The ability to bear children is a glorious thing and equally devastating when infertility becomes an issue. Traditional Chinese medicine and infertility are discussed below.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Infertility
Traditional Chinese Medicine has treated infertility in both men and women for centuries. The very first book ever written on gynecology is The Complete Book of Effective Prescriptions for Diseases of Women that was first published in 1237 AD. In the Chinese theory of Five Elements, infertility is influenced by the water element (bladder and kidney Meridians) and the earth element (spleen and stomach Meridian). The Four Examinations of Traditional Chinese Medicine is used to reveal the underlying disharmonies or other causes of infertility.
The focus in treatment is often upon building up of the kidneys which will increase the likely hood of a successful pregnancy. This might even include such things as adding black beans, which are said to be good for the kidneys, to the diet. Other treatments include acupuncture, herbs, movement, meditation, and even massage.
A form of massage known as acupressure is also used. Pressure is applied to specific points on the hands and the feet. This pressure can stimulate the ovaries, the uterus, and the glands to help balance out hormone production. There are about 150 different herbs and herb combinations that are used in the treatment of infertility. Although none are considered toxic, some can cause a certain degree of digestive discomfort. The herbs can be ingested in powered form or made into pills. Many can be brewed into teas.
In China, Traditional Chinese Medicine methods and Western practices are also used in common for the treatment of infertility although Western practices are considered expensive and not particularly effective. Clinical studies done on TCM methods have shown almost a 70% success rate in the treatment of infertility. The measure of success in these studies being the achievement of pregnancy.
As in much of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the approach to the diagnosis of infertility centers around discovering the basic imbalance that is causing it. This complete picture approach to treatment has the side effect of bringing about an overall improvement of the patients health and sense of well being. Once pregnancy is achieved, treatment is usually discontinued. In some cases, where miscarriages or other complications have been indicated, acupuncture and herbal treatments will continue until delivery. The treatments can reduce the pain of childbirth and aid healing afterward and so are often continued for these reasons.