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Archive for the ‘cultural fertility issues’ Category

Long Island IVF Fertility Acupuncture Seminar: What’s the Point?

By Tracey Minella

June 20th, 2017 at 7:35 am

So much about infertility is out of your control. In fact, next to the paralyzing fear and constant worry that you might never become parents, the lack of control over your body’s ability to reproduce when– and as often as– you want is probably the most maddening part of infertility.

So, when it comes to treatment options, it’s common to think a bit too aggressively and want things that deep down you know aren’t considered safe—like transferring back 8 embryos at once—just because you hope it’ll increase the odds of getting pregnant. Desperation can do that to you, especially if your journey is taking a long time.

Fortunately, there is a better and safer option. It’s fertility acupuncture. And it is available at Long Island IVF. Acupuncture is holistic—an ancient, trusted treatment—that might improve your chances of success with IVF. So, shouldn’t you learn more about it?

It gets better: This exclusive, yet very affordable, natural therapy might even help if you’ve had prior unsuccessful IVF cycles. And fertility acupuncture costs less than $200 per IVF cycle. Are you ready to learn more from the doctor who performs it and other local experts?

With so much riding on the outcome of an IVF cycle—emotionally and financially—many patients are looking closely at ways to “customize” their traditional IVF cycle. Depending on a patient’s particular case, customized “add-on” treatments might include such things as ICSI, PGS/PGD, and other cutting-edge Western medicine offerings.

Now, there is something from the East that shows promise, too… Acupuncture for fertility.

Long Island IVF is the first infertility practice with a Reproductive Endocrinologist who is also a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner and a NYS certified medical acupuncturist.

Motivated by a desire to find complementary holistic approaches to enhance today’s best Western medical technologies, Long Island IVF co-founder and REI, Dr. David Kreiner, went back to school to study TCM after over 30 years of making babies.

Dr. Kreiner is now applying that acupuncture training in the IVF procedure room, both pre- and post-IVF transfer–exclusively to ALL interested Long Island IVF patients. IVF patients… especially those for whom Western medicine alone has not yet produced a baby…may benefit from adding this ancient therapy. Could this be the missing piece?

Long Island IVF’s Acupuncture Program is hosting a free seminar with Dr. Kreiner and a special guest–local acupuncturist James Vitale, M.S., LAc. — to discuss topics related to improving IVF success with acupuncture. You may also see a live demonstration of fertility acupuncture.

Don’t miss this special FREE program on Thursday, June 22, 2017 from 6:30 pm-8:30 pm at our Melville office at 8 Corporate Center Drive, Melville, New York. Seating is limited, so pre-registration is required. Register here now: http://bit.ly/2pt8c0K

We look forward to seeing you there. Please contact Lindsay Montello, Patient Services, at 631-752-0606 or LMontello@liivf.com with any questions.

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Are you coming to the Acupuncture Seminar?

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Infertility and TCM Part 14: Did Qi Bo Know Best?

By David Kreiner MD

April 15th, 2015 at 11:39 am

photo: stuart miles/ freedigitalphotos.net

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) evolved over thousands of years as evidenced by several ancient written works including the oldest medical textbook in the history of the world, the Huang-Di Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor’s Cannon of Internal Medicine), dating back to between 300 and 200 BCE.

The book is named for Huang Di, the Yellow Emperor, who lived between 2700 and 2600 BCE.  The legend is that it is a record of the emperor’s conversations with his distinguished physician, Qi Bo.  The Huang-Di Nei Jing consists of 162 articles divided into theory and practice.  The section on theory involves the relationships among the internal organs, the sense organs, and the brain dealing with the concepts of yin and yang as applied to medicine.

In TCM according to the Huang-Di Nei Jing, the yin and yang principle proposes that the bodily organs are interdependent and support each other in harmony.  Disease is defined as a loss of this state of balance both within and among the organs.  Treatment with TCM has always been based on the restoration of the body’s natural harmony with a rebalancing of all the organs.

In all likelihood, the Huang-Di Nei Jing represents a compilation of works drawn from the experience of many TCM leaders over the course of hundreds, if not thousands, of years.  It is reminiscent of the Jewish Talmud which likewise represents contributions from thousands of Rabbis over the course of hundreds of years.  Also, in a fashion similar to the study of TCM, contemporary Jewish scholars study and follow the Talmud much as it was originally written.

The second section of the Huang-Di Nei Jing is a manual on the practice of acupuncture.  Today, this book continues to be used as a reference by contemporary TCM practitioners.

The internal organs are believed according to TCM to be connected by a system of acupuncture points organized along channels (also referred to as meridians) throughout the body.  Each point regulates an aspect of the functional activity related to its channel or associated organ, or sometimes some other channel or organ it may also ultimately connect with or relate to.  Acupuncture points are areas on the surface of the body where the Qi (the body’s life energy) may be accessed as it traverses through one of these channels.  By stimulating or reducing (suppressing or dispersing) at the acupuncture point, the TCM practitioner can regulate the flow of Qi in the channel and/or to a particular organ.

In TCM, pathology may exist secondary to a stagnation of this flow of Qi which disrupts the function of an organ not receiving its normal Qi flow.  Qi may be deficient in which case the treatment would be to increase the Qi in the body and tonify affected organs.  Other pathologies may exist based on excess or deficiency of fluids, heat and blood.  Stagnant blood flow may cause disease, as can excess cold or heat, all of which can affect the flow of Qi as well as the channels and organs in the body.

TCM practitioners often utilize herbs to assist in restoring the harmony in the body and expelling the pathogens which include heat (including summer heat), cold, dampness, dryness and wind which we think of in modern medicine as viruses, bacteria, fungi etc.

In addition to acupuncture, the TCM practitioner may utilize moxibustion which is the application of heat applied to the skin using a vehicle that may include the use of topical herbs.

Cupping, the application of small glass cups or bamboo jars as suction devices on the skin is yet another technique utilized to improve the flow of Qi through the channels in the body.  It is also used to release toxins, clear blockages of Qi and blood, as well as relax muscles.  It can encourage blood flow and sedate the nervous system.  It has been used for cellulite reduction as well as to clear congestion from the common cold or to help patients with asthma.

Modern application of TCM… though based on ancient science, philosophy, and techniques… still resembles that which was performed over 2000 years ago.  I think that… despite its lack of Western scientific explanation, basis, and justification… it remains a viable medical option because of the evidence of cure and palliation that it has brought to so many over the millennia.

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Do you believe there is a place for Eastern medicine practices, blended with Western medicine? Interested in learning more? Post any questions here for Dr. Kreiner.

 

 

 

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Infertility and TCM Part 13: Why TCM Thrives in a Sick Western Society

By David Kreiner, MD

March 19th, 2015 at 12:41 pm

 

image courtesy of stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net


Why is it that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has survived for some 2500 years and in fact remains a viable medical option for common health complaints in many contemporary societies?

Few other medical methodologies and treatments experience as much use as TCM even in the US which shares no common tradition, history or beliefs that may otherwise explain its popularity. Need I compare it to the history of Western Medicine, the bulk of which has been thankfully replaced by more contemporary scientific and technological advances?  These new innovations truly appear to be offering more good benefit than the dangerous, risky and unethical medicine popularly practiced in the West as recently as 85 years ago.

In fact, Western Medicine caused much iatrogenic illness until Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis introduced the importance of sterility in medical procedures and Dr. Joseph Lister did the same for surgery in the mid and late 1800’s respectively. It took until 1928 that Penicillin, the first antibiotic, was invented and it was not until 1953 that Jonas Salk invented the first vaccine to prevent polio.

Medical science has made great advances in immunizations which have been enormously successful in preventing disease.  These vaccinations have saved millions from life-threatening diseases.  So why is this not universally accepted as the medical panacea some of us perceive it to be?  The latest knock on this 20th century medical miracle thought by many to be worthy of the Nobel Prize in health and medicine is believable reports that autism is somehow related to these magic vaccines.  After all the experience and research, reasonably scientific folk are having difficulty completely ruling out a relationship.

Antibiotics and immunizations have saved more lives in the past 85 years than the compilation of all infectious deaths comprised from the beginning of time.  We have come a long way from the original discovery of the antibiotic benefits of some moldy bread transmuted to penicillin. However, a malady we face with modern medicine is that Western medical treatment has been developed in total disregard for our society, culture, traditions and environment.  A potential cure must be acceptable with not just proper use but strict disallowance of its improper use.

In the years that we have been blessed by the antibiotic revolution, we have seen commercial abuse in the form of common treatment on farm animals essentially creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria that destroys the effectiveness of that magic bullet that proved the savior against devastating disease making it oft times worthless.  Common overuse of antibiotics among physicians adds to this conundrum.

Environmental pathogens are making people ill including tobacco, stress, and recreational drugs as well as unhealthy diets rich in chemicals, medications, sugar, animal fats, and excess carbohydrates lacking nutritional value.  Food is over-processed and is often eaten to such excess that in combination with sedentary lifestyles in Western Medicine leads to obesity, diabetes and hypertension and in TCM to pathology related to stagnation of Qi, development of damp and other pathogens.

TCM is unique in that it works to improve these underlying factors responsible for making our society so sick.  This is why, though ancient, Traditional Chinese Medicine thrives in our modern albeit sick society.

Prior to the invention of the modern day antibiotic, TCM doctors discovered over the ages the “antibiotic” properties of certain herbs they discovered in their environment.  These ancient medicinals were derived from plants, animals, and minerals.  Other herbal decoctions were created to treat common complaints such as headache, pain, cough, cold, etc. as well as diseases such as gallstones, diabetes, hypertension, menstrual disorders and infertility. Dietary prescriptions are given by TCM practitioners and result in effective diminution of patient symptoms as well as acupuncture treatments aimed to eliminate pathology and correct unhealthy constitutions.

The goal of the TCM practitioner is to improve the individual’s health and well-being by focusing attention on the potential hazards of his/her environment such as stresses, emotions, bad habits, sleep, rest and activity, and diet.  An acupuncture treatment may help nourish deficiencies in the individual’s constitution that can put one at risk of contracting illness.  Herbal remedies can do same as well as eliminate pathologies before they turn into serious disease.

These TCM treatments are not only helping patients live healthier in their environment, the remedies themselves are actually coming from nature without artificial chemical contamination and are much less likely to have deleterious side effects.  It stands to reason that though the science behind TCM precedes the precision offered by the tools available with modern technology, the potential benefits are very much real today.

If you’d like to know more about TCM and how it may enhance your fertility, Long Island IVF is offering a free event on April 23, 2015, during National Infertility Awareness Week, entitled AN Evening of Alternative Medicine and Holistic Approaches to Enhancing Fertility.

All events during NIAW are FREE, but pre-registration is required. Events will fill up quickly. Attendance is limited. If you’ve been trying to conceive without success, please RSVP immediately to reserve your spot by contacting our Patient Services Coordinator, Lindsay Montello at 631-386-5509 or lmontello@liivf.com. You do not have to be a Long Island IVF patient to attend. Please feel free to bring your partner or a friend.

 

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Have you considered TCM for fertility enhancement or any other health issues?

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“Synthetic Babies”: The Shot Heard Round the World

By Tracey Minella

March 16th, 2015 at 10:50 pm

 

Credit: Iamnee/freedigitalphotos.net


Can’t we all just get along?

Boycott is the word of the week in the IVF world. In the GLBT world. And the fashion world as well.

Popular gay fashion designers, Dolce and Gabbana (D&G) crossed the line this week with some insensitive comments about GLBT parenting, claiming that children should only be born to a mother and a father.

The comments were apparently made by the designers known for pushing the “traditional family model” (one mom and one dad) as a focus in their fashion campaign. One of the pair reportedly used terms like “children of chemicals”, “synthetic children”, “uterus for rent” and “sperm from catalogs” in slamming the children produced through IVF for the GLBT community.

Leading the boycott charge is pop icon Elton John, who along with his husband David Furnish, are parents of two IVF babies. John responded on Instagram:  “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic’… And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfill their dream of having children.” Then: #BoycottDolce&Gabbana.

Other celebrities, many of whom are gay or lesbian parents who used IVF and/or surrogacy to create their families, quickly jumped on the bandwagon to boycott the designers. Of course, fertility practices and infertility organizations weren’t far behind in expressing their dismay and outrage. The social media world exploded with #BoycottDolce&Gabbana hashtag, and claims that the designers’ mindset was as archaic as their designs. Ouch. People of privilege promised never to buy D&G again.

But what does this mean for the average infertile person who never even heard of D&G before… much less bought their pricey designs or fragrances? Budget-conscious folks, gay or straight, just trying to afford their fertility treatments.

Not much from a practical standpoint.

But let’s look at the silver lining of this storm cloud.

Although it has come a long way over the decades and is widely accepted, IVF has always been… and will always be…criticized by those who feel it is against their religion. Personhood amendments are a threat, but we’re still winning that long, familiar battle. At the risk of being overdramatic, IVF knew who its enemy was. And it was never the GLBT community.

Then D&G happened. To have two openly gay men bash the science that is responsible for giving the GLBT community the ability to become biological parents was just so… unexpected. It caught the breath in our throats. It not only offended heterosexuals, but it outraged the GLBT community. No doubt it felt like a betrayal. And with that handful of insensitive and hurtful remarks, the old sci-fi stigma of “test tube babies” came flooding back to the forefront.

Momentarily.

Until it was promptly and forcefully beaten with a stick into the ground with a vengeance.

The swift and deafening response to the attack on gay parenting via IVF was positively electric! The passionate defense of this science and the countless children it’s responsible for creating was beyond heartening. And the collective protective instincts of the many gays and straights who stepped up against this latest enemy of medically-assisted family-building for all came through with all the ferocity of a pride of lions guarding its cubs.

For better or worse, society places great weight on the opinions of celebrities. So while no one will lose sleep over whether or not the boycott bankrupts D&G, this incident has actually helped IVF. Sad and disgusting as it was, the incident has increased public awareness of infertility and incited a “call to arms”, particularly among the GLBT and celebrity communities, in support of the rights of all people to become parents and in support of the science of IVF. And IVF needs all the support it can get.

Stand united against any threat to the science of IVF and its accessibility to all.

#BoycottD&G today.

Boycott the next threat tomorrow.

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Do you boycott companies that threaten your religious, moral, or political beliefs? What do you think about the D&G scandal?

Do you have D&G items you no longer want? Parents Via Egg Donation had a good suggestion: Rather than throwing D&G items in the trash, consider selling them and donating the proceeds to charity or a fertility-friendly organization.

 

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Will You Conceive in the Chinese Year of the Sheep, Um, Goat?

By Tracey Minella

February 19th, 2015 at 8:40 pm

credit: Feelart/ free digitalphotos.net

You don’t have to be Chinese to appreciate the richness of that culture’s traditions and the mystique of the Chinese methods of enhancing fertility.

 

The Chinese zodiac consists of a cycle of 12 years, with each year being named for a different animal, and supposedly bestowing upon those born in that year certain characteristics which are similar to the traits of the featured animal.

 

It’s the celebration of Chinese New Year. The 2014 Year of the Horse is ending. Each year, the passage of one animal year to the next is clear and routine. Except for the year that follows the year of the Horse. This year. Why?

 

An apparent ambiguity in the interpretation of the term “yang” has led to a difference of opinion among Chinese people on whether the year after the horse is the year of the ram, sheep, or goat. But the Chinese zodiac symbol recognizes it as the year of the Goat, so we’re going with that.

 

Children born in the Year of the Goat will be among other things “gentle, mild-mannered, shy, stable, sympathetic, amicable, and brimming with a strong sense of kindheartedness and justice”. * How wonderful!

 

But despite these great Goat qualities, many Chinese people try hard to avoid having children born during the year of the Goat. This is due in part to a popular Chinese folk saying ‘Only one out of ten people born in a year of the Goat finds happiness’ (十羊九不全). While this may seem to be a silly superstition to many…especially to infertile couples who usually wouldn’t care what day or year their baby was born…there is a real concern among many Chinese that Goat babies will be followers, not leaders, and may be destined for failed marriages, unhappy families, and bad luck.*

 

So, in the spirit of seeking all the good luck we can get when trying to conceive, I offer these four tips taken from Chinese New Year traditions.

 

Make Dumplings: On New Year’s Eve, the Chinese often celebrate by eating dumplings called “jiaozi”, which translates literally to “sleep together and have sons” according to http://www.theholidayspot.com. If you’re not “culinarily-challenged”, consider making these challenging dumplings.

 

Sweep Away the Bad Luck: Then, sweep out the house from top to bottom with a broom and give it a good cleaning. It symbolizes the sweeping away of all the bad luck of the past year so the good luck can enter. I do this religiously every single year. It feels authentic. You must try it.

 

Wear Red: Wear something red. It’s the color of good luck and symbolic of wealth. The Chinese elders often give young ones red envelopes with money inside on Chinese New Year. Maybe you can start a new tradition and break out a red envelope and get your relatives to contribute to the IVF fund.

 

Hide the Knives: Put away the knives…this is good advice for hormonal women anyway. Using knives and scissors at this time symbolizes the “cutting off” of the good luck and is an omen of bad luck in the year to come. Remember this one at mealtime.

 

You don’t have to be Chinese to embrace some of the Chinese culture

and have some fun with Chinese New Year traditions. Wear red. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making a batch of jiaozi from an internet recipe. Or just buy some wonton soup! Try your hand at chopsticks. Surround yourself with the richness of red and gold. Sweep out that old bad luck and embrace the New Year that awaits.

 

Basically, do whatever floats your goat.

 

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Do you celebrate Chinese New Year or follow any other cultural traditions with fertility-related traditions? Would the characteristics associated with children born in a particular year of the Chinese zodiac impact your family-building plans in any way?

 

 

* http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-zodiac/goat.asp

Photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Other_Holidays_and_E_g321-Chinese_Lanterns_p140201.html

 

 

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Age and Fertility

By David Kreiner MD

February 2nd, 2015 at 4:23 pm

 

credit: photostock/free digital photos.net


You’ve heard the “Reproductive Bell” toll and may question “Is it real?”…

You see celebrities getting pregnant well into their 40’s and think “Then why can’t I?” So, is your reproductive clock as critical as modern doctors say?

I have come across fertility advice from non-physician practitioners, such as acupuncturists and Chinese herbalists, who encourage their patients to “question the Western dogma” when it comes to age and fertility. They claim the effect of aging and fertility is “exaggerated by the Medical profession and can be overcome with a shift in an individual’s health and lifestyle”.

Unfortunately, this advice comes without any cited research or statistics in support of it.  According to the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology, as published on SART.org, a review of the 2012 national statistics, those most recently published of IVF cycles started, the age breakdown for IVF live birth rates are the following:

 

Age <35= 40.2%

 

Age 35-37=31.3%

 

Age 38-40=22.2%

 

Age 41-42=11.8%

 

Age >42=3.2%

 

It is true that a woman’s health and physiology gets worse as she gets older.  Some of these non- physician practitioners argue that perhaps if this can be improved then the diminishing fertility commonly seen with aging can be reversed. But though improving a woman’s general health may help it is not sufficient in most cases.  Fertility rates decrease with increasing age in large part because there is an increase in genetic abnormalities found in gametes (eggs and sperm) as patients (women in particular) age.  This is the result of long-term environmental exposure to toxins, in addition to the increased likelihood of genetic damage over time.  Miscarriage rates increase with age for the same reason in large part due to the greater likelihood of embryos having chromosomal abnormalities.

Many women as they age also will experience a significant drop in their ovarian activity, referred to as diminished ovarian reserve.  This activity can be assessed by your physician with a blood level of Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) and day 3 FSH and estradiol levels.  Women with lower AMH levels and elevated FSH in the presence of a normal low estradiol have fewer ovarian follicles, and hence eggs, that will respond to ovarian stimulation.  Since the likelihood of these eggs being genetically normal is less, then fertility is reduced and the probability of IVF and other fertility treatments resulting in a live birth becomes significantly lower.

The challenge to any practitioner dealing with an aging patient attempting to conceive is to optimize their patient’s chance to have a healthy baby which optimally would include an integration of multiple modalities.  Therefore, ideally a physician specially trained in the fertility process (a Reproductive Endocrinologist), should implement state-of-the-art Western therapies with a complementary holistic approach that aims to shift their patient’s health and fertility.  These holistic approaches include diet and lifestyle changes as well as fertility-directed acupuncture and herbal therapy treatments.

Lifestyle changes that may improve fertility primarily include those that reduce stress and improve diet and activity.  Stress at work, at home, and with family and friends can create pathology from both Eastern and Western perspectives.  Diets that do not support adequate blood production or create Eastern patterns of cold or heat can affect fertility.  Excesses or deficiencies of particular foods…such as dairy, fat, or grains… can create imbalances or pathology that may affect fertility or result in obesity or malnutrition which also impact reproduction.

Inactivity may impair fertility. Therefore some level of exercise, combined with an improved diet directed at improving fertility, stress reduction techniques, acupuncture, and supplements (which may include Chinese Herbs as well as Western supplements) will optimize your chances of successfully building your family.

The first step is to seek help from a reproductive endocrinologist skilled in state-of-the-art fertility therapies who can coordinate a program which is ideal for you. But if you are hearing the “Reproductive Bell” tolling, it is important to take that first step soon, because, while these many complementary approaches can optimize your fertility, they may not be enough to overcome the reality of the negative effect of advanced age in fertility.

Long Island IVF offers complementary holistic approaches to achieving pregnancy (See our Mind-Body Program http://www.longislandivf.com/mind_body.cfm ) as well as a well-respected Donor Egg Program http://www.longislandivf.com/donor_programs.cfm  with no wait for pre-screened, multi-ethnic donor eggs, or Donor Embryos.

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Has the increased visibility of older celebrity moms getting pregnant made you think you have more time? Have you considered combining Western and Eastern medicine in your family-building treatment?

 

 

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Younger_Women_g57-Young_Woman_Holding_Clock_p49428.html

 

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Infertility and TCM Part 12: Not Tonight, I’ve Got A Headache

By David Kreiner MD

September 30th, 2014 at 10:41 am

 

image courtesy of free digital photos.net/Stuart Miles


“Not tonight, dear, I’ve got a headache.” That well-known phrase is commonly used by both fertile and infertile couples. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (“TCM”), there are several types of headaches and each relates to several other areas of the body. So, what causes a headache?

The head is the dwelling of the confluence of yang in the body and is closely connected with the organs through meridians and vessels.  When external or internal factors impede the flow of Qi or nutrition to the head or blocks the head orifices headaches can occur.  People experience a variety of headaches with different symptoms related to different syndromes.

Supraorbital Headaches

Supraorbital headaches may be one- or two-sided above the eyebrow and may spread over the entire forehead.   TCM believes that this pain is caused mainly by invasion of wind heat pathogens or wind pathogens that cause stasis of the flow of Qi to the head.  In addition, dysfunction of the stomach and gallbladder meridians are thought to play an important role in causing the headache.

When wind heat is responsible there may be a distending feeling in the forehead accompanied by a teary red eye that is sensitive to the light.  Patients may have exterior symptoms such as fever and aversion to a blowing wind.  The tip of the tongue is red and a thin yellow coating is typically seen on the surface of the tongue.  The pulse is felt strongest with the lightest of pressure over the radial pulse, a so-called “floating” pulse and is rapid.

Wind stasis that blocks the flow of Qi to the head typically induces a stabbing pain over the eyebrow associated with light sensitivity.  It is exacerbated with pressure.  The tongue has a purplish color to it and the pulse is said to have a taut guitar string like quality.

Distending Headaches

Distending or splitting headaches in TCM are usually the result of abundant Qi and blood flowing into the head that lead to localized stagnation, and disturb the head orifices. The usual disharmony patterns are:  Invasion of wind heat, liver yang rising and flaming up of liver fire.

Invasions of wind heat induces a splitting sensation in the head accompanied by fever, aversions to wind, thirst, redness in the face as well as eyes and tongue which is also typically covered by a yellow coating.  The pulse is felt very superficially (“floating”) and is rapid.  Treatment is aimed at expelling wind and clearing heat using herbs and/or acupuncture.

Liver yang rising induces a distending headache associated with dizziness, tinnitus, numbness and/or tingling in toes and/or fingers, insomnia, lumbar pain, weakness in the knees and redness in the face and tongue which has a yellow coating.  The pulse is said to feel like a “guitar string” and is rapid.  These symptoms may be exacerbated by emotional stress.  Treatment is geared towards calming the liver, subduing yang and nourishing kidney and liver which also is accomplished with herbs and acupuncture.

Flaming up of liver fire likewise causes a distending headache but said to be more severe splitting accompanied by bloodshot eyes, a bitter taste, lower chest discomfort, irritability, dreams that disturb sleep, a red tongue that has both a yellow and greasy coating and the pulse is “guitar string”-like and rapid.  Treatment is to clear the heat and eliminate dampness.

Heavy Sensation Headaches

Patients sometimes describe headaches that are characterized by a heavy feeling in the head. This feeling is commonly seen in tension headaches, headaches from stress felt in the neck or headaches due to functional disorders.

According to TCM, dampness is the most common factor causing the heavy sensation headache. As dampness pathogens are said to be turbid and heavy in nature, they tend to obstruct the flow of Qi in the meridians. Other disharmonies such as stagnation of the liver, dysfunction of the middle burner and improper ascending of lucid yang can also result in a heavy sensation headache.

Wind dampness obstructs the flow of Qi inducing the heavy sensation headache accompanied by fatigue, heavy sensation in the limbs, chest stuffiness, lack of appetite, urinary problems, loose bowels and a greasy white tongue coat.  The symptoms may be aggravated during humid or rainy weather.  Treatment is to dispel wind and eliminate dampness.

Damp heat will cause heavy sensation headaches or distending headaches associated with a red face and tongue covered by a yellow coating.  Patients describe a hot sensation in the body, irritability, lack of appetite, chest stuffiness, abdominal distension, scanty yellow urine and constipation.  Typically symptoms worsen in the afternoon.  Treatment is to clear the heat and eliminate dampness.

Phlegm dampness obstructs Qi flow in the meridians to the head causing the heavy sensation headache typically also with dizziness and a foggy feeling.  Patients may also experience chest oppression, stomach upset, excessive sputum, fatigue, a bulky tongue with teeth marks and a greasy white-coated tongue.  Treatment is to invigorate the spleen eliminate damp and phlegm and restore the flow of Qi.

Stagnation of the liver can cause headaches with heavy sensation and dizziness, chest discomfort, stomach upset, belching, depression, forgetfulness, lack of appetite and loose bowels and dreams that disturb sleep.  Symptoms worsen with emotional stress.  Treatment is to sooth the liver, regulate Qi and harmonize the organs of the upper abdomen known as the middle burner.

Qi deficiency of the middle burner (including Spleen, Stomach and Gall Bladder) in addition to causing the heavy sensation headache can cause dizziness, paleness, fatigue, shortness of breath, lack of appetite loose bowels and a pale tongue.  Invigorating the middle burner, replenishing Qi and promoting the ascent of lucid yang are treatments for this ailment.

With all this going on, is it any wonder people often use headaches as a lovemaking excuse?

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Have you ever used…or would you consider using… acupuncture to treat chronic or severe headaches?

 

 

photo credit:

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Herbs_and_Spices_g68-Chinese_Herbal_Medicines_p55066.html/Stuart Miles

 

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Infertility and TCM: Part 11: The Answer My Friend Is Blowin’ in the Wind

By David Kreiner MD

September 8th, 2014 at 5:49 pm

 

credit: stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net


According to the ancient Chinese text, “The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic (Huangdi Neijing, 黃帝內經) “, written about two thousand years ago, the emperor Han asked his physician minister why his people in one town were all sick with colds but not elsewhere in the empire.  The wise minister, credited for accumulating and developing much of what is considered Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), answered almost in song…”the answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind…the answer is blowin’ in the wind”.

The common cold as we know it in Western Medicine is caused by viruses of a variety of types and species.  Today in Western Medicine, we have the capability of identifying the specific affecting virus.  TCM focuses on the syndrome of symptoms the patient exhibits from his/her illness.  The “common cold” typically causes fever and chills, headache, perhaps body aches, nasal congestion and mucus and avoidance of cold.  TCM since the time of Emperor Han and before has classified this set of symptoms as the Wind Cold… caused by “bugs” carried by the wind… which attacks the exterior of the body through the nose and the skin.  The wind pathogen invades the body surface which is blocked by the defending Wei Qi that as a result of the attack stagnates causing the fever.  The Wei Qi is also responsible to warm the body so as it is weakened by the pathogens it will induce chills in the affected individual.

Over the course of hundreds of generations, various herbs… which may include parts of a variety of plant species, animal species and minerals… have been observed to diminish the course of the illness as well as ameliorate the symptoms.  These herbs are prepared in numerous different ways depending on the illness and symptoms being treated, but often include cooking and drinking the finished product as a type of tea.  In the case of the Wind Cold, a feature of the herbal decoction, Ma huang tang, is to induce sweating in an effort to expel the affecting pathogen through the skin pores.  Acupuncture applied to specific points of the body can also induce sweating and “release of the exterior” pathogen so that it is eliminated from the infected superficial layers of the body.

In TCM, a variation of the common cold that is notable for inducing more fever than chills, a sore throat, and sweating is referred to as the Wind Heat.  Treatment, like for the Wind Cold, includes “releasing the exterior” as the pathogens are attacking the superficial layers much like they do with the Wind Cold.  However, therapy utilizes cooling herbs rather than warming herbs.  In TCM, the nature of a syndrome was established in conjunction with the development of an effective treatment.  Since, the “cooling” herbs were noted to benefit patients beset with the Wind Heat, not only did the treatment become standard, but it helped define the syndrome itself.  This is the way syndromes and treatments become established in TCM over the course of generations of experience.

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Do you use herbal teas or other herbal treatments to help prevent or recover from colds and flu? What do you use and has it helped?

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Infertility and TCM: Part 9: Tong Bing Yi Zhi.

By David Kreiner MD

June 29th, 2014 at 8:34 am

 

image courtesy of stuart miles/ freedigitalphotos.net

According to Western Medicine, a particular disease is caused by a specific pathogen and the Western Medicine treatment is directed at that pathogenic factor. However, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recognizes that two people may react differently to that same pathogen.  They refer to this as Tong Bing Yi Zhi.  For example, in one individual the symptoms may appear as Damp heat syndrome and in another as Yin deficiency with false heat syndrome. In TCM, despite the common pathogen, patients would be treated differently depending on the syndrome identified. Syndrome identification is based on 4 diagnostic methods: inquiring, palpation, inspection and listening/smelling. This information is gathered and analyzed to identify the syndrome that a patient is experiencing.

 

On the other hand, two people with two different Western diagnoses such as menopause and hyperthyroidism may experience the same TCM syndrome from their respective pathologic conditions, Yin deficiency with false heat. This is also referred to as Tong Bing Yi Zhi.  In this case it refers to treating different diseases the same because they result in the same TCM syndrome.  In the first case TCM treats the same disease differently because as a result of the varying natures and constitutions of patients the symptoms resulting from the same pathologic condition often varies. To clarify, we do not need to know in TCM what diseases the patients have. We treat them according to TCM by their syndrome diagnosis.

Syndromes are differentiated based on several different factors. There are eight principles of paired opposing conditions including; Exterior and Interior, Cold and Heat, Deficiency and Excess, and Yin and Yang. These general principles are the basis for categorizing all the syndromes. The other syndromes are differentiated according one of the following  theories such as; Qi, blood and body fluids, the theory of the Zang-Fu organs, the theory of the six channels or meridians of Qi, the four levels of heat invasion, and the three burners or sections of the body.

It is through the four diagnostic methods above that the practitioner identifies the syndrome affecting the patient. He/she will choose the particular treatment specific for the syndrome modified by the age and health of the patient. This can include Tui-Na massage, acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, and herbal medicine all directed at specific points in the body depending on the syndrome.

To me, as a Western physician trained to direct treatment for a particular pathogen or disease, I am very attracted to differentiating treatment based on its specific effect on the individual patient. We know that the same disease can have different resulting effects on people and that different diseases can affect some individuals in the same way. Therefore, the concept of directing therapy based on the effect the pathogenic factor has on the individual appears to me to be an effective way to treat a patient. If a physician were to combine the Western pathogen-directed therapy with TCM treatment based on the syndrome affecting the individual then the East-West combination therapy I believe should be most ideal.

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Does the Western pathogen-based treatment plan seem sufficient or does the idea of blending it with Eastern principles of syndrome-based treatment seem like it’d be a complementary bonus?

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Infertility and TCM (Part 8): The Promise of Blending Western and Eastern Medicine

By David Kreiner MD

June 10th, 2014 at 6:34 pm

 

 

image courtesy of stuart miles/freedigital photos.net

As I approach the midway point of my second semester of studying Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) I realize that I believe much more strongly in the effectiveness of these ancient healing arts.  I have begun to work on recharging the Qi in my body by performing Qigong exercises and improving my abdominal breathing.  I stimulate my Qi meridians throughout my body daily to improve the flow of Qi in my body.  I even have performed some acupuncture on myself that I am convinced has helped relieve some minor arthritic pain as well as other symptoms that I have developed over the years.

I foresee a time when many physicians will utilize acupuncture to fill some voids that I have witnessed in Western Medicine.  Patients with aches and pains, chronic cough, urinary complaints and other common health issues often are either overlooked by Western physicians or inadequately treated.  TCM treatments of acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping and herbal therapies may offer an effective alternative to pharmaceuticals and surgery with less risk and fewer side effects.  I have seen benefit from these “manipulations of Qi” and believe that as the Western public becomes more aware of TCM it will become a commonplace mode of therapy.

Perhaps, even more exciting to me is the use of TCM as an adjuvant to Western Medicine.  We know that sophisticated Western laboratory and diagnostic testing is very effective in establishing Western diagnoses that are amenable to pharmaceutical and surgical therapeutics.  TCM, used as an adjuvant to these treatments offers a unique opportunityto improve the constitution of individuals thereby increasing their natural abilityto fight disease.  Also, by working through a different pathway TCM holds promise to increase the effectiveness of the Western Medicine treatment. 

This is the reason TCM/acupuncture combined with Western Medicine provided by high quality IVF centers offers patients their optimal chance for pregnancy success. 

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Have you, or has anyone you know, used TCM/acupuncture as an adjuvant to IVF or another assisted reproductive technology? Did you feel it made a difference?




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