Whole Person Fertility Care
Whole Family Health’s Whole Person Fertility Care Program is designed to help people like you with fertility-related concerns to support you on the path to parenthood.
Everyone has their own unique story, and the journeys that lead people to working with us can vary. We also recognize that there are many ways a family can be made, and we are here to support you.
Some people come to us for help with unexplained infertility, while others seek our support with diagnoses like endometriosis, PCOS, luteal phase defect, oligospermia or azoospermia. Sometimes age, ovarian reserve or sperm quality may also factor in.
While some people are trying acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine because they believe that they have exhausted all other options, others seek our guidance because they are being proactive.
No matter what has led you our way and regardless of your diagnosis, or where you are on the trajectory of your path to parenthood, we are delighted to support you.
We recognize the complexity of fertility challenges and and how they can affect many facets of your life. That’s why we believe in whole person fertility care, which takes care of you on a physical, mental and emotional level.
We take a whole systems approach that addresses the whole of you and your body. We focus on your reproductive health, and recognize that it is intrinsically connected to other functional systems in your body, as well as your thoughts, emotions and other lifestyle factors.
We believe that fertility is not a destination but a way of being. We help you to optimize your fertility by optimizing your overall health and well-being.
We support you with tools like fertility acupuncture, Chinese herbs, massage, yoga, nutrition, supplements, lifestyle advice, as well as mindfulness meditation for support with stress management.
We are an Edmonton wellness centre with board certified acupuncturists who are members of the Acupuncture & TCM Board of Reproductive Medicine (ABORM). Working integratively with your fertility support team, we offer you genuine care and extensive knowledge and skills. The ABORM fellowship shows our commitment to ongoing graduate level education and our commitment to the continual expansion of our breadth of knowledge of western medical fertility treatment applications. This informs our Individualized Fertility Care Plans, so that we may effectively support you and integrate the strengths of both western and eastern medicine.
Our approach is to nourish the soil before planting the seed and to optimize your overall health during the critical 3-month preconception time period.
We know how critical the last 3 months of oocyte maturation in the ovaries are, as well as the 3 months for sperm cell generation within the testes. Modern epigenetic research suggests that our DNA expression can be influenced by our intra-cellular and extra-cellular environments. So if you optimize your health during these key 3 months, you are supporting your egg or sperm cells to grow to their peak potential.
A three-month Individualized Whole Person Integrated Fertility Plan is typically enough time to improve the quality of egg and sperm and hormone balance. However, some reproductive issues may require a longer treatment program. After a comprehensive initial intake process, your practitioner will provide you with an Individualized Fertility Plan, based on your body’s needs.
Preconception acupuncture treatment plans help improve:
- Digestion and absorption
- Stress reduction
- Mental-emotional well being
- Blood flow (in general as well as to the reproductive organs)
- Inflammation regulation
- Hormone balance
- Cycle regulation
Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) Support
Some people’s fertility journeys include Western medical intervention and the additional support of assisted reproductive technologies (ART). We are happy to help by providing integrated care and advice. In addition to preconception care, we use evidence-based acupuncture protocols to increase blood flow, regulate inflammation, balance hormones and decrease the negative impacts of stress.
If you are taking medication to stimulate ovulation or if you are undergoing IUI, IVF or FET, our Individualized Fertility Plan will focus on supporting egg and sperm quality as well as uterine receptivity to optimize implantation. Acupuncture can also help to mitigate any uncomfortable effects from the ART medications or procedures while also eliciting the relaxation response to decrease stress.
Acupuncture is a safe and natural way to support your ART cycles, to decrease the emotional burden of fertility treatments, reduce side effects and increase your chances of success. If you are planning a procedure, talk to us about how we can support you.
On embryo transfer day, we offer evidence-based on-site acupuncture treatments at Alberta Reproductive Centre to help you relax and to optimize implantation rates.
Our ART support treatment plans are based on evidence-based protocols to:
- Improve blood flow to the reproductive organs
- Regulate inflammation
- Optimize uterine lining and endometrial receptivity
- Mitigate side effects from medication
- Decrease uterine cramping
- Balance hormones
- Reduce stress and the negative physiological impacts of stress
- Improve ART outcomes
Fertility massage has many benefits. At Whole Family Health, we provide preconception fertility massage for both partners.
Fertility massage is beneficial for all people planning to conceive. Research indicates that by decreasing stress hormones and increasing circulation, fertility massage can improve the function of all of the body’s organs and functional systems.
Fertility massage helps rid the body of toxin build-up and breaks down adhesions and scar tissue that could be contributing to barriers to fertility. When used in combination, massage is particularly complimentary with acupuncture to decrease stress and improve circulation, helping to restore overall balance.
Preconception massage supports reproductive health by:
- Lowering stress hormones
- Improving circulation
- Optimizing organ function and overall functional systems
- Eliminating toxins
- Breaking down adhesions and scar tissue
What we put into the body really does affect physical and mental health. A strong balanced diet creates a strong balanced body and mind. We focus on quality vs quantity, which means eating clean whole organic foods and avoiding refined and processed foods.
We also touch on how you eat. Research shows that how we eat can have an impact on our gut health. So your practitioner may inquire about your mealtime routine and ask you to adjust it. In today’s fast-paced living, we often don’t take time for our meals and it is important for the health of our digestive system to refrain from skipping meals, emotional binge eating, eating on the run, or eating while working. Studies show that mindful eating increases assimilation.
Specific nutritional guidelines are individualized, depending on your body’s metabolic needs, activity levels and overall particular landscape. To address deeper nutritional concerns, we will refer you to a certified nutritionist or dietician – with whom we will work closely to coordinate your treatment plan.
Lifestyle and Mind-Body Medicine
In addition to improper eating habits, overexertion is a common cause of health decline. As a result we may suggest different techniques to assist you in finding and maintaining that balance between work, rest, and daily activities. Some suggestions that we may include are: going to bed earlier to get a sufficient night’s rest, taking part in meditative exercise such as yoga or tai chi, or to help you find time in your schedule one day a week for yourself.
Fertility yoga can also help to heal the body through a combination of pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation, and yin and yang movements. Yoga helps to realign the body to increase blood flow and circulation to the reproductive organs. Yoga can help with a range of disorders including fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, polycystic ovary syndrome, vulvodynia, and vaginisum.
Acute and chronic stress also have negative impacts on the body. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to not only decrease anxiety and depression, but also increase resilience and improve many biomarkers of longevity and wellness. We offer evidence-based Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programs in our Whole Person Fertility Plans.