CALL US AT: (877) 838.BABY


Archive for the ‘TCM and infertility’ tag

Cupping for Competition—and Conception

By David Kreiner MD

August 11th, 2016 at 1:41 am

 

image credit: GraphicsMouse/freedigital photos.net


What treatment might Olympic athletes and fertility-challenged women have in common?

Evidence of Cupping on many competing in the Olympics, especially the swimmers, has made quite a splash…but what is cupping and why the purplish circular marks on the skin?


Cupping is a form of traditional medicine found in many cultures throughout the world. This treatment involves placing cups containing a negative pressure which exerts suction onto the skin that if left on long enough breaks small blood vessels or capillaries resulting in a bruise in the affected area. This sounds painful, but it isn’t.

Cupping is a popular form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that works to unblock “Qi”, a form of life energy. Once unblocked, the energy can flow smoothly throughout the meridians or pathways in the body.

With cupping, TCM practitioners, commonly called acupuncturists, help to remove congestion and stagnation (stagnant blood and lymph) from the body and to improve the flow of “Qi” throughout the body.  It also will increase the blood flow to the area upon which the cup is applied.

Musculoskeletal disorders are aided by increasing the flow of blood and “Qi” to the muscles underlying the applied cups.  Hence, Michael Phelps and other Olympians have been going for cupping treatment to alleviate their sore muscles.  Some TCM practitioners will also use cupping to treat breathing problems or respiratory conditions such as a cold, bronchitis or pneumonia.

Cupping may also be utilized to improve fertility in conjunction with acupuncture, moxibustion (heat applied to acupuncture point through burning herbs) and/or herbal therapy.  From a TCM perspective, improving the flow of “Qi” at specific points or meridians may correct an imbalance that is preventing conception.  From a Western scientific view, cupping and acupuncture cause the body to release endorphins.  The endorphin system consists of chemicals that regulate the activity of a group of nerve cells in the brain that relax muscles, dull pain, and reduce panic and anxiety.

It is believed that these therapies may also trigger the release of more hormones, including serotoninSerotonin is a brain chemical that has a calming effect resulting in a serenity that aids the fertility process.  Cupping, like acupuncture, reduces inflammation which could also benefit fertility.  Whether it be the challenge of an Olympic trial or a battle against infertility cupping may be a valuable addition to one’s program.

 

 

no comments

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?

* ** * * * * * * * * * **  * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * **  * * * ** * * * * * ** **

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

 

no comments

Infertility and TCM: Part 10: The Examination

By David Kreiner MD

July 11th, 2014 at 2:07 pm

 

image courtesy of stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net


An acupuncturist selects particular points along the various Qi meridians on the body depending on the patients’ complaints and their diagnoses as determined by the following four key aspects of the acupuncturist’s examination; inquiry, inspection, palpation and listening/smelling.

The acupuncturist takes a history which is not just limited to the chief complaint but focuses on diet, bowel habits, lifestyle, etc.  He/she will observe the patient during the visit paying particular attention to body habitus (physique), gait, complexion, hair, and much more.  The acupuncturist inspects the tongue for size, color, moisture, coating as well as any additional features such as spots, tooth marks and cracks.  Using varying degrees of pressure, he/she will palpate a patient’s radial pulse with three fingers pressuring superficially, deep to the bone and in between.  He/she will palpate the abdomen as well as the Qi meridians searching for tenderness. Finally, he/she will gather information by listening and smelling as diagnostic patterns vary depending on the characteristics of all of the above.

Treatment will depend on a particular pattern or patterns of disharmony that are identified. In addition to acupuncture, treatment could include moxibustion, cupping, tui na manipulation or massage and/or herbal therapies.  An acupuncturist assesses the root cause of the patient’s problem and will usually treat both the cause and the symptom complaints as it is believed that without correcting the root cause of a problem, symptoms will recur even if initially relieved.

I will review the significance of the findings from the examination and the different disharmony patterns that can be identified by virtue of this examination in future posts.

* * * * * * **  * * * * * * * * ** * * **

Does the TCM examination seem more thorough than a typical Western medicine examination?

 

 

 

no comments

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.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * **

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?

no comments

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. 

* * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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?




no comments

Infertility and TCM (Part 5) Channels and Points: TCM’s Gross Anatomy Equivalent

By David Kreiner MD

March 31st, 2014 at 2:05 pm

 

image courtesy of stuart miles/freedigital photos.net

 

As a new student in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture one of the first and most important classes we must take is called “Channels and Points”. This to a former medical student is the TCM version of Gross Anatomy. Gross anatomy in medical school was my exciting introduction to the human body, essential to the study of medicine.  I owned the classic Gray’s Anatomy text which today is popularized by the TV show of the same name.  The course requires strict memorization of all the bones, nerves, ligaments, vessels and organs in the body.

Likewise, “Channels and Points” requires the memorization of the precise location of 365 points and the corresponding channels of Qi which course throughout the body and can be utilized in the practice of acupuncture.  How these channels and points relate to each other and to the different organs is important as that will also determine their usefulness in different clinical situations.  

It is believed that the location of the channels of Qi and their surface access points was discovered through centuries of observation of the existence of tender spots on the body during the course of disease.  Furthermore, it was observed that symptoms were alleviated when those points were stimulated by massage or heat.  

When a number of points became known, they were linked into groups with common characteristics and effects and hence a pathway for a channel was identified.  Knowledge accumulated over hundreds of generations documented in several ancient texts.  As information regarding the channels and points accumulated, theories evolved and often resulted in modifications of prior beliefs as more experience clarified more accurate placement and function of these channels and points.  

The first document that unequivocally described the channels and points in an organized system of diagnosis and treatment recognizable as acupuncture is The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic, dating from about 100 BCE. The information was presented in the form of questions posed by the Emperor, Huang Ti, and replies from his minister, Ch’i-Pai. The source of the text of his answers was likely a compilation of traditions handed down over centuries, presented in terms of the prevailing Taoist philosophy, and is still cited today in support of particular therapeutic techniques. There is evidence that acupuncture utilizing bronze, gold and silver needles was practiced around this time as well as moxibustion.  

A more contemporary view of the concepts of channels in which Qi flowed that was documented through the precise anatomical locations of acupuncture points developed later.  During the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), The Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion was published, which forms the basis of modern acupuncture. It includes descriptions of the full set of 365 points that represent superficial access to the channels through which needles could be inserted to modify the flow of Qi energy.

Unlike the bones, tendons, nerves and vessels of Gross Anatomy, the channels and points utilized in acupuncture do not have corresponding visible or palpable anatomic structures that may be identified in an effort to memorize.  These channels of Qi are not visible structures nor can they be felt through touching or palpation.  So how does the acupuncturist know where the surface access point is to direct his needle?  

The trained acupuncturist utilizes the surface anatomy such as bones, joints and ligaments to locate these acupoints.  The points typically are found between the ligaments, in bony crevices or between bones. Additionally, the body is divided into units of measure based on an individual’s own bone size.  The most basic unit, cun, is defined as the width of the individual patient’s thumb.  Two cun is the distance from second most distal or middle joint of the forefinger to the tip.  Three cun is the width of the forefinger to the pinky measured at the point of the middle joint of the fingers.  The arms are 9 cun from axilla to the transverse crease of the elbow and 12 cun from the elbow crease to the wrist crease.  The number of cun for every portion of the body is delineated so that the location of the acupoints is based on locating according to the distance by cun units from an identifiable spot on the surface anatomy of the patient and usually are found in between ligaments, bones or in the bony crevices which are palpated by the acupuncturist upon needle placement.  

There are also some points that are identifiable based on particular placement of the fingers and hands of either or both the acupuncturist and patient.  For example, if the acupuncturist places his finger on a patient’s styloid process then has the patient internally rotate his/her hand, the point is located where the acupuncturist’s finger ends up.  This point, currently my favorite, is Small Intestine (SI) 6 with the English name of Support for the Aged because it treats symptoms such as blurry vision, lumbar pain, neck pain and other aches and pains that affect individuals as they get older.  

Another critically important point and therefore given the distinction of being a Command Point for the head and nape of the neck is Large Intestine (LI) 7.  It is located when the acupuncturist places his/her index finger on the dorsal side of the patient’s hand and thumb on the ventral side in between the patient’s thumb and forefinger.  The acupuncturist will locate the point where the tip of his forefinger meets a groove in the anterior portion of the patient’s radius bone.  

How deep to place the needle and in what direction and angle are further issues to be learned another day.

* * * * * * * * ** * *** * *

Are you finding this educational journey into TCM fascinating? Do you have any questions for Dr. Kreiner about this or any other TCM topic he has covered so far?

1 comment

Acupuncture: What’s the Point?

By David Kreiner MD

March 12th, 2014 at 3:29 am

 

image courtesy of stuartmiles/freedigitalphotos.net

I have previously mentioned the conundrum facing a Western-trained physician embarking on the study of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  It is part of our nature after a lifetime of scientific training to explain natural phenomena such as health and illness in ways that have been documented with physical evidence. 

The basic physiology on which TCM is constructed has no corresponding physical support that can be seen or measured…a requirement that scientific thinkers rely on to reassure ourselves about the validity and rationale of a proposed theory or treatment.

Instead, it feels to me as I study TCM that I am memorizing random “facts” with corresponding syndromes and treatments.  For now, I must push myself to continue my studies unconcerned that these basics I am committing to memory are not supported by any physical evidence other than the stories of successful therapies.  It is premature for me to pass judgment for as they say, “the proof is in the pudding”. 

In fact, as a practicing reproductive endocrinologist I have seen patients with poor ovarian function or previous failed pregnancies succeed in their child-building endeavors after acupuncture intervention is added as an adjunct to their fertility treatments. 

For this reason, I persevere to learn as much as possible because despite my own admission that TCM is difficult for me to accept as “scientific truths” I believe that it offers potential advantage to my patients as they go through their Western fertility therapies.

* * * * * * * ** * *** * * * * * * * * * * * ** *

How important to you is the science…or measurable physical evidence…behind an infertility therapy? Can you take a leap of faith and hope “the proof is in the pudding”?

2 comments

Acupuncture: What’s the Point?

By David Kreiner MD

March 11th, 2014 at 8:22 pm

 

image courtesy of stuart miles/free digital photos.net

I have previously mentioned the conundrum facing a Western-trained physician embarking on the study of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  It is part of our nature after a lifetime of scientific training to explain natural phenomena such as health and illness in ways that have been documented with physical evidence. 

The basic physiology on which TCM is constructed has no corresponding physical support that can be seen or measured…a requirement that scientific thinkers rely on to reassure ourselves about the validity and rationale of a proposed theory or treatment.

Instead, it feels to me as I study TCM that I am memorizing random “facts” with corresponding syndromes and treatments.  For now, I must push myself to continue my studies unconcerned that these basics I am committing to memory are not supported by any physical evidence other than the stories of successful therapies.  It is premature for me to pass judgment for as they say, “the proof is in the pudding”. 

In fact, as a practicing reproductive endocrinologist I have seen patients with poor ovarian function or previous failed pregnancies succeed in their child-building endeavors after acupuncture intervention is added as an adjunct to their fertility treatments. 

For this reason, I persevere to learn as much as possible because despite my own admission that TCM is difficult for me to accept as “scientific truths” I believe that it offers potential advantage to my patients as they go through their Western fertility therapies.

* * * * * * * ** * *** * * * * * * * * * * * ** *

How important to you is the science…or measurable physical evidence…behind an infertility therapy? Can you take a leap of faith and hope “the proof is in the pudding”?

no comments

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) – Perspectives from a Western-Trained Physician-Part 2

By David Kreiner MD

February 18th, 2014 at 4:44 pm

 

credit: stuartmilesfreedigitalphotos.net



I am now four tests deep into my TCM training and have experienced some of the typical Spleen disharmony that comes with anxiety over my performance on the exams.  It was not bad enough to cause a clinical spleen Qi deficiency but I did have some stomach upset from rebellious stomach Qi and occasional weak knees.

I wonder at times if I could explain TCM fundamentals in Western terms.  It would be very satisfying to put TCM physiology in a language and system that was consistent with the science that as a physician I have learned and lived with for the past 30 years.  I am used to a medical construct based on organs and structures I can see and feel and metabolic processes that I can measure. TCM affords us none of this.

Instead, the physiology of TCM to me is based on faith and experience.  Hmmm… if there is experience supporting successful therapeutics whether they be herbal medicines or acupuncture then why do I say that TCM is based on faith.  From a scientific perspective, we cannot explain TCM fundamentals such as Qi or Essence nor the channels they travel in.  There is nothing we are able to see or touch to prove to ourselves their actual existence.

I am not saying that it is necessary to have a blind faith in TCM in order to either practice it or submit oneself to its treatment.  Once again, there is the experience to justify its practice.  However, it does make a Western-trained physician perplexed.  Perhaps our science is not yet at a level to explain TCM.  Maybe…if we were able to measure extremely minute changes in electrical charges, or levels of energy radiated in the body at a frequency or amplitude that we are currently unable to document… then we might be able to witness and even measure TCM phenomena related to Qi deficiency and other clinical syndromes.

In the meantime, I study so that I may be able to someday offer the TCM as an adjunct to my fertility practice.

* *** **** ** ** *** * *
Would you be open to combining TCM principles with Western medicine in your fertility treatment plan?

1 comment

To Qi or not to Qi? That is the Question

By David Kreiner MD

February 1st, 2014 at 5:27 pm

 

credit: StuartMiles/freedigital photos.net

It has been a month since I started my studies in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture at the New York College of Health Professions in Syosset, NY. 

Why does this 58 year old Reproductive Endocrinologist want to go back to school for an additional career after practicing for 27 years you may ask?  Is it because I am jealous of my younger daughter starting the University of Michigan this past fall and I want to enjoy the Greek life?  Eh…I cannot deny the coincidence is suspicious.

However, my interest in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) dates back to my own college days. While I bought a copy of the “Barefoot Doctor’s Manual”, the thick red book sat on a shelf for years.  I never got past a few lines about “dampness in the lower burner” and treating “excess phlegm”.  After all, my goal was to become a physician and I liked wearing my clogs back then anyway.

TCM appears quite strange to a Western-trained physician.  The language is unique to TCM and bears little resemblance to the medical physiology that we are familiar with.  As I become more knowledgeable about the fundamentals of TCM, I am fascinated by the elaborate construct of ideas on which TCM is based. 

Unlike modern Western Medicine which is based on scientific study and experimentation, the wisdom of TCM was built upon hundreds of generations of experience by the wise healers of China.  Observations of thousands of cases led to the development of theories regarding disease, illness and healing.  To my physician friends who question the concept of treating pain and illness by impacting channels of Qi, a form of life energy, I ask them: Who are we to question the collective wisdom and experience of hundreds of generations of the wisest healers of China when Modern Medicine has been helping more people than it has been hurting only for the past 80 years or so?  I personally have seen many examples of accepted “Medical Truths” rejected and disproved since graduating medical school in 1981.

My goal is to help my patients any way I can.  Yes, I am a Western-trained physician but more than that I am my patients’ healer who is helping them in their journeys to build their families.  We have great tools in Western Medicine including gonadotropin medications, intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in particular In Vitro Fertilization.  But sometimes they may not be enough. 

I am reminded of the book and movie “Life of Pi”.  The protagonist, Piscine or Pi,tells his story about how he survived 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.  The official representatives investigating the incident reject his story as unbelievable and insist on hearing the “truth”.  Pi then offers them a second story in which he is adrift on a lifeboat not with zoo animals, but with the ship’s cook, a Taiwanese sailor with a broken leg, and his own mother. The cook amputates the sailor’s leg for use as fishing bait, then kills the sailor and Pi’s mother for food. Pi then kills the cook and dines on him. 

Pi points out that neither story can be proven and neither explains the cause of the shipwreck and in the end of each story the outcome is the same… that he still lost his family.  We are left without an answer as to which story is real. Why does it matter which story was true?  We are asked which story we preferred.

Similarly, with TCM, if we can achieve the desired outcome…in my specialty, the much sought after pregnancy and healthy baby, why does it matter if we do not fully understand the science or principles behind the therapy? The story we choose for that much desired baby…for our “journey to the crib”… can include TCM if it could help us to attain our goal. 

PLEASE FOLLOW MY TCM AND FERTILITY SERIES OF BLOGS AS I CONTINUE THIS JOURNEY.

* * * * ** * * * *

Do you think the blending of TCM and Western medicine principles could benefit infertility patients? Have you ever used or considered using TCM in your own fertility journey?

Photo credit: Stuart Miles http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10055066

3 comments


The Fertility Daily Blog by Long Island IVF
© Copyright 2010-2012