What is our approach ?
At ACM health Care, our unique approach starts with an in-depth evaluation to uncover any underlying factors that may be preventing you from conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy. Whether you’ve been tested positive for "thyroid antibodies", small uterus, high FSH, frequent miscarriages, or suffered unexplained infertility, we want to discover the reason and choose the best treatment options.
We use fertility acupuncture, herbal therapy, stress reduction, and diet to effectively treat a whole range of fertility issues, including:
Health Food Therapy
Whole foods are foods that are in the state that Mother Nature made them (the apple instead of apple juice), minimally processed, and refined as little as possible before being eaten.
Slow Carbs. Eat carbs in their natural unprocessed state to cause a slower and lower rise in blood sugar. Slow carbs include beans, peas, lentils, whole grains, vegetables and most fruits. Eating slow carbs helps to minimize insulin resistance, regulate blood sugar, balance fertility hormones, and prevent gestational diabetes.
Plant-Based Foods. Include a rainbow of high-fibre, fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. These foods are loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients that counter inflammation (a common cause of infertility) and nourish your reproductive system.
Healthy Fats. Eat fats that are pressed naturally from whole-plant foods (coconuts, nuts, seeds, avocado, olives) or are short-lived, deep sea fish such as salmon, herring, and mackerel. Healthy fats combat cellular inflammation and improve hormonal sensitivity.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Reducing your caloric intake and staying at a healthy weight is one of the most potent anti-aging strategies and is key for fertility. A recent study showed that fertility improved and miscarriages and birth complications decreased when overweight women lost weight.
Strive for a body mass index (BMI) of between 20 and 25 and a waist circumference (WC) of less than 35” for women and less than 40” for men. If you are overweight, losing just 10 lbs. can greatly enhance your chances of getting pregnant.
Manage Stress Signs of stress and high cortisol include:
Chronic stress is another factor that speeds up the biological clock. Stress hormones such as cortisol wreak havoc on the body and its systems,
interfere with insulin levels, cause weight gain, create inflammation and damage DNA. Chronic stress shuts down all non-essential systems and directly
affects the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovary Axis (HPO) that regulates fertility hormones. As well, stress diverts the blood supply away from the ovaries and
interferes with your body’s ability to respond to even balanced hormones.
Self-care, meditating, and mind-body programs can help reduce distress and promote deep relaxation.
Meditating, connecting to what’s important to you, and expressing gratitude all help to counter stress and promote a greater sense of wellbeing. This allows your body to relax and naturally rebalance your reproductive hormones.
Nurture Your Social Network
Humans are social beings and studies have shown that having a supportive community of family and friends is the most important determinant of mental and physical health.
This is particularly important for women who are feeling anxious and isolated. Studies have described a “tend and befriend” response to stress in women where women seem to deal with stressful situations by bonding and nurturing each other.
Follow up acupuncture visits (1-4 times per week)
TREATMENT of PCOS
The study has shown that PCOS is highly treatable. And we feel confident we can help women based on our experience helping women with PCOS take home babies since 1996. Our goal is a healthy baby, which requires a healthy mom and pregnancy.
We use a natural approach to restore ovulation and balance hormones so if you choose ovulation drugs or IVF then you have a higher chance of better egg quality and a uterine environment to support an on going pregnancy and a healthy baby and mom.
It is important to know that PCOS not only affects your fertility but also carries several health risk factors for both the mother and baby. High insulin is a known cause of infertility and contributes to miscarriage. Women with PCOS who do become pregnant are at higher risk of developing:
The above risk factors for the mom to be and the baby are why we encourage you to do some preconception work before trying to conceive with IVF or ovulation drugs.
Many of the women we see who we have helped restore their ovulation conceive naturally without ovulation drugs or IVF.
Our approach includes:
PCOS (Polycystic ovary Syndrome)
WHAT IS PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), also called hyperandrogenic anovulation (or Stein–Leventhal syndrome is hormonal imbalance that affects women and is one of the leading causes of infertility.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with PCOS can be
Women with PCOS have high levels of male hormones (androgens), which may block the release of the egg from the follicle leading to no ovulation or delayed ovulation. The high androgenic environment can result in low quality eggs and a less receptive uterine environment for implantation, both leading to infertility or miscarriage.
Many women who don't have typical symptoms of excess hair, acne and being overweight, can be misdiagnosed as having unexplained infertility. Slim patients and others without typical symptoms may have this ovulatory disorder and hormone imbalance.
Study has found the relationship between PCOS and the body's ability to make insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the change of sugar, starches, and other food into energy for the body’s use or for storage. Excess insulin causes a rise in male hormones, which can lead to acne, excessive hair growth, weight gain, and ovulation problems. Environmental pollutants can also cause dysfunctional follicles.
HOW CHINESE MEDICINE CAN HELP
We offer an integrative approach that includes conventional approaches as well as Chinese medicine and acupuncture.
In addition to diet, exercise and life style changes, your practitioner may recommend a special acupuncture protocol 2 or more times per week, prescribe supplements and herbal formulas to regulate your hormones and support ovulation. Studies have shown specific acupuncture protocols to be as effective as Western drugs in stimulating ovulation.
After a couple months of treatment, you should start to notice signs of ovulation, such as increased mid-month vaginal discharge and elevated Basal Body Temperature (BBT). You may notice that if you have very long cycles, ovulation comes earlier in the cycle, indicating healthier egg production. As well, your skin should clear up and if you are overweight you will shed some excess pounds.
Clinical studies show that acupuncture (following the prescribed protocol) two or more times a week helps in the control of PCOS by:
Weight management can restore your menstrual periods and reduce distressing symptoms such as facial hair and acne.
Tips for a PCOS diet:
?Exercise but not over-exercise such as marathon running and stress reduction are very important for controlling PCOS. Get your heart rate up with at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise six days a week. Also, incorporate stress reduction and deep relaxation into your everyday routine: journal, listen to relaxing music, practice yoga or spend time in nature.
HOW CHINESE MEDICINE CAN HELP
Fertility Acupuncture Studies show that acupuncture can improv?e blood flow to the reproductive organs, balance hormones, optimize implantation, and reduce miscarriage rate. Frequency of acupuncture (1-3 times per week) over three or more cycles improves effectiveness.
Custom Chinese Herbal Formulas: Chinese herbal therapy corrects underlying deficiencies, balances hormones, and regulates the menstrual cycle.
Cycle of an Egg
During the cycle of an eggs journey towards ovulation, there is a period of time when certain factors can affect the health of the eggs that are preparing for ovulation. As an egg takes around 90 days to become ripe for ovulation, any changes you make will take at least three months to have an effect.
WHAT IS EGG QUALITY?
Egg health is one of the cornerstones of healthy fertility. The health of your eggs (ovum) can affect whether or not fertilization and implantation will occur as well as the viability of a pregnancy.Egg cells are some of the only cells in the body that do not regenerate… or at least that has been the belief up until now. Recent research has brought up some promising new views on egg production – women may actually produce eggs throughout the reproductive years. Scientists have found stem cells within the ovaries that produce new egg cells (Nature, 2004).
You may feel frustrated or hopeless to read the lab test that you have high FSH or your eggs are too old or your age over 35. You may face the only options are IVF, donor eggs, or adoption.
But here is the hope. science is now showing that it may be possible to improve your egg quality. A research has shown that both environmental and genetic factors contribute to egg quantity and quality, and that biological age is more important than chronological age in predicting the outcome of in vitro fertilization.
Your chronological age is determined by how many birthdays you’ve had and there is nothing you can do about that except to celebrate! But your biological age — how well your body systems function, including your egg quality, compared to others that are the same age -- appears to be something that you can influence with your diet and lifestyle.
Our treatment approach at Integrative Health Care is to optimize your body’s internal environment during the crucial 3-6 month period in which the egg develops and is recruited.
Even with proper diet, exercise and rest, some couples will require the use of donor sperm, donor eggs, and IVF. But by living in a way that promotes peak fertility –at any age— you will optimize your egg quality as well as improve the uterine environment for implantation and gestation of a healthy baby.
What is the difference between traditional approach and TCM approach in infertility ?
?A traditional and conventional approach to infertility is to perform an endless amount of testing and try countless medicines to exclude major causes of infertility and then wait for pregnancy to occur. However, There are some unknown reasons for infertility. Many routine physiological tests results are normal in the couple who suffer from infertility without gynecological problems. However:
- Such an approach ignores biological and psychological factors, which contribute to the difficulty to conceive. The hypothalamus regulation of stress responses and sex hormones and is an example of a contributing biological factor in female infertility. It has been estimated that 50% of infertility cases were caused by unconscious anxiety, and problems relating to gender roles.
- Such an approach does not take advantage of recent acupuncture and traditional Chinese Medicine advances in our understanding of reproductive physiology. Chinese Acupuncture needles as well as various herbal remedies increase the blood circulation to reproductive organs like the ovaries.
Acupuncture mediates through neuropeptides influence gonadotropin secretion, which has a positive effect on regulating the menstrual cycle and the normalizing uterine blood flow. Acupuncture can reduce the contraction of uterus and the chance of miscarriage.
- Such an approach interferes with normal hormone level and confuses the ovulation time as a side effect of incorrect drug dosage.
- Such an approach is over dependent on technology and medicine, and as a result, the ignorance of the mother’s instincts increases the stress level in one's personal life. Much preliminary research has shown that stress, is a major cause of reproductive failure. For every woman who experiences that excessive stress there could be interference with the menstrual cycle. Stress has also been found to reduce sperm counts in men. Clinical trials were performed on men, and the ones who were situated in a stressful situation, show lower concentrations of LH and testosterone We believe that Infertility can be attributed to multiple factors, many of which are treatable.
Our objective is to analyze all routine test data and underlined factors that affect fertility and perform a target therapy. Acupuncture and TCM has been proven to normalize biological and psychological elements. Acupuncture can stimulate the body to produce neurotransmitters and endorphins that naturally enhance a woman's ability to conceive. The anti-inflammatory hormone corticotropic is produced in response to acupuncture. This mechanism could help tubule factors that contribute to infertility in women who suffer from pelvic inflammatory disease. We believe that this targeted therapy is both more cost efficient and time effective than other alternative approaches to infertility care. We will help our patients to pursue pregnancy using natural therapy.
Clinical trials were performed in Germany, published in the April 2002 issue of Fertility and Sterility and also s discussed on ABC News, found that acupuncture enhances patients' chances of getting pregnant in in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Results indicated that IVF success rate without complimentary acupuncture was 26.3%. Patients who received acupuncture as a protocol for IVF had a 42.5% success rate. Researchers concluded that acupuncture could be a "useful tool" in increasing the success rate in an IVF treatment. Even though further research needs to be conducted in order to fully understand the mechanisms that cause infertility, it's safe to say that TCM and acupuncture increases the chances of conception, while t doesn’t interfere with the menstrual cycle.
Infertility care can be the most stressful event that a couple has ever experienced. Our patients are seen in a comfortable, private setting. Our professional staff understand the problems that the couple is experiencing and are able to provide specialized care, We strive to meet both the clinical and emotional needs of our patients. Our small size and personal experiences with infertility make us more capable of helping patients in this way. We are not a "clinic" and our patients are not "numbers". In our clinic acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine therapy can take place to maximize the effectiveness of these fertility treatment. So far we have about a 50% success rate. Because the factors which produce fertility are shared almost equally by male and female, treatment requires that both partners be evaluated. A thorough evaluation usually begins with the simplest tests and progresses to the more complicated tests. The results can help determine the best course of treatment for increasing the couple's probability of achieving pregnancy. It’s important to remember that all couples who fail to conceive must undergo conventional medical screening to determine no congenital and structural abnormalities are present, because TCM and acupuncture is not effective in these cases. Most infertility treatments make pregnancies more likely to occur in a shorter period of time.
?Infertility treatments like TCM and acupuncture are good options based on the empirical evidence found and our clinic's record. There is no quick path when it comes to conception but TCM and acupuncture have been proven to be effective. In our clinic, TCM has proven to be more effective than any other alternative treatments available. There are currently several hundred types of herbal formula used extensively in infertility treatments. A specific combination is designed to fit the patients individual needs. Chinese medicine is formula based. Each and every prescription is unique in that a perfect decoction is created to suit every individual. This is one of the reasons why TCM is so effective, because everyone metabolizes biochemicals differently. Formulae could contain up to 30 herbs. Prescription requires extensive training and clinical experience. Because TCM is a differential diagnosis, it is important that patients look for a college certified, licensed and experienced practitioner. Furthermore, a good chemistry between practitioner and client will promote the optimal therapeutic effect.