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July 3, 2006

Assist Fertility with Integrative Chinese and Western Medicine
Nancy Rakela, OMD, LAc

Early Chinese medical literature dating back 2000 years discusses fertility treatment for both men and women by regulating the menstrual cycle in women and increasing and strengthening the sperm in men, and has successfully aided families in attaining healthy pregnancy. Chinese medicine looks at the whole person, determining subtle imbalances in the body and tailoring treatment to meet individual needs. It can be used alone or as a safe adjunct to Western medicine to encourage the effectiveness of treatments such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

Chinese medicine strengthens one's overall health and balances the endocrine system. It helps reduce the side effects and the accumulated toxicity of fertility medications and brings more blood flow to the uterus to enhance the outcome of assisted reproductive procedures. A European study has shown that eight acupuncture treatments, twice per week for four weeks prior to IVF, increases blood flow to uterine arteries, resulting in higher pregnancy rates.

According to Chinese Medicine, the following symptom patterns of Liver Chi Stagnation and Kidney Chi Deficiency are contributing causes of infertility. When we speak of the liver or of the kidney in Chinese medicine, we are not speaking of a problem with that specific organ. We are speaking of the energetic functioning of that organ and its related energy channel or meridian.

Physical and emotional symptoms: Liver Chi Stagnation
Irregular periods
Painful periods
Unresolved anger
Breast distension

Our modern lifestyle, a history of overwork, the use of medication, consumption of coffee and alcohol use also play a major role in blocking the energy of the liver. Reproductive treatments with drug therapies and invasive procedures also contribute to Liver Chi Stagnation. The stagnation of the Liver Chi blocks the blood flow to the pelvic cavity. Impeded blood flow to the uterus could possibly cause difficulties with implantation.

Physical and emotional symptoms: Kidney Chi Deficiency
Low libido
Exhaustion due to overwork
Low sperm count
Soreness & weakness of back
Hormonal imbalance (women over 40)
Hair loss
Light periods

Another major cause of infertility in Chinese medicine is the Deficiency of Kidney Chi. Strong Kidney Chi is important to help increase sperm count, prevent miscarriage and to bring a healthy baby to full term. Again due to our modern life style with our hectic and busy schedules, we are causing our adrenal system to go on overload eventually depleting our adrenal reserves and causing a Deficiency of Kidney Chi and our vital essence.

Acupuncture Treatment Combined With Assisted Reproductive Treatments
The electro-acupuncture protocol based on the Swedish study of uterine arterial blood flow has been shown to increase the uterine artery blood flow. This can have an effect on increasing the uterine lining and can enhance possibilities of implantation. It is recommended to have eight acupuncture treatments 2-3 times per week to bring increased blood flow to the uterus. The timing of these treatments is important. They should start at the beginning of the fertility cycle (usually with the start of lupron) and continuing until the embryo transfer date or until the endometrial thickness is 12-14mm. After the embryo transfer, acupuncture can be continued once per week for the first trimester to help prevent miscarriage by strengthening the Kidney Chi (adrenal function and vital essence).

Herbal Treatment
Chinese Medicine herbal formulas detoxify the liver, help remove the liver chi stagnation and increase the blood flow to the pelvic region. There are also herbal formulas that will strengthen the Kidney Chi. These formulas nourish the vital energy and prevent miscarriage. For women approaching 40, it is very important to use herb formulas to nourish the deeper vital essence and the Kidney Chi to help the body produce a healthy ovum.

Ananda Yoga for Fertility Enhancement
With Nancy Rakela, OMD, LAc as your guide

Learn techniques that will help you to:
Yoga can help you maintain a balanced life though the challenges of infertility. Dr. Nancy Rakela will give you a routine of Ananda Yoga postures that will renew your energy, strengthen and vitalized your body to promote fertility.

In Ananda Yoga, the postures are paired with powerful affirmations. This synergistic approach, unique to Ananda Yoga, is designed to direct positive reinforcement inward to promote healing of the body and soul through deep relaxation.

The class will end with a short guided meditation to bring you peace and to reduce your stress.

Nancy Rakela, OMD, LAc, is a certified Ananda Yoga teacher. She has been teaching yoga and meditation since 1995. She is also a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and licensed acupuncturist in practice for over 20 years specializing in fertility treatment.

For more information contact:
Nancy Rakela, OMD, LAc

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