The year of the Dragon.

More coming on the conditions that acupuncture is used for. In the meantime here’s a link to what the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends. It is based on a review and analysis of reports of controlled clinical trials and ranges from migraines to shoulder, neck and back pain and includes a lot of things that might to be unexpected, like induction of labour, depression, and insomnia.

It has recently changed to the year of the dragon and what I really felt like talking about at the start of this baby-focussed year, was fertility; specifically how acupuncture is currently used to help with fertility issues. The dragon is considered the luckiest sign of all in China. The last two dragon years have both meant a ten percent increase in births in Asia because of this link with increased fortune!

Chinese medicine has a long history of helping with all types of fertility issues, from recurrent miscarriage to IVF support and even increasing sperm motility and mobility! I have worked alongside Zita West’s fertility clinic in London for the last 2 years. This gives my clients access to a whole wealth of her experience and expertise. There are so many different ways in which it is possible to optimise both female and male fertility and to help give IVF treatment the maximum chance of success.

Dietary advice is key, looking at a couples dietary and life style habits and making sure that they are getting it right. I can draw on advice here from Zita West’s London based top nutritionists and clinicians.

For women embarking on IVF a whole host of benefits can be derived from acupuncture treatment.
There are acupuncture points and combinations to help de-stress, to enhance blood flow to the endometrial lining, to promote ovulation, to regulate the menstrual cycle, to extend the post luteal phase… the list is endless. I’ll attach a few published articles and research papers.

At the moment 1 in 7 women are seeking help to have a baby.
Chinese medicine has a long history of being part of helping things along.

What conditions can acupuncture be used for?

When I’m at work there are some questions which I’m asked a lot, and this is one of them; “What conditions do I see most of at work?”

I wondered this myself when I first started working as an acupuncturist fifteen years ago. What problems would people in the West go to an acupuncturist for? And more specifically, because I had just moved to a very rural part of the Lake District, what would local people feel acupuncture could be helpful for?

The answer was a surprise to me, probably because of my own work history.

My background, before becoming an acupuncturist, had been in main-stream medicine; I’d always been in medical research in some form or other with a specialism in the genetics of cancer.
I had ended up in Japan developing a medical genetics research centre in the middle of no-where, a couple of hours outside Tokyo. While I was there I saw acupuncture used as front-line medicine. It was what you got first if you went to your local Japanese GP equivalent.

My own experience, a visit to the company doctor to check up on a minor stomach upset, resulted in a traditional Chinese medicine consultation, some Chinese herbs and my first experience of acupuncture. I emerged waving my packet of herbs and asking to “be sent to a proper doctor now”!
My nonplussed Japanese work colleagues, who had access to the most sophisticated and expensive technological advances available replied, of course, “but that was a proper doctor”!

I left Japan at the end of my contract with a considerably expanded view of medicine. I could see the strength of using Chinese medicine alongside the conventional medical approach that is currently available in the West, and I wanted to learn more about acupuncture.

I’m not sure why I had thought that acupuncture could just be useful for pain relief.

Certainly my experience in Japan, seeing Chinese medicine routinely used in action, was to see it being used to treat almost anything that a person would consult a doctor for.

My subsequent training, three years of acupuncture and four years of Chinese herbs, taught me the same message; there are acupuncture points and Chinese herbs that treat every condition that a person might suffer from, from low energy to eye infections. Because Chinese medicine is still a developing and current system of medicine, with new acupuncture points and herb combinations appearing all the time in hospitals and clinics, it has a frame-work for treating more ‘modern’ problems like assisting with IVF.