About Alex Goldberg

Alex Goldberg, Co-Founder of Garden Acupuncture , is a Licensed Acupuncturist & Herbalist in the state of New York. After studying psychology at The Ohio State University, he participated in a work-study program in northern Israel. Alex earned his Masters in Acupuncture from the American Institute of Alternative Medicine, and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2006. There he obtained the education and skill required to become an acupuncturist under the supervision of skilled Traditional Chinese Medicine physicians all of whom graduated and worked in Beijing, China. Alex also earned another Masters degree in Chinese Herbology at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, allowing him to gain deeper knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments. Alex has continued his education by attending intensive retreats with Randine Lewis PhD, a fertility specialist. He is the only Acupuncturist, in Brooklyn, who has had the esteemed privilege of learning directly under her tutelage. Alex offers safe, proficient, and effective care using acupuncture, herbal therapy, and nutritional counseling for a broad set of ailments. Alex is fluent in English and Russian allowing him to better serve the local community. Organizations: Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Alliance (AOM Alliance) Acupuncture Society of New York (ASNY) The Fertile Soul CEFP (Clinical Excellence in Fertility Professionals)

6 Ways Acupuncture Can Support Men’s Health

Acupuncture Can Support Men’s Health.

“Evgeniya Porechenskaya/Shutterstock.com”

  1. Stress & Anxiety: We all have it and there is no avoiding it. The important thing is having an outlet and the tools to help your body process it! Acupuncture has been proven in studies to help lower stress hormones and *everydayHealth has a wonderful article about how acupuncture can help keep your stress and anxiety under control.
  2. Cardiovascular Health: Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men. Almost 50% of men don’t know there is an issue until it is too late. Prevention plays a huge role. Acupuncture can help with Heart Rate Variability and Hypertension among other factors by having a an effect on the parasympathetic nervous system. Check out this article on Mind Body Green about why a cardiologist prescribes acupuncture.
  3. Sleep Quality: You need to let your batteries recharge. Sleep is an essential time that your body uses to rest and repair. It is not just about getting your 8 hours but needing quality, deep sleep. Acupuncture has been shown to outperform some sleep drugs by enhancing Slow Wave Sleep. Catch some zzz’s Brooklyn!
  4. Nutrition & Hydration: There’s no question that maintaining a nutritious diet and drinking enough water can help keep your body and mind healthy. What foods are best for you? We can help guide you depending on what your body specifically needs but nature gives us a big clue as to what foods benefit different parts of our body. Take a look at these 10 foods that mirror the body parts they provide nutrition for according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. 
  5. Chronic Pain: Do you suffer from chronic pain? Have an old injury or maybe were in an accident? Is the pain changing your normal function? Avoiding pain relief or taking lots of medications to deal with pain can put extra stress on the body. Commonly opioids are prescribed and for men that can mean unexpected and unintended side effects like Opioid Induced Constipation and long term use can lower testosterone levels. Why not make yourself more comfortable without drugs? The director of Integrative Pain Management, a Medical Doctor at Mount Sinai Hospital, backs up the effectiveness of acupuncture! You can read the full article here. This is a small excerpt from the yahoo health news article: The evidence supporting complementary medicine is real and growing, says Houman Danesh, MD, director of Integrative Pain Management at Mount Sinai Hospital. “It’s no longer hokey,” he tells Yahoo Health. “There’s something like 27,000 medical articles on acupuncture alone, so its effects have been widely researched.”
  6. Fertility: Fertility is not just a female concern! Stats show that the percentage of infertility problems are 35-40% female conditions and 35-40% male conditions. The last 20-30% is a combination of the two plus a percentage of unknown causes. Traditional Chinese Medicine has been used for nearly 3,000 years to treat fertility problems. Studies have shown acupuncture and Chinese herbs to improve sperm quality and the structural integrity of sperm. When addressing male fertility, combining traditional Assisted Therapies with Traditional Chinese Medicine greatly increases success rates. Couples and individuals should understand the true causes of male factor infertility and seek care at a reputable, caring facility when considering IVF.

Here is a great resource to learn more about how our team specializes in Whole System TCM for Fertility: Garden Acupuncture Fertility Program

If you need a referral for Reproductive Medicine, here are two great facilities we recommend:

Manhattan: RMA of New York.     Dr. Joseph Davis

Brooklyn: Genesis Fertility.     Dr. Grazi and Dr. Ross

aiga-toilet-men

 

 Schedule An Appointment Today

10 Tips To Manage Stress

You can’t control or prevent stress but you can address how you respond to it and you can help create an environment around and within yourself to better process it. Often stress is only associated with emotions and you should absolutely include tools and habits in your life to manage worry, excessive thinking, fear, anger, frustration and grief due to the very strong mind-body and brain-gut connections. There are other very powerful forms of stress that build and linger in the body that are important to recognize. Extra strain on any of your body systems equals stress in your body on a hormonal level.

Let’s talk about stress.

Stress has become a major buzzword but has the meaning of it been lost? Many have only come to associate it with emotional distress. To understand how and why stress is influencing your body and how it can contribute to health issues it’s important to get back to basics of what stress actually is.

Stress from a healthcare perspective is describing a response. It is a response to the change in demand or an increase of demand on the body/mind from a normal, balanced state. The resulting effects can be on your body, mood or even behavior. A stressor is the thing that initiated the response. An increase or change of demand on the body/mind can be perceived as positive or negative depending on the stressor and the circumstances it is happening in, but either way, it causes a reaction.

You can’t “Just Relax”.

The stress response is an automatic reaction and you can’t just shut it off, take it easy and not worry so much.

Every human comes in contact with stressors so every human experiences stress. The difference is how your body/mind processes this response and how long it has to be in that state. The fight-or-flight response doesn’t just kick in if a bear is chasing you. The body can react dramatically to non-life threatening situations too. Dreading taking the subway at rush hour every day for work, traveling, lack of quality sleep, consistent poor diet laden with damp foods, your environment and excessive exercise are just a few things that can cause stress on the body; taking the focus away from normal functions. If your body is in a chronic state of reacting, it may choose to protect or warn you with symptoms. When stress is long term, your body has to find new ways to operate and it might not operate in the way you would expect or want.

Garden Acupuncture’s Tips For Managing Stress:

  1. Oxygenate and Hydrate. Do not look at your phone the second you wake. When you first wake in the morning, take a few cleansing deep breaths. You can even try some breathing exercises such as the 4:7:8 technique. Then drink a full glass of room temperature water. Continue drinking water throughout the day. A good way to get an idea of how much you should be drinking is to go by your body weight. Divide your weight in half and then drink that amount in ounces per day. For instance, if you weigh 100 lbs then drink 50 ounces of water per day. We suggest measuring your water out for a few days so you know what the correct amount of water looks like.

  2. Acknowledge the people you begin your day with. If you live with friends, family, a significant other or a roommate, take the time to say good morning. Welcoming the day with kind words and a hug, kiss or even a high five can set the tone for a more positive day.

  3. Make mealtimes sacred and don’t skip them. Pay attention to how, what and when you eat. Choose healthy options and chew properly! And while you are eating, stay focused on that activity and the company you are with. If you are scrolling through a newsfeed, you are not being mindful of your current action. Don’t miss out on the special benefit of healing, nourishment and connectivity meals and mealtimes provide.

  4. Designate time to absorb news and social media BUT put a cap on it for the day. It is totally ok to have a stopping point. Knowing when to disengage is just as important as engaging. By scheduling time for this activity and creating a boundary you accomplish two things. First, you allow yourself time to participate. And since the time is limited, it might encourage you to be more mindful of what you are consuming. Second, by creating a boundary you can be aware of when you are crossing it. Yes, there will be days where news and viral videos take over, but, it is up to you to balance it out. Make sure to create space in the next day for quiet, calm and relaxation sans screen time.

  5. Get distracted. Sometimes you need to actively redirect your attention to something else in order to give your mind a break. While this should not become the go-to solution every time, it can be a good tool if you are having a difficult time stopping a runaway mind. Watch a funny movie, listen to loud music or even better, get outside and get your body moving! Have a mindfulness coloring book? Break out some crayons and get creative!

  6. Create a bedtime ritual. Whatever your normal bedtime is, two hours prior to that, do not watch tv and do not go on your phone. Commit to this. There is no reason to get your mind racing before you are trying to sleep and the light from phones and televisions disrupt natural sleep patterns. Use this time to take a warm bath, read poetry, listen to soothing music, do more breathing exercises, pick out what you are wearing and pack lunch for the next day…whatever you find relaxing.

  7. Yoga, Meditation, Massage and Acupuncture. These four practices can all help reduce stress and anxiety. Sometimes you need outside intervention. Acupuncture directly can help recalibrate stress hormones in the body through the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis pathway as explained through studies and from a western perspective. But emotions have a deeply rooted place in Traditional Chinese Medicine and how they have a relationship to specific organs and energetic organ systems. This explanation can really turn into a mouthful. We invite you to call us if you want to nerd out about it or come get treated! If you want to get your feet wet with more information about emotions and TCM, read this and this.

  8. Exercise. Ok, we know this is probably not your favorite option but DO IT. Move your body and increase circulation of blood and oxygen and circulate your lymph. THIS WILL HELP you feel better and stay healthy. Don’t have the motivation to go to a gym? No problem. Run up and down the stairs in your house, apartment building or subway station, jump on a mini trampoline in your living room while watching Netflix, blast a terribly fun pop song and dance your heart out for the entire song. Just don’t over do it.

  9. Cry, Scream, Sing & Laugh. Let it out. Feeling sad? Let yourself have a good, loud, ugly cry. Getting that bottled up in the chest feeling from being so mad and frustrated? Scream into a pillow! Need a positive boost? Belt out a song! (Yes, singing releases endorphins.) And a good giggle never hurt anybody. Have you heard of this lady, The Laughing Diva? Check her out.  

  10. Puppies and Kittens. That’s right. We went there. Animals have a wonderful way of calming us down. They are pure and kind and loyal and just want love and affection. Give your pet some extra snuggles and playtime. Don’t have a furry buddy? I bet one of your friends does. Take a walk together! Or, volunteer at a shelter like Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue.

Dominated By Bowels & Bathroom Availability.

“Dean Drobot/Shutterstock.com”

Do you have digestive issues? Or have you been told you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome? If you’re among those finding yourself avoiding intimacy, skipping meals, doing military style recon on the bathroom situation at work or social events; read on!

Learn about some causes of IBS from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective and how to treat IBS naturally.

Doing Battle With Your Bowels.

Let’s be real. Most people are not thrilled to talk about their pooping status, passing wind or what seem to be the deafening, bubbling roars their stomach is making. But these are symptoms. And symptoms should never be ignored! This is how your body talks to you to let you know what’s up. These tummy topics might be embarrassing for some but discussing them, understanding what’s causing them and getting educated about your options are the first steps toward relieving IBS. Be freed from the rule of the porcelain throne!

What is IBS?

For the 10-15% of Americans (mostly women) that have to endure this syndrome with unknown causes, life can become a juggling act. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a catch all phrase for a group of symptoms that range in severity including alternating diarrhea and constipation, flatulence, bloating and nausea. The important thing to remember is that if you have irritable bowel syndrome, or any gastrointestinal issues, you are definitely not alone and there are positive things you can do for relief and resolve. I came across this article in The Atlantic written by Anne McGovern; a woman brave enough to share her story that I think perfectly captures the struggle. 

We need to talk. Relationship Problems.

Do your intestines ever get all twisted when you are really nervous for an interview? Or have you ever had an upset stomach after a stressful encounter with a parent, significant other or bestie? How about feeling depressed and chocolate seems to be the anecdote for a sad mood? None of this is coincidence thanks to intertwined relationships within our bodies.

There aren’t structural issues present with irritable bowel syndrome. There are also no infections or chemical imbalances contributing to this diagnosis. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine it is all about moderation and balance. Your diet, environment and lifestyle may contribute to the worsening of irritable bowel syndrome but positive changes in these areas may hold the key to calming your symptoms.

FUN FACT ALERT!

 Did you know a large part of your immune system resides in your gut?

 

The Brain-Gut Relationship

Also called the Mind-Body connection, this is actually a fantastically interesting and majorly complicated relationship that directly impacts your physical/digestive and mental health. The Brain-Gut relationship can even get in the way of your sexual health as explained by Dr. Catalano in this HUFFPOST article.

To super oversimplify, it is kind of like having two computers connected by an ethernet cable in your body. The brain in your head is part of the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the “brain” in your gut is part of the Enteric Nervous System (ENS) and they communicate via the Vagus Nerve sending messages in either direction. For instance, you can think about or smell something yummy cooking and your stomach will automatically start producing digestive juices before food ever gets to your mouth. Or you can be really upset and get a stomach ache. I encourage you to check this video out by Dr. Candace Pert; the amazing doctor who started to figure this all out.

What we eat can alter our mood, our mood can bring on cravings and our emotions can play games with our guts.

 

You can learn more about the brain-gut relationship direct from Harvard and Johns Hopkins here and here.

The Liver & Spleen Relationship

The concept of organs and their functions in Western Medicine differ In Traditional Chinese Medicine. The Yin organs, liver and spleen, and their energy pathways as well as their Yang pairs (Gall Bladder and Stomach respectively) have an important relationship in proper digestion. The Spleen governs and transforms food into Qi and blood and helps to remove dampness. The Liver ensures the smooth flow of emotions, Qi and blood in the body. A weakness/deficiency or dominance/excess in either system can result in improper digestion and produce symptoms such as found with IBS. While a Liver/Spleen disharmony is quite common for those with IBS, deeper conflicts of TCM patterns may be present.

 

Sleep & Stress Relationship

Too much anxiety, worry, anger, stress and fatigue can all physically and energetically interfere with the spleen/liver functions therefore hindering their jobs in digestion.

It is a love hate relationship really. Inadequate sleep can increase stress, stress increases cortisol levels and if the stress response doesn’t shut off it makes it hard to sleep. Fatigue during the day may have you grasping for sugar and caffeine…it is a downward spiral aggravating IBS symptoms.

Diet & Lifestyle Relationship

The composition of particular foods may be harsh on your digestive tract. Food allergies and intolerances contribute to IBS symptoms as well. How, when and what you eat can play a major role in your stress, sleep quality and emotions. Defined TCM properties of foods can alter the liver/spleen function and can irritate your bowels. You can watch our video explaining TCM nutrition! Having a TCM practitioner properly evaluate you and help identify the right individualized diet is key.

Lifestyle also needs to be addressed. Movement of your body helps your digestive tract move, keeps blood flowing and can help nutrients absorb more effectively. Physical activity, what mechanisms and tools you have in place to process stress, your routines throughout the day and your interactions with the world around you all ultimately relate to your overall health on a macro and micro level.

Relationships are complicated.

How your Diet, Nervous System and Energetic Pathways Overlap.

Nutritional counseling is an important part of any Traditional Chinese Medicine protocol. It is not just about “eating healthy” but rather eating the right foods, at the right times, that are right for the individualized patterns presenting for you. A few simple examples…Overwhelming your body with dampness for instance (such as dairy products are categorized) can bog down the spleen and cause digestive issues. When you weaken the spleen, the liver may over act on the spleen relationship and further cause digestive issues. So foods that are spicy or damp, meals that are too big and eaten at the wrong time, or foods that are cold are some examples of nutrition that you might be consuming that are making digestion and elimination difficult.

Foods are categorized by properties and those properties can hinder, repair or rejuvenate organ systems, effectively making food a form of medicine.

Every organ in TCM is classified in an element group and also associated with different properties. Some of these properties include things like an emotion, sound, color, taste, time & season. For instance, the Liver emotions are anger/irritability and the Spleen emotions are overthinking/worry. The fact that anxiety and stress play a role in digestion is not a surprise in Chinese Medicine.

Foods you eat can trigger certain emotions by calming or stimulating neurotransmitters in the gut. Did you know that almost all the chemicals associated with emotions (or their receptors) located in the brain are also located in the gut? This includes neurotransmitters that may be familiar to you such as dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine and a source of benzodiazepines (which are found in xanax).

What you can do about it.

To round this up, your diet, emotions and lifestyle totally matter for IBS! Putting undue stress on your gut and making your digestion an extra thing your body has to deal with will strain your immune system making it easier to get sick or not recover as quickly.

Traditional Chinese Medicine, which includes acupuncture, has shown to be effective at decreasing stress levels, improving sleep quality and managing IBS symptoms. Acupuncture not your thing? You may want to give meditation, yoga or relaxing massages a try. And good sleep hygiene is an absolute must. Establish a positive ritual around bedtime and shut off your phone! Also go to bed at a reasonable hour and wake at the same time everyday. (ahem… in the morning…don’t sleep til noon.)  We highly recommend getting zen and catching some quality zzz’s.

10 Tips To Help Your Tummy & Ease IBS Symptoms 

  1. Actively Engage in Stress/Anxiety Relief. Click here for our 10 bonus tips for stress reduction!
  2. Improve Sleep Quality & Sleep Habits.
  3. Avoid Dairy, Caffeine, Alcohol and Cold/Raw Foods. (Ease up on the salads (which are cold and raw. Eat veggies but steam them!)
  4. Drink Room Temperature Water and Stay Hydrated! Avoid cold and frozen beverages.
  5. Get your body moving! Exercise might be a daunting term, so think outside of the box if the gym, yoga or running isn’t going to make it on your to do list. Jump rope, walk flights of stairs or ride a stationary bike! Many of us sit long hours at work. Try taking walking/stretching breaks if possible and perhaps stand while working.
  6. Quit Smoking.
  7. Don’t Overeat and Don’t Eat Late at Night.
  8. Take Extra Care in Chewing Your Food.
  9. Pending The Advice of Your Health Practitioner, fermented foods and probiotics may be helpful in restoring good gut bacteria.
  10. Keep A Daily Diary for 2 Weeks. Track your diet (what you eat and when), activities and emotions. You may notice triggers that worsen your symptoms and this will be helpful information for your health practitioner.

 

Garden Acupuncture regularly and successfully helps women and men of all ages address many digestive issues such as IBS, constipation (including opioid induced constipation), diarrhea and gas/bloating. Acupuncture is a wonderful modality to help decrease the effects of stress in the body as well as improve sleep quality. Live a more comfortable life and address your symptoms!

 

Send us a note, drop us a line at 347-987- 4399 or schedule an appointment today!   

 

Paralyzed by Politics.

When Emotions Take Over Everything…

"Lightspring/Shutterstock.com"

“Lightspring/Shutterstock.com”

Emotions are human. And they are powerful.

Many of us, like you, are feeling extremely overwhelmed by the politics in our country. We are all eating and breathing in every bit of media in order to follow what is happening and then uncontrollably experiencing the emotions that go with it. Maybe you can identify with some of the things that are being experienced:

  • Emotions of defeat and hopelessness

  • Getting irritable

  • Inability to decompress from the day

  • Feeling like all else lacks a sense of importance

It is natural to feel these things and we do not diminish that. Feeling emotions are human and they are powerful. But, in the whirlwind of it, you may forget that you do have some control over them. Not control over the initial experience of the emotion but a choice in how you respond. It is important to recognize the difference between being immersed and being consumed.

This is not sustainable.

Our goal is to help change this method of consumption and emotional reaction. You must keep yourself balanced and centered if you want to be healthy, positive and productive for the long haul. We encourage you to join us in making a conscious decision every day to acknowledge how we are feeling and then taking active steps to assist our bodies in the process of healing.

That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change. But that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent. -Chinese Proverb

"openeyed/shutterstock.com"

“openeyed/shutterstock.com”

You can’t control or prevent stress but you can address how you respond to it and you can help create an environment around and within yourself to better process it.  To be clear, we are not suggesting that you ignore what is happening or to be inactive in the process. We are suggesting that you take a step back and include tools and habits in your life to address worry, excessive thinking, fear, anger, frustration and grief because these emotions are being experienced in a big way and you should prepare yourself.

Have you ever faked sick so well that you actually got sick? The Mind-Body Connection.

The major concern for us, and should be for you as well, is the Mind-Body connection and the very real impact this is having, or will have, on your mental and physical health. While this relationship has long been understood by Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is also recognized by Western Medicine.

If you let your stress response run amok it can cause some real health concerns. Usually a stress response turns on when there is threat and then turns off when it is gone. But in a chronic state, the stress response never turns off, your hormones get elevated and crazy and our body has to find new ways to adapt in a chaotic environment. Some of the issues that can arise:

  • Trouble Sleeping

  • Stomach Aches

  • Diarrhea and Constipation

  • Headaches

  • Heart disease

  • Weight gain or loss

  • Foggy Mind, Forgetfulness and Inability to Concentrate

  • Irregular Menstrual Cycle

Dr. Candace Pert, did pioneering work and research discovering the “Molecules of Emotion” and understanding the connection between the mind and body through neuropeptides and their receptors that are located throughout the entire body.

“As our feelings change, this mixture of peptides travels throughout your body and your brain. And they’re literally changing the chemistry of every cell in your body.” -Dr. Candace Pert

To learn more about the stress response from a western perspective click here.

THE FIRST THING ON YOUR ACTION LIST SHOULD BE TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF.

Step one is acknowledging what you are feeling and step two is giving yourself permission to take care of yourself. You are not devaluing any other person or any other cause by taking some moments for self care. Here are 10 things you can start doing today.

  1. Oxygenate and Hydrate. Do not look at your phone the second you wake. When you first wake in the morning, take a few cleansing deep breaths. You can even try some breathing exercises such as the 4:7:8 technique. Then drink a full glass of room temperature water.

  2. Acknowledge the people you begin your day with. If you live with friends, family, a significant other or a roommate, take the time to say good morning. Welcoming the day with kind words and a hug, kiss or even a high five can set the tone for a more positive day.

  3. Make mealtimes sacred and don’t skip them. Pay attention to how, what and when you eat. Choose healthy options and chew properly! And while you are eating, stay focused on that activity and the company you are with. If you are scrolling through a newsfeed, you are not being mindful of your current action. Don’t miss out on the special benefit of healing, nourishment and connectivity meals and mealtimes provide.

  4. Designate time to absorb news and social media and time to engage in actions that you see fit. BUT put a cap on it for the day. It is totally ok to have a stopping point. Knowing when to disengage is just as important. By scheduling time for this and creating a boundary you accomplish two things. First, you allow yourself time to participate. And since the time is limited, it might encourage you to be as productive as possible. Second, by creating a boundary you can be aware of when you are crossing it. Yes, there will be days where this takes over, but, it is up to you to balance it out. Have a particularly active and overwhelming day? Make sure to create space in the next day for quiet, calm and relaxation.

  5. Get distracted. Sometimes you need to actively redirect your attention to something else in order to give your mind a break. While this should not become the go-to solution every time, it can be a good tool if you are having a difficult time stopping a runaway mind. Watch a funny movie, listen to loud music or even better, get outside and get your body moving! Have a mindfulness coloring book? Break out some crayons and color pencils and get creative!

  6. Create a bedtime ritual. Whatever your normal bedtime is, two hours prior to that, do not watch tv and do not go on your phone. Commit to this. There is no reason to get your mind racing before you are trying to sleep and the light from phones and televisions disrupt natural sleep patterns. Use this time to take a warm bath, read poetry, listen to soothing music, do more breathing exercises, pick out what you are wearing and pack lunch for the next day…whatever you find relaxing.

  7. Yoga, Meditation, Massage and Acupuncture. These four practices can all help reduce stress and anxiety. Sometimes you need outside intervention. Acupuncture directly can help recalibrate stress hormones in the body through the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis pathway as explained through studies and from a western perspective. But emotions have a deeply rooted place in Traditional Chinese Medicine and how they have a relationship to specific organs and energetic organ systems. This explanation can really turn into a mouthful. We invite you to call us if you want to nerd out about it or come get treated! If you want to get your feet wet with more information about emotions and TCM, read this and this.

  8. Exercise. Ok, we know this is probably not your favorite option but DO IT. Move your body and increase circulation of blood and oxygen and circulate your lymph. THIS WILL HELP you feel better and stay healthy. Don’t have the motivation to go to a gym? No problem. Run up and down the stairs in your house, apartment building or subway station, jump on a mini trampoline in your living room while watching Netflix, blast a terribly fun pop song and dance your heart out for the entire song.

  9. Cry, Scream, Sing & Laugh. Let it out. Feeling sad? Let yourself have a good, loud, ugly cry. Getting that bottled up in the chest feeling from being so mad and frustrated? Scream into a pillow! Need a positive boost? Belt out a song! (Yes, singing releases endorphins.) And a good giggle never hurt anybody. Have you heard of this lady, The Laughing Diva? Check her out.  

  10. Puppies and Kittens. That’s right. We went there. Animals have a wonderful way of calming us down. They are pure and kind and loyal and just want love and affection. Give your pet some extra snuggles and playtime. Don’t have a furry buddy? I bet one of your friends does. Take a walk together! Or, volunteer at a shelter like Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue.

 

We hope this post encourages you to incorporate some healthy daily habits.

Human Love & Solidarity

 

 

 

By |January 31st, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

6 Sneaky Ways Stress Can Prevent Conception

"ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com"

“ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com”

 

What is stress?

Stress has become a major buzzword but has the meaning of it been lost? Many have only come to associate it with emotional distress. To understand how and why stress is influencing your body and how it can contribute to infertility, it is important to get back to basics of what stress actually is.

Stress from a healthcare perspective is describing a response. It is a response to the change in demand or an increase of demand on the body or mind from a normal, balanced state. The resulting effects can be on your body, mood or even behavior. A stressor is the thing that initiated the response. An increase or change of demand on the body/mind can be perceived as positive or negative depending on the stressor and the circumstances it is happening in, but either way, it causes a reaction.

You can’t “Just Relax”.

The stress response is an automatic reaction and you can’t just shut it off, take it easy and not worry so much.

Every human comes in contact with stressors so every human experiences stress. The difference is how your body/mind processes this response and how long it has to be in that state. The fight-or-flight response doesn’t just kick in if a bear is chasing you. The body can react dramatically to non-life threatening situations too. Dreading taking the subway at rush hour every day for work, traveling, consistent poor diet laden with damp foods, your environment and excessive exercise are just a few things that can cause stress on the body; taking the focus away from the reproductive system. If your body is in a chronic state of reacting, it may choose to protect you. Remember that we humans are animals. Not getting pregnant and having a baby in a situation that our body is telling us that something is off is a survival mechanism. When stress is long term, your body has to find new ways to operate and it might not operate in the way you would expect or want.

Stress and Infertility

While there are many factors that contribute to infertility, identifying and addressing stress cannot be ignored. While you can’t just stop the stress response, you can learn what kinds of things trigger it in your body and manage them. Usually people have multiple sources of stress and many don’t even realize what their stressors are as it might not be emotional culprits like family, work or money concerns. Remember that stress on your body does not necessarily mean emotional distress is the stressor. We do recommend addressing negative emotions to help and assist in shifting the body from stress response to relaxation response. If your body systems are out of balance, your body is stressed. When under a constant state of stress for a long period, it may become your feeling of “normal”. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture for infertility help reduce stress, restore the systems that have become out of balance and bring back focus to the reproductive system.

"Victor Brave/Shutterstock.com"

“Victor Brave/Shutterstock.com”

Here are 6 ways stress can prevent conception:

  1. Stress affects ovulation. Stress can cause a domino effect by the way it disrupts the hypothalamus from sending the right hormone to the pituitary which then may prevent the release of the correct hormones to the ovaries for ovulation. Stress can change when an egg is released or prevent an egg from being released at all.

  2. Stress increases cortisol levels. When under stress your body produces extra adrenaline and cortisol. The problem is that progesterone is needed to make cortisol. Instead of progesterone being available to support conception and pregnancy, it is essentially stolen by the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. Your body may prioritize stress over pregnancy.

  3. Stress affects testosterone levels. It has been shown that elevated levels of cortisol can lower testosterone levels. Stress may also cause you to eat more, sleep less and experience emotions of depression, anger or anxiety which all compound and further affect hormones in the body.

  4. Stress can alter sperm count and motility. The pathway or reason why stress can change sperm production or sperm health is not clear but studies are trying to understand why subjective and objective stress is indeed causing an issue. One possibility is the release of a steroid called glucocorticoids and another may have to do with how your body deals with the free radicals that are produced and the body’s ability to counteract them.

  5. Stress can prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg. This is also an issue that should be addressed for embryo implantation when undergoing IVF and IUI procedures. Stress can affect hormones that reduce blood flow to the uterus and endometrial lining making it less receptive to implantation.

  6. Stress can create spasms in the fallopian tubes and the uterus. In response to stress, your body may produce hormones that can increase muscle tension and result in a temporary blockage of the fallopian tubes and cramping in the uterus.

Reduce Stress and Improve Fertility

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which includes acupuncture, prepares the body and mind of both women and men to conceive. No matter how egg and sperm are joining, all participants should address their fertility. Traditional Chinese Medicine can provide a different insight to unexplained infertility. It contributes to many positive factors that help people conceive through natural and assisted methods such as IVF and has shown to increase success rates through live birth.

TCM works on the principle of cycles and homeostasis just like your body. Egg and sperm quality today is the reflection of your health 3 months ago. Past diet, nutritional status, blood oxygen, hormonal levels, even your emotions can impact your current fertility state. Fertility is fluid and where you are falling in the spectrum may be due to imbalances beyond what typical investigative tests show. We recommend giving yourself, your body and mind, the opportunity to prepare for 90 days prior to conceiving naturally or with Assisted Reproductive Technologies such as IVF and IUI.

When TCM is provided by a practitioner that specializes in fertility, and is properly trained and licensed, you can learn to breathe differently, eat differently, express your emotions honestly and rid your body of the negative effects of the stress response. Your body’s attention can be brought back to your reproductive organs in which many cases have been starved of circulation. Here are a few ways TCM contributes to positive fertility factors:

  • Increased egg quality

  • Improved blood flow to the uterus and uterine lining

  • Decrease of blockages such as polyps and cysts that may prevent the process of egg and sperm meeting to create an embryo

  • Decrease in spasms of the fallopian tubes and uterus which may cause temporary blockages and impede implantation

  • Improves blood flow for placenta growth

  • Improves sperm morphology, motility and count

  • Restores energetic balance in the mind/body to help create a calm environment for a healthy pregnancy and birth

  • Reduces stress response by acting on the nervous system and circulatory system

 

Garden Acupuncture Fertility Specialty:

Learn more about TCM and Acupuncture for Infertility

Learn more about Acupuncture for Women’s Health Conditions

 

Related Articles:

5 Reasons a TCM Fertility Specialist Will Help You Conceive

The Effect of Weight and Fertility

Acupuncture Reduces Stress and Improves IVF Success Rates