I have always believed in Western medicine. There simply is something to other forms of medical belief systems that don’t sit well with me. While I do recognize the fact that there are certain things that still cannot be explained by science, I do believe that it is only a matter of time before the truth is eventually established. However, if the traditional medical practice has been used for many millennia, albeit with anecdotal evidence, is it not worth checking out whether acupuncture or even Chinese herbs for fertility work? I mean, sure science is supposed to know everything; but, what if science is also limited by man’s less-than-perfect understanding of his world? If tens of millions of people have benefitted from the use of traditional Chinese medicine yet unexplained by science, is it enough to discard TCM altogether?
My husband and I have been having problems conceiving. We went to doctors, the so-called fertility experts. We went through extensive laboratory and diagnostic tests to determine what is wrong, both me and my husband. My husband’s sperm cells were checked. My ovaries as well as hormonal profile were also checked. I was given some medications that I thought would get me ovulating more regularly. I’ve been on this treatment for 3 years and still no sign of getting pregnant. We had in-vitro fertilization and had to modify some of my lifestyle to really make it work. Unfortunately, while I did get pregnant, I was not able to carry it to term. I had a miscarriage at 4 months. You can just imagine the devastation. IVF is not cheap; not to mention the stress of having to really adhere to the other requirements of the therapy. This is when I started to question the effectiveness of Western medical treatments for fertility. I was desperate. I could see the frustration in my husband’s eyes as well. That’s when I knew it’s time to try TCM.
A friend of mine advised me to visit Freedom Chinese Medicine page to find out more, especially the range of services that they offer. Again, having been borne and raised in the idea that Western medicine is superior to traditional medical systems, I was really skeptical. But then again, what am I to lose?
Acupuncture, I found out, does not necessarily replace Western treatments but rather enhances the different physiologic processes of the body in order to increase the chances of success of these therapeutic procedures, particularly IVF. The idea is all about re-establishing the balance and harmony between and among the different organs of my body from my brain down to my ovaries and uterus. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe that diseases or illnesses are the result of an imbalance in the flow of chi, an invisible force that gives life. An imbalance occurs when this life energy is blocked and cannot reach other parts of the body resulting in excess chi in one part and deficiencies in another. While I normally would like to hear a more scientific explanation to this, it actually made perfect sense.
What acupuncture does to the body, in terms of fertility problems, is that it enhances the functioning of the ovaries which provides a feedback loop to the brain which, in turn, regulates other bodily processes to help the ovaries get better. More importantly, acupuncture helps the ovaries receive all the nutrients and oxygen they need to function optimally especially in the maturation and release of healthier and more viable egg cells. For my husband, acupuncture also helped his testes produce healthier, more motile, and more acid-resistant sperm cells.
Freedom Chinese Medicine also introduced me to several Chinese herbs that have been used for thousands of years to help women to bear children. The mechanism of action of these herbal preparations are basically the same as acupuncture – reestablish balance. If there is deficiency, then something must be added. This is where ginseng, astragalus, and ho-shou-wu can help. If there is a heat syndrome, then it must be cooled down. Gardenia, lonicera, and phellodendron can help. If there is stagnancy, then the obstruction must be removed and the flow of energy facilitated. Salvia, carthamus, and persica can then be used.
I am now on my 6th month of pregnancy after having acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicines for almost a year. And we didn’t require any medications nor any expensive in-vitro fertilization treatments. I do visit my obstetrician on a regular monthly basis complete with lab work and ultrasound imaging to see how the fetus is doing. And I cannot tell you how happy we are every time we see our baby’s image on the screen.
I never believed in non-Western medicine. But my experiences with acupuncture and TCM somehow opened my eyes to the fact that there are certain things in life that cannot be explained by science but it does not necessarily mean that they are useless.