In health, a woman is a 'fertility center'! This page shows you what Chinese medicine says about trying to conceive and your chance of getting pregnant.
Remember, Chinese medicine has been thinking about this for 3000 years, rather longer than modern Western medicine. Lacking scientific instruments as we know them, Chinese doctors used their powers of observation and sensitivity to the monthly cycle and a woman's periods, her menses, to diagnose and treat women trying to conceive.
They realised the importance of regular, healthy menses on a woman's chance for:
They worked out how to help and monitor them.
You might think that with the advent of modern Western medicine to China, doctors of traditional Chinese gynecology might give up and do something else! In fact, modern life imposes major problems on women's bodies which Chinese medicine is very good at helping.
The result? More than ever, Traditional Chinese medicine is being used to diagnose and advise women who are trying to conceive.
In fact many acupuncturists specialize in fertility centers, for example.
'So what are the basic ideas for promoting a healthy fertility center in a woman? For healthy menses what do you need?
For her womb, her uterus, to work properly there must be Blood and Qi, moving and functioning smoothly.
Blood comes from the food you eat and from your body's ability to transform it into blood. Blood, (capital B) can then nourish the womb and life inside it.
So your Stomach Energy needs to get you to choose, acquire and prepare, cook and chew the food, then send it on to the Intestines.
Here the Spleen energy transforms it into the red stuff but, at least in Chinese medicine, it doesn't become Blood (capital B) until it has received Qi from the Lungs and Life from the Heart. Click here for more about this process.
However, that's still not quite the end of it. For a healthy uterus, you need also 'Essence' (Jing is the word used in Chinese medicine, roughly equivalent to inherited 'knowhow' or genes, although that would suggest it's just information when, in addition, it is a hugely important source of energy), and Yang. Yang comes in the form also of what is called Minister Fire: 'spark', if you like.
Both Jing and Yang are dispensed by the Kidney energy.
So now we've got Blood, Jing and Yang. What else do we need?
Two important influences take the process forward. One is the Heart energy organ, which governs Blood (after all, if the Heart doesn't pump, we can all go home). This 'governing Blood' idea may seem a bit arcane but the Heart provides the Mental and Emotional balance for a woman's 'fertility center' to know what it's doing.
The Heart is so important here that there is even a special 'secret' stairway or channel between the Heart and the Uterus. (Which may help to explain why some women have palpitations when their uterus is removed - but that will be the subject of another page.)
Also, she needs a healthy Liver Energy organ to move the Blood when it needs to be moved. This balances the Spleen function which likes to hold things in place.
For healthy periods, you can see that the Spleen energy builds up Blood and holds it in place, the Liver makes sure it can flow out at the end of the cycle, ready for the next one.
If your Blood flows at the wrong time, it may be because the Spleen can't hold it in place. This could be because of tiredness or heat or a range of other things. If your period is very late, it might be because your Liver Qi is stagnating, or because you are so weary that your Spleen (and Stomach and the others) can't get the energy together to make enough Blood to be worth a period.
So, if we take the analogy of the cooking pot:
Then, with all these ingredients to hand, an egg can be produced and the nest prepared (to switch analogies!).
All your fertility center needs then is another bit of Yang, to bring the egg (Yin) to life. It's called sperm!
What could possibly go wrong when trying to conceive? After all, we've been evolving for a million years: you'd think our genes might have sorted it all out by now!
Well, obviously, if you're reading this, things may not be going just as you had hoped.
Here are just a few of the possibilities in Chinese medicine:
If you know a bit about acupuncture theory, you'll realize I haven't mentioned Chong Mo the Penetrating Channel, Ren Mo the Conception Vessel or Du Mo the Governor channel, to mention but three omissions.
In treating women with infertility, knowing about and diagnosing problems with these issues and knowing how to use these extra-ordinary channels can be essential for success. But in trying to explain this overall picture simply, I have omitted them.
There are six main causes:
If a woman has been having no periods, then there's an additional reason for infertility - additional that is, to those mentioned above.
If your Heart energy isn't working smoothly (and this does NOT mean that you have a heart problem) then, as Governor of your Blood, it cannot smoothly supply blood where it's needed, when it's needed ie to your fertility center, your womb.
As you may imagine, for 3000 years Chinese doctors haven't been merely diagnosing fertility center problems of infertility. They have evolved ways to treat it. Western medicine has huge advantages in many ways, but doesn't yet look at fertility center problems as being energetic in nature - and in its current form, Western medicine has only been around for perhaps 200 years.
Nowadays there are many fertility centers and fertility treatments using the theory of Chinese medicine.
If you have a question on infertility and how perhaps Chinese medicine might diagnose it, fill out the form below and we'll try to answer you.
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Published 1986 and, amazingly, still selling. Was apparently used back then by at least one acupuncture college to help students understand Chinese medicine!
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