A Q&A session with Dr. Peggy Regis Robinson, DAOM, L.Ac.
Why can't I get pregnant? In our fast-paced modern age, issues of infertility are quickly becoming phenomena. More and more women are seeking medical and alternative health care assistance to conceive. The old saying "first comes love, then comes marriage, than comes a baby in a baby carriage" does not necessarily prove true for the modern family, because women are taking time to establish their careers and fulfill many life ambitions before they are ready to have their first child. And unfortunately, fertility becomes more complicated the longer we wait. The modern work culture adds another complication to the issue, as both women and men work long, hard, ambitious hours that eat away at their physical and emotional selves. As we come to accept that we are not working machines, we begin to seek ways to heal ourselves. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recognizes the complex living patterns we have woven and has established methods of healing that can bring us back to ourselves and reconnect us with our fertility.
Q: How is infertility defined?
A: Modern medicine categorizes infertility as primary and secondary infertility. Primary infertility means conception has not occurred in at least one year, no contraceptive measures have been taken, and the male partner has normal reproductive functions. Secondary infertility refers to women who are already mothers, who do not use contraceptives and have not been able to conceive again in at least one year.
Q: How does TCM treat infertility?
A: The basis of all Chinese theory is Qi. The concept of Qi dates back to early Daoist philosophies that envision People, the Earth and the Universe as all connected by the same unifying force. When your Qi is not balanced in your body, disorder, illness or disease can set in. Restoring balance to your body ultimately stabilizes hormone levels and aids with blood flow to the reproductive organs. This re- instated balance will increase ovarian function in women and sperm production in men.
In TCM we believe that conception occurs when the Qi from both partners is combined, so both members of a couples should consider acupuncture treatments regardless of which one is experiencing a fertility imbalance. For the same reason, couples who are not experiencing any immediate infertility issues, but are preparing to conceive will also benefit from acupuncture treatments.
Q: How does TCM work in conjunction with IVF and other medical infertility procedures?
A: Western medicine excels at isolating and timing fertility. TCM excels at creating an overall hospitable environment for the fertilized ovum. This powerful combination statistically increases the potential for a healthy pregnancy by over 50%.
Q: What will my treatment be like?
A: On your first visit, we will begin with a thorough review of your present and past medical history. We use this information, along with insights gained by observing your tongue and taking your pulses, to learn what is going on in your body. In TCM, we understand that the imbalances in each person’s body are unique to that individual. By looking at all these details we can develop a pattern diagnosis that is specific to you. We then use acupuncture needles to access your Qi at specific points on your body. And the treatment does not stop there. Because TCM treats you as a whole person, we may also recommend herbal formulas, diet alterations, and meditative/breathing arts like yoga, tai chi or qi gong to further promote your well being and assist in achieving your fertility.
Q: How many treatments will I need?
A: Acupuncture is not a one-time procedure; you will need to see your acupuncturist once or twice a week for a series of weeks or even months depending upon your unique pattern of imbalances. A series of 12 treatments or more is normal.
Q: How should I choose a TCM practitioner?
A: It is important to find a practitioner who is right for you. This is a very personal choice. Request a consultation and meet with the practitioner before making your final decision.
Keep in mind that creating your treatment plan is an extremely personalized process. There are many emotional as well as physiological factors to consider.
Dr. Peggy Regis Robinson is a holistic health care provider with nearly two decades of clinical experience. She uses her expertise in ethnobotany, herbal medicine and acupuncture to heal, educate and empower patients in the greater New York City area and around the world. She is the co-owner of Cornerstone Healing a wellness practice located in Carroll Gardens, Brookyln. If you wish to know more you can visit her at www.peggyregisrobinson.com and/or follow her on Instagram @peggy_rrobinson