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The Role of Stress in Infertility and How Acupuncture Can Help -Interview With Jennifer E Winer L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., MSOM
Jennifer Winer: Stress is huge when it comes to fertility for several reasons. Cortisol production gets increased, which can throw off your other hormones. Stress alone, your body is just going to be hyper stimulated, and in my opinion sometimes that hyper stimulation of the nervous system is what can keep the blood flow from going to the uterus.
There have actually been studies showing that hyper stimulation of the nervous system can cause fertility issues, so what does acupuncture do to help that? Well, acupuncture increases endorphins, and it also increases serotonin, which relaxes your body, and in relaxing your body, creating more circulation and blood flow, which it also does, it gets more blood flow to every organ in the body. So that's in a sense how it works.
I so wish people would start combining Western medicine and Eastern medicine together, because it is so incredibly effective for stress, and as a lot of people know, going through trying to get pregnant, there are a lot of medications that they're not allowed to take, so we can be really effective helping with acupuncture.
Interviewer: Sure, sure. I like that a lot. If I was over simplifying, as I'm listening to you talk about stress and how acupuncture can effect it, I keep thinking if my body is stressed out and it's in, for lack of better words survival mode, it's not going to say “This is the time to get pregnant.”
Jennifer Winer: Right, right.
Interviewer: And when, with acupuncture you fill it up with endorphins, and better feeling hormones and chemicals, the body starts to relax and it's say “Okay, now I might get pregnant, because I feel no threat, I feel no danger.”
Jennifer Winer: Absolutely. There was a study in 2001 at the University of San Diego, California, they examined the success rates of women undergoing Western fertility treatments, the study concluded women with higher rates of stress were 93% less likely to become pregnant and achieve a live birth, so you can see how incredibly important it is to listen to your body, be kind to your body, calm your body down, do what you can to be in a good state so that we can get our fertility patients to their goal of pregnancy.
Interviewer: That's really powerful, Jen. Thank you for sharing that study with us. Do you have people that come into your office that don't even realize that they are stressed and then you start doing the treatment with them and then it hits them how stressed they have been?
Jennifer Winer: It happens on two levels, so absolutely yes, and the people who I find that really don't realize it are people who are great in high stress situations. So you take people for example, who are trauma workers, EMTs, ER doctors, ER nurses, psychologists, professions like that, high stress jobs, they just have no idea what even happened to them after the first treatment because they're so relaxed. Sometimes when people are going through a treatment series they decide to take a break. It is recommended to maintain the balance we have created in your body. You maintain your car, you maintain your teeth, you should also maintain your body balance. Sometimes patients take a break, and then they'll be on that break and say “I had no idea how much this was helping me.” So everybody's different as far as how they react to acupuncture, but many times, more than not, at least 80% of the time they really feel a difference, it's very helpful, it's a great complimentary medicine with anything else they might be doing.
Interviewer: That's amazing!
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