An overview of Traditional Chinese Medicine
“A mediocre doctor treats disease, a good doctor prevents disease and a master doctor teaches his community to be well.” ~Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen
An overview of TCM basic philosophy and ideas is important to understand when facing infertility. TCM provides a powerful treatments for optimizing reproductive health, therefore it should be considered by anyone struggling to get pregnant.
With explanations of the fundamental principles including patterns and their symptoms, treatment of these patterns through acupuncture and herbs and accompanying case studies, I aim to give you an understanding of what it is that I do and how it can help you achieve your dream of having a baby.
One of the key components of TCM that differentiates it from western medicine is that the body, mind and spirit are not separate from each other. Your emotions, sleep patterns, stress levels, relationships, job satisfaction and personal fulfillment for example, are all connected to your health and your ability to conceive a child. TCM looks at you as a whole individual, diagnosing your patterns of disharmony and treating you accordingly. You will never leave the office of a doctor of TCM with a diagnosis of ‘unexplained infertility’. There is an explanation for your reproductive challenges and I am fully invested in helping you discover what that is and overcoming it.
There is never a wrong time to begin to utilize the powers of TCM to aid in your fertility journey. When women and couples come to see me, they are at one of three places;
- they want to optimize their chances of natural conception before any type of western medical intervention,
- they want support while going through western medical assisted reproductive technologies, or
- they have exhausted all western medical options and have turned to TCM as their last hope.
TCM is very much a partnership. Rather than telling you what is happening within your body, I will guide you through self-monitoring so that we can co-develop a plan that is tailored to you and addresses all areas of wellness – not only the symptom of infertility. The human body is highly intelligent and will tell you everything you need to know if you listen carefully.
The four ancient pillars of TCM pattern diagnosis are looking, listening/smelling, questioning and palpation (touch). By utilizing these simple and trusted techniques, an accurate foundation for diagnosis is identified so that specific acupuncture points, custom herbal formulations and individual lifestyle recommendations can be made.
Maintaining and restoring balance is at the heart of diagnosis and treatment in TCM and there are two primary tools used to do this: acupuncture and herbal medicine. While they are intricate and take years to master, the basic ideology is that acupuncture opens and herbal medicine heals.
What IS Chinese Herbal Medicine?
Using plants to heal the body is nothing new. While to some they are considered an alternative, in fact, plants are the original ingredients of westernized medicine as we know it today. Without the extraction and isolation of one single component of the plant, or the addition of synthetics and fillers, herbs are just medicine in its unadulterated state. They can be used in conjunction with acupuncture or on their own. Sometimes they will be in capsules or tablets, but often they will be prescribed in teas to maximize potency. They may be foul-tasting to the unaccustomed palate but tantalizing the taste buds is not the goal. There may be a little pain but there is much to gain!
Benefits of Chinese Herbal Medicine
- Aids a dietary cleanse, digestion, appetite control, and weight management.
- Gently encourages the body’s systems to move toward balance and optimal functioning.
- Increases blood circulation and helps remove blockages such as blood clots and cysts.
- Soothes emotions sedates mental activity and reduces stress. Particularly effective in the premenstrual phase.
- Balances body fluid metabolism, helping reduce the retention of water and enhance the elimination of waste.
- Boosts resistance to viral and bacterial attacks and helps reduce inflammation via immune system regulation.
- Warms the body if too cold; cools the body if too warm.
- Regulates the bowels and urinary function, optimizing the elimination of waste.
- Improves sleep conditions such as trouble falling asleep, light sleep, night sweats and waking early with difficulty going back to sleep.
- It helps in the management of painful conditions such as Endometriosis.
- Supplements deficiencies of vital energy and nourishes blood production.
- Helps stop unwanted bleeding as is the case with fibroids, polyps or the flooding that may occur as a result of hormonal shifting toward the end of a woman’s reproductive years.
- Regulates the menstrual cycle including ovulation and PMS via the restoration of hormonal balance.
- Is traditionally used to ‘secure fetus’ and reduce the incidence of miscarriage.
- Improves sperm parameters most notably by reducing the TCM pattern of Heat* (sperm’s #1 enemy) that so many men present with.
- Increases libido (both male and female) and helps manage erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.
* While there may be parallels between TCM terminology and western medical conditions (i.e., Heat=inflammation), direct correlations aren’t always the case and it’s best to seek a professional opinion.