While there are many studies that prove that acupuncture and herbal medicine do indeed promote fertility, a lot of women still question how and why they work. I've created this four-part post to familiarize you with each phase of your menstrual cycle. You will learn how acupuncture and Chinese Herbs can help to promote fertility during each phase, as well as gain tips and pointers that you can implement yourself to help to increase your own fertility.
While I do recommend some common herbal formulas for each phase, please note that each woman has very specific needs. I highly recommend that you see a Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist to give you personalized recommendations based on your specific diagnosis.
It might not sound pretty, but the blood phase is such an informative phase in our cycle. So many women see their menstrual cycle as this phase only - the time during which we actually have our periods. During this phase, we are shedding our uterine lining. Is there pain? Are there clots? Is menstrual blood heavy or light? Dark or red? Do you feel better or worse once your period starts? Do you experience diarrhea, dizziness or hot flashes with your period? Do you get a headache, breast tenderness or yeast infection with your period? I learn so much about my patients during this phase of their cycle. Women always seem surprised that while it is common, it's not "normal" or healthy to have cramps and pain and other intense PMS symptoms.
Promote complete shedding of the uterine lining so that no stagnant blood remains.
Build your overall blood so that the loss of blood doesn't leave you feeling depleted and deficient.
Reduce cramping, pain and other PMS symptoms that may be indicative of a stagnation of your body's qi (energy) and blood.
A great formula during this Phase is Jade Moon Phase 1: Regulate. It helps to invigorate the flow of blood while replenishing lost blood. If there are lots of clots, cramping* or dark blood, then Jade Moon Phase 1: Invigorate is recommended.
Phase 1 Tips:
Go with the flow.
Encourage your body's natural flow of blood. If you're able to use pads instead of tampons, even for part of the day and night, it can not only really let you know more about the quality and amount of your menstrual blood, but also keep your blood flowing in the direction it should - down and out. This is also a good time to forego yoga inversions like headstand and shoulder stand.
Twist and Shout.
We want to really encourage the complete shedding of the uterine lining during this phase, so yoga twists can really help to squeeze out any stagnation of blood. It's also important to release any emotions that may have been building up.. go for a run, have a good cry, punch a pillow. It's important to focus on release and letting go during this time.
Warm it up.
Because we want to encourage movement during Phase 1, warming foods that are nourishing and invigorating are beneficial. Try ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves. While we may crave ice cream, it's especially important to avoid cold or iced foods, as cold causes contraction and we are trying to promote expansion and release. One of my favorite treats is to warm rice or almond milk with some of the spices I've listed above added, plus a little bit of agave. It totally hits the spot.
Putting a heat-pack on your lower abdomen or low back during the blood phase can really help if you experience menstrual cramps. In acupuncture sessions during this phase, I especially like to use Moxa or Moxibustion, a warming and invigorating herb placed on the lower abdomen.
*If you experience severe pain during your period, it is extremely important to seek some form of holistic treatment to diagnose and treat the imbalance. There is an old saying in Chinese Medicine that translates as "With pain, there is stagnation. With stagnation, there is pain." Basically, if you have pain, it means that something is stuck. In the case of menstrual pain, it's usually your blood. Even if you know the cause of your pain, such as endometriosis, treatment to encourage movement of blood will help to prevent worsening of your condition. Pain medication and muscle relaxers just mask the symptoms, but do little to correct the stagnation.
Learn more about Increasing Fertility with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs.
Check out Phase 2: The Yin Phase, Phase 3: The Qi Phase and Phase 4: The Yang Phase