Acupuncture Denver Blog

Comprehensive health, empowerment, joy, and happiness.


Telehealth Sessions & Online Community Classes!

Stay Connected to Acupuncture Denver

By Jane Gregorie - March 28, 2020

Greetings from the mountains of Park County! It’s been just over a week since we closed the clinic and I already miss all of you and my staff so much. I hope you are staying safe and practicing self-compassion in the midst of all this uncertainty.

Even though the clinic is closed, we can still connect! I’m excited to announce that you can still access care with us via Telehealth Consults online. These video-based sessions are a great way to revisit your treatment plan, get fertility and wellness coaching from Jane, receive new herbal or supplement recommendations, or even practice a one-on-one personalized guided meditation together. For now, we’ve opened up the calendar on a limited basis but let us know if you want to schedule a time outside of the current hours or if you’d like to set up a session with Mally, Merry, or Megan. We can make it work and we are grateful to have this new option to offer. 

I am also offering some live online classes through Zoom to stay connected with you all and nurture a sense of community during a time that feels so isolating.

And coming soon, I’ll be bringing back Fertile Ground Yoga Sessions live and online through Zoom. Visit our classes page anytime to learn about the current offerings. If you have any ideas or requests for ways we can support you, feel free to email me. I’d love to hear from you! 

If you need to refill an herbal formula or pick up supplements, we can prepare those items and leave them at our office door for pick-up. Just email us with these requests. You can also refill supplements as needed through our Fullscript pharmacy online. 

I hope to see many of you in the virtual world as soon as TOMORROW for a community meditation class on Zoom. We will get through this crisis together and be stronger on the other side. Know I’m here for you and sending love and protection and healing energy your way.

Hugs from Afar, 
Jane

Read More...

CLINIC CLOSED! (for now)

We are temporarily closed due to COVID-19 Outbreak

By Jane Gregorie - March 20, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and recent Colorado State Health Department Mandates, we are closing the clinic effective 3/20/20 until further notice. Depending on how the regulations effect our industry (as acupuncturists we are in a bit of a gray area as healthcare providers and not a spa/salon/tattoo parlor!). We hope to be open as early as 4/16/20, but closure could be mandated through 4/30/20 if we are subject to the same rules as salons and spas.           

 

Our online booking platform is rolling out some telehealth/video session options as early as next week and we'll be setting those up for our clients ASAP. We will be available on a limited basis for herb and supplement pickup. You can also order supplements and some herbs through our Fullscript online store. Just shoot me an email if you need products. We will work it out!   

 

I am planning to set up a Free Infertility Support group (which I'll be leading because I'll miss you all SO MUCH) via an online class platform as well. And maybe I'll even host some online dance parties if it comes to that. Or some Qigong/Yoga/Meditation classes! This wild mind won't be idle for long! We all need to stay connected even if it's through a video platform. So check our our blog for updates and follow us on Instagram  for announcements and updates as well.      

 

I am deeply saddened by this abrupt shift in all of our lives and the potential peril this virus brings. This practice is my first "baby" and I've been acutely aware in the past few days how much all of you mean to me. I am going to miss you all terribly in the coming weeks. But may we emerge from this darkness stronger and more resilient. Time to go in the cocoon and rest up as we prepare to become butterflies, I guess. I do believe that we are being forced to embrace our Yin energies (quiescent, dark, inward, female, lunar, stillness) in a world that has privileged and rewarded Yang (moving, bright, outward, male, solar, dynamic) energy to our detriment. So there's that. 

 

Don't hesitate to reach out to me anytime via email. I'm here for you. We're in this together. 

 

Read More...

The COVID & The Beautiful

Managing During A Crisis

By Jane Gregorie - March 14, 2020

Sh*t's done hit the fan, y'all. I can't believe how crazy this past week has been, globally and locally. We have been working hard to put policies and procedures in place to ensure that we can continue to offer exceptional patient care and a safe place for healing despite the current COVID-19 crisis. Clinic will remain open for regular hours at this time, but will be postponing the Women's Infertility Support group for obvious reasons until at least May. 


I'm including a list of cleaning and safety measures we are taking at the clinic (see below) and also wanted to make sure that you all get the message that we cannot see any patients who have any symptoms of active viral infections (fever, chills, body aches, wheezing, sore throat, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath) as well as those who are self-quarantining based on likely exposure to the virus. Our staff has also been instructed to STAY HOME if they are sick. 

 

I also want to invite you to take some time away from the chaos and increasingly terrifying news and focus on recharging, resting, and getting into nature. Nature is the BEST place to find solace right now (and based on that study, it's also great for your immunity!) You can certainly maintain social distance in the hills or the woods, which is what I had the great pleasure of doing today. I took a long slog through crusty snow in the mountains with my dogs, taking in the fresh air, wandering among the aspens and Doug firs, and noticing the way the light on snow makes the world so much brighter at midday in winter. I took in the vista from a ridge overlooking the Mosquito Peaks above the vast South Park mesa, Mt. Baldy shining silver between parting clouds, and I thought to myself, the world may be is crazy, but I'm freaking lucky to be alive today

 

Rather than spinning out on all the bad news stories and worrying about my toilet paper supply (luckily I have a bidet at my house-- toilet paper be damned!), I decided to focus on what I'm grateful for and to literally gaze on as much beauty as I can take in (hence the campy photo above), because I know it will do my body and mind good. I invite you to find a place in nature or even in your back yard where you can feel grounded and connected to the earth, at one with the benevolent spirits of the elements, and at peace in the HERE and NOW. Maybe the many shut-downs happening around us are inviting us to do just that: SLOW DOWN. Even STOP. Breathe. 

 

We will be creating a similar viral prevention formulas in our pharmacy and can drop ship herbs and supplements to clients upon request from some of our vendors. You can also order supplements from our Fullscript pharmacy. Chinese herbs have been used for millennia to treat viral infections and support immunity. Call us at 303-929-9582 if you need help getting any products. Or shoot us an email at info@acudenver.com

 

In addition to immune-boosting herbs, acupuncture or at-home moxa, I'd also recommend taking Vitamin D3, Vitamin C, a good probiotic, getting PLENTY OF SLEEP, avoiding too much sugar and incorporating foods like bone broth soups or congee, taking saunas if you can, and of course washing those hands with hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds multiple times per day, especially after being in crowded places. Most of us have sturdy immune and cardiovascular systems and are at very low risk of severe complications from COVID-19. There was some promising research cited in this Guardian article in terms of COVID risk and pregnancy, which is reassuring for our pregnant and fertility clients. But we must remain vigilant about decreasing the spread of this virus as a community, either way. We're going to be here for you, doing our part to serve our patients and keep them well. Reach out if you need us, anytime. 

 

What we are doing: 

  • cleaning all clinic surfaces throughout the day
  • using disposable cups for tea and water service
  • allowing patients to move to a treatment room (or back bench if not available) if they prefer to be isolated while waiting 
  • sanitizing everything that clients touch before and after every treatment (face cradles, doorbells sheets)
  • washing/sanitizing our hands before and after every patient
  • asking our staff to stay home if they are ill and self-quarantine if necessary

 

What you can do: 

  • cancel your upcoming appointment if you are ill or have been in close contact with someone who is ill
  • wash your hands before and after coming into clinic (bathroom is just to the left of our clinic door as you enter)
  • slow down, take a breath, and remember what you love about life. Take in some beauty.
  • and I'm telling you right now, everyone needs a biffy!

Please reach out to us if you have concerns about coming in during this time and also remember you can book and cancel online HERE. Be well and look for what delights you in the world! 

 

Read More...

Treating Endometriosis with Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month!

By Mally Shaw, M.S., L.Ac., FABORM - March 8, 2020

Do you have uncomfortable or debilitating menstrual cramps before, during, or in between your periods? Are your periods abnormally heavy? Do you have to take over the counter or prescription pain medication just to get out of bed and function during your menses? Do you experience painful bowel movements, pain with urination, pain associated with sexual intercourse, fatigue? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have endometriosis. Normal periods do not cause excruciating pain, but endometriosis does. 

According to the Endometriosis Association, infertility affects 30-40% of women with endometriosis and is a common result of the progression of the disease. Adhesions from endometriosis can cause blocked falliopian tubes, inflammatory reactions in the uterus, and hormonal issues that can effect fertility. Endometriosis can only be diagnosed laparoscopy, a surgical procedure done under anesthesia in which a camera is inserted through tiny incisions in your abdomen that allows the surgeon to diagnose endometriosis. Because endometriosis is a progressive condition, the earlier it is caught, the earlier treatment can be started to control the symptoms and slow the spread to preserve fertility and reduce the severity of the disease. 

The goals of endometriosis treatment are similar in Eastern and Western medicine: to relieve or reduce symptoms, slow or shrink endometrial growths, preserve fertility, and prevent recurrence of the disease. Western medicine does this with combination of pain meds or  hormonal treatments like birth control, progesterone, or Lupron, and surgery. However, side effects of these options can be severe and also cannot be used when trying to conceive. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine offers great alternatives for the treatment of endometriosis.

Acupuncture for endometriosis:

Regular acupuncture treatment can improve blood flow, reduce inflammation, regulate hormones, and reduce or eliminate the pain associated with endometriosis. In more severe cases sometimes a combined approach of surgery (if your doctor is recommending this) and acupuncture and herbs is needed. In this case, Chinese medicine will aid in post-surgical recovery and improve fertility by reducing the inflammatory response.

Herbs for Endometriosis:
Herbal formulas can be customized to treat both the root cause and symptoms of endometriosis. They have been found to be effective in treating endometriosis. We typically use a base formula that moves qi and blood, alleviates pain and reduces inflammation. Some formulas that are frequently used are Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang and Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan. Combining acupuncture with herbs, supplements and self-care practices is the quickest, least invasive, most effective way to treatand control endometriosis.

Self-Care for Endometriosis: 
  • Eat an anti-inflammatory diet avoiding red meat, refined sugars, alcohol, caffeine, and dairy while making sure to include leafy greens and fruits which are high in antioxidants. 
  • Use castor oil packs to quiet inflammation, reduce pain and adhesions, warm the uterus, and increase circulation. We love Queen of Thrones products and carry her fabulous, easy-to-use castor oil pack belt! 
  • Exercise for  30-60 minutes per day at least several times a week to improve circulation and reduce inflammation. Exercise also helps the liver metabolize excess estrogen, which feeds endometriosis. 
  • Take N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) 600mg three times daily with meals for 3 consecutive days a week (followed by 3 days off) has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation as well as shrink endometriomas.This study found a simple yet effective way to treat endometriosis without side effects for women desiring to become pregnant.
Read More...

Acupuncture in Early Pregnancy

Supportive Care in the First Trimester

By Merry Reasons, M.S., L.Ac. - February 18, 2020

It’s such a joy when we hear from our clients that they’re pregnant. But we also understand that it can be a time full of worries and fears, as well as the excitement and anticipation. Supportive care for early pregnancy with acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is about providing emotional support, physical relief for common first trimester ailments, and about offering our clients information on diet, lifestyle, and self-care. We love to offer continued care through pregnancy at the clinic since having a body-mind-spirit based approach during this time is just as important as it is while preparing for conception. 

Acupuncture is very effective in supporting the physiological processes of early pregnancy. Acupuncture increases microcirculation in the uterus to promote implantation, formation of a healthy placenta, and optimal embryonic development. Treatment objectives are similar in fertility and early pregnancy in that we focus on down-regulating the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPAA) to offset the stress response in the body, increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs and promoting beneficial hormonal responses. In early pregnancy, progesterone is necessary to support implantation and embryo development and ward off excess inflammatory/immune responses until the placenta takes over progesterone production around 10-12 weeks gestation1 As I mentioned earlier, the first trimester can be emotionally stressful, especially for those who have gone through a long fertility journey or pregnancy losses. Anxiety and stress activate the HPA axis and may cause a reduction in progesterone production. We are here to offer supportive treatments to offset the stress response and to provide a safe and relaxing environment for our clients. We guide our clients to connect to their inner peace and trust that their pregnancy is progressing just as it should. 

We recommend weekly or bi-weekly treatments during the first trimester of pregnancy,  then monthly in the second and third trimesters, followed by weekly treatments to prepare for labor beginning at 36 weeks.

Below are some tips from both Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine for early pregnancy wellness:

WESTERN
  • Supplements: prenatal vitamins, Omega-3 fish oil (important for baby’s brain production), methylated folate, and Vitamin D3.
  • Avoid unsafe foods (raw meat/eggs, seafood with high levels of mercury, deli meat, unpasteurized milk products, raw sprouts, hot dogs, meat spreads).
  • Avoid saunas/extremely hot baths/hot tubs/hot yoga
  • Don’t drink too much caffeine (200mg or less is acceptable, but if you can avoid it entirely that’s even better).
  • Quit drinking alcohol and smoking (of course!) 
  • Don’t clean the litter box (to avoid feline waste bacteria and toxoplasmosis)
  • Schedule your first appointment with your OB GYN or midwife.
EASTERN
  • Keep feet warm.
  • Eat warm foods/drink warm water to keep digestive fire strong. 
  • Keep blood sugar balanced with small frequent meals, making sure you are eating enough protein.
  • Sleep and nap if you can! Listen to your body when it needs to rest. Fatigue can also trigger symptoms of morning sickness.
  • Avoid sexual intercourse during the first trimester in high risk pregnancies or if you have a history of miscarriages.
  • And of course, get acupuncture to treat first trimester symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, morning sickness, and body aches and pains.  Treatments can support optimal hormone balance and blood circulation.
Read More...

Protect Your Immunity During Cold & Flu Season


By Dr. Megan Wemm, DAOM, L.Ac.

Winter is here and flu season is upon us! How do we fortify our immunity and keep our bodies strong during this time?  Winter is a natural time for the energy of the body to turn inward and for us to slow down, but Traditional Chinese Medicine offers us wonderful tools for boosting immunity. 

From a Western medicine perspective, immunity starts in the gut and digestive system. Without having a well-functioning digestive system, our bodies will not have very strong immunity.  Supplements like probiotics are actually one of the most beneficial for enhancing your immune system. At Acupuncture Denver, we carry Megasporebiotic by Microbiome Labs. These are some of the most effective probiotics on the market and are backed by robust data

From a Chinese medicine perspective, the Spleen qi is the root of our immunity.  It is associated with the element of Earth and directly feeds the Lungs, which are associated with the Metal element.  The Spleen is responsible for digestion and the process of extracting the “clear qi”, or the nutrients, from our food to supply our body with energy.  Healthy Spleen qi is reflected in the muscles, changes our sense of taste, and is nourished by a sweet flavor.  In the winter, the Spleen qi can easily become drained, leaving us feeling lethargic and apathetic.  

The easiest way to fortify the Spleen qi is through diet and gentle exercise.  When the Spleen qi is depleted, our focus needs to be on easy-to-digest foods.  Warm, cooked foods that don’t require as much energy to digest are recommended while cold, raw, and greasy foods are not. Sugar, dairy, and alcohol are also detrimental to the Spleen Qi and cause dampness and phlegm in the body. Gentle exercise is the best way to work the muscles without further exhausting the body’s reserves and helps drain dampness and stoke our digestive fire. Foods that nourish the Spleen are yams, winter squashes, rice, quinoa, oatmeal and foods with a bland, sweet flavor.

Pregnancy is defined as a Spleen qi deficient time, particularly during the first trimester.  Since all the nutrients ingested are continually feeding the baby, it’s crucial to keep the body strong and fortified. The immune system is also weakened in pregnancy, so it's crucial to boost immunity with a Spleen-qi fortifying diet, supplements like prenatals and Vitamin D, and proper self-care. There's some interesting research here about Vitamin D in pregnancy how it can stregthen immunity in newborns. 

In the first trimester of pregnancy the Spleen Qi can be very deficient, depending on a person's constitution and lifestyle. This can lead to morning sickness, nausea, fatigue, mental fogginess, and intense food cravings.  Acupuncture and herbal treatments are very effective during this time, especially since most other medical modalities are not advised. For women who have experienced miscarriage, acupuncture and herbs are especially effective in stabilizing threatened miscarriage.

Ginger, especially fresh ginger, called Sheng Jiang, is a Chinese herb, food, and spice that particularly nourishes the Spleen.  It has been used regularly in Chinese culture and medicine for over 4,000 years as a Spleen tonic and an immune booster.  It also helps to reduce motion sickness and nausea.  By strengthening the Spleen’s function, it has been shown to reduce cholesterol.  Including fresh ginger in tea or soup daily can help to support your immune system, your digestive strength and your body’s vitality.  From a Chinese medicine perspective, fresh ginger helps to redirect the stomach qi downwards, hence why it can pinpoint nausea, morning sickness or motion sickness.  During the first trimester, this herb can be very helpful.

Astragalus root, called Huang qi, is another herb used to tonify the Spleen qi.  It has been shown to enhance immune function as well as help with loose stools and diarrhea, exhaustion, mental clarity and even organ prolapse.  The energetic movement of this herb is uplifting. This is an herb that is safe in pregnancy and because of its lifting function, it is used to prevent miscarriage.

Medicinal mushrooms are also helpful immune boosters.  Examples include shiitake, reishi, maitake, tremella, chaga or turkey tail.  Medicinal mushrooms are considered adaptogens.  They have been shown to naturally activate Natural killer cells and T-cells in the body.  Along with enhancing immunity, they strengthen the Spleen, clean the Liver, tonify energy reserves, reduce cholesterol and calm the spirit.  

Western supplements you can use to further support immunity include elderberry, Vitamin D3 (which everyone needs!), Zinc, Vitamin C, garlic, turmeric and oregano oil. Teas of chrysanthemum flower, hibiscus, echinacea or ginger are also excellent options during this time.  Honey is an especially effective antioxidant.  Manuka honey is even stronger in its ability to fortify the body and strengthen its immunity.  

Chinese herbal formulas are regularly used to support the immune system and release the exterior.  These common formulas include Gan Mao Ling, Yin Qiao San, Gui Zhi Tang and Xiao Chai Hu Tang.  It is best to check in with your Chinese Medicine provider as to which one is best for you. We have custom herbal formulas in stock at the clinic and also carry modern Chinese formulas like Anti-Virii and Anti-Biobotanical by Panaxea that are super effective. These are great formulas to have on-hand so you can take them when you start to feel like you’re coming down with something. 

Protecting your digestive system is the key to boosting your immunity. Including simple, easy-to-digest foods every day can enhance your ability to ward off colds or the flu.  By strengthening our Spleen, we can also give ourselves increased physical energy and improved mental clarity. Check out the recipe below to make a delicious immune-boosting winter soup! 

The Ultimate Immune Boosting Soup courtesy of thehealthmaven.com

Makes 6-8 bowls

Ingredients:
          • 1 T coconut oil
          • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
          • 6 garlic gloves, minces
          • 2 clergy stalks, sliced
          • 1 lb shiitake mushrooms
          • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
          • 1/4 tsp black pepper
          • 1 tsp turmeric
          • 12 cups water
          • 4 heads baby bok Chou, bottoms chopped off
          • 1/2 head kale, chopped
          • 1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
          • Optional: whole chicken
          • Optional: miso

Instructions:
  • Chop off the bottom of the stem from your mushrooms and discard. Separate stems from tops and slice tops and remaining stem if necessary, into large pieces. You will only discard the very bottom of the stems, not the full stems as they contain many nutritional benefits!
  • Heat up coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until translucent.
  • Add in garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  • Add in celery and mushrooms and sautee for about 10 minutes or until mushrooms have wilted.
  • Add in spices (including ginger) and water and bring to a boil.
  • Then let simmer, covered for 1 hour or as long as you want (the longer you leave, the                better!)
  • Add bok choy and kale in the last 10 minutes of cooking to wilt.
  • If you’d like to have your soup with chicken, boil and cook a whole chicken in 12 cups of water.  Remove chicken from the soup, remove the meat from the carcas.  Shred the meat and add to eat bowl.
  • If you’d like to add miso, add a small spoonful of miso the finished soup.
            
Serve warm or store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
 
Read More...

Rest & Reset in a Chaotic World

Making 2020 a year for self care

By Jane Gregorie - January 19, 2020

We live in troubling times: fires rage out of control in the Amazon and Australia, climate change is causing extreme weather around the world, divisive partisan politics are dividing our nation, and the threat of war looms in the Middle East. While it feels like our world is falling apart around us, we also have to also deal with our everyday personal stressors and traumas. Sometimes it all seems like too much, too fast. And even though most of us aren’t actually running from the proverbial tiger in the jungle, our fight-flight-freeze response is triggered constantly by everything from deadlines at work to a Facebook post announcing yet another friend’s pregnancy (I’m talking to you, my beloved fertility clients).

When our sympathetic nervous systems are activated by real or perceived threats, our minds feel anxious, our heart rate increases, our blood pressure goes up, our digestive (and reproductive) systems shut down, our metabolism is impaired, and our brains become primed for anxiety, depression, and addiction. Many of us get caught in a chronic state of fight or flight that leads to elevated cortisol levels, higher glucose levels, and inability to heal. 


At Acupuncture Denver we’re all going to commit to self-care, rest, and resetting our nervous systems this year. Acupuncture has been shown in many studies to have a direct effect on the central nervous system, influencing areas of the brain and neurochemicals that govern sympathetic and parasympathetic activity. It’s been shown to down-regulate the sympathetic (fight-flight-freeze) response and restore the parasympathetic response (rest and digest). We can think of this autonomic balance as restoring the balance of Yin (parasympathetic, restful, cool, calm, nourishing) and Yang (sympathetic, active, hot, dynamic, fast) energies in our bodies. This central nervous system regulation is one reason acupuncture is such an effective treatment for fertility issues. 

Merry, Mally, Megan (the 3-Ms) and I realized that while we offer this powerful nervous system-calming intervention to so many clients on a daily basis, we’ve forgotten to practice what we preach and get ourselves on the tables regularly, even when we’ve been super-stressed. So after a much-needed treatment last month I decided this will be the year we all commit to weekly treatments, not only to regulate ourselves, but to offer the best of ourselves to our clients.

I had my weekly acupuncture treatment just yesterday and can report that I slept like a baby, the knots in my upper back have softened, I feel happier (yay for acupuncture influencing serotonin!), and my chronically stiff low back and hips have loosened up. I even woke up this morning with the motivation to write this long overdue blog post, do two back-to-back spin classes, and put away all the laundry. I can't wait to get another treatment. And I feel crazy for all the weeks I haven't been taking advantage of receiving acupuncture from the best practitioners in Denver (I love you, 3Ms!). 


I’m excited to see how the commitment we’ve made to our own self-care this year will ripple out to our clients. I know it will make our wonderful clinic an even better source of healing, fertility, and wellness for all those we touch. By the way, it's even easier for you to book with us now-- just click on this link to book with us online! 

 
Read More...

Miscarriage and Infant Loss Awareness

What You Can Do

By Jane Gregorie - October 21, 2019

October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. Having gone through two pregnancy losses myself, I know how difficult it can be—how it feels shocking at first, then like an emptiness that can’t be filled, then like grief that will stay with you forever. It can also feel lonely, since few people talk about it and friends and family might not even know about the early pregnancy at all. Miscarriage and infant loss feel like experiences of the shadow realm since those who haven’t gone through that particular dark night of the soul don’t seem to get it and aren’t comfortable talking about it. Or even worse, they might talk about it, but say the wrong thing like, “at least you can get pregnant.” 

I’m passionate about helping women feel less alone through this experience by giving them a space to speak of it openly and honestly in the treatment room. I’m also passionate about honoring and remembering the babies who were with us briefly but will always be part of us. Whether this means speaking their name, creating a ritual for the anniversary of their passing, or just welcoming their presence into a quiet, contemplative moment together, it’s important to me to acknowledge these babies. In Japan, these beings are called mizu-ko or “water-children” and offerings are made in their honor to the Bodhisattva Jizo-sama, their guide and protector. We could use more ritual in our culture to allow us to fully grieve these losses and honor these beings who passed from us too soon. 


In terms of clinical issues around pregnancy loss, if you’ve had more than two miscarriages, it’s standard of care to get a workup with your OBGYN or a reproductive endocrinologist. Most miscarriage, especially those in the first trimester, are due to chromosomal abnormalities or aneuploid (abnormal) embryos. I heard a statistic at the ASRM conference once that stated that up to 64% of all fertilized embryos stop developing even before a woman would get a positive pregnancy test. Of those losses that occur during the first trimester, around 75% are from chromosomal defects. Other causes of miscarriage include clotting disorders, uterine abnormalities, genetic issues in the parents (like translocations), thyroid issues, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, or infections. 


Many women who’ve had miscarriages get diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism.  While there is wider range for normal TSH in the general population, it’s ideal for fertility and in pregnancy to have TSH levels between .45-2.5. It’s frustrating that not all physicians recognize that a slightly high TSH level can lead to miscarriage. In terms of uterine issues, a uterine septum can cause miscarriage if the embryo implants on the septum instead of the endometrial lining. Clotting disorders like Factor V Leiden can cause clots which cut off blood supply to the fetus and can also lead to loss in later trimesters. While autoimmune issues are rare, they can also cause recurrent losses. And if a parent carries a genetic defect like a balanced translocation, they can pass that on to the embryo repeatedly. Doing IVF with CCS preimplantation genetic diagnosis is one way to deal with genetic defects that could be repeatedly passed down. 


A typical workup for recurrent pregnancy loss would be a basic clotting panel that includes autoimmune factors like ANA, APA, and ACA, karyotyping of both parents to check for genetic issues, an HSG, SHG or hysteroscopy to check uterine contours, bloodwork for TSH, and a basic fertility panel (Day 3 FSH, LH, Estradiol, AMH, Prolactin). Some doctors also test for uterine infections like mycoplasma and ureaplasma by running cultures. 


In terms of what you can do naturally to prevent pregnancy loss, I recommend getting acupuncture to improve blood flow to the ovaries and uterus (ideally up to 3 months prior to conception for optimizing egg quality), avoiding BPAs and plastics around food, taking prenatal vitamins with methylated folate, fish oil, vitamin D3, as well as antioxidants for cellular health like Ubiquinol, PQQ, and Acai berry. I’ve seen many women with histories of recurrent loss conceive naturally and have healthy babies, but I always recommend getting a full medical workup to rule out any causes that require medical intervention (like surgery for a septum, or blood thinners, or thyroid support).

At Acupuncture Denver, we’re very familiar with any red flags we might see in labs or based the detailed history and intake we provide. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions about how we can help! 

 
Read More...

A Love Letter To My Clients


By Jane Gregorie - January 12, 2019

Dear Acupuncture Denver Clients, 

Have I told you lately that I love you? I’m quite certain the words “love” and “clients” aren’t meant to be used in the same sentence, and that love letters penned to clients (much less to patients) are entirely inappropriate. But at this stage in the game, I’m less concerned with propriety than truth. So, I’ll say it plain: I love you, Acupuncture Denver clients. 

Each of you radiate a particular starshine that is revealed by the light in your eyes, the beat of your pulse, the sound of your voice, and even the liquid heartbreak of your tears. Now that I’m into my twentieth year of clinical practice, I realize that I’ve been basking in the light of the stars all this time. Even though I’m working. Even as I’m learning. Even when it’s hard. 

I love you because I love learning, clients. Sure, I’ve gone through acupuncture school and read textbooks and taken courses in every aspect of TCM and Western reproductive medicine and attended Fertile Soul retreats and done internships and passed exams and memorized hundreds of Chinese herbs, but I’ve learned most of what I know about fertility from you, clients. I’ve learned about every possible IVF protocol under the sun; about domestic and foreign IVF clinics; about obscure and experimental reproductive immunology treatments; about when it’s best to time intercourse around an IUI; about the best surgeons to choose for endometriosis or Asherman’s syndrome; about which reproductive endocrinologists have good bedside manner; about how to get that sticky estrogen patch adhesive off the skin; about the best way to take the progesterone in oil shot; and most importantly, about what it’s like to live in a body which carries a soul which endures being poked and prodded and examined by too many hands and has endured too many months of disappointment and in some cases unimaginable losses too, and still, despite it all, glimmers unmistakably with hope. 

I love you because you are my tribe, clients, as much as I tried to deny that I was just like you: was the practitioner, wasn’t infertile, wasn’t bereft, wasn’t brought to my knees by the bottomless pit of longing for a child (right?). It was you who got me through my own miscarriages. Shannon gave me an oak leaf and a polished river stone that still sits on our office altar today, a symbol of fragile vulnerability and incredible strength. Lynn took me out to lunch. Kate, who was adopting from Ethiopia at the time, planted a seed in me that grew into the miracle of my own motherhood and expanded my heart in ways I hadn’t imagined were possible. 

These connections have been my lifeline and have wound themselves into my own blood and bones so that I can touch people now with a deeply known certainty: you will get through this dark time, you will survive this, you will be OK. 

I love you because I love laughing. And let’s face it, if I wasn’t an acupuncturist, there is a slim chance I could have made it as a stand-up comedian. I love Ellen for making me laugh every time I see her, once so hard that tears were streaming down both our faces: her belly needles bobbing every which way, me leaning over to catch my breath and control my convulsive hysteria so I could get back to business. Who gets to do this at work? It’s amazing. 

I love you because I love smart, interesting women and I love learning from them. You have shared your intimate knowledge of so many varied subjects with me, including but not limited to: petroleum engineering, criminal defense law, special education, occupational therapy, kombucha-making, executive coaching, geology, taxes, African safaris, fine dining, political science, film production, marketing, real estate investing, feline psychology, dog training, bodywork techniques, exercise physiology, paleo diets, addiction recovery, world travel, cultural differences, immigration, child development, human trafficking, attachment theory, Freudian analysis, art therapy, Hinduism, Islam, evangelical Christianity, Mormonism, opiate addiction, jewelry making, reiki, shamanism, Instant-pots, corporate consulting, and more. Who gets to learn all day at work from so many experts in so many fields? Again, amazing. 

I love you, clients, because you help me remember that I can survive, even when it feels like my heart might explode from its wild beating in the midst of uncertainty and fear. I’ve looked right into your grief-filled eyes and seen grace and resilience there when there just as easily could have been the flat, dull opacity of bitterness instead. 

During a recent rough patch of anxiety, when I was committed to facing my fears head-on, eyes wide-open, without the aid of numbing or shutting down, it was you I recalled, dear clients, as if in prayer. I summoned the super-human strength I witness in you, amazing warrior-women: you who have lost babies too soon, you who have gestated such bright spirits that they might just be too beautiful for this world, you who have endured the passing of the beloved from your belly straight back to the stars. To see and touch and feel such strength is a blessing, an initiation, a reminder that I’m surrounded by a constellation of overwhelmingly beautiful brightness and grace and connection. Worthy of a love-letter at the very least. Amazing. 

Love, 
Jane 
 
Read More...

Wintertime Wisdom

Stay in Harmony with the Season of the Water Element

By Jane Gregorie - December 16, 2018

As twinkly and warm as the holidays can make us feel, it can also be a season tinged with grief and loss, especially for those who have lost a loved one or struggle to build their families. The turning of the year also becomes a milestone that carries significant weight for those waiting, and waiting, then waiting some more for their family to be complete. 


The holidays fall in mid-winter, the season of the Water element in the Five Element system, an integral part of Chinese Medicine. The Water element's key resonances include the color blue-black, the sound groaning, the emotion fear, and the odor putrid. It's associated with winter, storage, cold, ears/hearing, bones/marrow, teeth, and salt. 


Living in harmony with the seasons is a cornerstone of Chinese Medical wisdom. In winter this means living a more yin (quiescent, less active) lifestyle and taking time to surrender to the energy of Water: let yourself feel the downward pull of water and activate your power of storage to sustain you through the darker and colder days of winter without resistance to its energetic pull. Slowing down in winter is going with the flow of Water! 


Some emotional symptoms that point to a Water element out of balance are feelings of overwhelming fear, expecting the worst, taking unnecessary risks, being distrustful or blindly trusting, being overly driven or  having no motivation at all,  being chronically agitated, or being "frozen" into a state of paralysis. We can tonify our own Water element energies by examining our relationship to threats, relying on those we can trust, knowing what makes us feel safe, and seeking appropriate reassurance from others as needed. 


Take the time to let the wisdom of the Water element work its magic on you this holiday season and give in to the energetic pull to hibernate and shore up your reserves for the coming spring. Soon the days will be getting lighter again.... 
Read More...