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Fertility & The Emotions

Fertility & The Emotions

We live in a world of ever-faster and ever-increasing work pressures, persistent over-stimulation and less than optimal nourishment for our bodies, minds and souls. If we look at life realistically, most of of us are subjected to relatively continual stress, unless we make a conscious decision to live otherwise.

When this stress is compounded with a diagnosis of infertility, the emotions a woman might experience can be quite difficult if they don’t know how to deal with them.

Chinese Medicine is a very well known and effective form of treatment for both natural or assisted conception. By working with acupuncture needles or/and herbs a Practitioner is not only working on the Fertility issue at a physical level but also on the inter-connection of body, mind and spirit. In other words, Chinese Medicine can explain the effects our minds and our emotions can have on our bodies and this is the reason why the treatment itself offers great emotional support for women who are trying to conceive.

Our practitioner’s role is not as psychotherapist, but any who has ever dealt with cases of infertility knows that serenity is one of the key feelings that can escape most women at this time. We also know that the increased stress after a the diagnosis, can give the opportunity to more disruptive emotions to arise.

Chinese medicine theory says that If the body is in harmony or balance, it is able to resist pathogens (agents that produce disease). And one of the major internal causes of disease are the Seven Emotions: anger, worry, fear, shock, anxiety, sadness, and joy.

All of these emotions are perfectly normal and everyone experiences them at different time but if the emotional responses are out of normal proportion, chronic or deficient in response to the situation, disease and injure can enter the vital organs.

If we look at the common causes of infertility in Chinese Medicine and the emotions attached to them (*) it is not difficult to see how this can easily become a vicious circle, meaning that, the unbalanced emotions can be the cause of the initial diagnosis of infertility and at at the same time, if we don’t deal with the emotions, they can cause further blockages in our physical body.

* Common diagnosis of Infertility in Chinese Medicine and the Seven Emotions:

1. Kidney deficiency
Fear, Shock

2. Heart and Liver Qi stagnation
Sadness, Joy, Shock, Anger

3. Blood Stagnation
Anger, Sadness, Joy, Shock

4.Phlegm-Damp accumulation
Worry, Over Thinking

As important as it is to deal with the emotions, we also need to keep in mind how important it is that our Clients don’t stress out by hearing too many recommendations. In general, by the time they come to our clinic they have already heard a lot of advice on what to do and not to do with trying to increase their chances of becoming pregnant.

Clients for example, might already know how to calculate their ovulation to know their most fertile days and take their temperature. We, as Practitioners, have lots of useful advice to give and ways we prefer to work with them in order to optimize the treatment. For example, we could advice on taking prenatal vitamins & folic acid, eat organic, eat more alkaline foods, exercise, not to drink coffee or alcohol, don’t smoke, have intercourse in the missionary position and finally to control their stress levels and relax! But as we can see from reading this short list it could sound like a lot to a person who is already dealing with the emotional disappointment of the recent diagnosis.

It is not the amount of information, but the way we deliver this information, and as practitioners, we need to pay close attention to our clients state of mind while making suggestions. As a general rule with my own clients, on the first treatment, apart from the treatment itself, I would speak about the importance of eliminate many of the external stressors in their life. In other words, to explore aspects of their life that are causing them stress and ask them to reflect on what they can and can’t change.

During further visits I will start to suggest the introduction of small positive changes in their life but again, always depending on the client and how much they are willing to change. My intention for their journey to restore their fertility is to teach my clients to live more consciously while I do my job, restoring their energetic roads, that we call “Meridians”.

Pre Birth & Labour Acupuncture

It is well known and researched through the years that acupuncture is a treatment that can be used as a preventative measure during pregnancy to avoid most of the side e!ects that come with pregnancy.

Discomforts that most women experience such as heartburn, constipation, haemorrhoids, leg cramps, bleeding gums, nasal congestion, nosebleeds, backache, swelling of the hands and feet, difficulty in sleeping and increased anxiety and tiredness, can all be treated with Acupuncture and Chinese

Medicine in safe, natural and effective way. It is also well documented that 80% of babies in the breech position can be moved into the right position with a particular acupuncture point. As a result of the growing awareness of its e!ectiveness in a safe non-invasive way, Acupuncture prior to birth and labour induction treatments is an increasingly requested procedure nowadays.

This consist of series of treatments in the ?nal weeks of pregnancy to prepare women for child birth. In general it involves a series of four treatments weekly from 36 or 37 weeks to prepare for labour. Points are used according a woman’s constitution and pregnancy history. These include points to ripen the cervix, to help position the baby in the best presentation for labour and to promote optimal energy and stamina for women to enter into labour.

Acupuncture can help a woman to prepare for their labour not only physically but also mentally. In general this means to reduce fear and anxiety about how they will give birth when the time comes.

Many women treated with acupuncture report easier labours – regardless of the pain relief they eventually chose. Acupuncture can be used at any or all stages of labour. Some may use acupuncture for induction rather than resorting to oxytocin and others may use it as a form of pain relief.

The results are very encouraging. Studies have found that women who receive pre-natal acupuncture have more e”cient labours, less need for intervention and have a speedier recovery back to pre-pregnancy health.

Acupuncture starting at 36-37 weeks pregnancy:

  • Reduces labour time from an average of 8 hours to 6.5 hours. (1)
  • Reduces inductions in ?rst labours by 43%. (2)
  • Reduces overall epidural use by 31%. (2)
  • Reduces emergency caesarians by 32%. (2)

How does it work?

Acupuncture sessions prior to labour provide an ideal opportunity to ensure that the qi and blood, the ?ve emotions and the zangfu are all in harmony.

The needles create a stimulation in the body which is used to reprogram the mother’s energy in such a way as to get her body ready for labor. One study conducted in 1977 and published in the Journal of Obstet Gynecol. Under the care of Tsuei JJ, Lai Y, Sharma SD, showed that Acupuncture for Pregnancy and Labour induction resulted in a success rate of 91.6%.

Acupressure can also be performed instead of using needles, A randomized controlled trial (3) within an Indian public hospital to evaluate the effect of acupressure on pain levels when administered during the active phase of labor
with women having their first baby.
In this study, 213 women having their ?rst baby were randomized to receive
either

  1. Acupressure at SP6 (Sanyinjiao) on both legs during contractions over a 30- minute period
  2. Light touch at SP6 (Sanyinjiao) on both legs during the same period of time
  3. Standard care.

Their experience of labor pain was assessed by visual analog scale at baseline before treatment, immediately after treatment, and at 30, 60 and 120 minutes after treatment.

The study was conducted in a large public hospital in India where epidural analgesia is not an option in normal labor and where women cannot bring a companion.
All women in the study had uncomplicated pregnancies and been transferred to the labor room with a cervical dilatation between 3 and 7 cm.

The women in the acupuncture group were treated with acupressure at SP6(Sanyinjiao) on both legs simultaneously during each contraction over a period of 30 minutes.

The study concludes that A reduction of in-labor pain was found in the acupressure group and was most noticeable immediately after treatment.
Retrospectively (2–24 hours after birth), the women in the acupuncture group remembered having had less pain during labor and said they coped better with their labor pain compared with the standard care, Compared to the women in the touch group, those in the acupuncture group remembered having coped better with the pain.

The authors concluded that acupressure seems to reduce pain during the active phase of labor in women having their ?rst baby and that that acupressure may be most effective during the initial phase of labour.

References

  1. Kubista E, Kucera H. On the use of acupuncture in the preparation for delivery. Geburtshilfe Perinatol. 1974; 178:224-229.
  2. Acupuncture for Pre-birth Treatment: An Observational Study of its use in Midwifery Practice. Debra Betts, RN, Sue Lennox, MA, 2006.
  3. Hjelmstedt A, Shenoy ST, Stener-Victorin E, Lekander M, Bhat M, Balakumaran L, Waldenström U. Acupressure to reduce labor pain. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2010 Nov;89(11):1453-9.

Zanar Acupuncture & Integrative Healthcare

Photo by Natasha Bromely Photography

Why Zanar?

Because we address current symptoms and signs while working with the underlying cause of imbalance

Pain Management

Back, shoulder and neck pain, Sciatica, Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), Carpel,Tunnel Syndrome, Headache or Migraine, Arthritis.

Women’s Health

Pregnancy Related Conditions, Fertility, PMT, Painful Periods,Amenorrhea,Irregular Menstruation,Menopause.

Digestive Health

Nausea, IBS, Constipation, Diarrhoea, Gastritis, Food Allergies.

Emotional Disorders

Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Stress, Insomnia, Anger.

Respiratory Health

Asthma, Allergies, Sinusitis, Cough, Sore Throat, Colds/Flus, Rhinitis

Addiction

Smoking, Food

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