eLearning Series: Reclaiming Your Fertility

Part 4
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Welcome to the final installment of our eLearning series Reclaiming Your Fertility. In this email, I'll go over The Fertile Soul Method™ and some key components to comprehensive fertility enhancement. As I mentioned in the last email, the body-mind-spirit connection is fundamental to our treatment process at Acupuncture Denver. In addition to acupuncture, herbs, dietary and supplement recommendations, we offer fertility yoga classes, meditation instruction, and spend time talking with you at each visit about how you are doing emotionally. Since we have supported literally hundreds of women through their fertility struggles (and pregnancies!), we have incredible access to resources, tools, and experiences to share with you.

In addition to coming up with an accurate Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis based on the zang-fu organ system paradigm, we come up with acupuncture point combinations to balance your individual presentation. These points are also tailored  to each part of the menstrual cycle. Our clinic includes a comprehensive Chinese herb pharmacy where we can make custom granular formulas that are also specific to your specific imbalances and your cycle phase. If you are undergoing any ART treatments like intrauterine insemination (IUI) or invitro fertilization (IVF), we also use evidence-based protocols to help maximize your chances of success and minimize side effects.  We work with many local reproductive endocrinologists in Denver and are even able to answer commonly asked questions about the treatment protocols they recommend and what it's like to undergo medicated cycles.

In addition to TCM treatment, supplements can be crucial to optimizing fertility, regulating ovulation, and improving egg quality. Some of the supplements we recommend for egg quality include ubiquinol, royal jelly, inositol, high quality prenatal vitamins, and anti-oxidants. We also recommend fish oil, proteolytic enzymes, resveratrol and blood movers like nattokinase and OPCs for conditions like endometriosis. For patients with PCOS, we frequently recommend supplements like NAC, inositol, and chromium piccolinate. Since you should consult a qualified practitioner before self-prescribing supplements or herbs, I recommend you see someone who can look at your case specifically, make a proper diagnosis, and prescribe high quality herbs and supplements that are safe for you.

Many so-called acupuncture "fertility specialists"  have virtually no training fertility treatment, so seeking out a qualified practitioner is of utmost importance. To find a practitioner with advanced training and who is a Board certified specialist, I recommend choosing an ABORM certified practitioner. Some practitioners even prescribe Chinese herbs with very limited training, so be sure that your practitioner has also attended an accredited Chinese Medicine Masters program and that they have had didactic and clinical training or even NCCAOM Board Certification in Chinese Herbology.

In addition to the dietary therapy outlined in the second email, we also recommend some great self-care treatments like femoral/abdominal massage, acupressure, foot soaks, castor oil packs, breath-work, and meditation. These simple techniques are powerful ways you can nurture yourself, take an active role in your own healing, and enhance the potency of your acupuncture treatments. I find that patients who attend our One Day Fertile Soul Workshops have a much more in-depth understanding of how TCM fertility treatments work and how to incorporate nutrition and self-care methods into their daily routines.We also get to explore the psycho-emotional aspects of TCM and the Five Elements more deeply in the workshop. Understanding how the energetics of the Elements can color our perspective or dictate our behavior is a fascinating exploration!

Another tool we love to share with our patients (and that we take time for in our workshops) is a great planning and priorities self-inquiry, shared with us by Randine Lewis as part of her Fertile Soul curriculum. I would encourage you, wherever you are in the fertility journey, to consistently check in about what your priorities are and what steps you are willing to take to build your family. It's easy to get caught up on the fertility treatment roller-coaster and before too long find yourself off-kilter and feeling like you are living someone else's life (or nightmare). I've seen many women who, in desperation, begin to constantly grasp outside of themselves for answers thinking, "if I try this supplement, go to that reproductive endocrinologist, find the right acupuncturist, if I just remember to do my breathing and follow the spleen qi diet, and and and...." as they travel farther and farther from a place of clarity and self-awareness.

Not to say the looking and the trying are bad, but the end result is that in the struggle we often find ourselves caught up in a whirlwind of pursuits and distractions that seem entirely unrelated to what our heart really desires: to have a child with whom we can share our own wisdom and love. I encourage you to continually re-assess what steps you are taking as you build your family. And when something doesn't resonate with who you are at your very core, be unafraid to say "no" and to stop and re-evaluate. Staying centered and grounded, despite the heartbreak and pain you may be experiencing, is crucial to living your life authentically and finding your own way to the children you are meant to parent in this life. Believe in your intuition, trust in your ability to create a miracle, and remember the promise of love that led you down this path in the first place.

More than any other struggle I have faced, the struggle to create a family brought me to my knees and broke my heart open in a way nothing else ever has. And I wouldn't trade in that experience for the world now. I remember being in the Denver airport, finally checking in to the flight to go get our son and being overcome with tears as I realized that a long, arduous journey was coming to an end. Or that I was stepping through to another beginning. And it was overwhelming and perfect and right. My heart had been transformed, softened and expanded beyond measure. Know that your journey to a family (or to fully embracing a fertile, creative, abundant child-free life) offers more than just heartbreak, loss and disappointment, no matter what the outcome. As Brene Brown so beautifully articulates: "Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy-- the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will discover the infinite power of our light." 

As you move forward down your path, may you connect with your bravery to plumb the depths and reveal the light within. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to support you and would love to connect! 

In gratitude,

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Read more in the Reclaiming Your Fertility Series:
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3


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