As I mentioned in the past I started acupuncture and have been amazed at all that it has done for my body and sanity. I also know women who have used acupuncture to aid in fertility with positive results. Today, we have Phyllis Markopoulos, a well versed acupuncturist based in Brooklyn who helps many women in their acupunture journey.
MB: How does Acupuncture work for women wanting to conceive?
PM: Acupuncture can definitely support and have an impact on a woman wanting to conceive. Even if there are no known issues, the chances are surprisingly low - A healthy, young woman has a 20-30 % chance of getting pregnant and it decreases with age and of course with any imbalance in the body. If a woman wants to boost her odds, Acupuncture can really help.
In fertility, Acupuncture works by bringing balance to the body and encourages the body to heal itself, therefore regulating the hypothalamus, pituitary and ovary glands, which all play a major role in fertility. It also improves the flow of Qi and Blood to the organ system. An added bonus, it works wonders on improving sleep, which is so essential for good overall health.
MB: How does it help women having problems conceiving?
PM:There are many reasons why a woman can have a difficult time trying to conceive, but the number one cause of infertility is caused by stress alone. Stress and anxiety can alter the brain's neurochemical balance, and promote the release of Cortisol, which happens during the body’s “fight or flight” stage. During this stage, the sympathetic nervous system is in overdrive, the heart rate goes up and blood vessels narrow. When this occurs over and over again, it has a negative impact on the body and causes pathology. New Yorkers are especially busy and constantly on the move to the next destination so it’s very important for a woman to conceive to lower stress any way they can.
Acupuncture works fabulously on stress and anxiety and brings the body from a sympathetic state to a parasympathetic state, which is the “rest and digest” stage. It also keeps the organ systems healthy and the hormones in check.
Pathologies that can be either triggered by stress or happen because of other imbalances are: poor quality or quantity of eggs (or sperm in men), poor quality and quantity of follicles, low Estradiol, low Progesterone or high levels of FSH. These issues from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, are all deficient patterns and usually are attributed to deficiency of Kidney Yin or Yang, or the deficiency of Qi and Blood. Acupuncture in these cases strengthens the body’s ability to keep the hormones at a normal level and brings Blood to the uterus helping to thicken the walls. This increases the chances of a fertilized egg to attach and stay attached.
Other pathologies include blockages in the fallopian tubes, fibroids, ovarian cystitis, endometriosis or adhesions. These are categorized as Qi stagnation, Blood stasis or Phlegm Damp obstruction, in Chinese Medicine. In these patterns, Acupuncture works to break up and move these blockages. These pathologies though are more difficult to treat with Acupuncture alone.
By reducing stress, bringing hormone levels back to normal, bringing Qi and Blood to the areas where it’s needed most and helping to break up blockages, Acupuncture can significantly boost the odds of becoming pregnant and even more so when used in conjunction with fertility treatments such as IUI or IVF. For a woman trying to conceive, it is best to start Acupuncture treatments up to 3 months prior to starting fertility treatments.
MB: Do you have new mothers as clients, and how do you help them?
PM: I do, most of my patients are new moms! I am a new mom myself, actually. I had a very hectic past two years having boys who are 13 months apart. Although it has been the biggest challenge of my life, it has been the most rewarding experience and I wouldn’t change it for anything! I see motherhood from a completely different perspective now and I love treating patients who are going through it.
I help most new moms mostly by being supportive and helping them to allow their bodies to heal after the trauma the body has undergone by giving birth. A lot of Blood is lost during birth so all of my treatments focus on building Blood and Qi. Hormones are trying to return to normal and Acupuncture helps to calm the emotional rollercoaster moms go through after giving birth.
Most new moms are completely sleep deprived (just goes with the territory), so I focus on bringing balance in all areas to help improve sleep and wake with more energy. I also treat many moms with back pains from all of the lifting and carrying of the baby. Acupuncture and Tui Na massage are very effective for any kind of pain in the body.
Being a mom whether for the first time or second or third is not easy and I love the fact that I can help. It’s a crazy journey that us women go through to conceive and afterward especially, as a parent. I never imagined it to be so difficult and glorious at the same time and I truly feel blessed to help women along on this ride in their lives.
Phyllis is licensed in New York and nationally board certified. She specializes in treating patients with their pain, which could manifest from an injury, post surgery, headaches or repetitive strains such as carpel tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow. She treats many patients with digestive, sleeping, anxiety, infertility, post partum issues and also does Acupuncture facial rejuvenation. Phyllis’ style is a careful combination of trigger point release advocated by the late Dr. Janet Travell, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Japanese style. She was honored to have trained under unique masters such as Dr. Mark Seem, Sharon Zao and Kiiko Matsumoto.
Posted by Donna
Photo: Kelly Hicks Maternity Photos
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