How Acupuncture Helps Infertility in New York City - Upper East Side
Updated: Apr 6, 2020
Acupuncture treatment of infertility at our Upper East Side, NYC clinic involves regulating the menstrual cycle. Often when we think of 'regulating menstruation' we think about the frequency of the cycle and ensuring it comes every 28 days. In Chinese medicine a regular cycle includes a normal 28 day cycle but involves much more. If there is pain, we want to reduce the severity of the pain during menses. Painful menses is considered abnormal in acupuncture and indicates impairments in blood flow. There is an ancient Chinese saying "if there is pain there is no free flow, if there is free flow there is no pain." Acupuncture and herbal therapy is incredibly helpful in reducing the severity of the pain during menstruation.
Good health in acupuncture and Chinese medicine is termed as yin yang balance. The manifestation of yin is cold, while yang is hot. Knowing a women's menstrual cycle pattern gives us a snapshot into the general state of yin and yang in a woman. Menstrual cycles ideally should be 28 days if they are shorter, it indicates excessive heat in the body, longer than 28 days indicates cold. Whenever menstruation becomes very irregular either skipping one to a few months between cycles indicate extreme cold. In these cases we need to create a dietary plan that involves warming foods and other warming therapies with acupuncture and or moxibustion.
The primary channel systems responsible for menstruation and reproduction are the liver and kidney systems. The liver is responsible for the timing, frequency/regularity of menstruation. Since the liver channel passes through the ovaries, it is responsible for ovulation. If menstrual periods are very painful, the liver is often involved and by treating the liver system, the cycle becomes less painful. The kidney system is responsible for maintaining egg quality and is responsible for hormonal regulation in Chinese medicine. The first half of the menstrual cycle (follicular phase) is dominated by the liver system, while the second half after ovulation (luteal phase) is influenced by the kidney system. If the second half of the cycle is short as determined by basal body temperature charting, it means progesterone may not be influencing the cycle in a favorable manner. Women may be given progesterone to lengthen and regulate this aspect of the cycle. In Chinese medicine progesterone has a warming function. In this case, we will use moxibustion to promote warmth where indicated. This should help lengthen the second half of the cycle (luteal phase) by influencing progesterone production.
If the first half of the cycle (follicular phase) is irregular, meaning it either falls long or short, it indicates yin deficiency. Estrogen in contrast has a cooling function in the body, which is why during perimenopause a person may experience heat symptoms hot flashes, night sweats, etc. as estrogen levels decline.
Understanding a women's menstrual pattern enables us to see yin yang patterns in the body and how they are influencing a woman's health and why she has difficulty becoming pregnant. This is the first step in pregnancy care i.e. getting pregnant. Once pregnancy occurs there are other things we may have to address such as morning sickness, fatigue, and general body discomfort as the body changes. This will be discussed in future blog posts.