Sep 19, 2016

TTC: Acupuncture

This is my new series talking about the trying to conceive process (TTC). It's chock full of crazy thoughts, feelings, and a bit of TMI. To recap my first post on the subject, we've been trying to conceive for almost a year now and am I ready to talk about it and share what I'm doing about it. Before seeing a fertility doctor and starting fertility meds, I really want to try and do everything I can to conceive naturally. Here's the plan. 

Previous posts:
On Babies, Part 2

I started seeing an acupuncturist back in June. I had been spotting most days of the month since going off the pill in September 2015 and after charting (I'll get to that in another post) for a few months, I suspected I was having some hormonal issues that caused the spotting, mainly low progesterone. My charts indicated a slow rise after ovulation (which could mean poor ovulation) and a dip near the cover line days before my next period started. In other words, really bad conditions for an egg to implant. Acupuncture works to balance your hormones, so if this was indeed a problem I was having, then my plan was to do treatment once a week. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about in regarding to charting, dips, and ovulation, you must must must read Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Seriously. Why they don't assign this book to us in health class is beyond me. Even if you aren't trying to get pregnant, read this book!)

I found my acupuncturist on Yelp and immediately liked her at my initial consultation. She took her time to chat with me, asked me all kinds of questions and explained what she was doing before she performed her procedures, constantly asking if I was comfortable. We were a good fit. Side note: while it's important to find a doctor/acupuncturist who knows what they are doing (definitely make sure they have proper credentials and preferably a degree in oriental medicine), it's also equally important to find one that listens to you and makes you feel comfortable. Some may disagree, but I feel like for me, I wanted practitioners who listened and put me at ease.

She was also very realistic, which was something else I wanted. I had read reviews on acupuncturists claiming that they'd get your pregnant in just a few short sessions. She did not. She said that regulating hormones can take a while, so I knew this wasn't a miracle drug, but I was willing to give it a shot.

Acupuncture Room

Needless to say, I'm a big fan. Here's what I've noticed since going weekly since June.
  • Reduced spotting. I went from spotting 7 days before my period (which makes for a really long period, ugh) to only spotting two days before. I think we are headed in the right direction. 
  • Relaxation/Stress Management. So so so relaxing. I look forward to my visits every single week. The room is small and cozy with warm lighting and she plays soft music. It's very spa-like. I leave feeling like a brand new person. 
  • Reduced Chronic Joint Pain. I have had knee issues since 2012. Constant pain that prevents me from running, doing lunges, squats, etc. I've tried a few things in the past, but nothing worked and I just lived with it. Since going to acupuncture, the pain has improved by at least 80%! I found myself doing lunges the other day and was shocked by how good my knees felt. I talked to her about this and she said that she's been focusing on cleaning my kidneys, which in turn, also helps joint pain. Amazed. 
Obviously, I had never done something like this before and had no idea what to expect. If you are in the same boat, here's a bit more about the experience. 
  • What to wear. Depending on where they need to stick you, you may be asked to wear a hospital gown. I do every single time so she can stick my stomach. I keep my undergarments on. 
  • Does it hurt? Sometimes I barely feel the needle going in and sometimes, if she puts it in slightly off kilter, it'll hurt a bit. I just let her know and she adjusts it, otherwise, I don't feel a thing. 
  • How often. This is not a one time thing. To get the real benefits, you need to go about once a week, at least for fertility. 
  • What should I do? You need to stay still and relaxed. One time, I moved to scratch an itch and I ended up bumping a needle on my stomach. Just the slightest movement of it gave me a pretty deep bruise for a few days. Let yourself fall asleep if you can. I almost always fall asleep or meditate/pray (to learn how to meditate, you should download Headspace!) and I feel like I get so much  more of out the session when I do. Because of this, I make sure to give myself plenty of time to get to the session and will listen to calm music on the drive there. If I'm rushed or stressed, it's harder to calm my mind. 
  • What's the room like? She puts heat lamps over certain parts of your body and a face mask on you, though the lights are off. She plays very smoothing music and has essential oils diffusing. 
  • What information should I have? You need to know where you are at in your cycle as she does specific needle placement for each, so if you are charting or tracking your periods, you'll know ahead of time. Yesterday I went and had needles all over (head, ears, feet, arms, etc.) and my previous time, I just had a few here and just changes depending. 
  • Herbs. She puts me on and off herbs depending on how my yin is looking. I take the powder kind that you make into a tea. The first kind I had literally tasted like dirt. It was hard to get down three times a day. I'm now on an herb blend that tastes kind of like cinnamon. It's not bad at all. 
  • Anything unexpected? She always looks at my tongue before my session. She says you can tell a lot from it, so don't let it freak you out. If you recall, there was this one British healthy eating show where she always looked at her patients tongues to see how healthy they were...I was always intrigued by that. Also, my particular practitioner does cupping on your back afterwards followed by a massage. Cupping is amazing. It feels so so good. I truly look forward to it every session. Yes, I did cupping before Michael Phelps made it cool. :)
  • Costs. Eep. So I'm beyond fortunate that my health insurance covers my weekly visits. I only need to pay $15 copy each time. If insurance didn't cover, I think it would be around $60 a week. That's not an easy number to swallow, but I look at it this way... a kid going to start costing you way more than $60/week, so might as well get used to it now. Also, we signed up for a Flexible Spending Account through Brandon's company and use that money to cover the copay. If you have this option, do it
Chinese Herbs
Chinese herbs

I think that covers about everything, but of course if you have any questions, feel free to leave below or email me. I was skeptical about this at first, but it really has made a believer out of me, not only for regulating hormones and getting my cycle on track, but for the stress relief and general sense well-being it gives you. So good for the mind and body. 

Next topic: a review of the book, Making Babies and how I've changed my diet / workout goals. 


  1. So interesting!
    It sounds very relaxing and sort of scary at the same time, ha!
    Great that you've found someone you are so comfortable with.

    I really want to try headspace! The cost of it is holding me back but I guess I should try the 10-day free trial. Have you used it? If so, can you write a review on it? :)

  2. this is awesome! I did acupuncture and supplements too when TTC. We need to catch up... asap!

  3. Now I really want her to look at my tongue! That is so interesting.


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