About to enter the prickly pre-cycle phase (meeting my acupuncturist tomorrow), and coincidentally caught a discussion on one of my chat groups about Traditional Chinese Medicine and fertility. Much has already been written on the subject, but I thought I would capture my five favourite TCM tips for anyone who’s been wondering about adding to their needle prick/well-meaning advice collection.
- Embrace the pricks: Acupuncture and most of the other advice I have received in relation to TCM centre around increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs (as opposed to, for example, your fingers and toes). When you’re stressed out, your body goes into “let me outta here” mode – ie, your heart furiously pumps to your hands and feet. I know some folks freak out about the needles (IVF will soon cure you of all fears, take heart), but it doesn’t actually hurt, you get used to it, and it falls into the ‘doesn’t hurt, could help, just do it‘ category of fertility crutches for me. I use a little Fertility Meditation playlist (which is just a bunch of new age-y tunes, really) for my sessions and slip into nap-zone fairly quickly.
- Heat, don’t cool: #1 is also why my doc suggests wearing socks to warm your extremities and not eating ‘cooling’ foods. There’s a pretty comprehensive list here, but cooling foods would be stuff like watermelon and cucumber, and heaty foods would be stews and soups. The cool stuff drops your body temperature and slows your circulation (which is logical). So… plenty of warm/room-temperature water, and nothing straight out of the fridge (try abiding by this in the height of the tropical summer. It’s fun, I assure you).
- Cook it:Stay away from raw foods, which take a lot more effort to digest (I have trouble with this one. Because the other sites tell you to load up on (well-washed) salads and fruits). But again, there’s a method to the madness – cooking breaks down food structures, so your body spends less energy digesting and focuses on the babymaking task at hand.
- Relax: Which is clearly the easiest thing to do when you’re popping pills, poking yourself and riding the Magic Mountain of hormones. Not. But it doesn’t mean having to sign up for yoga classes. Just seize pockets of time to breathe, be quiet, read a book or shut your eyes in the middle of the day. Just love YOU.
- Sleep: This is self-explanatory, and many doctors seem to agree on this one, but I struggle to get anything more than six hours most days and don’t nap. I’m still working on it.
So there, some things to think about, courtesy of my TCM doc. If you have any additional tips, ideas or insights, please do share them.