Tag Archives: acupuncture

Welcome to our new family member :)

Our family has finally increased from 2 to 3 with the addition of Ziva, our Japanese Spitz

She’s not sleeping through the night just yet – but is slowly learning that crying/barking/whining doesn’t get our attention and that if she is hungry or after a treat – she comes up to you and sits her cute butt on the ground 🙂

Just a little over 12 weeks old and I think we’re handling things ok – I’m a little anxious about being responsible for another soul/life – but made up totally by puppy cuddles 🙂

Of course, being a Spitz breed, she’s totally independent and doesn’t like doing something she doesn’t want to do!

On the TTC front, 9dpo and for the last 2 days I’ve been feeling nauseated all day (and hungry which doesn’t make for a great combination) and dead tired – I feel almost like the walking dead.  I don’t think it’s puppy duties – she sleeps most of the day, heck I’ve tried sleeping during the day!  And to top things off – a cold sore started developing this morning 😦

Thank goodness I go to acupuncture tomorrow – I can certainly use the nap!

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The silver lining

The saying is that every cloud has a silver lining.  The first day of my period certainly provided one!

Since my miscarriage in 2008, my periods have been light – lasting maybe only 1.5 days with very low flow.  This was never flagged as an issue with the naturopaths and fertility specialists I saw – but definitely meant something to my TCM practitioner.

According to TCM theory – your period is supposed to be an overflowing of your uterus – the blood and lining isn’t needed if you’re not pregnant – so the body expels it.  A very light period and low flow, I was told, indicated that there was insufficient blood flow to my uterus, resulting in a lining that wasn’t thick enough to support implantation of an embryo.

Yesterday I had the best day first day flow and it seems to be continuing into day 2  🙂 

It seems Brew Man and I are edging closer to a working womb every day – thank goodness for silver linings.

Does acupuncture hurt?

That’s the question I get asked most often from friends and family who find out I’m receiving acupunture.  Most needles are almost as fine as a human hair and you really only feel a pinch.

I’ve had needling by 4 different practitioners and all have had different techniques.  The initial feeling is the same – a small slight pinch or prick when the needle first goes in. 

Then the technique starts to differ.  A practitioner I used for IVF support (in Nov 09) then very vigorously pulled the needle up and down – that certainly wasn’t pleasant!  I was glad his assistant was giving me a scalp massage!  My experience with a student practitioner & the acupuncturist at the Jocelyn Centre was just the initial pinch – then a small adjustment after 20 minutes.  My current practitioner (the lovely Nicole) follows a slightly different technique again once the needle is in, depending on the point and what she’s trying to achieve.

Where do the needles go? 
Practitioners don’t just stick them anywhere!  The body contains numerous acupuncture channels for different organs – the kidney, liver, spleen, lung, heart and others – all have a channel than runs from the top of your head down various parts of the body to your toes and finger tips. 

The practitioner will place the needle in the most appropriate meridian and the most appropriate point along that meridian to treat your condition. 

If you’re a fan of Chinese cinema – check out the Once Upon A Time in China series of DVDs featuring Jet Li playing Wong Fei Hung – a martial arts champion and acupuncture expert. 

To determine whether an acupuncture point has been “activated” – I’ve been told practitioners can feel the Qi moving through the point when they reach it.  In many cases, a point needs to ve activated to get Qi (or life force) flowing through that point to balance your body.  So what exactly does it feel like?

Sometimes it might be painful – but most of the time you’ll actually feel the channel itself in your body around where the needle went in.  It might feel like a pull on a guitar string or a dull ache.  After the needle comes out – if your body really needed treatment on the point – you may feel a pull or dull ache at the point for a couple of hours after.

Your body will also feel very heavy – don’t try moving any part of your body with an acupuncture needle in it!  This will cause the muscle to tighten around the needle – not so bad while you’re receiving treatment – but it really hurts when the needle comes out since the muscle is now tightly bound around it!

I find some nice relaxing music on my iPod is great when I’m receiving acupuncture.  It’s so relaxing that most times I fall asleep 🙂

Most ailments can be treated by acupuncture – jet lag, PMS, hayfever, UTI, colds, muscle or joint paint – so why not give it a go!  To find a licenced acupuncturist in Australia – use the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association’s website

http://www.acupuncture.org.au/

If you have any questions about receiving acupuncture – I’m happy to answer them!

TCM treatments for IF

Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments for IF include acupuncture and herbs.  My practitioner recommended both for myself and Brew Man. 

I started with acupuncture 3 times a week and dried herbs to take with warm water 2 times a day.  Prior to this – my Natural Fertility Management program had me taking over 15 tablets a day.  If I happened to miss a day of the tablets, I found myself getting tired very early in the day and was almost guaranteed to get sick.  Even with the tablets – I frequently needed a nap during the middle of the day.

The nature of TCM is to gently and slowly naturally bring your body’s yin and yang in all of it’s organs back into balance.  After a few months I noticed that I no longer needed daytime naps, and even if I forgot to take my herbs – I still felt vital and had good levels of energy.  After 3 months of intensive acupuncture 3 times per week, I fell back to twice per week.

Over time I saw my fertility signs (especially fertile mucous) improve and my post-ovulation/luteal phase temperatures were at a higher, more consistent level. 

According to TCM theory – symptoms many women associate as being pre-menstrual (mood swings, breast tenderness, etc) should only be present if you’re pregnant.  I know my practitioner has treatmented patients by acupuncture specifically to reduce PMS! 

Conception in TCM is also diagnosed in the pulse – a slippery pulse is a strong indicator of successful conception and production of the pregnancy hormone BhCG.  Of course – a slippery pulse is also possible after a really full meal or if you have excess damp.  In my instance – I had removed any damp early on.  However, after 3 of these cycles where we were hopeful – we ended up with chemical pregnancies (where implantation fails to be sustained).

Frustration set in and I sought a second opinion.  I love my practitioner – but I wanted to be sure we were doing everything possible.  I canvassed a few names of TCM fertility specialists – Lilly Liu in Surry Hills, Kathryn Taylor in Leura and ChunLin Zhou in Beecroft.  My practitioner and I ended up deciding on ChunLin – she was the most open to working with other practitioners on a patient. 

So a visit to ChunLin indicated that I needed stronger herbs to help support progesterone production in my Luteal Phase – essential for successful implantation of an embryo.  She moved me off dried herbs to fresh cooked herbs.

Anyone who has walked past a TCM clinic in their local Chinese area (e.g. in Sydney places like Chinatown, Hurstville or Chatswood) would have seen shops with drawers stacked to the ceilings and all sorts of strange things dried and displayed in the front windows.  This is a chinese herb dispensary and you require a prescription from a TCM practitioner to obtain herbs.

What you’ll get depends on your condition – but my latest herbs look like this:

To prepare them – add herbs and 1.2L of water to a stainless steel or earthenware pot.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes.  You’ll get about 800ml of liquid – drink 200ml warm morning and night.  1 packet of herbs lasts two days.

If you’re taking cooked herbs, try and cook them outside – the smell is quite pungent!  This also means they don’t taste fantastic.  Brew Man had cooked chinese herbs for pneumonia (when 2 courses of western antibiotics didn’t improve the situation) and he said that they taste so awful they force your body to get well so that you don’t have to drink them any more!

Who am I?

Ok – so yesterday, my lovely cousin P asked the question on Facebook – what would you blog about?  She got me thinking and I figured – why the hell not? 

So who am I and what is this blog about? 

Let’s call me CP (a joke between my BFF and I – Captain Pants is my nick name), I have a wonderful hubby of almost 9 years (let’s call him Brew Man) and we’re struggling through InFertility (IF) – trying to find our way to the promised land of pregnancy and conception.

We were lucky enough to fall pregnant on our very first cycle of conception back in July/August 2008 and subsequently miscarried.  In February 2009 we turned to the Jocelyn Centre in Sydney for Natural Fertility Treatment.  After 9 months of expensive treatments – we were told that given our lack of success at conception under their program (which is reported to have about a 90%  success rate) – IVF was our next step.  We tried 1 stimulated cycle and were lucky enough to get 4 embryos in total – 1 to transfer and 3 in the freezer.  Unfortunately the transfer didn’t stick and the result was emotional devastation. 

I believe I’m a reasonably smart woman – and I wasn’t happy when my Fertility Specialist (FS) said that Brew Man & I fell into the category of “unexplained infertility”.  Bullshit – seriously – there can’t be no reason – can there?  It meant that every IVF cycle we would undertake from then on would questionable.

While preparing for my IVF cycle, I came across a lot of material about acupuncture and while having IVF, I also received acupuncture to support the transfer.  The acupuncturist I first went to see felt my pulse, looked at my history, inspected my tongue and said that there was definitely a very clear answer for my IF. 

Shocked – that’s all I was – after western doctors said that they couldn’t figure out the problem – someone saying they had the answer was like a sign from the Universe. 

Brew Man wasn’t happy with the person I became on IVF hormones (a 6’3″ guy was scared of a 5’3″ woman) and honestly neither was I.  We made the choice to take the lesser road travelled and give Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) a go.  I’m still relatively young according to western and eastern doctors alike (31, almost 32) – and while every couple who is IF wants their pregnancy and baby yesterday – we decided our hearts were set on a natural conception.

The plan is to blog about TCM, IF and anything else that pops to mind.  Thanks for stopping by and reading!