Whole Family Health’s fertility program is designed to help people with fertility-related concerns to create a healthy full-term pregnancy.
Everyone has their own unique story, and the journeys that lead people to working with us can vary. Some people come to us for help with unexplained infertility, while others seek our support for a diagnosis like endometriosis, PCOS, luteal phase defect, oligospermia or azoospermia. Sometimes age, ovarian reserve or sperm quality may also factor in.
Some people seek our guidance because they are being proactive, while others are trying acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine because they believe that they have exhausted all other options.
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 that you are more than your diagnosis and we understand that the challenges of this process exist on a physical, mental and emotional level, affecting many facets of your day to day life.
Chinese medicine is 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, massage and yoga, nutritional and lifestyle advice, as well as mindfulness meditation for support with stress management.
We are an Edmonton acupuncture clinic with board certified members of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (ABORM). Bringing integrative medicine to the forefront for Edmontonians, we offer the highest quality of care to our patients, with our extensive knowledge and experience in reproductive medicine. This 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 treatment 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 that it takes about 3 months for oocytes to mature in the ovaries and for sperm cells to be generated in 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 Chinese medicine treatment 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 treatment plan, based on your body’s needs.
Preconception acupuncture treatment plans help improve:
- Digestion and absorption
- Mental and emotional states
- Blood flow to the uterus and ovaries
- General blood production
- Cycle regulation and hormone balancing
Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) Support
Some people require the additional support of assisted reproductive techniques (ART) and we are happy to help by providing complimentary care and advice. In addition to preconception care, acupuncture increases blood flow, regulates inflammation, balances hormones and decreases stress.
If you are taking medication to stimulate ovulation or undergoing IUI, IVF or FET, our treatment 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.
Our ART support treatment plans are based on evidence-based protocols to:
- Improve blood flow to the uterus and ovaries
- Optimize receptivity of the uterine lining
- Decrease uterine cramping
- Reduce stress levels
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.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbal therapy corrects underlying deficiencies, balances hormones, and regulates the menstrual cycle. Chinese herbs for fertility can help to:
- Reduce stress hormones
- Improve ovarian function
- Stimulate and regulate follicular response
- Optimize egg quality
- Balance ovulatory hormone and endocrine systems
- Improve blood flow to the reproductive organs
Nutrition and Diet
What we put into the body really does affect physical and mental health. A strong balanced diet creates a strong balanced body and mind. Think quality over quantity, which means eating clean, whole organic foods. Consider all of the chemical substances that make their way into our food to enhance modern farming (hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and fertilizers). We ingest those chemically rich foods, which then make their way into our bodies, potentially causing imbalance and illness from the inside out. Therefore, it makes sense to eat healthy foods for a healthier you.
Not only do we advise you what to eat, but also how you eat. Another theory in Chinese medicine includes the way we eat our food, so your practitioner may inquire about your mealtime routine and ask you to adjust it. In this fast paced society we often don’t take time for our meals and it is important for the health of our digestive system that we refrain from skipping meals, emotional binge eating, eating on the run, or while working. Studies show that mindful eating increases assimilation.
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: going to bed earlier to get a sufficient night’s rest, taking part in meditative exercise such as yoga or tai chi, or just help you find time in your schedule one day a week for yourself.
Further, fertility yoga can aid in healing the body through a combination of pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation, and yin and yang movements. Yoga helps increase the blood flow and circulation to the reproductive organs. Yoga helps 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 incorporate evidence-based Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programs in our treatment plans.