Acupuncture needles on round lid

Turning the Tables

Hi friend!

A common question I received when I was going through acupuncture school was if I’ve had acupuncture before. While some people began acupuncture school prior to having their first treatment, I’ve had countless acupuncture treatments before school. While every treatment is a different experience, I want to share one that I’ve never forgotten. This treatment took place while I was in my second year at North Western Health Sciences University.

Acupuncture needles on round lid

Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch

 

I began having some eye issues. After a while, I went to the eye doctor to ensure everything physically was okay. I was told all was fine and that my issue may be a form of a migraine- since I was also experiencing headaches and nausea. Also, I have naturally larger pupils that my be contributing to the blurriness and halos at night. They gave me some drops to try to help and sent me on my way. Now, I completely own up to not using the eye drops regularly, but the eye issue continued.

I made an initial acupuncture appointment with one of my instructors at his acupuncture clinic. This treatment was unlike any other. To start, his initial intake was super quick. He was able to read so much from feeling my radial pulse and looking at my tongue. Granted, this was what we were going to school for, but to see it in practice and see just how much you can tell from the pulse and tongue, was so amazing!

He asked me a few questions and after just a couple minutes of talking, I hopped up on the table and tried to relax. You’d think I’d be super calm when getting an acupuncture treatment, especially when I was currently going to school for it!… But this was not the case. I usually would have sensations of a cold sweat and minor shakes… but I was able to relax once the needles were inserted. I felt de qi with each needle (de qi– is a dull ache sensation- which is a good thing- this means the qi has been activated:)). He then sat at the head of the table and got ready to do the acupuncture point Urinary Bladder 1 (UB1). This point is at the medial side of the inner canthus of the eye. If you rub your eye from the outside inward to your nose, where your finger lands is essentially UB1. So I held my eyes shut and tried not to think so much about needles being threaded so close to my eyes. (The saying, “stick a needle in your eye” never seemed so true!) I do want to be sure to say though, he did NOT stick the needle in my eye, this point is just quite close to the eye and super effective for a variety of issues.

He then made sure I was comfortable and let me rest. During the time resting it was relaxing and nice. For a while there I actually felt like the table was rocking back and forth in a figure eight pattern. I felt like I was on a boat. It wasn’t bad, it was just unlike any other treatment I’ve experienced.

During the second part of the treatment, he did cupping on my upper back. The suction of the cups were intense but relaxing. If you haven’t experienced cupping, I’d definitely recommend it (and you can read more about different acupuncture modalities in my post about Traditional Chinese Medicine Terms). It’s a wonderful way to relax your muscles and relieve pain, along with many other benefits.

We continued with bi- monthly treatments and herbs for a couple months and my eye issue decreased and I haven’t had it since!

Comparison of acupuncture needles to sewing needles

Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch

Every acupuncture treatment is different, from what the person is coming in for, to the practitioner, to what the patient experiences. Most times it’s nice and relaxing but other times it’s a little more intense. Now being out of school and practicing for five years, hearing what patients experience during the treatments is one of my favorite things! Sometimes people don’t notice much, sometimes they notice all sorts of things. 

Whatever the patient notices, I can say, it’s completely worth it!

If you’re interested in experiencing all the amazing benefits of acupuncture, feel free to contact Feel Good Clinics in West Des Moines, or check out my blog post, How to Find a Licensed Acupuncturist to search for a licensed acupuncturist near you!

With faith, hope, and love,

Emily Kappelman 

"Nothing in nature blooms all year, don't expect yourself to either" quote

Fertility Suggestions from an Acupuncturist

Hi friend!

This week is Infertility Awareness Week. Being a licensed acupuncturist, there’s so many things I want to tell my patients coming in for fertility treatments. But mostly, I just want to give them all a big hug.

There are so many things that can play into fertility health for a couple.

Acupuncture needles on blue dish

Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch

ACUPUNCTURE & HERBS

I’m an acupuncturist so of course I really value what acupuncture and herbs can do for the mind, body, and spirit.

It’s recommended to commit to regular acupuncture treatments (4-8 times/ month) for three full months. The benefits of acupuncture and herbs will do more than just increase fertility. Both partners are encouraged to receive acupuncture and herbal supplement for optimal results.

While we are working to regulate the female’s cycle during those first three months, it’s also recommended to abstain from trying to conceive (TTC). This allows us to treat you more effectively at all stages of your cycle.

TRACKING OVULATION

If possible, it’s also quite helpful if you’re able to chart your Basal Body Temperature (BBT). This helps us see your patterns according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and treat accordingly. You can purchase a BBT thermometer at most drug stores and online. Instructions should come with. But I also really appreciate Lisa’s podcast, Fertility Friday. It’s a podcast about all things fertility and women’s health. She has multiple episodes going into all the detail with BBT. Fertility Friday is really about empowering women to know their bodies and the signs our magnificent bodies give us! Lisa also wrote the book, The Fifth Vital Sign, which is hands down, the best book for women’s health!

An ovulation test I recommend is Fertile Focus. It’s a mini microscope that’s the size of a small lip stick that can show you when you’re about to ovulate. It’s 98% effective, about $30 on amazon, and can be reused indefinitely. And… it’s inconspicuous, so if you’re traveling, it’s very discreet.

Keep in mind, while some people want to change up and incorporate everything all at once, most people may do better with one change at a time. Find what works for you and your spouse. Some couples may need to improve only one area of their life, while other couples may need to improve all areas. And some of those couples who improve ALL THE AREAS may still need additional testing, medications, surgeries, and treatments.

The 5th Vital Sign Book

Photo Credit: Amanda Sengbusch

GREAT LIFESTYLE IMPROVEMENTS TO INCORPORATE AT ANY TIME:

  • Increase veggies, healthy fats, clean protein.
  • Drink your bodyweight in ounces of water daily.
  • Eliminate caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.
  • Eliminate any other foods that seem to be a trigger for you.
    • Common culprits: gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, corn, sugar
  • Move regularly: walking, yoga, qi gong, tai chi.
    • Intense workouts are not the best (unless you’ve been doing these regularly for a good amount of time, but if you’re struggling to conceive, incorporating more gentle workouts may be very beneficial).
    • Do not add in any new intense workouts or workout schedules.
    • Walk 20-30 minutes 4-7 days a week
  • Keep your feet warm.
    • Meridians in your feet circulate directly to your reproductive organs.
    • Cold feet means poor circulation to your reproductive organs.
  • Add in breathing exercises.
    • There are so many types of breathing exercises, search for one that fits you!
    • Or just breath in for 4 counts, hold 4 counts, breath out 4 counts.
    • Make sure your belly goes out with inhalation, and belly goes in with exhalation.
    • Repeat breathing exercises for at least a couple minutes a couple times a day. It will get easier to remember 🙂
  • Prioritize your amount and quality of sleep.
    • Sleep helps your body rebuild, repair, detoxify, and regulate hormones.
  • Journal about your dreams.
    • This may help you realize and unblock limited thoughts and beliefs that manifest in your dreams. The act of writing things down is very revealing and healing.
  • Journal about anything and everything.
    • Walking the fertility journey is no joke and it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s hard, with lots of ups and downs, twists and turns. Journaling can help reveal things and help heal yourself by “getting it out.”
    • Journaling to your intuition is a great way to help trust your instincts and intuition while walking this journey. There’s so many options presented when you start the fertility journey, it can be overwhelming. But I’m a big believer that you know your own answer. It may just be very deep, down.
      • Get out a blank peace of paper.
      • Take a few deep, belly breaths and try to relax your mind.
      • Just write whatever comes to you.
      • Write your question.
      • Wait in silence until you feel an answer coming to you.
      • Record the answer you hear regardless of it’s answer.
      • Continue as long as you have questions.
      • It may take a little while to ‘get in the flow’ or you may even feel silly trying to do this, that’s ok! The more you do it, the smoother it should become.
  • Confide in kindred spirits.
    • Some couples may wish to keep their journey to themselves, while others are very open right away. Talk to your spouse about how you wish to handle these conversations.
    • Finding loved ones to share this journey can be very healing. But know, since we’re all human and on our own journey, they may not say or act how you need them to. So be honest with them and tell them if you need someone to confide in and listen, or if you want to know their opinion, or you only want positive thoughts and prayers.
  • Prioritize you mindset.
    • The power of thought is amazing.
    • What you think about impacts your life.
    • Detox your thoughts. When you find yourself thinking all the thoughts ask, especially if they’re tending toward the negative side, stop that thought and reverse it.
      • “What if this doesn’t work” turns into —> “What if this DOES work!?”

WHILE MENSTRUATING:

  • Refrain from sweating and excess physical work.
    • There’s a saying in Traditional Chinese Medicine about when you’re bleeding, you shouldn’t be sweating. Blood and sweat are fluids of the body, and within fluids is Yin. If you deplete yourself too much during your menses due to the bleeding and the sweating, chances are you’re unnecessarily depleting the Yin of your body. This can lead to many imbalances of the body, and it’s definitely not ideal for fertility.
  • Eat nourishing, whole foods.
  • Limit caffeine, alcohol, nicotine.
  • Continue drinking your body weight in ounces of water each day.
  • Allow yourself rest.

"Nothing in nature blooms all year, don't expect yourself to either" quote

WEEK OF OVULATION:

  • Eat nourishing, whole foods.
  • Limit caffeine, alcohol, nicotine.
  • Continue drinking your body weight in ounces of water each day.
  • Be sure to have sex regularly, every other day is most recommended, and remember to make it fun!
  • It may be beneficial to stay laying down for a least 30 minutes afterwards.

AFTER OVULATION:

  • Consume 100g of protein daily.
    • This can help with the endometrial lining.
  • Eat nourishing, whole foods.
  • Limit caffeine, alcohol, nicotine.
  • Continue drinking your body weight in ounces of water each day.

Phew, I know that’s a lot to take in. But friend, just breath.

You don’t have to do all of this, or any of it! These are just suggestions from a natural stand point of lifestyle shifts that could improve your mind, body, and spirit. And when things are balanced, all body systems work smoother.

If you’re wanting to implement some improvements into your daily life and feel you need some support and guidance, I would love to help you get started. Please contact Feel Good Clinics to schedule a Health Coaching Session with me (either in person or virtually with Telehealth, whatever you are most comfortable with)!

You’re not alone, and some day you will be able to see the graces you’ve developed from this struggle. You are a warrior!

With faith, hope, and love,

Emily Kappelman