Saturday, June 17, 2006

acupuncture #1

First of all, I would like to thank those lovely women who delurked themselves to email me about my last, most ultra-secretive of posts. Yay for you and your high bravery. I hope you were not disappointed.



Until this wave of articles appeared about a month ago, my mother had been looking at me funny, assuming I was just taking my message-board research too far.

(I do tend to take things too far sometimes, but that's another story.)

In fact, I am surprised I haven't mentioned it yet. Guess there just haven't been any interesting stories attached to the whole thing.

But I have been seeing a TCM practitioner for a while now. (And I can't tell you how long it took me to strike on that title. I called her the Chinese Medicine Lady until about ten minutes ago.)

And she rocks.

She actually specialises in Infertility and IVF. I've spent the last three months drinking some kind of black stinkyherb concoction and taking a heap of little round black pills. The herb drink started off tasting totally vile, but I appear to have developed a taste for it over time. Now I find it almost soothing in a masochistic kind of way.

I'm not sure what it is. I know I should probably ask, but I keep forgetting, and the mystique is almost gratifying; it evokes images of the old Chinese man from Gremlins. (I am trying to remember the name of this character cum hideous racial stereotype - Anyone know?)

We both had our first round of acupuncture yesterday, designed to draw the blood flow towards our nether-regions and improve the quality of our respective gametes.

I'd been looking forward to this for some time, both with anticipation and a little dread.

But it wasn't really that big a deal.

Basically, the needles felt no different going in to if you tapped yourself on the leg with two fingers. Only a couple of them hurt, and that was nothing much to speak of anyway, just like a very mild electric shock.

So was it relaxing?

Hmm. Not really, to be honest.

I actually found it quite intense. A little too tingly. Not nerve tingly. More just a general warmth and pressure throughout my body. Oh, it wasn't unpleasant per se, but after twenty minutes or so, I was ready for them to come out. I was getting a little edgy to move around, get up. I was having a few small muscle spasms, like before you go to sleep, and was strangely getting a little teary.

I felt quite heavy afterwards, and desirous of flopping in a deep lounge chair. Is that what relaxation feels like? (I'm not really familiar with relaxation, as a rule...)

I'd be curious to hear everyone else experiences with / thoughts about acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.



At 7:13 PM, Blogger katty said...

Alright. You've inspired me. I'm going to really consider giving acupuncture a go...

At 7:53 PM, Blogger Vee said...

Yes I am interested in others experience also.
Meg does it help with the amount of follicle/eggs you grow ? I am concerned that if I did it with IUI I couldn't afford to get have more than 3 follicles.

I have only read goods things about it.
I hope it helps you.

At 8:03 PM, Blogger Meg said...

I think so, Vee.. but I think it is mostly a quality thing. I don't imagine it would cause you to suddenly grow a whole heap of extra follicles on top of what you normally would. (Says Meg. Meanwhile Vee faces the prospect of quintuplets!)

At 12:54 AM, Blogger DD said...

My acu informed me that if I want good and plenty follicles to start tx several months in advance. Tx during a cycle (say for the IUI) is supposed to improve implantation b/c they are treating for increase blood flow.

My tx were relaxing enough I feel asleep each time, but after I was done I never felt the urge to flop into the nearest easy chair.

Unfortunately, the tx did not appear to do anything to increase my odds. My lining had always been good, but my eggs are crappy bastards.

At 1:40 AM, Blogger Mary Ellen and Steve said...

I have been doing acupuncture since we found out that we were going to be doing IVF. I have heard of studies that found that acupuncture improves IVF success rates as it improves overall health and promotes egg quality.

I also see someone who specializes in infertility, and I find it to be very relaxing. It took me a while to be able to relax with so many little needles stuck all over my body, but now I crave it.

Since I have started acupuncture, I haven't had a single migrane (used to get them at least twice a week) and my skin has cleared. I think that I will continue to go even after this infertility nightmare is over.

Good luck and I hope that it helps you!

At 6:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm so happy to have found someone who is trying acupuncture for fertility. I've had a bit of acupuncture in my life - to regulate my cycle when I was in my 20's, for back pain, etc. I found it very helpful. I'd also like to add, that I tried macrobiotics about 10 years ago because I hadn't had a real period in about 2 years. After a macrobiotic diet and regular shiatsu, I got my period in 3 months.

I'm going to try acupuncture myself to help me with my fertility issues and I feel very confident that it can only help my immune system and my reproductive system.

Good luck!


At 6:52 AM, Blogger Em said...

I had a few sessions of reflexology maybe a month to six weeks prior to conceiving. Not sure if it did anything but I know of loads of women with PCO/S who have had it to help regulate hormones.

At 6:59 AM, Anonymous amanda said...

That's exactly how I found acupunture to be. The needles were no big deal, I got antsy while trying to lay there for so long, and I felt like curling up and taking a nap afterwards.

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Sarah said...

You are brave to do the Chinese medicine route. I've never tried accupuncture but am very intrigued by it. Before I started blogging, I had no idea that people actually used it for IF. I definately am going to try it one day especially after your description of how relaxed it made you feel!

At 12:05 PM, Blogger Bea said...

Meg - another acupuncture devotee here. And btw, yes - great secret post!

It's funny how we want our IVF clinics to explain EVERYTHING to us and if we don't get enough detail we search the web for more. But when it comes to alternative practitioners, we'd prefer them to be all hand-wavy, take this mystery potion and let me play you something wistful-sounding from the world music catalogue so you can lie there not understanding the lyrics.

But to the point: I don't know if it's working for me. It certainly doesn't seem to be regulating my cycles very well as the latest is my body has actually halted MIDWAY through growing a follicle for our FET. I didn't even know that could happen.

But I do find it relaxing and reassuring, and I need the touchy-feely stuff where the acupuncturist cares really deeply about what happens each cycle and strokes me on the shoulder in a concerned manner, rather than slapping me on the back and telling me never mind, it'll all work out in the end.

And to be honest, I'm not sure I want concern and shoulder-stroking from my FS, either.

It sounds like you had first-time jitters, though. Come back and tell us how you feel after a few sessions.

Ok, overly long comment finishing now.


At 12:09 PM, Blogger Bea said...

Oh, and the studies I've read seem to be more about implantation than cycle regulation, so I'm not particularly concerned about the regulation thing not happening. I still think it might be worth it from a medical point of view.


At 12:09 AM, Blogger Thalia said...

I did acupuncture on my first cycle, for about 6 months. I had previously tried self-medication with herbs and it messed up my cycles completely, so I decided not to do that any more. I found the acupuncture fine, but it had no effect on me. I didn't get specially relaxed, my endometriosis continued to grow and develop, and the cycle failed. I don't blame the acupuncture, but I didn't think it had any therapeutic effect for me, so I stopped going. I know that other people feel differently.

At 9:06 AM, Blogger projgen said...

First things first: Old Chinese guy in Gremlins: Grandfather (Mr. Wing) played by Keye Luke

Secondly, I didn't do acupuncture my first cycle, but I was planning to. If we ever (please Gd!) get to do another cycle, I plan to do acupuncture. I positively, absolutely, without a doubt despise and loathe needles, but if I can jab syringes into my own belly, I can certainly handle someone sticking needles into me if it will help things along.

Interesting description of your experience. I've heard others describe it like that, as well - some freaks have talked about how awesome and amazing theirs was ;) - so your reaction *seems* normal. IhopeIhopeIhope it works for you!

At 5:31 PM, Blogger GZ said...

I'm skeptical of acupuncture. I've never been a huge fan of needles or alternative medicine...but, if it works for you maybe I'll give it a try.

At 4:13 AM, Blogger serenity said...

I've done acupuncture before, and I will tell you I've felt the same thing - tingly nice with intermittent muscle spasms. However, I fell asleep more often than not on the table, so I didn't feel a lot of excess energy like you did.

I will tell you that it helped my period a LOT (made it much more heavy, redder, and less spotting).
Other than that I didn't see any real tangible benefit from it.

For me it was just a great way to relax and feel as if I was doing something a little more than nothing for my cycles.

And I also grew to like the taste of the herbs too. :)

At 10:58 PM, Blogger StellaNova said...

You've inspired me too. I've been thinking about it for a while but strangely never got around to it. I have just found one who is a 10 minute walk from my place and just around the corner from my IVF clinic.

I love serendipity!

At 1:43 AM, Blogger Just another Jenny said...

My first full session is tonight, I'll let you know.

At 2:56 AM, Blogger Inglewood said...

My first accupuncture session was on June 13th, going again today. I found her diet suggestions to be very similar to what my RE suggests, just a bit more restrictive.

The woman I see, A, was recommended by a woman who is 40, tried for a year naturally, after 6 months with Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, got pregnant, 19 weeks now. She also knows 3 other people who got pregant under A's care.

I find it really relaxing so even if it doesn't impove my reproductive parts and processes, it may improve my stress and outlook which can only help.


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