Middleway Medicine Blog

Fertility Enhancement and Chinese medicine

by Ann Zimmerman, LAc.

baby feetMany women get pregnant easily and many do not. Research estimates that 1 in 6 couples in the US struggle with getting pregnant. Optimizing the likelihood of getting pregnant and staying pregnant is an area where the tools of Chinese medicine have something special to offer. Rather than looking at fertility challenges as simply a problem with ovaries, or a specific hormone, Chinese medicine approaches fertility as a women’s natural state of balance. Compromised fertility results from imbalances within the network of organs, hormones, and energy systems of the body.

It is very common these days to combine Western and Eastern fertility treatments. Women and men often look toward Western medicine first believing that there must be something really wrong with them and sometimes there is. The bigger the barrier to getting pregnant the more successful Western treatment tends to be: for example with blocked fallopian tubes, prolific endometriosis, or very compromised sperm the diagnostics and surgeries offered can greatly enhance the outcome. In cases if ovulation issues or symptomatic menstrual cycles fertility drugs can make drastic impact. The assisted reproductive technologies of IUI(intrauterine insemination) and IVF(in vitro fertilization) can be the answer for couples with greatly compromised sperm, same sex couples, or simply successful when nothing else works for no known reason. The cost and side effects of these treatments are significant, rarely covered by insurance, and plain stressful.

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Endometriosis and Acupuncture

by Clark and Ann Zimmerman, L.Ac.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is one of the few natural treatment options that can be profoundly helpful for women suffering from endometriosis. This condition, which occurs when the tissue that lines the endometrium is found to be growing outside the uterus, is a painful and sometimes debilitating condition that affects 10 to 20% of American women of childbearing age. The typical symptoms are severe menstrual cramping, irregular menstrual bleeding, lower back pain, pain after intercourse, fatigue, and occasionally difficulty in conception.

Endometriosis is seen as a sign of blood stagnation in Chinese medicine. This can be due to blood deficiency, kidney deficiency, or excessive internal cold. Each specific pattern tends to respond very well to treatment. There are some cases of endometrial growth, however, that are so pronounced that surgical intervention is necessary. Most mild to moderate cases can be treated with Chinese medicine.

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Hot Flashes

by Clark and Ann Zimmerman, L.Ac.

Many people are not aware that acupuncture and Oriental medicine have enjoyed a rich and extensive history in treating the gamut of female health concerns, from PMS to dysmenorrhea to postpartum issues. Menopause is another dimension of female health that can be extremely difficult for women, as hot flashes and night sweats can cause unbearable discomfort. Fortunately, acupuncture and herbs are excellent options for menopausal women, as they offer safe, noninvasive, and effective treatment for these often debilitating symptoms. Menopause is a time where many women become yin deficient, meaning that the cooling, moistening, and calming aspects of their physiology are weakening. As a result, they often get hot, irritated, anxious, and can’t sleep as well. The main treatment principle for menopausal women involves nourishing yin with acupuncture and herbs.

Acupuncture is considered to be a cooling therapy. The stainless steel needles that are used during treatment are said to disperse Qi. This means that they are unblocking energy that has become blocked or stuck. When energy gets blocked for too long, it generates heat which will burn yin and lead to yin deficiency. We have heard many women say that they felt cooler right after the needles were put in. The needles are actually deflating certain areas that have become overheated and compressed. Certain points are also used that have a direct effect on nourishing yin, thereby rejuvenating the cooling aspects of one’s physiology.

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Practitioners

Clark Zimmerman, LAc, MAcOM
Ann Zimmerman, LAc, MAcOM
Ryan Baker, MAcOM, LAc, RPh

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