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Acupuncture for Fertility

acupuncture for fertility

Background on acupuncture for fertility

Before diving into acupuncture for fertility, first let’s address the terms fertility vs. infertility. Western medicine often focuses on a problem or disease. The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Infertility FAQs state that “infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant (conceive) after one year (or longer) of unprotected sex”. The CDC further states that infertility is a common problem that is experienced by 19% of women aged 15 to 49 years old with no prior births. Additionally, 26% of women in this group either have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term.

 

Acupuncture for fertility can be a complex topic. When I get calls from patients asking if I treat infertility, I make a point to talk in terms of fertility rather than infertility.  Words are important, and I believe that a positive attitude is essential for attracting what we want to bring into our lives. I choose to focus on fertility.

 

Fertility from a Chinese medicine perspective

Chinese medicine looks at the person as a whole and from an energetic perspective. There are a variety of things that can cause an energetic imbalance resulting in decreased fertility. For example, someone can be too hot or too cold. She can be energetically deficient with a lack of the vital substances necessary for conception and to nourish a fertilized egg. She may have stagnant energy which can result in endometriosis, cysts, or fibroids.

 

Sometimes, a patient can get pregnant yet then suffers recurrent miscarriages. This can be due to a different kind of energetic imbalance. In this case, it is important to help reinforce the patient’s energy in a way that the uterus is supported and nourished appropriately.

 

Every person is unique, and I make the time to understand a patient’s whole health history and background so I can determine exactly what might be hindering their fertility.  For example, someone who spent years as a competitive swimmer in cold pools might have very long menstrual cycles due to an excess of cold in their system.

 

Treatment options

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine alone can help improve fertility and result in a healthy pregnancy and childbirth experience. When a patient chooses this pathway of treatment, the first thing that is often done is to help balance the patient’s overall energy. Then, acupuncture treatments are timed and tailored to the patient’s cycle with the goal of achieving a balanced 28-day cycle though the following four phases:

  • Week 1: Period
  • Week 2: Pre-ovulation
  • Week 3: Ovulation
  • Week 4: Post-ovulation

In most cases, I include lifestyle advice in each treatment. This involves customized recommendations for diet, level of rest and activity, managing stress, and exposure to heat or cold.

 

Supporting Western medicine treatments like IVF

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be a great support to western fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF). In fact, more and more fertility clinics are seeing the value of combining eastern and western medicine. Many clinics recommend that their patients receive acupuncture treatments. There have been a number of studies showing the increased success rate of IVF when combined with acupuncture.  Examples include:

 

The male part of the equation

A thorough practitioner considers the male part of the equation as well. It’s important to make sure the male partner is also evaluated and supported in the fertility journey. Poor fertility impacts men in terms of a deficient sperm count, low motility, or even poor morphology (shape) of their sperm. Stress, overwork, diet and environmental factors can affect men as well as women. Men can receive acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments to help improve their fertility.

 

Ear seeds for fertility

Ear seeds can also be very helpful for fertility. An ear seed is a small sphere placed on an acupuncture point on the surface of the ear. Adhesive tape holds the ear seed in place. It works by exerting a gentle pressure on the acupuncture point. There are specific points on the ear that correspond to the lower back. A patient can wear ear seeds for up to five days. They are a great way to continue treatment at home. Ear seed kits are also available for people who are afraid of needles. You can learn more about ear seeds in my blog about ear seeds.

 

Want to talk about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you with fertility? I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-4269.

 

About the Author

Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine where she provides acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca. 

 

About HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in Wilmington, NC

HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine is an acupuncture and Chinese medicine practice located in Wilmington, NC just minutes from beautiful Wrightsville Beach. Click this link for contact information and directions. Click this link for a listing and description of services offered.

 

Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and how Acupuncture can help

mast cell activation syndrome

Background on Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Mast cell activation syndrome is also known as MCAS. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) web page on Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) explains that mast cells are cells in the body that are responsible for allergic reactions. Mast cells release molecules called mediators that cause allergic symptoms. These cells can act abnormally and release mediators when they normally wouldn’t. Mast cells can also mutate and produce populations of identical cells. MCAS occurs when someone experiences repeated high levels of mast cell mediators and resulting allergic symptoms that are not directly related to a specific allergy or any other known condition that would activate normal mast cells. Allergists and Immunologists diagnose MCAS with a blood test. Current treatment focuses on providing the patient relief.

 

Symptoms of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

A patient experiencing MCAS will have repeated episodes of anaphylaxis symptoms. This commonly includes a rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, and the patient may also pass out. The patient may develop a rash, hives, red skin, itchy skin, or swelling. Breathing issues can present with wheezing, shortness of breath, or swelling of the throat. Also, gastrointestinal tract symptoms may occur including abdominal pain with cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and / or vomiting. In addition, WebMD has detailed information about symptoms in their article What Is Mast Cell Activation Syndrome?

 

Potential triggers

Dr. Nader Soliman of the Soliman Wellness Center in Maryland is a pioneer in MCAS treatment. Dr. Soliman identified a number of potential triggers for MCAS. Here are some of the many potential triggers he identified:

  • Environmental: Mold, dust, heavy metals, animal dander, pollen, extreme temperatures, sun exposure, barometric pressure changes, insect bites, insecticides, fungicides, pesticides.
  • Physical: Exercise, stress, pressure or vibration on the skin, make-up, dyes.
  • Foods: any food high in histamines,  alcohol, milk, eggs, fish.

 

The Soliman Auricular Allergy Treatment (SAAT)

Dr. Nader Soliman created and patented a groundbreaking technique called the Soliman Auricular Allergy Treatment (SAAT).  SAAT is a simple technique. This technique has been proven to bring relief to allergic symptoms as well as MCAS. The treatment utilizes a small needle retained in the ear with medical adhesive tape. Then, after the treatment, the needle stays in the ear for a period of 3-4 weeks.  Dr. Soliman employs this technique with great success for over 15 years now.

 

We are very excited to offer the SAAT treatment at HAVEN Acupuncture. SAAT became popular as a treatment for the alpha gal allergy.  Similarly, it is a great treatment option for MCAS. Want to talk about your specific needs and how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you? We’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email us through our website or call or text us at 910-622-4269.

 

About the Author

Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine. She studied SAAT directly from Dr. Soliman, and she is a certified SAAT practitioner. Ericca sees patients at her office in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca. 

 

About HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in Wilmington, NC

HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine is an acupuncture and Chinese medicine practice located in Wilmington, NC just minutes from beautiful Wrightsville Beach. Click this link for contact information and directions. Click this link for a listing and description of services offered.

Support your liver this spring

support your liver

How to support your liver this spring

This is the time of year when many people start feeling a little off, whether they are experiencing allergy symptoms, headaches, irritability, or problems with muscles, tendons and ligaments. Women might have menstrual or fertility issues, and people may find it more difficult to make decisions. Are you sighing more than usual? This may be your body’s way of releasing stagnant liver qi. “Qi” is the Chinese word that means life force or energy. Spring is a great time to support your liver.

 

It’s “liver time”! In Chinese medicine, the organs are associated with phases or elements, and the liver belongs to the wood element which is dominant in the spring. I share that the symptoms they are experiencing align with the energetic shift of the changing seasons.

 

Alignment with the seasons and phases

People are often fascinated to hear about how their organs are associated with the different seasons and how this relates to symptoms they experience in their bodies.

 

In Chinese Medicine, there are five phases of transformation: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. While in Traditional Chinese Medicine these are called elements, Classical Chinese Medicine refers to them as phases because they develop and change into one another. The five phases or elements correspond to the seasons spring, summer, fall, and winter. In Chinese medicine, summer is further divided into summer and late summer. Late summer refers to the transformation between the warmer summer weather and cool fall weather. The seasons and phases (or elements) are associated as follows:

 

  • Spring: Wood. This is when nature starts stirring from winter’s dormancy. Trees and plants blossom. New branches grow out of old wood, and new growth begins.

 

  • Summer: Fire. This is the time of warmth and activity. Nature is moving actively, and as a result is growing and flourishing.

 

  • Late summer: Earth. This is the time of harvest. It is also is the pause between the rising of the warming and active phases of wood and fire and the declining and cooler phases of fall and winter.

 

  • Fall: Metal. This is when nature lets go of what is not needed, as seen in the falling leaves from the trees. The soil is enriched with the compost from the dead leaves so it can prepare for the next cycle of growth in the spring.

 

  • Winter: Water. This is a time of rest. Animals hibernate, the days are shorter, and nature gets still and goes within to build up reserves.

 

How the liver and gallbladder are affected in the spring

As I shared earlier, the liver is the organ that is associated with the wood element and spring. In Chinese medicine, the gallbladder is paired with the liver, and it is also part of the wood phase or element. Like the new shoots of growth in plants, similarly, our energy rises up in the spring. When too much energy rises up too quickly, we can get headaches and feel irritable.

 

When this uprising energy gets stuck or is not balanced, we can experience issues with our muscles, tendons and ligaments. For example, this is often a time of year when people experience knee problems. When the liver energy is not flowing smoothly, it can also result in PMS symptoms or fertility issues.

 

The eyes are the sensory organ associated with the liver. This is a time of year where people frequently experience itchy, red, painful eyes or blurred vision.

 

Sometimes the energy of these organs can be deficient, and people may experience twitching in their muscles, or find that they have trouble making decisions or gathering the energy to move forward in life.

 

 

Support your liver so you can stay healthy this spring

Every individual is unique, and no two people will experience the same symptoms for exactly the same reason. When I see a new patient, I make the time to ask a lot of questions and review their health history. This allows me to determine what is going on with their energy. For example, it is important to determine whether their energy is rising up too quickly, getting stuck, or is deficient. I develop a customized treatment to address their specific needs and restore the balance of energy. This might involve acupuncture needles, ear seeds, qigong exercises, and diet and lifestyle advice.

 

Want to talk about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you stay healthy this spring? I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-4269.

 

About the Author

Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine where she provides acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca. 

 

About HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in Wilmington, NC

HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine is an acupuncture and Chinese medicine practice located in Wilmington, NC just minutes from beautiful Wrightsville Beach. Click this link for contact information and directions. Click this link for a listing and description of services offered.

HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese medicine is moving!

chinese medicine

We’re moving!

HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine is moving at the end of this month. As of April 1st, our new address will be 4020 Oleander Drive Suite #102 in Oleander Office Park. The new location is between Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. We are right behind the First Citizens Bank. The cross streets are Lincoln Road and 41st Street. Our phone number is 910-622-4269.

 

We look forward to seeing you at our new location!

The azaleas are in full bloom here at Oleander Office Park. We look forward to seeing you soon! Also, be on the lookout for April’s blog on staying healthy this spring!

 

About the Author

Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine where she provides acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca. 

 

About HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in Wilmington, NC

HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine is an acupuncture and Chinese medicine practice located in Wilmington, NC just minutes from beautiful Wrightsville Beach. Click this link for contact information and directions. Click this link for a listing and description of services offered.

Acupressure for immunity

acupressure for immunity

Keep yourself healthy this winter by practicing acupressure for immunity

Acupressure can be a great way to boost your immunity this winter. Acupressure is the application of gentle pressure to acupuncture points. This is an at home treatment that can be done simply and easily using just your fingers. In this blog, I’ll provide instructions for how to perform acupressure and share information on some points you can try at home to boost your immunity.

 

How to perform acupressure

  • Use your index and / or middle fingers to apply a downward pressure with small circular motions (about a quarter of an inch) to the acupuncture point.
  • Feel for painful areas or areas of tightness or emptiness.
  • Massage for at least ten seconds, and up to a few minutes.
  • Stimulate points at least two times per day, for example, once in the morning and once at night.

 

Try acupressure to boost your immunity with these acupuncture points

 

Kidney 27

The Chinese name of this point is Shufu. It means “Shu Mansion” or “Storehouse”. It is the last point on the Kidney channel.

  • Location: Slide the finger below the clavicle from the shoulder toward the sternum. The sternum is the bone at the center of the chest. Stop about two finger widths before you reach the sternum.
  • Uses: In addition to boosting immunity, this point is also helpful for unbinding the chest, transforming phlegm, alleviating cough and wheezing, and harmonizing the stomach. It is especially useful for people who are experiencing upper respiratory symptoms.

 

Large Intestine 10

The Chinese name of this point is Shousanli. It means “Arm Three Miles”. This point is the 10th point on the Large Intestine channel. It is considered to be one of the master immune points in Japanese acupuncture.

  • Location: Bend the arm at the elbow and on the radial (thumb) side of the bent arm, place the finger(s) at the bed of the elbow, then slide the fingers about two finger widths down the arm toward the hand. Feel for a tender spot.
  • Uses: In addition to boosting immunity, this point can also help with disorders of the arm and stiffness of the neck.

 

Large Intestine 4

The Chinese name of this point is Hegu. It means “Joining Valley”. Hegu is the fourth point on the Large Intestine channel. It is a principle point used with any issues of the head and face, including headaches.

DO NOT USE THIS POINT IF YOU ARE PREGNANT. This point has a strong downward action and is contra-indicated in pregnancy.

  • Location: Slide the finger from the joint of the index finger towards the wrist stopping in the depression where the thumb and index finger bones meet.
  • Uses: In addition to boosting immunity, it is a master point for headaches. It is useful for headaches in the front of the head, toothaches, pain, cold symptoms, as well as constipation.

 

Stomach 36

The Chinese name of this point is Zusanli. It means “Leg three miles”. It is the thirty-sixth point on the Stomach channel. This point is the leg version of Large Intestine 10, the “arm three miles” point. This point is so powerful that in ancient times, it was said that stimulating this point would give a dying person enough energy to walk another three miles.

  • Location: Place the finger below the knee on the outer side of the leg. Feel for the curve of the curve of the tibia, the bone in the center of the lower leg. Alternatively, place the fingers on the outer edge of the tibia on the lower leg and follow the tibia up the leg toward the knee and stop where the bone starts to curve. As with the other points, feel for a tender spot.
  • Uses: In addition to boosting immunity and energy, this point helps harmonize the stomach and spleen, nourishes blood, calms the spirit, and relieves pain.

 

Questions?

If you have any questions or trouble locating any of the points, please reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-4269. I’d love to hear from you!

 

About the Author

Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine where she provides acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca. 

 

About HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in Wilmington, NC

HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine is an acupuncture and Chinese medicine practice located in Wilmington, NC just minutes from beautiful Wrightsville Beach. Click this link for contact information and directions. Click this link for a listing and description of services offered.