BY ERIC KARCHMER
What is Infertility?
Female infertility is a challenging medical condition, and perhaps an equally complex psychological and social state of being. Chinese medicine offers some unique interventions for this hard-to-treat condition. The power of these treatments, however, is totally different than conventional fertility treatments. Chinese medicine therapies tend to work with a woman’s body; biomedical treatments take the opposite approach. They are generally arduous affairs, involving powerful drugs that radically alter a woman’s hormone production.
How Can Chinese Medicine Help with Infertility?
The Chinese medicine approach is far gentler. In fact, the treatments generally leave women feeling better and more vigorous. The reason is because the Chinese medicine approach focuses on maximizing one’s fertility through balance. When a woman has difficulty conceiving, it is usually the result of some gradual, long-term changes to her body. A skilled practitioner must be adept at modulating, regulating, adjusting, harmonizing – all these terms are captured in the single Chinese concept of tiao 調 – the imbalances (as understood through the conceptual framework of Chinese medicine) that he or she discovers in the patient’s body. Whether the patient suffers from a recognized disease, such as endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome, or has no clear-cut diagnosis, trying to achieve balance is almost always beneficial.
Chinese Herbs for Fertility Health & Support
DAO Labs Women’s Kit can be an essential part of this quest for balance. The Women’s Kit is important because it addresses two of the key dimensions of a woman’s gynecological health: Blood and Qi.
One of the fundamental principles of the Chinese medicine gynecology is that “Blood is the root of woman.” Commentators have understood this phrase to mean that Blood (which has a more expansive definition than the term in biomedicine) is central to physiological processes of menstruation, conception, pregnancy and childbirth. The challenge for women, however, is that many conditions can impact the abundance of Blood.
"When Blood is flourishing, the menses is naturally regulated and pregnancy is easily achieved". Healthy menstruation itself is considered a minor depletion of one’s resources. Childbirth and various gynecological conditions have even greater impact on the body. As the famous early 19th century physician, Chen Xiuyuan, once wrote: “When Blood is flourishing, the menses is naturally regulated and pregnancy is easily achieved.”
In addition to the ever-present concern about possible Blood deficiency, practitioners must also attend the state of a woman’s Qi. This is because Blood and Qi depend on each other, like yin and yang. Blood is famously known as the “mother of Qi,” i.e. the substance that carries and disperses Qi, while Qi is considered “the commander of Blood,” the force that causes Blood to move.
Your Qi & Your Flow
We sometimes mistakenly think that Qi means “energy” but a better translation might be “flow.” When doctors talk about Qi they are generally trying to understand why movement and flow in the body is impeded, sluggish, misdirected, or insufficient. This is important for fertility because a major obstacle to conception is an interruption to the ovulation process. From a biomedical perspective, ovulation requires a cascade of hormonal releases and physiological responses. When a woman’s body is under stress emotionally or physically, ovulation can easily be effected. From a Chinese medicine perspective the robust and unimpeded flow of Qi is essential to making Blood flourish, to making the ovulation process as smooth as possible, and thereby maximizing a woman’s chances of getting pregnant.
The two formulas in the Women’s Kit - Women’s Formula and Emotional Balance – can be ideal aids for a woman’s fertility because they address Blood and Qi respectively. When trying to improve one’s fertility, we recommend using the Woman’s Kit in the following manner:
Together these two formulas will restore Blood and facilitate the free flow of Qi, improving a woman’s chances of conception. (To learn more about the properties of these two formulas, please read the blog pieces I have written about each individual formula.) Working with your partner is also extremely important. Sperm has a relevantly limited life span in the body (a maximum of 5 days), so timing is essential for couples already struggling to conceive. Some women may want to use an ovulation predictor kit, track basal body temperature and cervical fluid, and use other methods to estimate the day of ovulation. We recommend trying the Women’s Kit for several months in a row for the best results. We have seen lots of wonderful outcomes from this regimen and wish you the best as well.
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M.Om., Dipl. Acu (NCCAOM) L.Ac.
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