your inability to get a good night’s sleep is related to physical or mental health, don’t assume those problems will just go away or that you can fix them on your own. Any health issue requires attention from a doctor. By avoiding the doctor, you might actually be worsening the problem as your lack of sleep will be making matters worse.

A Good Sleep Routine

If the problem is that you’re having a hard time getting to sleep, get yourself in a sleep routine. Try turning off the TV or any other screens an hour or two before bed time to let your mind de-stimulate. Try to relax yourself further with mediation or a warm bath. Make sure your bedroom is a clean and peaceful environment that you enjoy being in.

It may take time, but by establishing good sleep habits and taking care of any health issues inhibiting your sleep, you will improve your sleep quality and your overall quality of life.

Meditation, Acupuncture, and Massage Therapy Can Help

If you are having trouble sleeping, meditation is an effective and easy way to set yourself up for a successful night’s sleep. Some techniques for meditation that are proven to be effective in helping people fall asleep include deep breathing, guided visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness exercises.

Further, acupuncture and massage therapy are successful treatment options for many types of sleep disorders and promotes relaxation. Click here to learn more about how acupuncture, massage therapy, and meditation can improve your sleep!

If you have any questions on our mind body medicine, acupuncture, and massage therapy and how to improve sleep quality, please do not hesitate to contact us today!

Mindfulness Meditation Class: Self­-Compassion and Presence

Want a moment of calm? Who doesn’t! Let’s face it, we are getting busier, doing more for others and less for ourselves. But, there is a way to create a moment of calm in your busy week, that’s right just for yourself. (more…)

Mindfulness Meditation Class: Self­-Compassion and Presence

Want a moment of calm? Who doesn’t! Let’s face it, we are getting busier, doing more for others and less for ourselves. But, there is a way to create a moment of calm in your busy week, that’s right just for yourself. (more…)

Mitigating the Harmful Effects of Stress

There are times when stress is completely unavoidable, such as a high demanding job, training for a competitive sport event, dispute with your partner or friends, or caring for a sick parent, etc. (more…)

4 Board Certified Fellows of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine at Whole Family Health

Congratulations to Christina Pistotnik RAc, DAc, HHP, FABORM and Monica Patt RAc, HHP, FABORM on your recent certification with ABORM! (more…)

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