Just What we needed!!!. My wife and I had been trying for some time to get pregnant to no avail. We decided to look into the Acupuncture route for increased fertility, At a friends suggestion (who had enjoyed success using their service ) we went to Blossom. Today we heard our soon to be babies heartbeat for the first time!! Our experience at Blossom was professional , pleasant and informative , and most important of all SUCESSFUL!! Big Thanks to all the staff at Blossom! CM Continue reading
Where did you come up with the name “Blossom”?
Blossom has a special connotation to me personally as a women’s heath practitioner. Being a woman is all about transformation and growth Continue reading
Indigenous to the Mediterranean countries and Asia, Chaste Tree Berry has been renown as both an aphrodisiac and an anaphodisiac. Continue reading
I have been utilizing Traditional Chinese Medicine to support patients undergoing IVF since 2002 and I feel it is an honor to be a part of this very important time in a couple’s life. Continue reading
The MediClear Cleanse is user friendly. In this cleanse, you eliminate foods that are commonly allergenic or inflammatory for 15 days. Continue reading
Q: I have been feeling really nauseous the last few days – not throwing up but hungry and nauseous at the same time, no food seems appetizing and nothing seems to satisfy me. My mom is sending me one of those sea sickness bands that sends little electric pulses. Do you know if they are any good? Any other tips? I’m having trouble just getting myself going. Did I mention I’m exhausted too?
A: Congratulations on your pregnancy! We know how uncomfortable nausea can be and we are happy to help you.
The sea sickness bands stimulate an acupuncture point called PC6, which has been shown to reduce nausea in pregnancy (and in patients receiving chemotherapy). Our patients who receive acupuncture on this point (and some other points including Ki27 and Ki6) report a temporary reduction in nausea. I have had mixed reports about the bracelets but it is worth a try. If it doesn’t work, please consider acupuncture.
It is very important for you to eat every 1 1/2- 2 hours to prevent the nausea from getting worse. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but it is important to eat small, high protein meals even if your appetite is low. This includes the bedtime hours as well; It really helps to get in the habit of grabbing a small protein snack if you wake up in the night. Often this alone will prevent morning sickness. In general, it is also very important to stay well hydrated. Continue reading
I have been utilizing Traditional Chinese Medicine to support patients undergoing IVF since 2002 and I feel it is an honor to be a part of this very important time in a couple’s life. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine have been used for thousands of years to treat fertility related issues. Today, modern acupuncturists are successfully using the medicine in conjunction with Western medical techniques.
Typically, treatment commences at least one month before injections begin, with most patients choosing to begin treatment at least three months before the planned IVF cycle. This three month period allows for more time to touch upon the other elements of Chinese Medicine, including nutrition therapy, stress reduction, relaxation techniques, and herbal therapy. Acupuncture can also improve sperm quality in men[i], so beginning treatment early allows for a complete cycle of spermatogenesis, which takes approximately 72 days.
Acupuncture in conjunction with IVF became popular after a research study in 2002 reported that receiving acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer increased the rate of pregnancy by 50%[ii]. This particular protocol consists of two acupuncture treatments, one immediately preceding the embryo transfer, and one upon completion of the transfer. This treatment stimulates the autonomic nervous system and from an energetic viewpoint, relaxes the muscles of the uterus, calms the mind, and increases the flow of Qi, or energy, in the uterus[iii]. Acupuncture can also help increase blood flow to the uterus and increases circulation in the pelvis[iv]. It can stimulate endorphins[v] to reduce stress, help to regulate hormones, as well as stimulate follicular development[vi].
On the day of the transfer I will meet my patient at the fertility clinic 45 minutes before the scheduled embryo transfer time. In Portland, Oregon, where I practice, the fertility clinics are very familiar with the protocol and are welcoming to acupuncturists. Sometimes when I attend a transfer, I will see one to two other acupuncturists there. It is no secret that having extra support on that day makes a difference.
The day of the embryo transfer during an IVF cycle is crucial. It is the culmination of many emotions and people are usually experiencing a mix of excitement and anxiety. If a woman has had a negative experience with a prior IVF cycle, or there are increased work demands and financial concerns around an IVF cycle, she may experience increased levels of fear, worry, and stress. Research shows a correlation between increased levels of stress and a lower number of fertilized eggs, successful pregnancies, and live births[vii] (just that fact alone is enough to cause severe stress). Acupuncture can help reduce stress, but I often refer patients out for psychological support and/or group therapy as part of the treatment plan. Group therapy, in particular, has been shown to decrease stress levels and improve pregnancy success rates in couple undergoing IVF[viii]. In addition, a treatment plan may include massage or the incorporation of relaxation techniques to facilitate stress reduction. This is a key reason why it is important to begin treatment as soon as possible before the transfer.
Adjunct therapy also may include a session with a holistic nutritionist, especially if the woman’s Body Mass Index is too high or too low. Obesity has been associated with sub-fertility[ix] and decreased IVF success[x]. Being underweight can also decrease fertility, by being low in nutrients, such as healthy fats, iron, B-vitamins and zinc. The importance of nutritional therapy cannot be stressed enough. According to TCM practitioner & holistic nutritionist, Rylen Feeney, “Whole foods, rich in protein, fats, vitamins and minerals are essential to creating life. A woman’s body must be taking in adequate nutrient dense foods that not only sustain her own vitality but also create enough nutrients to make healthy viable eggs, to create healthy blood and tissues to nourish uterus for implantation, to sustain the pregnancy, and to contribute to rich milk following birth”.
A simple conversation with a practitioner of Chinese Medicine will give you a good idea if they are the right fit for you. When looking for an acupuncturist, it is important to ask them the following questions:
- Are you licensed acupuncturist and certified in herbology? It is best to find someone who has had comprehensive training in Traditional Chinese Medicine, including herbology. Usually this practitioner is someone with at least a Masters degree in Oriental Medicine.
- Do you have experience working with women and men with fertility concerns? Have you attended embryo transfers before? Do you have a specialty? I would recommend finding someone who treats women’s health concerns as opposed to someone who, say, treats only musculoskeletal issues. You might want to ask your OB/Gyn, RE, or an acupuncturist in another specialty if they have any recommendations for an acupuncturist.
- Do you have access to other treatment modalities besides acupuncture? Often a place that provides massage therapy, group sessions, and nutrition consults will provide a more comprehensive treatment plan. But an acupuncturist with a good referral network is a great place to start.
Liz Richards, L.Ac. is an acupuncturist who has been seeing fertility patients in Portland, Oregon since 2002. She is owner of Blossom Clinic, an integrative health clinic with a focus on women’s health and well-being. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[i] Siterman S, Eltes F, Wolfson V, Zabludovsky N, Bartoov B. Effect of acupuncture on sperm parameters of males suffering from subfertility related to low sperm quality. Arch Androl. 1997;39:155-161.
[ii] Paulus, WE, Zhang M, Strehler E, El-Danasouri I, Sterzik K..Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy. Fertil Steril. 2002 Apr;77(4):721-4.
[iii] Patton PE, Eaton D, Burry KA, Wolf DP. The use of gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist to regulate oocyte retrieval time. Fertil Steril. 1990; 54:652-655.
[iv] Stener-Victorin E, Waldenstrom U, Andersson SA, Wikland M. Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture. Hum Reprod. 1996;11:1314-1317.
[v] Chang, R., Chung P.H., Rosenwaks Z. Fertil Steril. 2002 Dec; 78 (6): 1149-1153.
[vi] Emmons, S., Patton, P. Acupuncture treatment for infertile women undergoing intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Medical Acupuncture Journal. Spring/Summer 2000-Vol. 12 / Number 2.
[vii] Cohen Klonoff-Cohen H, Natarajan L. The concerns during assisted reproductive technologies (CART) scale and pregnancy outcomesFertil Steril. 2004 Apr;81(4):982-8.
[viii] The Domar Center at Boston. Oct. 19, 2009 study presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s 65th Annual Meeting.
[ix] Van der Steeg JW, Steures P, et al. Obesity affects spontaneous pregnancy chances in subfertile, ovulatory women. Hum Reprod. 2008 Feb;23(2):324-8. Epub 2997 Dec 11.
While there is no golden pill to make you quit smoking, acupuncture is a great tool to help strengthen your resolve, minimize cravings, alleviate nicotine withdrawal symptoms, and get you through the transition. Once you have decided to quit, getting the support that you need is key to your success.
The decision to quit smoking is yours. The data on smoking has made it clear that it affects your health and the health of those around you. Cigarette smoking is a powerful addiction, but it does not need to define you. It is a habit that can be broken, not who you really are.
Come in on your quit date and fill out a questionnaire that identifies your triggers and helps you define your support system for quitting. Together we will customize a plan for you. A typical treatment course with acupuncture includes ear and body points to address your lungs, your emotions, and your constitution. If it is appropriate for you, a tens unit (also known as an electro acupuncture machine) will be used to further stimulate the needles. The treatments are relaxing and take the edge off cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Some patients report that cigarettes taste bad if they do try to smoke. Lung supporting herbs or teas may also be prescribed if they are needed. Supplements may also be indicated to alleviate withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, general stress, and difficulty concentrating.
We recommend three treatments the first week (the withdrawal period), and two the following week as you progress. If you feel that you need additional support, more treatments will be available throughout the process.
Health benefits to you are immediate. A drop in heart rate starts just 20 minutes after your last cigarette. Your health keeps improving as you get further away from the smoking habit.
Here is what one of our patients said about quitting with acupuncture: “I went to Blossom Clinic to quit smoking. After 6 prior failed attempts at quitting with other methods, I finally found acupuncture. My acupuncturist at Blossom has such a peaceful and caring manner, she was so easy to talk to and helped me understand Eastern Medicine. I have not smoked in over 4 years and feel great. After her smoking cessation program she helped me with running pain and was a great spiritual help to me in other endeavors. I am so grateful for her help and recommend her highly to all my friends that ask about acupuncture.” -MMC, Oregon
If you are interested in the timeline of your body’s healing process once you have dropped the habit, check this website. For more information on quitting and getting support, explore these websites: