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Fertility and the Importance of the Earth Element: Part 2



Click here to download the transcript.

Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hi, I’m Dr. Martha Lucas. I’ve been practicing Chinese medicine for more than 20 years. I have practices in Denver, Colorado, which is my private practice, and then I practice in a Western medicine clinic two days a week in Littleton, Colorado. And my Teaching site is lucas teachings.com, and then my private practice site is acupuncture woman.com.

Today I’m going to present fertility and the importance of the Earth element part two, and I wanna thank the American Acupuncture Council for allowing me to present this information to you. So let’s go to the slides.

in part one. We talked a lot about the importance of earth or the importance of good gut health for when people are having fertility challenges, both the men and the women. Having good digestion, as we know, is super important in Chinese medicine. It’s how we make our energy and One of the things we need to do with our couples is make sure that their guts are working well or all our patients.

We probably all focus on the gut for our patients, and I’m saying trust your gut is not a silly thing to do. Our guts were our first brains before the conscious . Brain came around before the conscious mind came around and made us start to not trust our gut. How many times have you heard people say that, oh, I should’ve listened to my gut.

It was telling me not to do that thing, and it didn’t work out exactly how I wanted. That’s because our gut is still giving us advice, but our conscious brain sometimes says no, that looks pretty good. I’m just gonna over, I’m not gonna listen to what my gut is saying. Turns out that our gut has millions of nerve cells that respond.

To stimulate and send signals to us. Think about how anxious you get before you do something new or forget. Have to give your first presentation at work. Those butterflies in your stomach are signals, your brain sends to your body indicating that something is up, something is different, something’s gonna happen.

Because your gut is so in tune with the rest of your body, it is important to take good care of it, especially when trying to conceive. In addition to the millions of nerve cells, your gut is lined with bacterial microbes that produce serotonin. That allows us to convert the food we eat into energy for our body to use, and that would partly be creating a warm, fertile environment where conception can occur.

There are three to 500 different kinds of bacteria, as well as more than 2 million genes in the gut. All of that is matched up with viruses, fungi, and other microscopic organisms that make up the microbiome that is affected by genetics, stress, lifestyle, diet, et cetera. Your microbiome affects everything from your metabolism to your propensity to certain illnesses, to your ability to conceive.

Gut health is a major concern for those trying to conceive, especially for those that have one of the following conditions. Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis celiac disease. In my last presentation, I talked about the relationship between celiac disease and some fertility challenges. Inflammatory bowel disease, I B D, irritable Bowel syndrome, I B S, and those conditions can make it difficult to conceive for both men and women.

As I always say in my classes about fertility. Don’t forget about the man’s health. It’s yin and yang. It takes two, however you wanna say it. Sometimes just opening the man’s dai. Can improve conception success and also those conditions just mentioned can cause a decrease in libido. And so many of our couples, and I’m sure you’ve heard it again and again, the intercourse just becomes a chore.

The, I’ve treated so many men who are like, yeah, I do it, but it’s not the most pleasant thing. I’m tired of hearing about . Mucus and hormones and days of the month. I wish we could just be natural. It’s hard to be natural when natural isn’t working so well for you. So looking back at the gut health of both the male and the female can sometimes lead to an answer.

Other symptoms to look for that indicate gut issues include stomach pain, craving sweetss. We know that means the digestion is out of balance, gaining or losing weight unintentionally. The onset of anxiety or depression, rashes, . Or that they have an autoimmune condition that is getting worse, and that can all be because of an imbalance in gut bacteria that can cause inflammation, which may lead to a flare up in their autoimmune issue.

So now the blah, blah, blah part about how to change your diet, to improve your gut. But the good news is that I will talk about some specific food recommendations, some pulses and some treatment ideas. So what’s some general advice? Eliminate processed food for one thing. Processed foods have a lot of heat in them.

They use heat to process it, right? They use heat to take a nice fruit or whatever that’s nice and full of juice and liquid and turn it into something that’s processed that you can. Get out of a bag or a box. That’s toxic in our medicine. So trying to eliminate as many processed foods as we can.

Eat a diet with a blend of protein, fiber, fruits and vegetables include specific foods that improve gut health, which could be bananas. Oats, pistachios and give your patients a, an a good, interesting list, not just two or three things. Quinoa, chia, kombucha. ’cause some people don’t like certain things on the list.

Remember, kimchi, kafi, yogurt sauerkraut. All can improve gut health. Olive oil is a healthy, stable, it’s one of the. Things we have as a health stable in our kitchens. Its fatty acid content is well received by the gut bacteria, which is why it’s such a healthy oil. And so you can make your own or your patients can make their own simple vinegarette.

They can use extra virgin olive oil. A little vinegar. Avoid the plain white vinegar, salt, pepper, some citrus juice, Dijon mustard and herbs of their choice. Throw in a sprig of basil is really nice, or throw in dill or change it up a little bit with some herbs, some fresh herb of your choice.

believe it or not, because of its high fiber content. Popcorn is good for your gut, but not the prepackaged microwave kind. Again, toxic heat in there and the chemical lining of the bag is not good for your gut and the microwave popcorn is high in sodium. A little too high in sodium, you can make popcorn naturally yourself and dress it up with, make it.

You can make it sweet, you can make it savory. Ground cinnamon, curry powder, sea salt. Again, Italian herbs, any herbs, maple syrup, cocoa powder, or paprika to get some extra fiber. For a sweeter snack, you can make your own trail mix with walnuts and almonds for the omega threes. Blueberries, which have folate and vitamin C in them.

Good for the gut and for fertility and banana chips for some fiber. You can also add dark chocolate, coconut plates and sunflower seeds. So again, looking at foods that improve the gut and also can help with the relationship between the gut and hormones and fertility. Raspberry leaf tea is another thing that can help with irregular periods.

Or hormone imbalance. It also helps reduce swelling. Also, chamomile tea is particularly good. I don’t have that in the list. I think for digestion because it reduces inflammation. It actually has nice properties that can help both . Things like anxiety and depression and gut health because it reduces inflammation and it’s also calming.

So chamomile tea is another raspberry leaf is a middle, little more specific for hormone imbalance, but chamomile tea is really good to reduce, especially inflammation in the gut. And then you can try to. Eliminate as much sugar as you can. I keep saying you, but your patients, your fertility patients well, and these are actually probably good advice for everybody’s gut health.

Eating too many refined carbohydrates and sugary foods can cause imbalances in blood sugar and exacerbate conditions like P C O S and insulin resistance. So too much sugar also are kidneys. Can only process so much sugar. So if you’re eating too much sugar and you get, for example, an acne breakout, that can be your body telling you Uhoh, too much sugar for the kidneys.

They can’t process it. And so they use your skin as an exit. They use your skin as a detox organ because remember, our skin is an organ. Cutting down on sugar B. Vitamin rich foods help support energy levels blood cell production, and reduce the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida and other brain defects in the fetus.

B rich foods include grass fed red meat, pasture raised chicken and eggs, and sustain sustainably sourced fish, avocados and leafy greens. Proper iron intake can help prevent low birth weight of the baby and increase hemoglobin for the mom. Hema iron is the form of iron that is most readily absorbed by the body and it can be found in grass fed red meat, pasture raised chicken and eggs, and sustainably sourced fish.

Foods high in folate, and we’re focusing here on folate, not folic acid can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects that we just talked about and include . How you can get it, folate, pasture raised chicken, lentils, spinach, strawberries, and a spice.

And remember what I call the burden of conception is not only on the woman, so how can the male conception partner change his diet in order to burst? Boost fertility well optimally. The male would also reduce eating highly processed foods. He will hopefully reduce the number of sugars he is eating, the amount of sugar he is eating.

Nutrients like zinc, folate, and omega three fatty acids can all improve sperm quality. It’s not only about the number, it’s about the quality. And men would also take care to avoid excess alcohol, excess caffeine, and phytoestrogenic foods like soy and meats that contain antibiotics and hormones. I’ve had a little theory in my mind working for years that some of the.

40% of male infertility that we’re seeing is due to them growing up eating foods with estrogen in them, and so their hormones can get way outta balance because it’s only been in the last decade or so I think, that we’re learning about meat and dairy that has estrogen in it, which would not only affect women, but would affect men as well.

So some meal ideas that include some of those foods I just went over and are gonna help the gut and . Fertility success includes something like a salmon stir fry with vegetables, slow cooking, beef and vegetables, right? Getting the warmth in there with the slow cooking, a spring salad with chicken or salmon to warm up the coolness of the salad, make.

A chicken and sweet potato dish, right earth food, warm or salmon and sweet potatoes, Turkey burgers if you want a low fat burger option. Egg salad, hard boiled eggs, deviled eggs, the ones that are pasture raised, a wild rice salad. Or add that to a dish with protein like salmon. Now, food advice specifically from a Chinese medicine perspective.

Would be one of the issues to avoid is dampness. When you’re trying to conceive, we wanna avoid creating any dampness because dampness causes blockages or stagnations in the body, right? So foods that create dampness. Or for which stamp ness is a side effect, include cheese. I just tell my patients dairy in general, white flour and sugar.

I had a patient, in fact, who was starting to have little like clear skin tags, flat skin tags, and this guy ate so much. Dairy, ice cream almost every day. Frozen dairy, pretty much the worst thing you can put in your body according to the theory of Chinese medicine and drank a ton of milk. And again, not that there’s anything wrong with that, if your body is tolerating that well, but I just suggested to him, can you just give up dairy or cut way, way down.

I’d love it to be zero for two weeks and just see what’s happens to your skin. And sure enough, he turns out he, those skin tags went away and he got tested for lactose intolerance and was lactose intolerance. So our body, his body was telling him, look, I’m creating dampness. This, Daryl, this dairy you’re eating is creating a symptom.

So when your digestion is working well, you won’t create dampness, right? That’s the whole key. Getting the digestion to work well, according to the theory, you should be able to eat anything, and it’s not going to create any symptoms or dampness or heat if your digestion works well, but if your metabolism is off or your calories don’t burn clean, then the leftover residue

Is considered dampness, accumulated dampness, clogs, organs like lungs, causing asthma or digestion or digestive organs causing indigestion, high cholesterol, and sometimes constipation or diarrhea. Vegetables can play a major role in reducing dampness, so this can include lightly cooked vegetables, lightly steamed vegetables, and then leafy greens in the diet.

You can interchange white and brown rice to reduce dampness. White is said to be more cleansing and brown rice is more nourishing. Millet and quinoa also are clean burning and they will help drain damp. Of course our advice would be to limit cold and raw foods because we believe they form dampness and they’re difficult to process because they use too much energy to warm up as I, I think, like I said about ice cream, I think of all the energy that our gut is having to use to just warm that up to body temperature is huge.

Limiting cold ice, cold especially, and raw foods. If you need to eliminate dairy, that’s just what has to happen. Then get calcium from foods like almonds, leafy greens, and broccoli. You can get calcium from other foods besides dairy. Eliminate sugar, but eat Chinese medicine sweet foods like rice, meat, and some vegetables.

As I said, you can give your patient a list if you can eat according to the seasons. Eat warming foods in winter in summer. Cooler foods like lightly cooked vegetables, those are still cooler. Steam them rather than bake them or fry them. Of course. And if you can eat what grows in your region, that’s great.

I’m in Colorado, so when I, it’s wintertime and we’re eating, according to our region, what grows in our region. We’re eating an awful lot of potatoes and onions, occasionally throw in some beets and other root vegetables. So in pulse diagnosis for the earth. Besides the usual and customary pulse positions that we all learned in school, my system shows the uterus and the prostate in the left chair or the, what’s traditionally the kidney position.

So when you’re working with fertility issues, you may wanna pay more attention to that left kidney position. You can see I have it written down, left side uterus and prostate so you can feel if there are fibroids in the uterus so you can feel if there’s inflammation in the prostate and. When conception happens after the fetus, after the cells are a certain size, you’ll be able to feel and follow the pregnancy.

That’s where you’re gonna look over there in the left side, the right side, of course, middle pulse middle position is spleen and stomach, where you’re gonna be looking at digestion. Now, here’s a drawing of what the might look like. Poor digestion, that arrow going down in the spleen, stomach. Okay. . If you’re not feeling a nice flow of energy from the kidneys through the spleen and stomach into the lung large intestine, that means there’s a digestive issue.

This particular picture would mean that old trauma is preventing the person’s earth element from nourishing them, just like the early trauma prevented them from being nourished emotionally and maybe physically, unfortunately. That pattern stays in and their digestion doesn’t work very well. So whenever you feel an imbalance in the digestion with your fertility patients, I advise you talk to them strongly about their digestion, be and explain to them, in order to make good blood flow to the uterus, we need to have good spleen and stomach.

We need to have good earth. We need to have a balanced digestion. And then obviously you can use all the other information in this presentation in part one, to talk to them about food, to talk to them about their gut microbiome, et cetera. Because what we wanna get to is this balance, yin and yang.

Sine waves is the perfect pulse, the good healthy pulse, sine wave yang and yin sine wave yang and yin and all. As you can see in this picture, all of the organ systems communicating with each other. This is what we’re trying to get with every treatment. Our goal of every single treatment is balance in the pulses.

At least that’s the way I teach Pulse diagnosis, and that’s the way I do my practice. Honestly, after more than 20 years, it’s pulse diagnosis, the excitement of feeling things in people’s pulses. That keeps me interested in Chinese medicine. If I did prescription Chinese medicine and oh, somebody came in with infertility or fertility challenge and I did this, I would’ve been bored years and years ago.

So you can see every presentation I’m going to . Impress upon you the importance of the pulses for not only diagnosis, but for treatment. So you can reach me@lucasteachings.com. That has a contact Dr. Lucas button. My pr private practice website is acupuncture woman.com has a contact button also on lucas teachings.com.

There is some food advice. There is a A P D F that you could print out and give to your patients. I just want to. Thank you for watching. I hope you learned a lot as if you have any questions at all, feel free to contact me at one of those websites. I also wanna thank the American Acupuncture Council for sponsoring this webinar and allowing me to present this information to you.

And so I hope you have a great and enjoy treating your fertility patients. .

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Fertility and the Importance of the Earth Element: Part 1



Click here to download the transcript.

Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hi, I am Dr. Martha Lucas, and I am here to talk to you about the fertility and importance of the earth element. This is part one of a presentation. I would like to thank the American Acupuncture Council for allowing me to present this information to you. I have. More than 20 years of experience in Chinese medicine.

I have a private practice in Denver and also work in a western medicine clinic in Littleton, Colorado. So let’s go to the slides.

We all know the importance of good digestive health for good overall health. Digestion is how we make our energy, and that’s why I am sure that we all focus on all of our patients having good digestion. It turns out that gut health is very important for couples who are trying to conceive, because poor gut health can cause hormonal imbalance.

And when I’m talking about the earth element, of course I’m talking about spleen and stomach or digestion. And again, we know that. For example, earth and Metal, make up the immune system and earth and water make up the hormonal system. So we’re gonna be talking in these two presentations about the importance of Earth.

But again, and you all know this, we never just treat that standing alone, right? We’re always gonna treat all of the channels, all the organ systems, but hormonal imbalance would be Earth and . Kidneys, earth and water together and hormonal imbalances is one of the leading causes of infertility in both men and women.

And if you’ve heard me talk about fertility treatments before, you know that I treat the man and the woman. It’s yin and yang coming together, right? 40% of the time the fertility issue is the male’s issue. So it is very important that we also treat the male. And it is very important that we treat all the organ systems.

For example, if all you do is tonify the kidneys in water, but the dmai is blocked, then you’re, you could potentially be creating some toxic heat with all your ification. So that’s why in these presentations, I express the need to treat more than one organ system, and we are gonna be focusing on Earth in this part one and next time, part two.

When the gut microbiota is out of balance, it can lead to low grade inflammation throughout the body, including the product reproductive organs. So this is another reason why it’s so important to have the gut or the earth and Chinese medicine working well in, in western medicine, they call it the gut brain axis and the microbiome and the microbiota.

We call it earth or spleen and stomach. , that kind of inflammation, that kind of low grade inflammation can interfere with hormone production and signaling activity leading to irregular menstrual cycles, ovulation problems, and reductions in sperm quality. So you can see those are three causes, if you will, of.

Infertility or having a fertility challenge. I don’t like to use the word infertility because I feel like it’s a damning diagnosis. You’re infertile, oh, where do I go from there? So that’s why I tend to say fertility challenges. Changes or imbalances in the gut. Microbiome diversity or the gut microbiota can cause reduction or an increase in the levels of estrogen.

So either a reduction or an increase in levels of estrogen. In other words, an imbalance in estrogen, which also can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, irregular periods in terms of the bleeding part, impaired ovulation, P C O S, endometriosis. And again, all of those will ultimately or can ultimately affect fertility success.

So again, we see the importance of a balanced digestion. Unexplained infertility has been linked to systemic inflammation. Which I just said can be caused by gut imbalance and oxidative stress caused by imbalance in the gut microbiome.

Gut inflammation has been linked to decreased progesterone again. Leading to what looked like fertility challenges. Progesterone is responsible for healthy endometrial lining and implantation. So when it is low, and believe it or not, experts still aren’t really certain what too low is but when it is too low because of chronic inflammation, it can lead to implantation failure or recurrent miscarriages.

Immune system failure, sometimes caused by inflammation can lead to anti sperm antibodies, which attack the sperm and prevent implantation. Now, immune system failure would be autoimmune, right? And remember I said earlier, earth and metal, so spleen, stomach, lung, large intestine are our immune system, . We would need to, in that case, be treating, making certain, we’re getting the digestion balance, treating the immune system organ systems, and also the water.

Now the terrain is everything. This means I’m referring back to a very old argument that Pastore and Bernard had about . Is it the pathogen or is it the body’s ability to fight? And the story goes that Bernard was the one, the scientist who said, it’s so important to have important di good digestion, a good body.

And when you have a good healthy body, you can fight off germs. And of course, pastor was like, no, it’s the germ. It’s the germ. And the story goes that on his deathbed pastor said Claude Nar. Claude was right. The terrain is everything. And in Chinese medicine, that’s what we think, right?

Chinese medicine is . Primarily a preventive medicine. We’re always in our symptom mind, right? How often does a patient come in and say, I feel great, and I just wanna continue to feel great, so give me a treatment. We never do that with Western Medicine. We can’t even imagine it, right? We go in once a year for our annual exam, we feel great we make sure everything’s.

All our numbers are good, but we can’t imagine going in once a month and saying, Hey, Dr. Stroll, how you doing? But that’s how our medicine works. We get people healthy. I always tell people when they wanna know, how often should they come in? I always say how soon do you wanna get better? If this symptom is really bothering you, then I need to see you three times a week for just

Two weeks maybe, and then two times a week and one time a week. And we’ll get you to the point where I see you once a month. That’s because I believe the terrain is everything I have to get their digestion working well get their body working well again, get everything balanced and then we’ll move on to don’t let your symptom come back.

And if it does, the caveat is see you in a month. But if you need to come in earlier, then you need to come in earlier. The human gut is home to trillions of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms that are collectively known as the microbiome. This complex ecosystem plays a crucial role in various aspects of health, including digestion, immune function, and even mental wellbeing.

The gut brain axis is very important to keep in balance. For issues like anxiety and depression. So all of those are related to the gut. The composition of the gut microbiome is influenced by a multitude of factors including diet, lifestyle, medication use, and of course stress levels. By nurturing the gut, women may be able to support their fertility journey and improve their chances of conceiving a healthy gut may just be the unexpected key to unlocking the door to parenthood.

So let’s go into some of the specifics about the gut brainin axis, and their impact on fertility. First of all, there’s nutrient absorption and metabolism. The gut microbiome aids in the breakdown and absorption of nutrients from our diet. Of course, balanced good digestion, . We’re going to be able to successfully absorb nutrients.

Certain gut bacteria are responsible for producing essential vitamins and metabolizing hormones. There we go with the hormone, the hormonal aspect or the hormonal connection imbalances in the gut microbiota can impair nutrient absorption leading to deficiencies in key nutrients that are required for reproductive health like folate, iron, and vitamin D.

Estrogen metabolism is another important thing about the gut estrogen. A hormone that we know is crucial for female fertility undergoes a process called metabolism in the gut. Imbalances in the gut microbiota can alter the process leading to imbalances in estrogen levels. Excessive levels of estrogen or the accumulation of certain estrogen metabolites can disrupt the delicate hormonal balance that is necessary for conception and successful pregnancy.

Remember, we have to carry it through from successful conception through successful normal natural birth. A normal, healthy birth, rather normal, healthy birth. Healthy mom is the ultimate goal. Continuing with estrogen metabolism in the gut, estrogen is needed for proper ovulation and thickening of the uterine wall for pregnancy Balanced estrogen, but excess estrogen can cause irregular periods and prevent ovulation, thereby causing

Infertility or fertility challenge. Further, estrogen dominance has been linked to endometriosis and P C O S. Estrogen deficiency, on the other hand, can cause. Amenorrhea, which is absence of periods, which leads to anovulation, disorders of ovulation, actually account for 30% of female for infertility. So here we go again with the importance of the gut and hormones.

Estrogen has an important role in male fertility as well. It affects multiple organs and tissue in the male. A deficit or a surplus of estrogen can hinder the male libido and spermatogenesis, which is an inappropriate increase in extra diol, which is an estrogen steroid hormone that has been shown to lead to a decrease in sperm production.

And also too little estrogen in males has shown to have a causative effect on erectile dysfunction. Stress and mental health. As I said earlier, the gut brain axis, the gut is a bidirectional communication pathway between the gut and the brain, and it plays a vital role in mental health and also in stress regulation that can lead to things like anxiety and depression.

Stress can influence the gut microbiota composition, which in turn can affect fertility, high levels of stress, can disrupt hormone production, interfere with ovulation and reduce sperm quality. It’s why I would love to have the time to do a retrospective study of when couples give up or decide to adopt how many get pregnant, and it’s, I

Think it’s a, seems in my fertility practice like it’s a fairly large number, and I’ve always surmised that it’s because their level of stress goes down, their level of struggle goes down. Gut health and the thyroid. When there is an imbalance in the microbiome, it impacts immunologic and metabolic functions.

A study in 2015 found that hypo and hyperthyroidism were associated with small intestinal bacteria overgrowth, or what’s called sibo. And other studies have found a relationship between dysbiosis, which is an in general name for imbalance or inflammation in the . Gut and thyroid nodules. Underactive thyroid can affect fertility in a variety of ways.

It causes decreased cellular energy, meaning less mitochondria on ovarian cells leading to irregular or absent periods. It may increase prolactin, which suppresses ovulation, and it may lead to a decrease insulin sensitivity, which means more insulin in the blood. Increases androgens, which then disrupt ovulation and is especially detrimental to women who have P C O S.

Fortunately, there are steps that individuals and couples can take to optimize their gut health and enhance their fertility. Eat a balanced diet, okay? Blah, blah, blah. We hear that all the time, right? Modern medicine suggests eating a diverse range of whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and fermented foods to promote a healthy gut microbiome.

these foods provide essential nutrients and promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Chinese medicine recommends eating what we call earth foods, right? Ones that are sweet in nature or taste sweet according to the theory of Chinese medicine, not . Cakes and cookies and are earth colored, so yellows, oranges, browns, and also warm in temperature.

Again, either warm physically, like we’ve actually warmed it up or warm in nature according to the theory of Chinese medicine. Now prebiotics and probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that can be found in certain foods like yogurt, or they can be taken as supplements. They can help restore the balance of the gut Bacteria.

Prebiotics, on the other hand, are non-digestible fibers found in certain fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and they nourish the gut bacteria. Also, there’s stress reduction to help couples engaging in some stress. Reducing activities such as exercise, meditation, and mindfulness can positively impact both gut health and subsequently fertility.

These practices do help regulate the gut brain axis and promote a healthier gut microbiota.

Research has found that women with recurrent pregnancy loss, A number of miscarriages show a higher prevalence of undiagnosed gut disorders. In particular, women with recurrent pregnancy loss were found to have abnormal gut permeability, which was found to contribute to the inflammatory reactions in the body that we talked about are earlier.

The researchers hypothesize that the inflammatory reaction caused by dysbiosis may be contributing to miscarriage pathogenesis. And they recommend that proper diagnosis and treatment of intestinal disorders in order to improve pregnancy outcomes. Very important for those particular women. Further, the gut microbiome is responsible for converting bound estrogen to free active estrogen according to a recent review.

Without a healthy microbiome, estrogen metabolism and function becomes impaired and can lead to a number of health consequences, including endometriosis, P C O S, hyperplasia and infertility or fertility challenge. It seems that we are finding out that treating the gut microbiome to modulate estrogen levels should be considered as a future treatment or a current treatment for estrogen mediated diseases, including infertility.

An interesting meta-analysis found that women with unexplained infertility, so that’s. The problem when your doctor says, oh, sorry, you’re infertile, and we don’t know why. They have a three and a half, 3.5 times higher odds of having celiac disease. In fact, it’s estimated that an Good percentage of women struggling with unexplained infertility actually have undiagnosed celiac disease, and it’s been suggested that unexplained infertility may actually be the first sign of celiac disease in some women.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, chronic inflammation may impact recurrent pregnancy loss. It also may cause decreased progesterone, which leads to implantation failure and the development of autoimmune processes that impact fertility. Now, women may think that this doesn’t pertain to them because they don’t have any gut symptoms.

Unfortunately, the absence of gas, bloating, stomach pain, Does not necessarily indicate good gut health, although the token symptoms of gut dysfunction do indicate something is wrong. A complete absence of symptoms does not indicate that you have a properly functioning digestive tract. They might be having regular bowel movements, no cramping, no gas, but it by no means guarantees that their gut is in good shape.

In fact, you can feel pretty good. It turns out, as I’ve seen in with people’s pulses for years and years, they tell me they don’t have any digestive issues and it turns out that they actually do. So some non digestive symptoms that may be a red flag with your fertility patients include . Constant hunger or cravings.

Now that would be earth and stomach, maybe stomach, heat, brain fog and diminished memory, kidney and earth, joint and muscle pain. Again, kidneys and earth or chronic fatigue, kidneys and earth or signs of estrogen deficiency or dominance, kidney and earth. So you can see all of these non digestive symptoms include Earth in our medicine.

So food allergies are another thing, as well as seasonal allergies. Those are earth and metal. Those can be an early red flag. Frequent colds and flu, earth and metal skin issues like eczema, acne, rosacea. Earth and metal or autoimmune issues, earth and metal. So again, you can see earth involved in these maybe red flags for fertility issues.

And as you can see in the bottom, there’s my pulse diagnosis diagram. And you can see that infinity symbol, which is literally the attachment of sign waves this way, sign waves that way, which is yang and yin. You can see that all of the organ systems need to be balanced and communicating with each other.

If we are going to create a warm, fertile environment for proper conception, successful conception, and a healthy birth, healthy mother. All right, so next time we are going to talk in part two about fertility and the importance of earth and a little more specifics about particular foods, ideas for combinations of foods.

Again, we’ll probably talk about the importance of pulse diagnosis and some ideas. In that realm. And so I wanna thank you for listening and also thank the American Acupuncture Council for allowing me to present this information. You can see my teaching website, which is lucas teachings.com, or contact me@acupuncturewoman.com, which is my private practice site.

So I’ll see you next time. .


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The Fertility Journey


Click here to download the transcript.

Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hi, my name is Tsao-Lin Moy and I am a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and massage therapy. With a brick and mortar office in Union Square in New York City. So I’d like to thank the American Acupuncture Council for sponsoring these events and presentations. And today I’m gonna be talking and sharing with you about the five top things to address when you’re working with fertility patients.

And so we’re going to go to the slides right now. Okay. . So these are the top five areas that we wanna address with our patients, especially when they’re struggling to conceive. Now I’ve been practicing for over 21 years, and I do have a very high success rate with treating patients, and this is because I always ha like address these areas aside from acupuncture and herbal formulations.

These are some key things that if you don’t address them, then you’re not gonna have the same success. Okay, and go the next slide. So you probably already know that fertility is, or infertility is a really big problem and it continues to grow, not only in the US but throughout the world. In most developing countries, at least 12% of the population is struggling with issues of infertility, and in particular in the us one in eight couples are experiencing infertility, and one third of them is also related to male issues, not just female issues.

Though what I do have to say is mostly you see female patients because they’re a little more proactive and they’re, they have hormonal fluctuations and stress really will affect their hormones. So the first and most important, which I find is mindset. Many of the patients that come to see me are super stressed out, and probably the same with you, that they’ve already gone through trying on their own getting frustrated, going to a fertility clinic.

And then being told that maybe they have low A m H, high F, SS, h that their cycles are all off, that they’re getting too old. And what that does is that creates a huge negative mindset. And so one of the issues is that, If the, your couples are already thinking that they’re not gonna be able to conceive, or they’re getting lots of information that is not good for them, like off the internet, then they’re gonna be approaching everything as a problem and it’s gonna be a lot harder for them to look for a solution.

So you might find that they come to you and say, oh, how can I fix my hormones? Or oh I don’t know, when I’m ovulating or I have polycystic ovary syndrome, which is something that’s, coming up as a polycystic ovary awareness month is coming up in September. . But what we do know is that research shows is that what you think really matters and having a positive outlook is gonna help to cope better with stressful situations, especially for couples that are trying to conceive.

And it also will reduce like negative health effects on the body. So what I would say is you have to listen to your patients really carefully about what they’re saying about their fertility and then . Keep an eye on that because if that is an ongoing theme with them and they’re focusing on that, then what happens is they’re not focusing on the bigger picture, which is overall health is gonna make a difference with fertility.

So what we look at is, and this is like the number one thing that I have my patients do not just only relating to fertility, but also to anything when someone has back pain and they’re like, oh, maybe I’m never gonna be able to go skiing, or, I’m ne maybe I’m not gonna be able to go running or play tennis anymore.

Those are . Worrisome. And so the focus is really, it’s not just only on the pain, it’s also gonna be on the stress that, what does that mean for an active life? A key thing which I would say is that many women’s self-worth is attached to their ability to getting pregnant. And they have these secret fears and limiting beliefs that are gonna leak into their thoughts, and that undermines their confidence. So even though they may be coming and doing all of those things that they actually might be working against themselves, right? So we’re creating this resistance or creating more internal stress.

So the beliefs and fears, they actually create an energetic, spiritual, and emotional block. And that actually affects the physical body. So what we’re offering them is an experience of themselves in a new way. So when they come for acupuncture, when they come and they get herbs and we speak to them Not so much in the Western medical, dialogue, but really talking about balancing their yin and yang increasing the blood flow, the flow of their tea improving sleep.

Those kinds of things are not the same language that will trigger them into worry. Okay. So this is one of the exercises that I give to my patients and it helps them to develop that fertility mindset. And it’s an exercise. So oftentimes, we don’t realize, and this applies to everything, that we speak negatively to ourselves, all a lot.

And that’s what causes a lot of that tension and stress. Can I do it? I can’t do it, or I’m not good enough. So what I have my patients do is think of two or three of these secret fears or limiting beliefs around conceiving a child or even being a parent. So things like I hear often, my eggs aren’t good, there must be something wrong.

It’s taking so long. I’m all alone or I’m too old. Instead, what they need to do is replace each one of these with something that’s gonna be empowering to them and help pull them forward. My eggs are in my body are strong. I’m completely functional and normal. I trust my partner will be a good parent.

My hormones are perfectly balanced and the time is now. So these are things to counter the negative beliefs. Oftentimes, you can’t stop ’em. What you can do is replace them. And another thing too is really that visualizing that it’s gonna happen. So oftentimes I have them create, I don’t have it in the slideshow, but create the a vision board really, whatever it is that you want.

Looking through a magazine, this beautiful car, this beautiful home, or what is that? That it’s really important that there is a positive image for them. So they keep moving in that direction versus looking at things or worrying about things that are, that haven’t happened and really aren’t true. So the second thing the second tip is to remove the causes of unnecessary strep.

Stress and to help your patients with the strategy. So one of the strategies is helping them with that mindset. This is also an exercise to encourage and support that. So one of the things that I would say is clear the cookies on your computer or your phone, all of the searches. Oftentimes, I’m sure you find that patients are searching their condition finding all of these like chat rooms that have problems and really the worst things that are there.

And then you get stuck in an algorithm that has a lot of clickbait and negative stories and tragedy, right? And so this is something that they need to stop doing. And really if they have a question to, to talk to you about it and you help them also, what I find is when my patients are going to fertility clinics that they’ll tend to filter for the negative stuff instead of the positive.

So they’ll . Tell me, oh, my doctor said I might have this, or this could be a problem. Or they’re testing for something and then they tend to focus on something that’s negative and not on what is actually positive. And then oftentimes in a medical office, there’s this kind of a, I don’t want to have, encourage too much positive expectations so you’re not disappointed.

So they like to manage disappointment which is . In my opinion, not their job, . And then the other thing is really what I call, French Way. If you’ve ever heard of that, people who are not helpful. Start to give you their opinion or talk about all the negative things. Oh, I know someone who had never happened and they spent, a hundred thousand dollars on I V F, or, then they had children, problem child or something like that.

And so these are really things that you teach your patients to create this container. For this thing that they want. And this not just applies with getting pregnant and having a family, but it also applies to everything else. If you wanna lose weight or get healthier, start to run a marathon.

Do things for your, develop a practice. It’s really you have to look at who are the people surrounding you and if your patients are coming to you. For help and assistance in this area, they’re already looking for something different, so we don’t wanna feed back to them the same kind of negativity and fears that they may have.

And a lot of that too is gonna have to do with, our dialogue. How do we talk to them? Do we use a lot of western dialogue or do we help to shift them into the language and metaphor of Chinese medicine? So the third tip that I suggest to my patients is to ditch those digital apps.

And those are because they cause a lot of stress. And the other thing, and then is to teach your patients how to monitor where their fertile window is, and using a low tech way to do it on paper. And the reason that I have my patients do it on paper is because the digital apps. Do they take into account like an average of a standard and really with, women individually, there might be variations in the cycle.

So oftentimes one of the problems that’ll show up is that my patients are saying like, oh, but my app says. That I should be ovulating at this time or that I should do this, or in some cases I’ve seen that an app will change their ovulation time, like go back and change the history of it to accommodate an algorithm.

And then what you have is someone trying to fit into . What a standard is, which is not necessarily for them, right? It’s like a general and we’re really looking individually. And so the other thing too is you might ask yourself, why would we use charts and thermometers and pee sticks when there are all these electronic monitors, right?

And fancy phone apps. And so here’s the thing. Electronics are a huge trigger for a stress response, and stress is one of the biggest barriers for conception, right? So this also relates to the previous exercises, like what else is, causing stress, which will disrupt hormones.

So no matter what, we know, we also need to address the diet. Now this can be a trigger for patients that might have eating disorders or previous eating disorders because it can trigger something. And also in our fast-paced, Daily life, we tend to have things delivered and it says it’s organic. But the other thing too is that all these organic drinks are in these plastic bottles.

And and also we’re trying to reduce sugar and artificial sweeteners are also become a problem with hormones and the microbiome. So cutting out processed foods, not only does it mean like fast food, I also consider things that are processed even though they’re quote unquote healthy.

So really the focus on whole and organic foods and really no alcohol is, not good for the immune system and also causes like a lot of other problems. So I don’t need to go into, for the and most . Patients are, especially the women are not drinking alcohol or even caffeine.

The thing is that their partner also needs to be like doing something as well. So a lot of the time the burden is on the female. Part of the couple and really both male and female need to participate. And even though it wasn’t in the other slide, that becomes a real issue when and I’m sure you see it, is the woman is focusing on her cycle, her chart, and when she’s fertile.

Totally stressing out. The partner may be like, whatever. And that creates a lot of distress because they’re not working on this together. So as much as you can include both of the couples or both, male and female or if it’s a, . Same sex couples in, in any way that you can have them participate as a couple, then it increases their support, especially at home, right?

’cause there’s only so much we can do. But really those are things to address. And in my practice I do ask like, how are things with your partner with it? Because when one partner gets super stressed out, That creates that can create a wedge in the relationship. And then we, I see that a lot, and sometimes the other partners, I don’t even recognize them.

They’re like so obsessed. They can become obsessed. So I put in with a star, an excellent prenatal vitamin. Now here’s the thing. A lot of patients that show up, they have done lots of research and I also find that they’re taking like way too many supplements. And this is gonna be something that’s more individual.

I would look at things that are gonna be basic in . For needs especially like B vitamins, some vitamin D like something like that. Some zinc definitely for men are gonna need to take something, some zinc, vitamin D, vitamin E, to improve the sperm. But also I just have a little star there because oftentimes, Taking lots of vitamins is equating to taking a pharmaceutical right?

Kind of not really looking oh, I don’t really need to eat well because I take vitamins. And really eating whole foods is also a practice, right? It’s something part of self-care, something you’re doing for yourself, something that you’re choosing every time instead of . Like robotically just, taking things.

And again, the partner needs to be taking supplements. It, I also added in here eliminating plastics as I mentioned. Like a lot of the drinks, even though they’re healthy, they’re in a lot of plastics and everything is in plastic. And also a lot of soaps and shampoos because those actually break down like cell membranes.

And they are hormonal disruptors. So those are our things to have your patient kind of Hey, maybe eliminate change some of these detergents and hand sanitizers. So the next is inflammation. So inflammation from . The chemicals were exposed to all around us. The pollutions the limp system is, something that helps to process metabolic waste and all hormones and nutrients and waste products actually go to and from the cells.

They pass through this intracellular matrix known as our lymph system, and we can’t remove. Toxins properly or hormonal imbalances and different kind of enzymes and stuff if our lymph system is not working properly. So all of the, that kind of inflammation and waste gets deposited in the tissues.

Now, if you’re working with patients that are undergoing fertility treatments and they’re taking a lot of hormones. One of the big complaints is that they start to gain weight around their middle. And so they get a lot of swelling, they get inflamed. And so really important is to have them do some lymphatic massage or you can show them some exercises, to move the lymph.

Exercise is one of the things that’ll help. But more like gentle exercise like yoga and tai chi, like all of those things that we prescribe our patients. But not just because it’s mindfulness, but really these are the movements that are gonna help to remove inflammation and metabolic waste and ultimately, that helps to balance the body.

And it’s also good to give them as an exercise so they’re being proactive. I. They’re on their fertility journey. I cannot emphasize more the importance of sleep. And this really ties back to what is the, our balance of yin and yang. And one of the things is like sleep deprivation is not only gonna interfere with your circadian rhythm, it’s the biological clock.

And that’s what actually . Tells the body when to release different hormones. Now, it’s not only important that you’re getting seven hours or uninterrupt like deep sleep. It’s also important that it’s at night, right? So we take advantage of the nighttime and that we’re producing enough. Melatonin, which is known as the hormone of darkness.

So that will actually then have restful sleep and have energy during the day. So studies actually show that. Sleep deprivation actually really affects men in a way. And it’s interesting because men are considered more young that it’ll affect their sperm production and really, and it’s important that they sleep at night in particular.

So there are studies around that. And really the sleep effects in relation to fertility because it is part of hormonal production, right? So this is something where we don’t have to prescribe hormones ’cause it’s not in our scope. To help to balance hormones and then also if your patients are undergoing fertility treatments to really not work against what they’re doing, right?

So you want your body to be in rhythm Alright, so just a review. I actually gave you six things mindset removing the stressors, ditching, digital addressing inflammation food and sleep. And that’s the end of the show.


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Grief and Fertility Challenges: Part 2



So we’re going to continue with grief and fertility challenges, and let’s go to the slides. Then there are the women who are diagnosed with secondary infertility.

Click here to download the transcript.

Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hi, this is Dr. Martha Lucas, and we are going to today continue with the presentation on grief and fertility challenges. So if you didn’t get to see the last presentation, the first part of this, make sure you go back and watch it. I want to thank the American Acupuncture Council for hosting this webinar and remind you that.

I have a private practice in Denver, Colorado, and Littleton, Colorado, and I am happy for you to contact me if you have any questions about this presentation. So we’re going to continue with grief and fertility challenges, and let’s go to the slides. Then there are the women who are diagnosed with secondary infertility.

Now, this is a little bit of a nebulous term, and it means these women have had a successful pregnancy. They’ve given birth, but they are struggling to get pregnant. I. The second time, and it’s interesting to them because they’re like shocked. What happened? I had a baby already. I, and statistics show that once you have a pregnancy, once you give, have a successful birth, that your chances of getting pregnant are higher.

The second time, but there is this thing called secondary infertility where women have a little bit of a hard time getting pregnant that second time. Now why? Did they get, have some scarring on the fallopian tubes? Did they have a previous C-section that led to some scarring? The causes can be varied.

And grief can also become a factor in grieving the idea that their child doesn’t have a sibling. Because again, I’ve worked with many women who only have one child. They, for some health reason or whatever, they couldn’t have another child, and so they have a layer of grief about I wanted to have more than one child.

My whole life, all I thought about was being a mother and having a . Whole slew of kids around. I want my child to have a playmate. Some people feel sorry for their only child. They feel like maybe they’re lonely. They don’t have anybody to walk to school with. They have to play by themselves, and all of that can increase their grief.

They can grieve who they used to. To be before their diagnosis. Now, it seems that everything is about appointments that you have to set up, you have to show up for, you have to infuse all your energy into all of these processes and procedures, and sometimes all of this. Grief, just even generalized grief, not even fertility.

Challenge grief can take away the comfort that we used to get in the little things like taking a walk or meeting a friend for lunch or reading, going to a coffee shop, or going to a park and reading. And then even the bigger things, not being happy at family gatherings in with grief sometimes, especially longstanding grief.

It. It just takes away the satisfaction or joy that you get in what used to be joyful experiences. Sometimes women who used to pursue hobbies or their passions are now too tired, too distracted, or too sad to do those things that used to bring them joy. They feel like they used to be a generally happy, optimistic, hopeful person, but now they feel like a shell over their formal.

Former selves, they say they watch those things in life happen. Like they’re watching them on a TV screen, they’re not really experiencing them. They’re in the room, they’re in the family event, but inside they are not experiencing the happiness of the event. They want to engage in life the way they used to before they had to start their infertility treatment, but they just can’t do it.

They just long for their pre. Diagnosis self, but the grief just takes over. Now what about the woman who suffers through recurrent pregnancy losses? This includes what is called a chemical pregnancy, which the pregnancy test results get lighter over time. I. Hormone levels go down and then, and sometimes unfortunately, that first promising ultrasound ends in a loss, losing a child and deciding to continue with pregnancy treatments can be the most excruciating emotional experience that a woman or a couple can have.

They for them. It seems like the losses go on and on. The things to grieve go on and on. So this is partly what we need to support people through when they’re going through this in their fertility treatment. And unfortunately, infertility is lonely. Even though you have a million appointments and you seem to have a support system, all of that does not take away that grief of trying to have or grow a family.

The wonderful support does not inherently change the circumstances of the woman plus the woman. You know it, we all want support, right? But. Part of the problem with the support is the person feeling like she’s constantly explaining what part of the process are you in right now? Or feel the myriad of responses of people saying, oh how did that go for you?

How did that last treatment turn out? Constant answering questions about what’s going on with your treatment. Where are you in the process? Are you going to do it again? There’s all of that, that even though support is good, having a support system is good. Part of a support system is having to talk about it.

And then of course the drugs, a lots of them cause powerful treatment effects, which is a good thing. But they also have strong side effects. For example, oral birth control pills. Can have very powerful side effects. And the rate of depression in women taking birth control pills is five to 50% being more common, most common in the progesterone dominant formulas.

So what does it mean in Chinese medicine? How are the organs involved? The liver is known to regulate the flow of chi and emotions. We all know that the commander of qi, it stores blood and regulates substances. Emotions cause physical disease. How? Through stagnation. Through stagnation, that causes deficiency through stagnation that causes excess.

Through the deficiency of blood. For example, the liver, blood, heart, blood, the heart governs blood and stores the she emotional stress can make heart, blood and yin deficients. See, thereby of course, there we find the shen is disturbed. The emotions are disturbed and important for fertility challenges.

Blood flow to the uterus becomes compromised. Spleen helps make digestion work well. We need the digestion to make good blood in order for us to have a successful pregnancy because digestion, that doesn’t work well and worry. Remember, in a previous , Presentation I was talking about how worry makes the digestive pulses go backwards.

All of that disrupts the flow of chi in the earth, in the center, in the spleen and stomach pulses, and that is again going to negatively affect blood flow to the uterus. Worries effect on the spleen also can lead to poor appetite, fatigue, sleeplessness, brain fog. And again, all of those are gonna be a negative effect on the woman who’s trying to get pregnant.

Grief gets stuck in the lungs so the immune system is affected and the flow of Q throughout the body can be compromised because that is part of the lungs. Job right now, you’ll recall that spleen and stomach, earth and metal lung, large intestine are the immune system. So that’s why if the lung pulse is stagnated or short because of grief, then the whole immune system can be compromised.

And again, if the lungs can’t manage the flow of Q and blood, then you’re gonna have a negative effect in the uterus. The lungs are about taping in the new and letting go of the old, but old grief and continuing grief can get stuck in the lung pulses. Some people lose the ability to connect their inside world with the outside world, and metal is about that communication.

The release of grief is essential to allowing the body to heal and get the communication with the inside and outside going again. Otherwise, the person is what we call armored. They become very heavy because of their heavy emotional burden. Grief can be separating, isolating, and it can be cutting them off from their

Relationships with the rest of the world and an important message for people who are experiencing grief is it’s okay to feel your grief. You don’t have to hold it in, as I said, and any one of you have taken a class from me, know that I tell people emotions have to be expressed. You must let them out.

You can’t leave them in ’cause they’re gonna mess up your chi. Mess up the flow of oxygen and blood in your body. And I tell them it’s okay to use your voice while you’re crying. The frontal lobe, our San Jou area will go round and round and round and round and round when you cry in silence with the same message over and over and over and over again.

But when you use your voice, when you’re grieving and crying, that . Cuts off that San Jal frontal lobe running around in a circle. So it is okay to feel your grief and it is okay to use your voice in your grief. So here’s in a, here’s a little bit of a picture of what the lung large intestine pulse might feel like.

You, it might feel like . The lung large intestine, pulse is short, it doesn’t flow. You’ll notice at the top of the picture there is the sine wave. That’s how the normal pulse would feel. Yang and yin yang and yin flowing through all of the positions. But the lung pulse in grief may feel like it’s a shorter pulse, or that little dot indicates like a naughtiness, almost like a little ball stuck in the pulse.

A spinning bean pulse, if you will. Plus the trauma of the fertility challenge and experience can leave the earth position empty. Remember, if the energy can’t flow through the lung large intestine, again, you can see it’s a flow yang and yin yang and yin all connected. But if one that’s the normal pulse on the top there.

But if the normal pulse that flow is. Stopped or stagnated by the lung pulse, then the spleen stomach isn’t going to be getting any . Energy either, and that’s the trauma pulse, that deep emptiness in the spleen stomach. And this person, believe me, if they’ve had past trauma, then this whole fertility challenge experience can key into that.

And then they’ve got a. A double problem. They’re not making good quality oxygen in blood. It’s not being floated around by the lung large intestine. And then of course, that leads to a negative effect on the flow of uterine blood. I. The patient’s experiences may also reignite, as I said, old patterns of trauma, grief from childhood, the feeling that your life is outta control.

Because believe me, as lots of women going through all of these challenges feel like their life is outta control and that their body is outta control. Their body just will not do what they want it to do, which is get pregnant and have a successful birth. So all of that can lead to that empty spleen pulse from old trauma.

Now this is what we want the normal pulse to look like. We want the left and the right to connect with each other, the kidneys, to connect with the left side and the right side. And again, if in that large intestine lung position there’s a knot or it’s short and it’s not flowing, then you’re not going to get the flow of energy through all of the organ systems.

And you’ll notice those are sign waves. The infinity symbol is a sine wave yang and yin, and then a sine wave yang and yin. So we need for the kidneys to be able to support all of the other systems. Gallbladder liver to small intestine, heart, and then back to the other side, a continuous flow of sine waves.

That is the goal of every acupuncture treatment. So that’s why if grief is negatively impacting , The one position or more than one position? It is impacting more than one position because it’s stagnated. So it’s not allowing the energy to flow over to the other side. So this is the importance of figuring out how we can release the grief in that position.

Now, one way to do it is to use. Low points, right? Maybe you open the lung and the large intestine low, or you open the spleen, stomach, low points, anything that’s going to allow you to start relieving that stagnation in the lungs. I love liver. 14 lung one, liver 14 lung one pointed out. That’s an entry, exit point, treatment, and it will take some of the pressure off of the lungs.

Plus for grief, lung two is a very important point for lifting the clouds releasing the clouds or . Releasing grief, so you know, us thinking about how can I open the lungs? Sometimes I’ll do liver 14 lung one, also kidney 27 pointed out just to really open, physically open the flow of.

The chest, allowing the person to feel more. Sometimes we need to use sky points because again, the person’s energy is stagnated. They’re not in touch with their spirit anymore. I enjoy the idea of using something like Pericardium three, heart five, heart seven. That way again, I am opening up the heart protector because

Longstanding grief can definitely start to affect the pericardium because its job is to protect the shen. So sometimes going straight for the heart pulses, going straight for the heart channel with people isn’t the best choice because their shen is tender. So approaching it from the pericardium and then moving into the heart sometimes is a better

Option but the main goal is getting the lung and large intestine channel open so that it will flow over to the other kidney side. So again, you might open kidney four, the low point on the kidneys to get that energy flowing, and the kidney is more likely to accept it and get consolidated and strong to help the woman through this fertility challenge.

As I said, we can use the low points kidney four. The, at this time the person and the kidneys might be in a . Protective mode. So opening up the kidney pulse is very good for that. I want to thank you for watching. I also want to thank the American Acupuncture Council again.

Also you can see my teaching website is lucas teachings.com and my private practice site, which as I said is my . Clinics are located in Denver and Littleton Colorado is acupuncture woman.com and feel free to contact me if you have any questions. .


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Worry and Fertility – Dr. Lucas



Today’s topic is worry and fertility, because. One of the main emotions that are fertility challenged patients, or some people call them infertility patients have is worry.

Click here to download the transcript.

Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hi, it’s Dr. Martha Lucas here to talk with you today about fertility. I am very happy to be here and want to thank the American Acupuncture Council for sponsoring this webinar. My offices are located in Denver and Littleton, Colorado, but I teach everywhere. And my teaching website is lucas teachings.com.

So let’s go to the slides.

Today’s topic is worry and fertility, because. One of the main emotions that are fertility challenged patients, or some people call them infertility patients have is worry. And as you know from the history of Chinese medicine, emotional conditions can cause physical disease or physical symptoms, and we are the.

When we’re in utero, we are the vibration of our parents, especially of our mother. So there is a reason for an additional reason for the mother to try to get rid of that worry pulse, that worry, that anxious energy. At least when she’s pregnant. But as I will say later, most of the time it doesn’t go away.

Which is why we need to treat her throughout her pregnancy. Because even when the end is having a healthy baby, right? That’s the end goal. Healthy baby. Healthy mother. A long struggle to conceive can take a brutal toll on the couple, the both people involved, women and men who have lived with things like anxiety, worry, sadness, depression, and other emotions that are associated with fertility challenges, they c may even have those patterns.

After the healthy birth. So even seeing the couple or the mother after the birth is important. There is a quotation by Van Golf that says there may be a great fire in our soul, but no one ever comes to warm himself by it. All that pastors by can see is a little smoke. Now we know about the fire within, right?

How many people do we pass by every day that we just see the outside? We have no idea about the raging fire, the raging worry that’s inside of them. They may have a passion or a pain inside that is so great. They feel like they can barely contain it, but we don’t see it on the outside. Now, we as practitioners, Who specialize in treating fertility, know about that raging fire.

All of us know that cousin or aunt who loves kids or a friend of ours, and we see the sadness in her eyes at baby showers, but we don’t really know the depth of that person’s pain. We can see how coworkers light up whenever people talk about their children, but we don’t really know why.

He or she didn’t have any children. In fact, it becomes a little bit of a topic that you’re not really certain how to address or begin talking with people about it. We read something once in a while about. Recurrent miscarriages and we feel sorry for the person, or we felt sorry for the person, but we couldn’t picture anyone who we knew who had lost multiple consecutive pregnancies until, as I said, we are treating fertility challenges and then we know all of these people.

And the fire inside their passion, their desire fire can leave serious damage behind. And it’s hard unless you’re treating it to fully grasp what fertility challenges involved, unless you are dealing with it personally. As I said, the worry we’re gonna talk about doesn’t go away lots of the times when you get pregnant.

One of my fertility patients, Finally, got pregnant, had a healthy live birth, then she got pregnant again. In fact, she came to see me and she said, oh, I was coming to see you because we wanna get pregnant again, but guess what? I’m pregnant already, but I’m worried. And I said, are you worried about having a miscarriage?

Because she had miscarriages already. And she said yes. And again, I still had to deal with that worry, even though. She’d already had a baby, which does not necessarily mean you’re gonna get pregnant again or easily get pregnant or pregnant at all. And I needed to explain to her, are you having symptoms of a miscarriage?

No. Okay, then let’s work on that. Worry. Like I said, many people believe that the end game is have a baby, and if they can just get that prize, all their worries about infertility will go away. But that is not how it is in real life. It’s much, much bigger than that. It the. Experience they’re going through really affects their physical and mental health in insidious and sometimes long lasting ways.

Because struggling to have a biological child is a complicated emotional process and. , it’s an invisible loss, right? There aren’t any rituals for miscarriages. There aren’t any rituals for somebody who gets pregnant and at six weeks they realize, oh, there’s no heartbeat. Or genetically speaking, where this is not gonna be a viable pregnancy.

There aren’t any rituals for that. So these people are experiencing these losses without being able to go through. Hey, I’ve had this loss and I need to grieve, and I need people to grieve with me. Now we can grieve with them, right? And we get them through it. However, There aren’t any formal rituals for it.

And then they start to feel like there’s something wrong with them. I’ve had, and I’m sure you have to, women who had previously had an abortion who feel like, oh, that’s my punishment now my punishment is I’m never gonna get pregnant. That’s of course not true, but because of their.

Feelings about it because of this constant try and lose. Try and lose. Try and lose. What happens is they start to take it internally. They start to think of themselves as a bad person or lose some of their self-esteem. They may also experience shame. And part of shame is why can’t I be happy at my girlfriends?

Baby shower. Because you’re disappointed, because you’re sad, because you’re grieving your own loss, or the potential loss, or the idea that maybe you’re never going to have a biological child, but lots of people envy makes them feel shameful. So there’s that underlay of I can’t be happy for anybody else because I can’t be happy for myself.

And then that goes into worry that they’re going to lose friends. If I can’t show my happiness at my girlfriend’s baby shower, maybe she’s not gonna wanna be my friend anymore. So you can see that their worry about it, their constant thinking about it about. Whether or not they can get pregnant, how are they gonna have to go to a baby shower?

I think we have all heard the stories of, wow, I’m trying to get pregnant, and everybody around me is pregnant. It’s amazing how many patients tell us that, that, yep, am I Another coworker came in today. They weren’t even trying, and they’re pregnant. So it’s just all consuming sometimes. And they also have the worry that their relationship will suffer and relationships have been damaged by reproductive issues because there’s so much pressure to have that biological child.

And that affects intimacy. And this is partly why I always treat the man and the woman. That’s my protocol. I do not only treat the woman. I started doing that years and years ago, because we all know it takes young and it takes yin. And if the young part of the picture is. Over here and out of it.

Then how are we going to succeed? And remember, 40% of the time, reproductive challenges are on the male side. That’s a huge. Piece of percent you can. It would theoretically suggest that your success rate could go up. Success rate, helping people get pregnant by 40% if you treat the male. So find out about and treat the male.

And partly I can tell you in terms of the pressure I’ve had men be very grateful that I’m seeing them because they say they’re a nervous wreck. They’re on call all the time. Their wife is always checking her temperature and her phone app on when she’s gonna ovulate. And it’s just a lot of.

Tension for them. Plus remember the hormones that are involved in if a woman’s gonna get I V F or some fertility clinic treatment and getting hormones, boy oh boy, those can really intensify her emotions so everything can get worse. Anger, worry, depression, all of those can be escalated and. And sometimes your easiest target or your most available target is your partner who is really trying to help you, but can feel a little helpless.

So I’ve even ex, guided couples in how often to have intercourse. Studies show that if you have intercourse every three days, you are going to within three months, hit ovulation at the right time. I’ve had men. Thank me for giving their wife that information because again, they feel pressured to have intercourse.

Too often they are happy. It’s a pleasant experience, but it starts to become unpleasant when they’re on call, when it’s pressure, when it has to happen right now. So then even their intimacy gets in this negative cycle because of the woman’s worry. And men worry about it too, about being able to have that biological child.

And remember about their experience of loss too. Fathers to be, experience a loss of a miscarriage or having to end a pregnancy because of genetic problems and unsuccessful I V F treatment cycles. Remember, they are affected too. They would like to have a biological child. They get this thing done, they, it looks good.

The wife is. Pregnant, every, the woman is pregnant, everything’s looking good, and then it doesn’t work out that way. Remember, they are a part of it too. It is an emotional loss experience for the male of the partner also of the partnership also. So again, it’s, it can be very complex. Then there’s what is called unexplained secondary infertility.

Very nebulous term, right? It starts with the word unexplained, and this is when women have successfully given birth already. , but for some reason they are not able to easily get pregnant a second time. And there are timelines on this, it’s a shock, right? They feel like wait a minute. I got pregnant so easily the first time.

Why isn’t it happening now? Why shouldn’t I be able to have another baby? Why is this happening? Why won’t my body do what it’s supposed to do? So there’s not only the first time trying to get pregnant, but also. Future times can be affected by fertility challenges and you need to obviously look at everything, health conditions, surgeries what did they have, a previous C-section, and maybe there’s some scar tissue there.

Looking at all of that for the second time around. and research has also shown that women dealing with fertility challenges have depression and anxiety levels similar to those who are suffering with cancer, H I V and heart disease. And through our work, we can help resolve that worry. And also I consider it a trauma.

I consider these losses, this journey a part of trauma. The fertility struggle has. Traumatic. Traumatic impact. Now, some people don’t think it deserves the label trauma because it isn’t life threatening, but it is fulfilling, life threatening. It is having a happy life, living a life threatening. So I feel like there is no problem with.

Treating fertility challenges, especially when there are a lot of losses as though the person has been traumatized. In fact, there are research scientists and psychologists who feel like the word trauma or the idea of trauma should be expanded to include psychological and emotional responses, not only physical.

Threats or the physical threat of life. So these people are experiencing a Ma major shift in their life. They are planning a major shift in their life that sometimes isn’t working out for them. They are exposed to constant reminders of their condition or of the fact that they can’t seem to get pregnant from everyone, from family members, coworkers, friends, medical, the people that they go to for their medical treatments and other, and pregnant women.

I think that. We can truly believe that fertility challenges affect how you see yourself and the world along the way. A lot of women have so much worry and so much doubt that they just feel like they can’t even trust themselves, that this kind of doubt and experience is just a part of who they are.

They’re just always gonna leave live in a. State of worry, a constant state of worry. And as I said, this does not turn off when they become pregnant. It does not turn off when they hear that heartbeat. It’s a pattern in their body and they, we are gonna help them get past it. using acupuncture and sometimes herbs they’re always bracing themselves, right?

They’ve gone through fertility treatments that didn’t work. Some have failed adoption attempts. That’s also a traumatic experience for women. They’re bracing themselves all the way through their ivf, sometimes through a C-section, so they, you might think they’re invincible and a lot of people do. I think.

Feel like these women are invincible cuz look what they’ve been through. But that’s not true. They are extremely delicate inside and they are always thinking the other shoe is gonna drop. They are pregnant, but they are always waiting for something bad to happen with that pregnancy.

And even women who have a child after the child is born still feel like. Guilt over, oh, I have this baby finally. Or is something gonna happen to this baby because of that worry that they went through sometimes the years of their fertility treatments. So it’s that constant rollercoaster and unfortunately sometimes it’s off the rollercoaster and you’re still in defeat.

Plus, of course, these women, these worried women very often and something to pay attention to with your fertility patients, they very often deal with postpartum depression because again, even though it seems like the golden ring is that live healthy birth, It doesn’t take away the patterns of worry that they had while they were going through all of their treatments.

We need to be aware of that, a after our patient has their babies. So what has all this got to do with worry? In this picture of the right pulse side, so the right positions, you can see that worry earth is in that middle position there. And worry makes the energy go backward toward the kidneys.

Now, as you know for if you’ve heard me talk about pulse diagnosis, my system before the kidneys, and we know this, the kidneys fund everything, so we really don’t need a perverse movement going back toward the kidneys, but that’s what worry does to your digestion. So that’s one of the problems with worry is that it wrecks the Earth’s spleen stomach position and sends it back toward the kidneys.

The part that I talked about with trauma, the trauma can empty that earth sector. That’s what a trauma pulse feels like. These are, this is where unresolved, that continuous cascade of worry and other. Emotions that come with the experience. Leave the pulse, the earth, spleen, stomach, our digestive, our nurturing center can become empty.

In fact, it can be so empty that under your finger, it feels almost like that arrow, like it’s sucking down. This person is so needy and empty that their, literally, their earth is sinking. And then you’ll notice in the lung, large intestine position, I put a little arrow just to remind you that the positions flow through each other like those little sine waves on top of the line.

If earth is empty, Then there is no energy going to the large intestine in the lung. So you’re gonna have an out of balance lung, large intestine pulse. And as earth and metal make the immune system so that whole, those two whole sectors are liable to be empty and out way outta balance.

Now, as you can imagine from me showing you those, Pulse when Earth is not working, when earth is empty, when Earth is going back toward the kidneys, when digestion isn’t working, this person is not making good quality energy. They cannot make good quality blood, which. We’re trying to create a warm, fertile environment, a blood filled environment in the uterus, but they’re not making good quality blood.

Their ability to nurture themselves decreases because Earth is how we nurture ourselves. Digestion, working well is how we make our energy, make our blood, nurture ourselves, keep ourselves alive, and then their immune system can also suffer well. We don’t really need them catching frequent colds or that sort of thing.

Having bad allergies, having skin problems. We don’t need to add immune system problems onto their fertility challenge. And as I said, their skin might suffer. They might start to have hair loss. That is because partly that spleen, stomach sector, that earth sector is not moving into the lung large intestine.

So the immune system is suffering. The skin is suffering, the hair is suffering. And they basically just are losing their core, right? The where would be under my middle finger, the core, nothing is flowing from the kidneys into the earth, into the long, large intestine. So again, we, that’s a major part of treating fertility.

That’s why I always tell my students, treat digestion on every fertility patient because, They have to make good quality energy, make good quality blood, have enough blood to flow to the uterus, have a good solid immune system, and the only way they’re gonna do that is if we can keep their earth, their spleen, stomach, sector of the pulse strong.

Now the second pulse picture I showed you, which was the earth sector going down, that, as I said, is related to old trauma patterns. Now this could be. Worry from childhood sometimes I treat an awful lot of trauma. I treat an awful lot of people who today’s issues are because of what happened way back.

Because your pulses remember everything. They’re your Rosetta stone. So all that stuff is in there. Even if your conscious mind has blocked it out, your subconscious mind and your energetic body has those patterns in there. So I will ask them, do you feel like you worried as a child? and then you can say other things like, did you feel like your life was outta control?

Now, as kids, almost all of our lives are outta control. Let’s face it, we don’t have any control. Our parents control everything. But that’s different than worrying that your parents are gonna get a divorce or worrying that your dad who’s an alcoholic is gonna make it home alive without having an accident.

Worry like that, is going to. Create some sort of old trauma and it can lead these people to feel like their body’s outta control. So that again, would show up as a very deep, empty earth, spleen, stomach pulse, old trauma that is unresolved. Now the beauty of acupuncture is we can recycle that old trauma pattern into.

back into the digestion, back into nurturing the spirit, back into flowing through the kidneys. So like the infinity symbol here, that is the beauty of acupuncture for treating trauma. We can make that. Infinity symbol happened. The pulses from both sides connected to each other. That’s what good health is, that infinity symbol, all of the organ systems communicating with each other, flowing from side to side, everyone getting a continuous flow of energy rather than what I showed you with the spleen, stomach sector going back and forth, or just frankly being empty.

Now one way to accomplish getting the organ systems connected is using the low points. Now I know, I don’t do what I call prescription Chinese medicine. I follow the pulses and I do what the pulses tell me to do with the patient. However, sometimes you do need to connect things like the kidney low, if the, we use that kidney low.

If we s. We think the person is seeing an emotional vent as the worst possible thing that could ever happen to them, thereby leading to fear and sometimes paralyzing fear. All right, these women are afraid they’re never gonna have a baby. That’s their worry. Their worry is, this month is not gonna work.

Next month is not gonna work. I’m never going to have a biological child. So there is. A total acceptance in opening up kidney four to get the kidneys flowing into the other organ systems. Get them supporting the other organ systems.

Some other things are if the patient reacts quickly to everything, they’re, they’ve lost their ability to handle and manipulate their world. Then the stomach is associated with pensiveness and worry. So you can see you can do stomach 40. It’ll help regulate digestion. Spleen four also will help the gut and will help the blood, and it’s the master point of the chok, which is my.

Favorite. Favorite, I think extraordinary, or we’ll say one of my big favorite, extraordinary, I love, love, love the Chong Ma because as it starts in the fire, in the belly, comes up the body, and then encircles the spirit like a lollipop. That’s the vision I give my patients, and then recycles back down a perfect fertility channel.

So spleen four is a great low for you to try heart five. Remember? This person is having a hard time evaluating and articulating their feelings because their main feeling is worry and grief, worry and depression, worry, and anxiety. So this helps them the energetically to help them reevaluate the situation, help them speak to others about the situation.

Remember I said there aren’t any rituals for the losses that happen every month when you don’t get pregnant, however, We can help them with heart. Five. The small intestine low represents redefining. Emotional processes and getting feedback from others and being more accepting of that feedback. So it’s about reprocessing and integrating our emotions.

And the pericardium or heart protector, low, right? P six, PC six, that represents our defense mechanisms and. It can help us get out of those holding patterns and frankly, we might be tempted to go to heart seven when someone is suffering a lot from worry and pensiveness and we wanna nourish their spirit.

But remember, the pericardium might be protecting the heart. So we need to go through the pericardium some sometimes re, as I said, really tempted to go right to the heart, but honestly, sometimes we need to go through the pericardium to the heart, and PC six will help them with their coping mechanisms during these, what are very trying times for them.

Then there’s gallbladder 37 chance to let go of the stagnation of our feelings, illuminating brightness. Nice option for people going through this. And then the liver low. Remember, it’s gonna help when we’re feel like we’re controlled by something else than other ourselves. And they are. If they’re in an IVF clinic who’s controlling them, they feel totally outta control of their own body.

They’re, they might be having negative side effects. They have to do this on this day and this on this day, and this on this day. You can’t create good chi and blood when you’re stuck like that. So that combination is also very nice. Liver five. Gall bladder 37, they’re, they need blood for creation and that’s a part of liver five.

Blood moving for creation and them able to experience their passion, their desire in a positive way. So I wanna thank you very much for watching this. I wanna, again, thank the American Acupuncture Council. I am available to help you with any questions you have. You can go to lucasteachings.com and see course selections.

There’s a contact Dr. Lucas button there. Acupuncture woman is my. Private practice site. There’s a contact Dr. Martha button there, and my email address is dr. M Lucas acupuncture woman.com. Drmlucas@acupuncturewoman.com. If you need, have any questions or would like to talk with me about just anything, Chinese medicine, and next time we’re gonna talk about depression and fertility challenges.

Thank you.


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Fear and Fertility – Dr. Martha Lucas



The diagnosis of infertility or being infertile is very damning for people. It’s scary. It’s like the doctor says, you’re infertile so well, what do I, what am I even trying for?

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Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Hi, this is Dr. Martha Lucas here with you today. I am a research psychologist and practitioner of Chinese medicine in Denver and Littleton Colorado. In Littleton, I work in a western medicine clinic so that’s a cool way for Chinese medicine to be integrated with Western medicine. Also, in my private practice, I treat mainly internal medicine. My specialty is the diagnosis but I also teach Chinese medicine topics including Mei Zen cosmetic acupuncture, pulse diagnosis and balancing, and a number of other practice building topics.

Let’s go to the slides. You may notice that I say fertility, I don’t say infertility. I call it a fertility challenge. It means that you as the patient have some issues with fertility, with conceiving. The diagnosis of infertility or being infertile is very damning for people. It’s scary; when a doctor says you’re infertile, you’re never going to have a baby, why would you even keep trying. When we call it a fertility challenge, we know that we are working on a goal that may actually happen, rather than just saying you are infertile.

Parenthood is one of the most desired and valued goals of adulthood. Issues with fertility is a very common diagnosis. That’s why we have so many fertility clinics or I guess some call them infertility clinics. Parenthood is a very much desired goal for women and men.

Fear, is an expectation of negative outcomes right? And fear can be constructed from a very complex interplay of different factors – cultural, psychological, social, physical – and this fear actually has a name. It is called Fear of Infertility. It impacts us globally, it is not something that is just in the United States.  Basically, it is the fear of inability to achieve pregnancy or father a child.

Some Fear of Infertility is born out of misinformation. And as you can guess, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Years ago, a book called Everything you need to know when you are pregnant came out and I told my patients not to read it. I told them that it’s a natural process to be pregnant, just go with it. For one thing, you are coming for treatment. We will keep good track of it. I actually had a pregnant young lady come in once, who told me that she was a nervous wreck all night because she had slept on her left side for a while and she had read in some book that if you sleep on your left side when you’re pregnant, the fetus is not going to get any blood flow. Naturally, I told her to stop reading that book. Pregnancy is a natural process. You are coming to see me, you are getting medical care, everything is fine.

Some of this misinformation includes things like that though. Some say that the oral contraceptive pills stay in the womb and accumulate. Some of the information is very crazy sounding but it is something that women hear and sometimes believe. Some people believe that birth control blocked their ability to get pregnant and makes them infertile. There is the idea that the HPV vaccine is something that will make you infertile. Or just the idea that if you use any kind of contraception, your womb is going to get weak.

So all of these fears and misinformation can impact behavior. For example, people may not do family planning anymore. They might just try going for getting pregnant without any help or advice. One of my patients was having intercourse every day and not getting pregnant. I told her to stop that, you don’t need to have intercourse that frequently because the sperm needs to regenerate and all the energies need to rebuild in between intercourse. Studies show that if you have intercourse once every three days, eventually you are going to hit ovulation. Within a three month period, you are likely going to hit the best time to conceive. And sure enough, after they stopped having intercourse every day, she was pregnant the next month. So again, misinformation keeps women from going to the doctor and trying some other crazy stuff rather than getting information that is bona fide and true. The idea that the male is harmed if you have an IUD is another piece of misinformation.

What all of that does is construct fear. It constructs expectations of negative outcomes. And there is the famous misinformation that you cannot get pregnant after you are 35 years old. That is one of my favorites, and believe me, I have had plenty of women and probably so have you, say I’m over 35 and I can’t get pregnant now. That is a distortion of the truth. So is if you try for a year and don’t get pregnant you will never get pregnant – another one. Some women tell me their periods have been so irregular that they must be infertile. All that is misinformation and they also get interesting advice like you just have to try harder. It really does not work that way.

And there is the big issue that fertility is a female problem. That is absolutely not true. 40% of the time it’s the male’s issue. So this is why in my practice, I see both the man and the woman. I am happy to see the woman and get her periods in order before we move to my fertility protocol, but I insist on seeing the male part of the conception team because if his Dai Mai is blocked, his reproduction is not getting appropriate energy – the kind of energy it should be getting. So I really do work hard on making sure that the male comes in for treatment because for another thing, he is suffering from fear of infertility and dealing with the female’s emotions; they’re both lumped into this big worry thing, in a fear experience. Therefore I strongly recommend that you also treat the male, that you treat couples with fertility challenges, not just the woman. The male has an impact on conception.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the kidney system is a powerhouse right? The fire in the belly is one of our most important energetics systems. It is the root of pre-heaven and post heaven qi and kidney essence is a combination of those. It is very important for growth and development and sexual maturation after puberty. It more focuses on reproductive function and fertility in adulthood. And, as it declines with age, we get things like loss of teeth, hair loss, the symptoms of menopause. We do eventually become unable to conceive and then of course we have impairment of cognitive functions. So maintaining good quality kidney qi is important for us and as practitioners, understanding the relationship of fear, kidneys, and fertility is important.

It is the kidneys that fund all of the pulse positions. So if kidney qi is scattered, if it is not well formed and weak and scattered, then how is it going to support all of the other systems? So if it looks like this, all those little scattered points, then it is going to be hard to fund all the rest of the organ systems. In addition to regulating the body fluids and growth, the kidneys also keep yin and yang in balance. That is partly why it is so important to balance, to make sure that the kidney pulses are balanced and strong, because as I just said, they fund all of the other organ systems and keep yin and yang balanced. They also govern body fluids so tears, saliva, perspiration, and fluids that lubricate all of our joints are regulated by the kidneys. They store the life force and are associated with the healthy transitions through life stages.

So from childhood, early adulthood, all the way through the aging process and then separating as we get closer to death is how they work. It makes sense that we need kidney energy to live so it also makes sense that we need it to procreate. But that energy, kidney energy can become lost and scattered as a result of fear that men and women have about the possibility that they cannot conceive. I know you see more women and they are the ones who almost always make the phone call/appointment about being infertile or having fertility challenges. But I can tell you from experience that when the male of the partnership is involved and treated, everyone is a little more calm. They understand the situation a little better instead of it all being a woman’s problem, just a woman’s problem.

We know that stress can negatively affect the ability to conceive as well. So does fear. The fear that people have that they are not going to be able to get pregnant and carry a healthy pregnancy through a healthy birth, can and does negatively affect fertility. Just like we know that stress can make irregular periods it can also cause lack of ovulation. Fear also can negatively affect sperm quality and motility. So there again, we have information about fear and stress. We also need to treat the male partner to manage hormonal imbalances. Stress can wreck the hormones which can also have a negative effect on someone’s ability to conceive.

Besides the usual and customary pulse positions, we all know what they are, my system also includes on the left kidney side the uterus and the prostate. So the left kidney side is where you are looking for uterus and prostate. And it is on the left side where you are going to follow the pregnancy. In the beginning it feels like a little blip, a little knot upward hitting your finger. But as the pregnancy goes on, that knottiness gets bigger and feels stronger in the pulse.

So let’s go on to what does a scattered kidney pulse feel like. First of all, you feel the kidneys with deep pressure. So there’s a lot of pressure with your fingers down on the pulses, and you should be able to find the kidneys there. But when there is fear in the system, the kidney pulse feels what I called diffused or scattered. That means that it is scattering under your fingers instead of feeling like a flow. A flow between the organ systems is what we want to feel. We want to feel a flow like a river. But fear makes it feel more scattered. I describe it as – you know how fireworks start out strong right? There’s a boom, they go up in the air, and then they fall down in the air like this – like little points of light. I like to say that’s how the kidney pulse feels when fear is involved. It feels like little points of information on your finger, like little fragments of the pulse. If it’s that scattered, there is no ability for it to move forward and fund the rest of the pulse positions. That is the main problem with fear.

We need to get the kidneys open and flowing in order to make the rest of the positions work correctly. One of the things we need to remember is that fear is going on and that it is damaging the source qi. It does not allow the kidneys to have regular pulse form. In other words, the sine wave, yang and yin, yang and yin – it doesn’t allow the flow to the rest of the meridians systems.

So here’s a picture of it. As you can see, this is the left side, kidneys, gallbladder, liver, small intestine, heart, and then those little dots in the kidney position. That is how the kidney pulse feels under your fingertips when it is scattered. When you are feeling the pulse and the person has fear, it is scattered. You might not say the words to them, do you have any fear in your life? Sometimes you need to just ask about stress or ask about the period, ask about their digestion, the things that are funded by the kidneys and you can then move onto a more specific question about fear.

I have a case study of a woman who I felt fear in her pulses. She was only 34 years old, no reason for her to be infertile, but of course the fertility clinic told her when do you want your IVF? She said she knew an acupuncturist who helped her daughter, who happens to have lupus, get pregnant and have a successful pregnancy so she was going to do that first. Of course, they told her we will see you in three months, we’ll go over your blood work and your hormones again, and then we will schedule your IVF. But she was determined that she was going to get pregnant naturally. So I was feeling her pulses, and could feel some fear but from the outside her life looked wonderful. She did not have any health problems, both of the couple had good jobs, they were happy for all intents and purposes. So I asked her about her childhood. She said it was perfect but then as we talked about it more and I told her about the fear I felt, she remembered that she grew up in a small European country during war time. I asked her if any of her brothers or her father were involved in the war. Did they get hurt? She said no, it was just normal life but there was a war going on and when that sort of history is with the patient, we need to study the pulse is the kidney pulse is a little bit more.

As I said earlier there are a number of big issues when the kidney qi is scattered because all of the organ systems are funded by that. When I show my patients their pulse picture, I always show them that, that these kidneys, the section right here in the middle, is what’s funding everything else. It is funding all of the other organ systems. So it’s really important that the kidney qi be secure and have a flow, have a movement instead of there just being little pieces of it.

As you can see, because the person probably has some anxiety along with their fear, the liver energy is using up the little bit of the scattered kidney qi and attacking the heart small intestine position, and making the person even more anxious and more fearful. So this is the importance of knowing how to feel the scattered kidney pulse so that you can consolidate it and it can work with the other systems.

That is a perverse movement in the liver right? We want all of the organ systems to be nice, smooth, sine waves. So that is for me probably the biggest issue of the kidney qi being scattered, it cannot fund the rest of the positions for good health. So all of the positions are going to suffer. And when you get a perverse movement like that here in the middle jiao, the problem with that is that it’s using whatever kidney energy is in there to fund that perverse movement rather than fund healthy movements.

As I said, the arrow at the top is where the liver is attacking the heart and small intestine. Now you will notice it goes into kind of a block. Because our systems are all made to protect the spirit. We are not going to let any perverse energy into the spirit. That’s what our body is always trying to do. So this is why we need to resolve issues like that, in the liver, that frustration, because when the  heart is blocked, when the spirit part is blocked, not only does the person not feel any sadness but they don’t feel any joy either.

And as you can see, the scattered kidney pulse can lead to the other organ systems getting out of balance. Also remember, heart blood goes to the uterus. That means the heart manages blood. So if it’s blocked like in this picture, then it’s not helping the uterus at all. So again, putting together all of the functions of all of the organs, letting the kidneys fund everything is the key. They need to be in order, if they are not, then they are going to let the other organ systems get out of balance.

If the liver is attacking the heart and small intestine position, it is unable to do the blood flow to the uterus. The patient is even more anxious and sad. And it is partly because the fear is in the scattered kidney qi.

If you look at the right side where it is kidneys, stomach, spleen, lung, large intestine, you would see perhaps a dip in the digestion, a dip in the Earth spleen stomach sector, because again, the kidney qi on that side is scattered and cannot fund digestion. And we know that digestion is involved in blood flow also. So if the person’s digestion is not working well, then they are not making good quality qi or good quality blood either. And that’s what we need for the uterus. We need a nice, warm, blood-filled organ in order to be able to conceive and carry through a pregnancy, a good strong pregnancy. Because remember, the completely healthy childbirth – everybody is healthy – is still a small percentage of what happens. Many times there is some sort of complication like preeclampsia, high blood pressure, something going on so the healthy live birth and healthy pregnancy is still not 100% of the time. So this is why it is important to see your patients during their pregnancy, not only to help them get pregnant. They come to see us, they get pregnant and they think, OK, I’m good. My treatment is over. No, not really. For one thing the Dai Mai is probably blocked during the whole pregnancy. This means come for treatment, let me open the Dai Mai, let me get all the blood and oxygen flowing again instead of being stuck.

In the beginning when we help them get pregnant, they always want to say hey Dr. Martha I’m pregnant. But your treatment isn’t over. Don’t let things get to having headaches every day, or back pain every day, or morning sickness every day. Don’t let it go there before the person comes in and gets treated during their pregnancy. Keeping everything open and flowing is important. We will keep their digestion moving. If they wake up tired in the morning, it’s not because they’re pregnant, it’s because the digestion isn’t working well.

So realizing and remembering how important it is for all of the organ systems to work well, even during pregnancy or especially during pregnancy, is an important thing.

Now what treatment can you do for somebody who has fertility challenges that are related to fear? As I said, you need to get healthy kidney qi going. You need to get it bound together with the other organ systems. I say here, remember, a blocked Dai Mai is going to prevent that. So even if you don’t know how to feel a blocked Dai Mai in the pulses, open it anyway. There’s nothing wrong with using that extraordinary channel. You see a pregnant woman, you open it, then you know that it’s going to keep flowing through that area. In fact, a blocked Dai Mai may be part of the problem because it is affecting ovulation, menstruation, and in men affecting men’s ability to be a conception partner. So it is always important to remember about the Dai Mai.

And the Ren and the Chong, they help reinvigorate kidney qi and also the Chong helps with emotions and digestion. The Ren Mai of course, helps with any kind of fertility or menstruation issue even libido. For example, some women get dryer. They get symptoms of dry vagina and they say that they lose their libido and really do not want to have intercourse. They want to because they want to get pregnant, but it doesn’t feel very good. So knowing all of that and the ways that we can help that with acupuncture and herbs, will help the person.

I sometimes just do channel work also, I don’t do particular points. I just want to make sure that the meridians are all flowing. So needling the channels like kidney, bladder which is water, so moisture, get the kidney qi flowing, get it built up through the bladder channel. So it doesn’t necessarily mean certain acupuncture points or that I have a specific protocol or scattered kidney qi point formula because everyone’s pulse is different every time you see them and so it’s important to deal with what is in front of you at that moment.

And then there is lifestyle advice for people. We know that the kidneys are traditionally sensitive to cold, so we would like the person maybe to put a hot water pack on their back just to help warm up the kidneys. Eat warm foods, your water – drink it at room temperature instead of from the refrigerator. Some people say keep alcohol and things like coffee to a minimum. It depends on what their lifestyle is. If you are yin deficient, obviously you don’t want to be drinking three pots of coffee a day. So it is all about being aware of the patient’s lifestyle. We know that a little salt is beneficial to the kidneys. It is why when you crave salt, you know that our kidneys are a little out of balance. The color is traditionally black or blue so black or blue foods to strengthen and nourish the kidneys. Things like eggplant, black sesame seeds, and other foods that can nourish the kidneys including walnuts, figs, brown rice and other grains. Asking your patients to change their lifestyle is completely acceptable. One of the ways you can help them is by giving them food ideas that are going to help the kidneys.

And then there are other ways – meditation or at home Qigong. Try to control their emotions that are leading to the fear response in the kidneys. You can show them Qigong circles on their belly to help their digestion, do them clockwise. It’s a little Qigong massage; it doesn’t have to be a hard massage. It can be barely touching the belly. Meditation is just focus. Studies on meditation don’t even like to call it meditation, they call it focus. So find five minutes a day to focus. Focus on a bird singing, focus on a candle, focus on a chant. Five minutes of that a day will change your brain to be more calm. It literally changes your brain to reduce fear and anxiety. Have them do some sort of at homework to work along with your treatments to help them boost up their fertility chances.

With all that, I want to thank you very much for attending and I want to again thank the American Acupuncture Council for sponsoring this webinar.

Next time we are going to talk about worry and fertility, so I hope you’ll be able to tune in for that. This is Dr. Martha Lucas, my website for teaching is lucasteachings.com and my private practice one is acupuncturewoman.com; feel free to contact me.