This past weekend a collection of experts, practitioners, students, and observers from around the world descended on SFU downtown for the inaugural Integrative Fertility Symposium. There were many excellent talks from Chinese doctors and acupuncturists, MDs and naturopathic doctors covering a range of topics including “Key Concepts in Embryo Implantation”, “ Chinese Medicine’s View of ImmunoIogical infertility” and much in between. The practitioners from Yinstill were there attending lectures to learn and share their newfound knowledge with each other.
I had the good fortune to attend a full day lecture by Jani White titled “Practical Acupuncture Skills for a Successful Fertility & Pregnancy Practice”. Coming from London, England to give her talk, Jani is famous for her knowledge, honesty and integrative approach to acupuncture and support for pregnancy, IVF and fertility (not to mention her sometimes “ripe” language!) . She is an incredible resource of information and experience, coming from an inspiring place of love and hope that was a great reminder of the joy and beauty that comes with the chance to grow a family and more importantly to help others grow their families.
I took away some great techniques and point selection ideas from her course that I will continue to integrate into my own practice but if I had to break down the take away ideas they would be:
1. Lie down! This may seem like a simple idea, but for men and women trying to conceive it is worth thinking about. Lying down for 20 minutes or more one or two times throughout the day (sleep is not necessary, but it is a healthy added bonus) allows enough time for the blood from our peripheries to flow back into our organs for a nourishing effect.
2. Saint Mary’s study. Jani told us of an interesting study that the recurrent miscarriage unit in Saint Mary’s hospital in London conducted. All of the subjects had recurrent pregnancy loss; the control group received standard pregnancy care, including appropriate ultrasounds, Ob-Gyn check-ups, etc. This group had a 25% successful pregnancy rate. The experiment group received the same care, the only difference being that they also received an additional 30 minutes per week of counselling/talk therapy. This group had an 85% successful pregnancy rate. The results were so surprising that the experiment was repeated. This provided similar results. In the case of recurrent pregnancy loss, at Yinstill we like to work with you (expecting mothers) until the 20 week ultrasound to ensure maximum support; the combination of acupuncture and a safe place to express oneself makes the clinic an excellent option for healing.
3. Overthinking. From the perspective of Chinese medicine our emotions, mental state and cognitive processes have a profound effect on the health of our internal organs and energy systems. Specifically, overthinking affects the stomach/spleen system, whose main function is to ripen, transform and transport nutrition in the body. Modern life offers an excess of stimulation putting direct stress on this system which is most important and we must constantly strengthen. Without a strong and balanced digestive system the rest of our body struggles without the ample support of good nutrition.