Recently I've had a few people coming in for infertility treatments. I usually tell people that this is a condition of time, not something you can expect to treat by coming in sporadically as some patients have told me from the previous places they've been to. The reason is rather simple. It takes 9 to 10 months to nurture an embryo to a full human being, it should take at least that long to treat infertility as well. And based on experience it typically takes 7 to 8 months of weekly treatments for successful pregnancy. Some people still cannot believe this. And many drop off half way. Some drop off very early on even unfortunately. The few that stuck with it mostly enjoyed success. So recently I've had two patients both of whom are roughly 10 years apart, one in the thirties and the other in the forties, both had successful IVF after treatment, whereas they had suffered failure doing IVF before coming in. Pregnancy is not merely a biological or physical phenomenon. It is a creation of another human being. It is a big event to be honest. So likewise it requires the combination of many factors, of which acupuncture, Chinese medicine, IVF, IUI and what have you are just part of.
I wish to again elucidate this idea of what acupuncture and Chinese medicine are, and how they are different from other modalities. If we are talking about complex internal organ issues it would be easy to understand the difference of approach. But I think using a seemingly simple but actually complex condition can best illustrate this point. You may have heard of buttock pain. It actually isn't a common pain. Most people complain of sciatic pain which travel down the butt. But the butt in Chinese medicine is divided into multiple regions. Depending on how and where it presents itself it is interpreted differently and treated differently. Some patients unfortunately are under the impression that it is all the same, just another muscle problem. Unfortunately this line of thinking is what separates Chinese medicine style acupuncture over something like IMS, or massage therapy, or chiropractic. I do not need to point out specific modalities but unfortunately I have to in order to paint this picture. So here I had two patients. One was not satisfied with the initial treatments I did because the pain was still there after I used the direct more musculoskeletal approach similar to above named line of thinking. It became clear it would be likely impossible to get across the complexity of this issue because the patient was fixated on thinking the problem was just there only. In an effort to respect the patient and not become too overarching I tried my best but to no avail because I had not been given the chance to fully utilize TCM style treatments. The second patient came with the exact same problem but at least twice as bad. I treated it similarly initially with above method. There was minor improvement. Then we moved to a more Chinese medicine style approach. And gradually the effect came out. However from the diagnostic methods we employ it seems it was still a ways to go. So despite enjoying finally a little relief I told him to get it checked. Results came back showing wide spread arthritis across the area, which wasn't surprising as I was treating it along that route already. This patient also had already seen other modalities before coming to me. So is this a muscle problem? No it is really a bone problem. But bone and muscle are inseparable in TCM, but a massage therapist and physiotherapist would like to think it is muscle, whereas a chiropractic may think it is bone. Where is the unified thinking in this? That is the right question to ask, for this and for everything else as well. (Holism is not a fad term just waiting to be thrown around and used as if it is cool, it in fact is very hard to achieve but have to be achieved if one is to treat any disease because of the way the body works).
You may remember I've talked about diabetes a while back. Recently somebody came for treatment of the lower back. Lower back conditions are a staple of TCM and acupuncture practices. It is the sort of bread and butter for many practitioners. Yet it's quite not as simple as it appears. The problem isn't just on the back. Recently there's been a few patients who came in and through treatment and further thinking I've realized their back pain partly stems from imbalance of the mid section of the torso. This is quite a new discovery for me. For these patients I told them that I'll give you some herbs to help with better circulation and function of your gut, hoping to see if this will benefit their back pain treatment. Surprisingly it seems to help, and even more surprising, one of the patients told me their blood sugar "dropped". I asked what it meant and was told it was always slightly high, but after the herbs it "dropped", and went almost too low. The treatment effect was better than what I did before for diabetes, and elucidated a part of ancient theory relating to diabetes that I now sort of understand a bit better. It turns out that diabetes isn't so straight forward as I've thought. It seems there is relation to the stress and cortisol response, the health of the gut, how taxed the pancreas is, inflammation in the body, the function of the liver, and in some other patients there is a possible link to the kidneys as well(they usually say diabetes affects the kidneys but it is possible that the reverse may be true as well)among other causes. It is possible that the lung and cardiac system is related as well, which sits well with the Chinese medicine theory of 5 elemental inter-relational correspondences.