Sometimes in life I think we all need a bit of alternative medicine. I feel it’s good to be open minded. I know I needed all the support I could get. It was like a big hug of support.
I will never forget one of my sessions with Rachel Barry in June 2014. My dear nana had just died. She was the ripe old age of 100 and a half and she was a massive part of my life. The stress was physical and painful. It ran up my back and my stomach was twisted up. I desperately wanted a cigarette and I had not smoked four years.
I had a few sessions with Rachel previously. I had this session booked so I kept the appointment and without asking me any questions she knew my stress levels were through the roof. She put these magic Chinese herbs on my ears like a little band aid and instantly I could feel the cigarette craving disappear. Next were the needles. Well I only remember one and she positioned in between my eyes and all I can say is wow ! I calmed down. Thank god .. for everyone involved.
I have recommend Rachel to so many friends and it is down to this particular session. I know nothing about acupuncture and what it does for fertility. But I know I needed it for my stress levels. The funny thing is I don’t think I knew how much I needed it back then.
Rachel Barry is a very talented acupuncturist. She has her own business called Harmony Acupuncture in Douglas. Rachel is a very heartwarming enthusiastic woman with a passion for healthy food and is a fountain of information when it comes to health and nutrition.I felt she was invested in me from the very first appointment.
I must admit I felt it was another expense on top of top of the IVF bills. I was fed up of being poked and prodded with needles but I forced myself to go and I couldn't believe the difference I felt after each acupuncture session. I have no idea if it helped my egg quality but what was certain is it massively helped my stress levels and emotions. The needles did not hurt and the release of emotions was amazing when I just relaxed into it.
What I loved about Rachel is that she would throw the kitchen sink at it and give 110%. I appreciated having her in my corner and felt supported on my journey. She really is an incredible intelligent woman and I am excited to pick her brain on all things fertility related.
So I'm off to meet the lovely Rachel once again to find out does acupuncture really help your fertility.
Even though I’m not into the science behind acupuncture I think it’s important to have a basic knowledge of what I am recommending so my first question to you Rachel is ..
How does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture works by tapping into the bodies natural energy and allows the body to heal itself. It does this by balancing the bodies energy which involves either removing blockages in the body, or giving the body more energy to heal itself. You will feel the shift in energy during the treatment and you will feel different after the treatment.
Technically, it acts on the bodies nervous system. It moves the body from the Sympathetic Nervous to the Parasympathetic Nervous System – from stressed to relaxed. Acupuncture reduces the release of the stress hormone Cortisol and increases the relaxing hormone Oxytocin. Reducing cortisol ensures that other hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone are working properly. One of the major reasons that women do not ovulate is due to hormonal imbalances caused by stress and Acupuncture can help to correct this.
What happens at the first consultation ?
During the first consultation we will go through your fertility history, health history and I will request some blood/sperm results from your doctor. Correct supplementation will be advised for both you and your partner. Lifestyle recommendations will also be made. I will show you how to Chart your temperature using a Basal Body Thermometer, to ascertain if you are ovulating. Other herbs and supplementation might be advised depending on test results and observations.
After the initial Consultation there will be an acupuncture treatment. The entire first session lasts 1.5 hours, (30 minutes consultation and 60 minutes of acupuncture). The first session costs €90 and subsequent are €60 and they last one hour.
What type of Infertility does Acupuncture help with?
Acupuncture helps will all levels of infertility as it:
Increases the blood flow to the ovaries;
Increases blood flow to the womb and reduces clotting;
Improves period flow;
Lowers cortisol and stress levels;
Regulates hormone levels;
Improves sleep and reduces anxiety.
The process of follicular genesis takes 170 days (5.5 months) – this is the length of time it takes for a tiny Andriole follicle to grow to 20mm egg. Acupuncture improves the blood flow and the nutrition getting to that follicle. Acupuncture aso regulates the lining of the womb which essentially is an oven.
So acupuncture will be beneficial to all women whether they are trying to conceive naturally, partaking in an assisted programme such as IUI or IVF or if they are taking the donor route.
Acupuncture is also very beneficial to men to reduce stress levels and it improves blood flow to the testes, however, I will always ask for sperm results before we go down the acupuncture route because in some instances nutritional and life style changes can be more beneficial to male fertility.
What fertility boosting foods should we be eating ?
In my opinion the most fertility boosting foods are Omega 3 Fatty acids found in oily fish such as salmon or mackerel, Coconut Oil and other good fats such as avocados. Ideally when trying to get pregnant 5 – 8 portions of veg should be eaten daily and 2 -3 portions of fruit. A portion size is the size of your fist. Eat a rainbow. Eat good quality protein with every meal and snack. Examples of good quality protein include fish (preferably oily), white fish, red meat, free range poultry, nuts, seeds, beans such as chickpeas, lentils, mung etc, tofu or other fermented soy products. Butter is great
What foods should we avoid ?
All processed food, sugar and artificial sweeteners. Sugar is in all processed and packaged food. The only way to ensure there is no processed sugar in your diet is to eat fresh and cook food at home from scratch. Limit coffee to one cup a day. Giving up cigarettes and alcohol is a given. If there are any autoimmune problems running through either side of the family such as Coeliac disease, thyroid issue or thyroid disease, or IBS give up gluten.
“If your granny would not recognise it as food, its not food”