Can Fertility Acupuncture help your Egg Quality?

As an integrative acupuncturist, I understand the importance of looking into your menstrual cycle health and recognising imbalances such as irregular cycles, painful periods, PMS, excessively heavy or light menstrual flow, and of course the big one…your AMH. By now most of you are probably aware of your egg quality and would like to know how to improve it.

To improve egg quality, we need to establish if there is an imbalance of hormones, review your intake of nutritional supplements and have a look at your diet. It’s also important to look at your stress levels and assess how these may be impacting you. As an acupuncturist, I use palpation to assess the circulation to your ovaries and uterus by examining your abdomen. All of these things help paint a picture of your reproductive health.

So what can you do?

In TCM, we describe the process of ageing by how the kidneys are functioning. We look at how you live, whether you are getting enough rest, eating well, reducing stress, not abusing drugs/alcohol, having sex (but not too much!) etc – all of which can have an impact on how you preserve this material. TCM is an excellent way to help protect and preserve this material and to help it to be best expressed, particularly during the time while you are trying to improve your egg quality.

It’s important to give your body the necessary time for any changes you make to take effect.

You probably know that you are born with your eggs and that these numbers naturally decline as you age. However, the follicles sit in hibernation until around 100 days prior to ovulation. This means that those 100 days before the month you conceive are critical in the quality of your eggs.

An easy way to have a day to day impact on the quality of your eggs is by including some of the following foods into your diet:

  • Salmon
  • Broccoli
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Berries (such as Blueberries)
  • Maca
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Eggs
  • Dark leafy greens (and lots of them)

(Where you can, make sure your fresh veggies and fruit are organic and your salmon is wild caught and not farmed).

And of course, just as it’s important to work towards including more of the foods listed above into your diet, it’s equally as important to understand which foods will damage the quality of your eggs.

Try to eliminate or avoid as much as possible the following:

  • Sugar
  • Processed foods (consider anything in a packet as dead food.. You only want to be eating live foods)
  • GMO’s
  • Low-Fat Foods (they contain a whole lot of nasties)
  • Trans fats
  • Non-organic meats and dairy
  • Soft drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine

Unfortunately, our modern day world contains a plethora of toxins that are not fertility friendly. Look out for BPA, phthalates, and pesticides. These are all common offenders that are well known to disrupt hormone levels in our bodies.

Whenever you can, eat organic, avoid plastic food containers, avoid canned foods, avoid cleaning products and cosmetics that are full of chemicals, ditch perfumes or products with artificial fragrances and make the switch to organic essential oils.

Mayan abdominal massage is a non-invasive, external, massage technique that guides internal abdominal organs into their proper position for optimum fertility health and organ function. The main action Mayan has with improving egg health is that it is fantastic at improving blood circulation to the ovaries, providing optimal nourishment for growing follicles. Mayan therapy is also great at reducing menstrual and ovulation pain, menstrual blood irregularities and improving pregnancy outcomes.

So often the modern approach to health concerns is a symptomatic plan, which can offer short-term relief but fail to address the core issue at hand. We can learn from Chinese Medicine in this instance and our symptoms as a further opportunity to explore and dig deeper to make long-lasting changes towards our health.

The quality of your sleep has an impact on your hormones, mood and fertility. For those of you who find it challenging to fall asleep or have a good night’s sleep, Acupuncture has been consistently proven to be effective for the overall improvement of sleep quality, without the side effects of prescription medications. The use of diaphragmatic breathing can also be enough to switch us from t

he “being” and “doing” state of mind to a more relaxed and calm state, setting up for a good night’s sleep. Taking five big deep breaths before bedtime can help set the tone, allowing the body to relax.

If you’re not already, I cannot state the importance of ensuring you are taking a quality prenatal vitamin. It’s the first thing I recommend to anyone trying to conceive, or even to those considering it in the next few years. Prenatal vitamins are not just for when you’re pregnant, they contain several nutrients that improve how the ovaries function and therefore can improve egg quality.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine are so effective for a number of reasons. They help to balance hormones, improve circulation to the uterus and ovaries, reduce stress, inflammation, and curbside effects of hormonal medications. Unlike many other treatments, acupuncture and herbal medicine are completely customised to each individual client and are able they are able to best address what the individual body needs.


To make an appointment with an acupuncturist at Brisbane Natural Health, call us on 07 3186 5676. 

Acupuncture for Emotions and Moods

Emotional strain may hamper your ability to lead a normal and active lifestyle, becoming an inhibiting factor in daily life and further perpetuating the likelihood of associated mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

Emotional stress is commonly associated with one or more of a combination of the following factors; poor dietary habits, sedentary lifestyle, being an emotional over thinker ( a common stress response), sudden or long-standing emotional trauma, and the link between a deeper and more complex hormonal imbalance.

Pain, stress, anxiety and depression impede, to varying degrees, our ability to connect with ourselves, preventing us from feeling happy.

Chinese Medicine has a number of modalities that fall under the broader scope of the tradition including; Acupuncture, Tui Na (massage), Chinese Herbal Medicine, dietary and lifestyle therapy, and exercise therapies such as Taichi and Qigong. All of these present each individual client with the necessary tools required to help attain a healthier, happier and more gratuitous state of physical and emotional well-being. And it’s the task of the Chinese Medicine Practitioner to effectively diagnose any imbalance within the body and the mind; while planning and delivering an effective treatment protocol, most suited to each individual, on a case-by-case scenario.

Regular acupuncture treatments enhance the body’s ability to better cope with both physical and emotional stress and strain, allowing the body to more readily relax, release, detoxify and unwind. It does this by stimulating and regulating the hormonal distribution within the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis while calming the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response); inhibiting stress-enhancing chemicals within the body, while reducing inflammation and providing pain management in a drug-free environment.

Acupuncture has also been shown to reduce potential stress-related health risks. It does this by protecting the body’s internal organs from over-strain and over-use, preventing a decline in their natural function, and reducing the likelihood of developing associated diseases such as hypertension and heart disease.

Acupuncture aids in the reduction of stress, while placing emphasis on stress management. Each client is expected to be proactive in their personal efforts toward improving their daily lives; addressing their emotional health through the shedding of any accumulated and unwanted stress and strain.

Undertaking regular weekly Acupuncture treatments, attending regular massage to reduce stress, along with the addition of concurrently taking supplements; aims at addressing the underlying cause of the illness, seeking to positively affect the outcome, being the mood disorder itself. Dietary and lifestyle changes may also be addressed and a nutrition plan was undertaken to complement the individual’s unique constitutional makeup.


To make an appointment with an acupuncturist at Brisbane Natural Health, call us on 07 3186 5676. 

Loving Your Liver with Chinese Medicine

Spring is here, and with it, after a long winter of hibernating, comes new life, and the growth and activity of plants and animals. In the clinic, it’s my experience that during spring we seem to have more birth and pregnancy announcements.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the Liver is associated with new growth and expansive energies. Just as the plants around us are stretching out and springing up, reaching for the sun, so do the energies relating to our Liver. Spring is the best time to support the Liver, eating fresh green foods and being mindful to express our emotions.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine the liver is represented by different aspects:

Yin Organ – Liver
Yang Organ – Gallbladder Season – Spring
Colour – Green
Direction – East
Flavour – Sour

One of the functions of the liver is the smooth flow of Qi throughout the body. In TCM, illness or disease is seen to be a blockage of the flow. When things, like Qi, are not flowing properly, this will cause disharmony in the body. So, the Liver’s function of keeping Qi moving in the body is important for our overall health and wellbeing. A blockage of the flow of Qi is central to almost all Liver disharmonies and is one of the most common patterns seen in clinical practice.

To help the liver and free flow of liver Qi, we begin by eating less than we did in winter, consuming lighter foods and cleansing the body of the excess fats and heavier foods have eaten. Spring is a time of renewal and growth, a time of expansion and expression. Spring is when we introduce newly grown greens and sprouts, salty foods and pungent herbs which support the liver and help to cleanse the body.

Cleansing the body is especially beneficial in spring not only because of the liver’s function of filtering toxins, but emotionally as well – emotions like frustration, impatience and anger are associated with the liver and a cleansing of the body and emotions allows us to clear out old residues and enables us to see more clearly and move forward in life with renewed passion and purpose.

The best way to keep the Liver happy, healthy and able to do its job is through a nutritious and seasonally focused diet, observing our emotions and releasing them healthfully as well as trying to ensure you get to bed by 11 pm.

Dry Needling

Dry Needling specifically treats musculoskeletal pain. A fine, single-use needle is inserted into a dysfunctional muscle with the aim of returning it to its optimal state. Studies have shown there to be a localised increase in blood flow and a release of endorphins as soon as a needle is inserted; both positive reactions to reduce pain and dysfunction.

What is a trigger point?

A trigger point is a contraction in a tight band of muscle which causes pain when palpated or squeezed, in a specific site and/or referring to other areas of the body. Trigger points can cause symptoms such as numbness, tingling, weakness, or lack of normal range of movement.

Dry Needling Vs Acupuncture?

It is important to know that Acupuncture and Dry Needling are two very distinct modalities. Dry needling is based upon the western medicine paradigm.

It is used for soft tissue correction, which involves inserting extremely fine and painless needles into muscle fibres, causing a local twitch response. This, in turn, helps to deactivate and resolve trigger points in the muscle and release constriction. Acupuncture, on the other hand, is based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine and the stimulation of Qi (pronounce Chi).

Acupuncture diagnoses using complex theories, meaning only a qualified and registered Acupuncturist or Chinese Medicine practitioner can treat with Acupuncture. Many health professionals utilise Dry Needling as a method for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain, including Myotherapists, Physiotherapists, Podiatrists and even some GP’s.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture began in China more than 2000 years ago and has been a major part of their health care system ever since. It involves fine, single-use needles being inserted into very specific points along the body’s meridians which are found on every corner of the body including the hands, feet, and head. The individual points have a specific function and are chosen depending on the condition being treated.

Acupuncture helps conditions based on symptoms using ancient Chinese theories. These theories aim to achieve wellness and to restore balance throughout the body.
The techniques are gentle and the practitioner spends quality time with the client to ensure a positive experience occurs.

Are you a highly sensitive person?

We all have our gifts and we all have our challenges – often they are one and the same thing.

Some of us are exceptionally good at creating beauty – whether that is a beautiful experience or a thing of beauty. These people are great visionaries, they know exactly what they want to create; they know all the details that need to come together to create that vision. They can sometimes be referred to as ‘Control Freaks’ as they can have trouble delegating or even allowing others to help. They can be very sensitive to criticism, not that they can’t handle it, but rather that they are already very self-critical. In fact they are often perfectionists and never really satisfied with their own efforts. So they are already providing all the criticism and when someone else notices that something is not perfect, it hurts!

Part of this ability to create beauty is a sensitivity and as is always the case in Chinese Medicine, the sensitivity applies to all dimensions of life. So these people, as well as being sensitive to the details and how things come together to create beauty, are also energetically sensitive. They may be particularly sensitive to foods or toxins or pharmaceuticals. They may pick up on someone else’s feelings and be driven to wanting to make that person feel better. They may be sensitive to energy of spaces. They may also be sensitive to energies from other realms.

Now these are ALL extraordinary gifts but if that energy is overwhelming – if the lines become blurred between what is their own energetic stuff and what is not theirs – then this can feel like anything BUT a gift!!!

The wisdom from Chinese Medicine allows us to see that the strengths of this sensitivity are also its challenges. Just to know this alone can help and then to focus on the light of this quality rather than the shadow.

A balanced life

As in Chinese Medicine, sensitivity applies to all dimensions of life.

If this sounds like you and you sometimes feel overwhelmed by your sensitivity, there are a few things you can do. The aim of the game is to befriend your sensitivity. You can’t hate something away, but you can LOVE it into balance.

RITUAL 1

One thing to try is simply expanding and contracting your energy. After all, you, more than any of us, know that we do not end with our skin! Imagine you are standing in a large hall and at the other end of the hall is someone you love. Someone who makes you feel safe. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Create that image in your minds eye; then expand your energy out to reach that person that you love. It is safe for your energy to connect with theirs. Enjoy that feeling – soak up that feeling.

Then do the opposite and imagine someone you dislike at the other end of the hall. Contract your energy, bring it in close around you; to protect you; set that boundary; don’t allow your energy to connect with that other person.

As you play with this concept you get better and better at either allowing your energy to mix or protecting your energy. It’s just like a muscle at the g – the more you use it the stronger and more flexible it becomes.

RITUAL 2

Here is another simple ritual you may like – to define and protect your boundaries and to stop negative energies from invading your space.

When you wake up in the morning and stand up feet on the ground and stretch both arms out in front of you, like you are pushing something away and affirm to the world I can see you better over there’. Then pushing each arm out to your sides in the same way, say out loud, I will not get caught between a rock and a hard place’.

Say it and mean it!!

Then pushing both hands down to the ground, I hold down the rising tide’.

Pushing both hands up from your shoulders to the sky, I release the weight of the world from my shoulders’.

And finally, tell the universe to get off your back!

You have covered the energy around you in all six directions and created the physical, emotional and energetic space you need. A simple time efficient ritual that is based on prevention is easier than a cure.

There are lots of ways to ground your energy; these are just two simple options. It’s important to ensure your subconscious mind is supportive of your healthy energetic boundaries. PSYCH-K and hypnotherapy are powerful ways to connect to your subconscious and update the software that runs your mind. Remember your sensitivity is a beautiful part of who you are.

Liz Champtaloup – Holistic Hypnotherapist, Advanced PSYCH-K Facilitator, EFT Practitioner, Diploma of Clinical Hypnotherapy

 

A Balanced Life

If we apply ancient Chinese wisdom to a modern day problem then we would not be seeking work-life balance.

It’s too late by then to bring balance to our lives. The key to balance is to be balanced from within. When we are balanced from within we come to everything from a balanced perspective. Nothing can disturb our balance because we are not relying on external factors to bring us this blissful state.

This is why mindfulness and meditation are such powerful tools to incorporate into our lives.

A balanced life

Just a small amount of stillness in the mind can bring about a significant amount of balance to our lives.

The mind is incredibly lenient and kind to us! Just a small amount of stillness in the mind can bring about a significant amount of balance to our lives.

So don’t think that you need to replicate the meditation habits of The Dalai Lama in order to bring balance to your life! Just starting with 10 minutes of stillness a day is worthwhile.

There are also many ways to meditate and the simpler the better.

So if meditation is something you have thought about but never tried then be kind to yourself and know that it can be easy to meditate.

There are loads of apps available for very little expense that can be a lovely gentle way to start bringing some stillness into your life. Or you might like to start just focusing on your breath; breathing in and breathing out.

Whatever you choose just find 10 minutes in your day and breathe deeply into your belly. Set yourself a goal to have 10 minutes stillness a day for a week…and then a month…and then 15 minutes.

You might be surprised at how good you are at meditating and your body, mind and spirit will thank you for it.

Liz Champtaloup – Holistic Hypnotherapist, Advanced PSYCH-K Facilitator, EFT Practitioner, Diploma of Clinical Hypnotherapy

The Heart Protector

The Chinese believe we have an extra organ called The Heart Protector.

It’s like an imaginary gate around our hearts. When we are in balance the gate is slightly open, allowing us time to decide if we trust someone or something into our heart or not.

It is not just about romance, everything is connected, so it may be a business relationship or any other decision that we need to make.

If we choose not to let a person or situation into our heart then we can close the gate and protect our heart. Or if we feel safe then we can open the gate and allow that situation in to our heart.

In Chinese Medicine the heart is known as The Emperor. It is literally the heart of all our abundant richness and resources. The Emperor is the keeper of all things beautiful.

 

The General or the Emperor?

Who do you want to give the power to…The General or The Emperor?

Our heart is where we nurture our authentic self, our truth. It is where we feel. But sometimes the Emperor is distracted by The General. You guessed it – the General is our mind. We can overthink things and lose connection to how we feel about something. Western thinking is very much about that we need to ‘do something’ or ‘to fix the situation’ so it can be very easy to get stuck in our thoughts.

Sure it’s important to be able to analyse and think, and we all need our General, but as ancient Chinese wisdom would ask ‘Who do you want to give the power to…The General or The Emperor?’

When we give too much power to The General we shut ourselves off from our feelings. We lose touch with our authentic self. We forget what lights us up and in the extreme may even lose our passion for life.

Many ancient and modern philosophers talk about the journey from the head to the heart being the longest journey. If you feel disconnected from your heart you are not alone, over 90% of people are said to have excessive energetic protection around their hearts.

But the good news is the power of the subconscious mind can help you gently reconnect to all your richness and resources. Your subconscious loves you to bits…it’s all there waiting for you.

Liz Champtaloup – Holistic Hypnotherapist, Advanced PSYCH-K Facilitator, EFT Practitioner, Diploma of Clinical Hypnotherapy

Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Traditional Chinese Approach to Period Pain

Amongst the multitude of treatment options for those experiencing primary dysmenorrhea (period pain which is not attributed to any other pathology such as: endometriosis, fibroids etc.), traditional Chinese medicine and the complimentary medicine approach excels in the management and treatment of symptoms.

From the western perspective, primary dysmenorrhea is one of the most prevalent and disabling gynecological disorders with no identifiable aetiology. It is a disorder which is said to incur an economic impact on a global scale, with an estimated 600 million work hours and 2 billion dollars lost annually in the USA alone. One study recorded as many as 50% of women were affected by primary dysmenorrhea and another 10% experiencing symptoms severe enough to render them incapacitated.

Despite this, other than ruling out secondary dysmenorrhea, the conventional medical approach can offer little insight to its origin. The level of understanding with regard to causative factors from a TCM point of view is more comprehensive in comparison.

In TCM gynecology, the Liver organ and Penetrating vessel, also known as the Chong Mai, are crucial in the free flow of Qi and Blood. Free flow = a painless existence.

The Chong Mai flows through the uterus and is also known as the sea of blood.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture reduces pain in women with dysmenorrhea

Acupuncture, Tui Na (Chinese remedial massage) and Chinese herbs work to harmonise the flow of Qi and Blood in the uterus by treating meridians on the body. There are however, plenty of things that we can do to ensure free flow without even getting to the point of disease! A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, an abundance of physical activity and relaxation exercises, nourishing sleep habits and an avoidance of drugs and alcohol will all benefit the Chong Mai and help to keep the menstrual cycle in balance. This also applies to the treatment of subfertility with Chinese medicine. A healthy cycle is a good way to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Many women are led to believe that it is quite normal to have a huge amount of pain during menstruation and that it is normal to pop a few pain killers or take oral contraceptives to avoid this. According to the old Chinese texts, this is only a modern pathology. Normal periods are pain free and regular in length.

Conventional medicine, although efficient in its pharmacotherapy, lacks the availability of a lasting solution for primary dysmenorrhea and a youth of periods spent fighting pain with prescription medication or pain killers, often leading to undiagnosed complications with fertility, is pretty common unfortunately.

There is a stack of research out there that shows the efficacy of acupuncture and Chinese herbs in dramatically improving the quality of life and level of pain that women are experiencing. Generally, studies show the best results are had over a 3 month treatment regime for chronic cases. The added benefit of an individualised diagnosis and treatment, is that the effects are seen on a more than symptomatic level. Accompanying symptoms such as referred lower back pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, fatigue, anxiety, and dizziness were also alleviated from acupuncture. TCM treatment is also found to have lasting effects on pain relief of up to a 3-6 month follow up period.

Hugh Hayward – Chinese Medicine Doctor, Acupuncture & Chinese Herbalist, An Mo Tui Na and Qi Nei Tsang