Diminished Ovarian Reserve & Acupuncture

Diminished Ovarian Reserve & Acupuncture: A Beacon of Hope

Navigating the complexities of fertility can sometimes feel like a solitary and challenging path, especially when faced with a diagnosis like Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR).

It’s understandable that such news can bring a host of emotions and questions. But it’s essential to remember, you’re not alone.

Today’s blog aims to shed light on how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture can offer a supportive hand in your fertility journey, backed by both ancient wisdom and modern research.

Understanding Diminished Ovarian Reserve

Diminished Ovarian Reserve (aka: DOR or low ovarian reserve) can be defined as the reduction of normal reproductive potential of the ovaries. Over time, ovarian reserve naturally declines with age resulting in age related diminished ovarian reserve.

Diminished Ovarian Reserve may also occur due to other causes not related to age such as:

  • genetics
  • previous medical treatments
  • injuries
  • endometriosis
  • and other reasons

Unfortunately, DOR and reduced egg quality tend to go hand in hand potentially leading to infertility and an increased risk of miscarriage.

From a Western medical viewpoint, DOR is a pivotal concern in infertility, and various treatments may be suggested by reproductive endocrinologists such as medicated timed intercourse, IUI and/or IVF.

Diminished Ovarian Reserve is diagnosed by using a combination of labs and imaging. A transvaginal ultrasound is used to determine Antral Follicle Count (AFC) and bloodwork is used to check labs such as Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH), Follicular Stimulating Hormone (FSH), and estradiol.

While Western medical approaches serve as a beacon of hope, they can also be physically and emotionally taxing. This is where the gentle, yet potent, support of TCM begins to shine through the uncertainty.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective on Diminished Ovarian Reserve

TCM views health and fertility as a balance of energy and bodily functions. When it comes to Diminished Ovarian Reserve, TCM practitioners look at the harmony of specific organ systems, considering factors like kidney energy and blood flow to understand the roots of the condition. It’s a holistic framework that envelops your entire being — body, mind, and spirit.

“Every woman’s health tells a story,” as noted by TCM practitioner Jane Lyttleton, “and in TCM, we aim to understand that narrative fully to guide her towards overall well-being and improved fertility.”

Acupuncture as a Supportive Ally

Acupuncture has come to the forefront as a valuable support system for enhancing fertility. It’s intricately designed to not only promote better blood flow to the reproductive organs (thus protecting ovarian reserve and enhancing egg quality), but also to harmonize the energy flow, or Qi, fostering a more conducive environment for conception.

According to Randine Lewis, another renowned voice in the field, “Acupuncture is a twofold blessing. It acts as a standalone therapy and yet harmoniously complements Western treatments like IVF, elevating both the physical and emotional resilience of our patients.”

Frequency and Application

Often, a strategy involving regular treatment sessions is recommended to maximize benefits. A Diminished Ovarian Reserve diagnosis tends to benefit from consistent acupuncture treatments averaging from once to twice weekly. Based on where an individual is on their journey, acupuncture may be recommended alongside actively trying to conceive or in the months leading up to and alongside trying to conceive (this may include trying to conceive naturally, gearing up for egg freezing and/or all ART treatments).

This being said, every individual is unique and requires a detailed health assessment and TCM diagnosis prior to being prescribed a definitive treatment plan. Oftentimes TCM herbal formulas, in addition to supplement, lifestyle and dietary recommendations, are also encouraged and provided. Whether your path includes natural conception efforts, medicated timed intercourse, IUI cycles or IVF, acupuncture is tailored to work synergistically with your chosen approach.

A Journey Filled with Hope

The pursuit of fertility is deeply personal and occasionally arduous, yet you can find solace in knowing that there’s a wealth of knowledge and support at your fingertips. At the heart of our practice lies a commitment to nurturing hope and providing expert, compassionate care.

“The confluence of TCM and modern fertility treatments represents a frontier of untapped potential,” says Lee Hollander Rubin, echoing a sentiment of optimism and empowerment for those on this path.

The presence of research-backed TCM methodologies — and specifically acupuncture — in the realm of fertility, offers a promising avenue that’s been embraced by many seeking additional support. Our practitioners are not only educated and informed but are genuinely invested in your fertility journey, ready to stand beside you with empathy and expert guidance.

In Summary

Diminished Ovarian Reserve doesn’t mark the end of the road; it’s simply a curve that requires careful navigation. With the integrative approaches of TCM, including the beneficial application of acupuncture, you are illuminated with additional avenues towards achieving your dream of parenthood.

Our practitioners are here, equipped with knowledge and a deep understanding, to walk with you — step-by-step — on this profoundly personal and life-affirming quest. There is healing, there is hope, and above all, there’s a community rooting for your success.

Are you ready to explore how TCM can complement and enhance your fertility journey? Reach out to us; your story of growth and transformation awaits.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation or learn more about our services.

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Acupuncture Through the Journey of Parenthood

Acupuncture Through the Journey of Parenthood

by Susannah Lee, LA

Acupuncture from Conception to Postpartum

Becoming a parent is one of life’s most beautiful yet challenging experiences. It’s a time filled with anticipation, joy, and inevitably some stress and physical discomfort.

Whether you’re just starting on your path towards conception or you’re navigating the postpartum period, acupuncture may offer a harmonizing support to your body’s natural rhythms and healing processes.

The Hope in Every Needle: Acupuncture and Fertility

For those trying to conceive, the road can sometimes be frustratingly unpredictable. But amidst the uncertainty, acupuncture emerges as a beacon of hope — a traditional practice with roots reaching back through centuries, now supporting the modern-day miracle of conception.

Harmonizing Your Cycle

Regular menstrual cycles and proper ovulation are keystones of fertility. Acupuncture, known for promoting balance and reducing stress, can help regulate your cycle and enhance ovulation. By stimulating the flow of qi, or life energy, and blood throughout the body, this ancient technique encourages a more fertile ground for conception.

Empowering Egg Quality

The quality of eggs is crucial, and research has indicated that acupuncture can improve this aspect of fertility. Sessions of carefully placed fine needles might just be your ally in optimizing egg health, making the conception process more welcoming for new life.

A Stress-Free Sanctuary

Stress is a well-known antagonist in the pregnancy narrative, often uninvited and persistent. Acupuncture offers a respite, inviting calmness into the body’s hectic script. By relieving stress, this modality of treatment not only supports emotional resilience but also nurtures fertility.

Your Pregnancy Partner: Acupuncture for a Serene Journey

Pregnancy is often accompanied by a cast of less-welcomed symptoms — nausea, pain, and insomnia. Acupuncture steps in as a compassionate companion, easing these common discomforts.

Navigating Nausea and Pain

Morning sickness can overshadow the early days of pregnancy. Acupuncture gently and effectively minimizes nausea, allowing you to savor the joy of your growing miracle without constant discomfort. Additionally, it offers non-pharmacological relief from common pregnancy-related pains such as low backaches, sciatica, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Energizing Through Fatigue

Pregnancy fatigue can be all-consuming. Acupuncture, with its holistic approach, might just be the natural pick-me-up you need. By restoring the body’s balance, it can help bolster energy levels, making room for radiant vitality amidst the exhaustion.

Restful Nights and Digestive Comfort

For too many expecting mothers, restorative sleep can feel just out of reach, and digestion might seem like a daily puzzle. Acupuncture ushers in tranquility and digestive order, smoothing the path towards restful nights and comfortable days.

The Postpartum Promise

After childbirth, recovery is paramount. Acupuncture shines in this critical stage by supporting the body, mind and spirit.

Nurturing Your Emotional Well-being in the Postpartum Phase

The silence around postpartum emotional health is gradually being broken, shining light on the importance of mental and emotional care during this significant life transition. Postpartum depression and anxiety, while common, should not be considered a norm that mothers must silently endure.

Just as it aids in physical recovery, acupuncture can play a crucial role in emotional healing as well. The calming practice invites a sense of peace, helping to alleviate the overwhelming feelings of anxiety or depression that can sometimes follow childbirth. Its gentle stimulation of the body’s energy flow can contribute to a balanced emotional state, providing a sanctuary of tranquility for new mothers navigating the complex emotions of the postpartum period.

Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and taking care of your emotional health is just as important as your physical recovery. Acupuncture could be the supportive friend you need, one that soothes the spirit and fosters mental serenity. Together, with professional guidance and a nurturing approach, we can create a postpartum experience that celebrates both the joys and challenges of new motherhood.

Nurturing Your Physical Recovery

The postpartum period is a time of profound physical and emotional adjustment, and your body deserves gentle, nurturing care as it recovers from the miracle of childbirth.

Acupuncture stands out as a supportive healing practice, focusing on accelerating recovery (whether your birth was vaginal or via c-section), alleviating pain, and restoring strength. By targeting specific points on the body, it helps in reducing the swelling and discomfort that are often experienced after delivery, promoting a quicker return to harmonized health.

This ancient art goes beyond just physical recovery; it holistically addresses your wellbeing, ensuring that as you step into your new role, you do so with vitality and balance.

Remember, prioritizing your recovery is not just about healing; it’s about empowering yourself in this new chapter of life. Your wellbeing is the foundation from which you can offer the best care to your newborn.

Consider acupuncture not just as a treatment but as a companion in your postpartum recovery, guiding you gently back to your fullest, most vibrant self.

A Call to Wellness

If you’re ready to explore how acupuncture can support your family’s beginnings, we invite you to reach out and begin your own healing story. Connect with our licensed acupuncturists who can guide you with empathy and expertise on a truly individualized path to wellness.

Your aspirations for health, comfort, and balance are valid and achievable — sometimes it just takes the soft touch of acupuncture to reveal the strength already present within your body. Embark on this nurturing path and discover how such an ancient practice can beautifully complement your modern experience of becoming a parent.

Contact us today and take a compassionate step towards holistic health and harmony as you travel the profound path from conception to postpartum.

Lokahi Acupuncture
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Preparing for IVF Egg Retrieval

5 Essential Tips for Preparing for IVF Egg Retrieval

by Susannah Lee, LAc

Embarking on the journey of preparing for an IVF egg retrieval calls for a compassionate and empowering approach, one that embraces your well-being at every step.

As you prepare for this significant phase, here are five essential tips to guide you through the process with resilience, care, and hope.

5 Ways to Prepare for IVF Egg Retrieval

1. Embracing Loving Kindness: Understanding the Power of Hormones

The journey of hormone therapy leading up to an IVF egg retrieval can be a powerful and impactful experience. It’s essential to cultivate loving kindness toward yourself and recognize the profound influence of hormones on emotions.

By gaining awareness of this influence, you can navigate your stimulation cycle with a greater sense of understanding and self-compassion, fostering emotional well-being as you prepare for this transformative stage.

2. Acknowledging the Surgical Nature: Planning for Post-Retrieval Care

An egg retrieval is a surgical procedure that warrants thoughtful planning and consideration. It’s crucial to designate a supportive individual who will accompany you to and from the procedure, allowing for rest and recovery following surgery.

Additionally, preparing comforting and nourishing foods in advance, as well as potentially taking time off from work, can provide the post-surgery support needed to promote healing and rejuvenation.

3. Empowering Through Preparation: Engaging with Your Injection Schedule

Reviewing your injection and medication schedule is a pivotal step in your preparation for the IVF egg retrieval. It’s important not to hesitate in asking questions and seeking clarity from your healthcare team.

Familiarizing yourself with the schedule, the process, and the medications can instill a sense of empowerment, offering you a comprehensive understanding of the journey ahead.

Furthermore, determining who will be administering the injections—whether it’s you, your partner, or a hired healthcare provider — aligns with proactive preparation and support.

4. Nurturing Resilience: Cultivating Support During the Waiting Period

Following the surgery, there will be a period of waiting to receive results, calling for thoughtful consideration of self-support during this time. Planning in advance for ways to nurture and uplift yourself is essential.

Whether it involves daily visualizations, seeking solace in a special place, or arranging quality time with loved ones, these intentional actions can provide the emotional sustenance needed as you await the next steps in your journey.

5. Embracing Holistic Support: Harnessing the Benefits of Acupuncture

Receiving acupuncture leading up to the surgery holds the potential to offer holistic support for both your physical and emotional well-being. This practice can contribute to nurturing egg quality, balancing stress, and preparing your body for the upcoming procedure.

Furthermore, it has the potential to support recovery, aligning with your comprehensive preparation for the IVF egg retrieval.

As you embrace these essential tips, remember that you are not alone in this journey.

Your proactive approach, along with the care and support you invest in yourself, paves the way for a journey fueled by hope, resilience, and the unwavering strength within you. By aligning with these practices and embracing the support available to you, you are nurturing the foundation for a transformative and empowering IVF egg retrieval experience.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation or learn more about our services.

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Heart and Kidney Connection in Chinese Medicine

The Heart and Kidney Connection in Chinese Medicine 💖

by Susannah Lee, LAc

Embracing Love and Fertility

Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love and affection, falls in the winter season.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the winter season is associated with the element of water, which corresponds to the kidneys rather than the heart (the symbol so frequently associated with this particular holiday).

In TCM, the heart and kidney connection holds deep significance when it comes to matters of love, fertility, and emotional well-being. So, with Valentine’s Day on the horizon, it’s an opportune time to explore these aspects and invite our patients to delve into the wisdom of this ancient healing tradition.

The Heart and Kidney Connection

The heart and kidneys are considered vital organs in Chinese Medicine, with each associated with specific elements and energies. The heart is linked to the fire element, symbolizing warmth, passion, and love. It governs not only matters of emotions but also mental clarity, consciousness, and joy.

On the other hand, the kidneys are associated with the water element, representing depth, foundation, and the essence of life. In East Asian medicine, the kidneys are regarded as the storehouse of vital energy (known as “jing”) and play a critical role in fertility, sexual vitality, and overall longevity.

The heart and kidneys are interconnected through the bao mai, a meridian or energy channel that facilitates the harmonious flow of energy and information between these organs. This connection is particularly relevant to matters of love, fertility, and the cultivation of deep emotional bonds.

As we approach Valentine’s Day, we warmly encourage our patients to explore the heart-kidney connection in their lives.

Here are a few suggestions to tap into the wisdom of Chinese Medicine:

1️⃣ Nurturing Self-Love:

Take time to care for your own heart and kidneys. Engage in practices that promote self-love and self-care, such as meditation, gentle exercises like qigong, or nourishing herbal teas that support kidney health.

2️⃣ Cultivating Emotional Balance:

Embrace practices that help balance the heart’s fiery energy, such as mindfulness, journaling, or engaging in creative activities that bring joy and emotional fulfillment.

3️⃣ Support for Fertility and Vitality:

For those on a fertility journey or seeking to enhance their reproductive health, consider consulting with a qualified Chinese Medicine practitioner. They can offer tailored treatments, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, and dietary recommendations to support your unique needs.

4️⃣ Deepening Connections:

Explore the nurturing aspects of the heart and kidney connection in your relationships. Take the time to communicate openly, express love and gratitude, and cultivate emotional intimacy with your loved ones.

Remember, the guidance of a skilled Chinese Medicine practitioner can provide personalized recommendations based on your individual needs and goals.

By embracing the heart and kidney connection in Chinese Medicine, we invite our patients to honor the profound wisdom of this ancient healing tradition and cultivate love, fertility, and emotional well-being as they journey towards Valentine’s Day and beyond.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation or learn more about our services.

Lokahi Acupuncture
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Male Infertility - Boost Fertility Naturally

Male Infertility: 5 Tips for Boosting Fertility Naturally

Facing male infertility can be challenging for men and their partners.

You are not alone in your struggle. It is essential to know that matters of male fertility are treatable and manageable.

In recent years, infertility rates have significantly increased. Fortunately, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) provides treatment for individuals experiencing infertility. This extensive practice takes a holistic approach, assessing all aspects of the individual to discover where fundamental imbalances lie and working towards correcting them.

Infertility is a complex medical issue, and male infertility accounts for 50% of cases.

The primary causes, according to Western medicine, can range from low sperm count to genetic disorders. However, traditional Eastern medicine views male infertility as a manifestation of fundamental imbalances that need to be addressed holistically.

In this blog post, we discuss five tips to increase male fertility and explain how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approaches the issue. If you or your partner have been diagnosed with male infertility, read on to learn how you can increase your chances of conceiving.

1. Maintain a healthy weight

According to the Mayo Clinic, increasing body mass index (BMI) can lead to decreased sperm count and decreased sperm movement.Obesity can negatively impact semen quality by reducing sperm count and motility.

From a TCM perspective, an abundance of adipose tissue could be viewed as an excess of dampness or phlegm in the body. This could cause blockages in the channels, slowing down qi and blood flow, and affecting the production of vital substances such as sperm. Hence, dietary modifications, acupuncture, and herbal medicine aimed at reducing dampness and promoting circulation could be beneficial.

2. Eat a healthy diet

Eating a healthy diet is essential in TCM. Good nutrition involves eating protein, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Eat foods such as whole grains like rice, quinoa, and oats, fresh seasonal vegetables like carrots, cabbage, and broccoli, and healthy fats found in nuts and seeds. Research shows that a diet high in antioxidants can improve sperm health, and polyunsaturated fats can improve sperm motility.

A nutrient-dense diet, including fruits and vegetables, can improve semen quality as they are rich in antioxidants and other phytonutrients. From a TCM perspective, these foods can help tonify the spleen and stomach qi, which are responsible for digesting and absorbing the nutrients. The spleen is also responsible for generating qi and blood, which are important for reproductive function. Additionally, avoiding processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol can help clear toxins and reduce inflammation in the body.

3. Prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause infertility in men. In TCM, regular acupuncture can boost the immune system, making it less susceptible to STI’s. Always practice safe sex methods like using condoms, getting tested regularly, and limiting partners.

4. Manage stressors

Stress can affect sexual function in men and interfere with hormones important for producing sperm. It can cause lack of sleep, depression, and anxiety, which can affect sperm quality. Acupuncture is a well-known natural stress buster in TCM, which uses the manipulation of Qi energy along meridians to alleviate anxiety, depression, and other stressors.

5. Get moving

Physical activity is important in TCM. It increases energy and blood flow to regulate the body, benefiting fertility. Moderate exercise like walking, biking, swimming, or yoga can increase antioxidant enzymes to protect sperm cells, regulate hormones, and aid digestion.

Male infertility is treatable and manageable. In this post, we have discussed 5 tips for boosting fertility in men naturally. TCM can help individuals experiencing infertility through a holistic approach that assesses the whole individual to discover where fundamental imbalances lie and work towards correcting them.

Acupuncture, proper nutrition, and exercise can help improve overall wellbeing and increase fertility. Remember to take care of your body and maintain good health for optimal fertility.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation or learn more about our services.

Lokahi Acupuncture
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Acupuncture for Fertility: What You Should Know

Acupuncture for Fertility: What You Should Know

Facing infertility and fertility struggles can be a daunting and prolonged journey.

Fortunately, there are various treatment options available to couples seeking to conceive. Acupuncture, both as a standalone therapy, and in conjunction with Western medicine, is one approach to enhance the effectiveness of fertility treatments.

In this blog post, we will explore the role of acupuncture in addressing fertility challenges, its mechanisms, and essential considerations before embarking on this treatment path.

Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that involves the use of needles to stimulate specific points on the body.

The practice has been around for thousands of years and is known for its ability to promote physical and emotional wellbeing. Acupuncture for fertility involves the insertion of needles into specific points of the body, with the aim of improving reproductive function.

Studies have found that acupuncture can increase the success rate of fertility treatments such as IVF, IUI, and hormone therapy. Acupuncture also helps alleviate side effects associated with these treatments, including pain, nausea, and fatigue. Furthermore, acupuncture is non-invasive, painless, and low-cost, thus making it an attractive complement to modern fertility procedures.

It is important to note that fertility is a journey, and we highly recommend that both partners undergo acupuncture treatment.

This helps reduce stress and anxiety, enhances the overall experience, and increases the chances of a successful outcome. We believe that acupuncture can be a helpful adjunct to modern fertility treatments, and we’re dedicated to helping our patients achieve their dream of starting a family.

Acupuncture for fertility is a safe, painless, and low-cost complement to modern fertility treatments.

It works by stimulating specific points on the body to improve reproductive function and increase the success rate of fertility treatments.

At Lokahi Acupuncture, we take a comprehensive approach to fertility treatment, examining every aspect of our patients’ lives to develop an actionable treatment plan. We believe that a holistic approach to fertility treatment improves the overall experience and the chances of a successful outcome.


  • “The status and future of acupuncture mechanism research” – This study explores the mechanisms of acupuncture and its potential benefits in enhancing the success of IVF treatments. Source
  • “The role of acupuncture in the management of subfertility” – This research reviews studies on the effects of acupuncture on IVF outcomes and discusses its potential role in improving fertility. Source
  • “Acupuncture and in vitro fertilization research: Current and future directions” – This article examines the current use of acupuncture alongside IVF cycles and highlights its long-standing history in supporting fertility. Source
  • “Use of acupuncture in female infertility and a summary of recent acupuncture studies related to embryo transfer” – This study summarizes recent research on the effects of acupuncture before and after embryo transfer and its impact on pregnancy rates. Source
  • “Development of a fertility acupuncture protocol: defining an acupuncture treatment protocol to support and treat women experiencing conception delays” – This research focuses on developing a consensus among acupuncture fertility specialists to establish an effective treatment protocol for women experiencing conception delays. Source

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any further inquiries or concerns or schedule a free consultation here.

Anna Rudel
San Jose Acupuncturist
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Choosing the right fertility supplements for you!

Choosing the Right Fertility Supplements for You

When it comes to fertility, there are many options and fertility supplements available to help couples conceive.

Acupuncture, Traditional East Asian Medicine, and even fertility treatments can all be beneficial when trying to conceive a baby. But what about supplements? With so many options on the market, it can be hard to know which ones are right for you.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular supplements used by couples trying to get pregnant and discuss their potential benefits.

Choosing the Right Fertility Supplements

Folic acid

Folic acid is one of the most popular supplements for fertility because it helps reduce neural tube defects in newborns. It also helps your body produce red blood cells and helps prevent anemia. It is recommended that women taking folic acid should start taking it three months before they start trying to conceive.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that have been found to improve the quality of sperm in men and increase cervical mucus in women, both of which can help with conception. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish oil supplements or as part of a multivitamin supplement made specifically for fertility.

Vitamins C & E

Vitamins C & E are important vitamins for overall health and well-being but they have also been found to help with fertility as well. Vitamin C increases blood flow throughout the body, which can help support healthy ovulation cycles, while Vitamin E improves egg health and increases sperm count in men. Both vitamins should be taken together as part of a daily multivitamin supplement made specifically for fertility.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant that has been found to improve egg quality in women and sperm count in men. CoQ10 also helps protect against cell damage caused by free radicals, which can lead to infertility issues such as miscarriage or failed implantation attempts. CoQ10 should be taken as part of a daily multivitamin supplement made specifically for fertility or as an individual supplement.

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is an essential vitamin for numerous bodily functions, including fertility. Vitamin D3 helps increase the hormone progesterone and also helps regulate the menstrual cycle. Studies have shown that higher levels of Vitamin D3 can help improve ovulation and in turn, chances of conception. Further studies have shown that supplementing with Vitamin D3 can lead to a decreased risk of miscarriages. To maximize fertility, women should make sure they have adequate levels of Vitamin D3 in their bodies by taking a daily supplement or getting regular sun exposure (but wearing sunscreen!).

Methylated folate

Prenatal vitamins that contain methylated folate are an essential part of any fertility health plan. Methylated folate is the active form of folic acid found in prenatal vitamins, and it plays a critical role in reducing birth defects. Folate helps create healthy, new cells in both mother and baby – this includes red blood cells, cell membranes and DNA. For women trying to conceive, taking prenatal vitamins with methylfolate can increase the chances of a successful pregnancy and healthy baby. Additionally, these vitamins can reduce the risk of neural tube defects by up to 70%, making it even more important for prospective mothers to include this essential supplement in their fertility plans.

N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)

N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is an important supplement for women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and other fertility issues. NAC helps to regulate hormones, including the main sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. It also helps reduce the effects of oxidative stress in the body, which can be caused by hormonal imbalances that can lead to PCOS and infertility. NAC also helps break down cyst formation and improves ovulatory function. Additionally, it has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, and support egg health – all of which can help improve fertility outcomes for those with PCOS or other reproductive issues.


When it comes to improving your fertility, there are several different options available including acupuncture, Traditional East Asian medicine, and even fertility treatments like IVF or IUI.

However, there are also several different types of supplements you can take that may improve your chances of getting pregnant quickly and easily too! From folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids to CoQ10 and vitamins C & E – each one has its own unique benefits that can help you achieve your goal of having a healthy baby.

Just make sure you always check with your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen so you can ensure that what you’re taking is safe for both you and your baby!

At Lokahi Acupuncture, we have 20 years of experience working with fertility patients, and with fertility clinics throughout the Bay Area. If you  would like to speak to one of our specialist fertility acupuncturists about your situation, you can schedule a free 15 minute online consultation.

Anna Rudel
San Jose Acupuncturist
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Causes Secondary Infertility - Lokahi Acupuncture

Secondary Infertility: 5 Reasons You May Have Trouble Conceiving Again

Primary infertility is classified as difficulty conceiving a first child. Secondary infertility affects those who already have a child but experience difficulty conceiving again.

Secondary infertility can be especially hard for a variety of physiological and emotional reasons.

Acupuncture, herbs, diet and lifestyle changes can be very helpful when working with secondary infertility.

Secondary infertility is a common problem affecting about 12% of couples, and it’s one that traditional East Asian Medicine is adept at supporting. Conditions such as blockage of fallopian tubes, endometriosis, uterine scarring or a history of surgical birth are all potential contributors.

Here are 5 more reasons of secondary infertility that we see in our acupuncture clinic.

1) A depleted body

Other children, and members of the family needing care, work demands, other health issues and breastfeeding can all take a toll on the mother’s body.While it may have been easier to conceive previously, the passage of time and increased responsibilities can make it more difficult to conceive With secondary infertility, it is important to assess how depleted the mother is and work to boost vitality in order to conceive again.

2) Stress

Stress is an umbrella word that encompasses many potential factors that may be contributing to difficulty conceiving again. Whatever the stressors are they can be a factor when trying to conceive.

3) Hormone imbalances

Many hormones are involved with conception. It is important to make sure that a full blood panel is taken so that doctors can see if hormones might be an issue. Common issues involve the thyroid or with the hormones responsible for ovulation. Only testing can confirm this, which is why it is important to see a professional.

4) Birth trauma

A surprising number of our patients have experienced some form of birth trauma with a previous pregnancy. In East Asian Medicine, it is important to identify and acknowledge these traumas since they can cause an energetic blockage in the body, resulting in difficulty conceiving. Acupuncture can support movement of the energy and processing of the trauma.

5) Egg quality or quantity

As we age, our number of viable eggs declines. Sometimes the number of eggs available is less than expected. Low egg count is a common reason for seeking IVF and acupuncture. Acupuncture and herbal medicine can help the body produce the best eggs that it is capable of. By increasing the blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, acupuncture supports egg production within the body. IVF doctors commonly refer to our clinic in order to support the medications that are stimulating the body to produce eggs.

At Lokahi Acupuncture, we have 20 years of experience working with fertility patients, and with fertility clinics throughout the Bay Area. If you are experiencing secondary infertility and would like to speak to one of our specialist fertility acupuncturists about your situation, you can schedule a free 15 minute online consultation.

Anna Rudel
San Jose Acupuncturist
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Acupuncture for PCOS

Acupuncture for PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine condition of reproductive-age women.

Women with PCOS have higher levels of androgens, or male sex hormones, that are  normally present in smaller amounts. This hormone imbalance causes the body to skip menstrual periods and can make it harder to get pregnant. The name polycystic ovarian syndrome describes the numerous small cysts that form in the ovaries. However, some women with this disorder do not have cysts.

The diagnosis of PCOS can be overwhelming especially if you are trying to get pregnant.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can improve your overall health and lead to a healthy pregnancy.

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

  • Missed periods, irregular periods, or very light periods

  • Weight gain, especially around the belly (abdomen)

  • Ovaries that are large or have many cysts

  • Excess body hair, including the chest, stomach, and back (hirsutism)

  • Acne or oily skin

  • Dark or thick skin patches on the back of the neck, in the armpits, and under the breasts

How can acupuncture and Chinese medicine treat PCOS?

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can treat the symptoms of PCOS, while also addressing underlying imbalances and inflammation in the body. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs aid to regulate the endocrine system and improve circulation to the reproductive organs, thus improving egg quality and promoting ovulation.

In Traditional East Asian Medicine, we assess the patient and put together a profile of the symptoms.

Then we see if that profile fits a specific pattern that East Asian medicine has already identified, or whether it is a mixture of more than one pattern. Once we have identified the pattern, we can create a treatment plan. This is important since no one person presents in the same way.

The 4 main patterns are:

  • Kidney Yang Deficiency: always feeling cold, low thyroid function, loose stools, low sex drive, pale tongue, frequent urination

  • Spleen Qi Deficiency with Dampness: bloating, loose stools, low thyroid function, anemia, brain fog, cold hands or feet, low energy, puffy tongue with tooth marks

  • Liver Qi Stagnation Transforming to Heat: headaches, constipation, IBS symptoms, depression, distention and pain in the breasts, irritability, tongue color red or slightly purple especially on the sides of the tongue

  • Kidney Yin Deficiency: insomnia, anxiety, thirst, low back pain, dry skin, short menstrual cycles, the tongue is thin, red, and dry

We treat the whole body, including our patients’ underlying factors and symptoms of PCOS.

Once we know which pattern or patterns apply we know which acupuncture points, herbal formulas, diet and lifestyle recommendations we might make. Since PCOS is such a complex syndrome, we do not subscribe to the idea that one size fits all. Rather we take our time to figure out a sustainable set of steps to support the body in coming back to balance.

Chinese herbal medicine can be very effective in the treatment of PCOS as well as lifestyle and dietary modifications. If you would like to know more about how acupuncture and herbs can be helpful for you, give us a call for a free 15-min consultation!

Cara Ortiz, L.Ac. joined the fertility team at Lokahi Acupuncture in 2022 and specializes in working with fertility patients with PCOS and thyroid conditions.

Cara Ortiz, L.Ac.
San Jose Acupuncturist
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Top IVF Questions -- Ask the Reproductive Endocrinologist

Ask the Reproductive Endocrinologist: Top IVF Questions

IVF can be a confusing process to navigate, and our patients often think of questions to ask their IVF doctors after their visit.

We asked reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Gaya Murugappan of Spring Fertility Silicon Valley to answer some of our most frequently asked questions about IVF.

Q: Why are birth control pills part of my IVF medications?

For some patients, your doctor may recommend birth control pills as part of preparation for an IVF cycle to synchronize the growth of your follicles.

Q: I’m not ready to have kids now – is egg freezing really a viable option?

If you are not ready for pregnancy, egg freezing is a treatment that may increase your chance of pregnancy at a later time. The success of egg freezing, or your chance of having a baby using frozen eggs, varies based on each patient’s age and clinical history.

Q What about airline travel around transfers?. How long should I wait after transfer until I can travel and how far is it ok to travel?

There is no evidence that air travel impacts success rates after an embryo transfer.

If you choose to travel, we recommend staying well hydrated and stretching your legs intermittently. We also recommend familiarizing yourself with options for medical care at your destination should you require an evaluation in early pregnancy.

Q: How many blastocysts is good to have if I plan on having two children?

Each euploid or chromosomally normal blastocyst has a 65% chance of resulting in a baby after transfer. We recommend 2 euploid blastocysts per desired child.

Q: Why does my doctor not remove my cysts before the embryo transfer?

Ovarian cysts are very common and the majority resolve without any intervention. If you have a cyst, this will be evaluated on an individual basis by your physician to determine the impact, if any, on your fertility treatment.

Q: Is 35 really too old to try and conceive naturally?

Approximately 50% of women who are 35 years old will conceive naturally after trying for 6 months.

Q: Would my RE change my medication protocol every time I do an egg retrieval?

After every treatment cycle, your doctor will evaluate and make modifications if necessary.

Q: Is OHSS really a concern?

The risk of OHSS, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, depends on your age, number of follicles, number of eggs retrieved, and whether or not you will be undergoing a frozen embryo transfer. Your physician will tailor your medication doses and IVF protocol to minimize your risk of OHSS.

At Lokahi Acupuncture, we have more than 20 years of experience working with local IVF clinics and reproductive endocrinologists. If you have additional questions you’d like answered, please let us know and we would be happy to reach out to local RE’s.

Anna Rudel
San Jose Acupuncturist
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