Guest Post: How Chinese Medicine Can Help with Infertility

Elisabeth Horesh is a practitioner of acupuncture and Chinese medicine operating in Massachusetts.  She is board-certified in Oriental Reproductive Medicine and founded Nurture Whole Health and Reproductive Acupuncture with the goal of supporting patients in their pursuit of better health and wellness.

If you are one of the millions of women worldwide having difficulty conceiving, chances are you’ve heard that acupuncture could help.  What you may not have heard is that practitioners of Chinese medicine have more to offer than acupuncture alone. 

Chinese medicine is actually a system of medicine that utilizes acupuncture along with many other techniques and therapies to help you achieve an optimal state of balance and health. A full service practitioner of Chinese medicine can offer patients an array of options:

·        Chinese herbal medicine

·        acupuncture

·        moxabustion (more information)

·        cupping (more information)  

·        dietary therapy

·        lifestyle counseling

·        mind-body techniques

Having a practitioner of Chinese medicine who can treat the whole person through a variety of techniques is especially important when treating fertility since it can be a very complex issue.

With Chinese medicine, the first step in dealing with any problems related to women’s reproductive health is to regulate the menstrual cycle. Generally, a healthy period in Chinese medicine is a cycle between 26-32 days, with bright red bleeding for 4-6 days, no cramping, no clotting, and no PMS.  Your provider should ask you very detailed questions about your period and any symptoms you experience related to your cycle. Some of the red flags we look for in my practice are painful cramping, dark blood with clotting, irregular cycles, and low back pain before or during your period. These – along with a host of other signs and symptoms – can all be indicators that your organs, blood, and overall energy are not working harmoniously together. 

In my practice we also incorporate basal body temperature (BBT) charting (using Kindara) since certain patterns within your chart can help us diagnose an imbalance. Evaluating BBT patterns, along with analyzing your tongue, interpreting your pulse, and reviewing your medical history helps us paint a picture of your overall constitutional health. With this information, we can then determine the best treatment plan for you and your partner.

In many cases when applicable, we are not only treating the female, but also the male partner, especially in cases of unexplained infertility. Treating the couple gives us a much better chance of finding the root of the problem, and can be a relaxing time for people who might be experiencing a lot of stress, frustration, and anxiety surrounding their inability to conceive or maintain a healthy pregnancy.

One of the most wonderful things about Chinese medicine is that it can be incorporated into almost any treatment plan. While very successful on its own, Chinese medicine techniques and therapies can also be very effective at supporting patients who are undergoing Western medical treatments such as IUIs and IVF. 

The best practitioner for you is the one who can provide all of the treatment options that make sense based on your individual needs. The American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (ABORM) is a group of professionals who are focused on promoting and ensuring that their members have a level of knowledge and competency in reproductive health so they can guide you to the most appropriate decision for your individual fertility needs. To find the best practitioner for you, visit ABORM’s website for a directory of fellows of ABORM in your state.

The American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (ABORM)

Nurture Whole Health

Elisabeth (Libby) Horesh, Lic. Ac., MAOM, Dipl.OM, FABORM

Elisabeth Horesh became interested in Chinese medicine after being diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome in her twenties. After using Chinese medicine rather than typical Western treatments, her symptoms resolved within a few months. Elisabeth founded Nurture Whole Health and Reproductive Acupuncture with the goal of supporting patients in their pursuit of better health and wellness, and she is one of only three acupuncturists in Massachusetts board-certified in Oriental Reproductive Medicine. She lives in Bolton, MA with her husband, two children, a dog, and a bunch of chickens.

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