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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Acupuncture treatment supports IUI

Acupuncture treatment to support IUI

Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is considered one of the earliest forms of intervention for couples with difficulty trying to conceive.

It is also one of the most common methods used for lesbian couples starting a family.

IUI is the placement of sperm directly into the uterus. The sperm is “washed”, and put in a sterile fluid, and then injected through the cervix into the uterus. It is common for patients to take medication prior to the IUI to stimulate the production of eggs in preparation for the introduction of the concentrated sperm.

There may also be a “trigger shot”, or injection of hormones, timed near the IUI in order to provoke the body into releasing the egg(s).

Is IUI the right option for me?

IUI is generally less invasive, more cost-effective, and more “natural” since the egg and sperm have the opportunity to fertilize inside the body without interference. IUI is more effective as an intervention than timed intercourse in cases of male factor infertility.

It is also a useful tool for cases of unexplained infertility, although it should be noted that a thorough evaluation is important before making decisions about fertility treatment options.

IUI might be an option to consider if:

  • You have been trying to conceive for 6 months or more

  • You have a low sperm count

  • You have poor sperm motility

  • You have been diagnosed with “unexplained infertility”

  • You want to try something before advancing to or thinking about IVF

How can acupuncture increase the chances of IUI working?

Acupuncture increases blood flow to the ovaries. The increased flow optimizes the delivery of nutrients to nourish the eggs. Acupuncture also helps to ensure the ovaries respond well to the stimulation medications.

Acupuncture supports egg development and increases blood flow to the uterus.

By increasing blood flow to the uterus, acupuncture treatment during an IUI cycle ensures the endometrial lining is as hospitable as possible for the implantation of the embryo. Blood flow brings with it nutrients and plumps the uterine lining to be thick enough to support implantation.

In preparation for your IUI, your acupuncturist will:

  • Assess your overall health

  • Talk with you about how you are feeling and what steps you have already taken to support conception

  • Assess your reproductive health from a perspective of East Asian Medicine

  • Talk with you about your diet and lifestyle

  • Talk with you about possible support from herbs and/or supplements

  • Explain your acupuncture treatment plan

How many acupuncture treatments will I need when undergoing an IUI cycle?

By committing to weekly treatments, your acupuncturist is able to support you through each stage of your hormonal cycle – from menses, through ovulation and the implantation stage. Sometimes we suggest increasing the frequency of treatment right around the time of the procedure if we think that it would be beneficial.

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture should not be painful at all. Acupuncturists are trained to insert sterilized, hair-thin needles into the skin in a way that can be hardly perceived. Sometimes it may feel like a mosquito is biting at most.

Receiving an acupuncture treatment for IUI is typically a very relaxing experience, one that induces many patients to fall asleep, or experience a deep sense of rest and relaxation.

How do I learn more?

If you are interested in learning if acupuncture is right for you in your fertility journey, we invite you to schedule a free online consultation to meet with a fertility specialist and discuss if we can help.

If you are ready to make an appointment, you can schedule your acupuncture treatment here, or call the office at (408) 279-9001.

Anna Rudel
San Jose Acupuncturist
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How to Improve Your Egg Quality

4 Tips to Improve Your Egg Quality

One of the most common challenges in infertility is that of egg quality.

We are born with a set number of eggs that decrease over time until we reach menopause. As we age, we not only have fewer eggs, but the quality declines with time. Both make it more difficult to get pregnant and harder to carry a healthy baby to term.

There are additional factors that can contribute to lower egg quality as well, such as PCOS, endometriosis and premature ovarian aging. While we cannot change the number of eggs we are born with, we can influence the quality of our eggs.

The good news is that it takes 90 days for an egg to mature for ovulation and you can influence developing eggs over the course of several months.

Here are 4 tips to improve your egg quality to improve your chances of getting and staying pregnant.

1. Clean up your diet

What we take in as food and drink ends up building and fueling our cells, so we want the best possible building blocks. Focus on veggies and low-sugar fruits like berries, healthy protein and fats like pasture-raised poultry and fish, avocados, olives, nuts and seeds. Keep your carbohydrate intake on the low to moderate side (30% or less of your total daily food intake) from foods like starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, beets, potato, whole grains and legumes.

2. Supplements

Consider adding supplements to help support mitochondrial function and reduce oxidative damage to cells. These include CoQ10, NAD, inositol, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants like açaí, resveratrol, and alpha-lipoic acid. Talk to your practitioner about a regimen that will be the best support for you.

3.Reduce damage to existing eggs

By severely limiting or eliminating alcohol, processed foods and added sugars, you reduce damage to existing eggs. Additionally, reducing caffeine intake is helpful to ensure maximum blood flow to the ovaries. Stress reduction techniques like meditation, mindfulness and movement release built up tension and increase endorphins.

4. Get Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a great way to promote egg health by improving circulation of blood, oxygen and nutrients to the ovaries. We use microcurrent electro-acupuncture to boost the effects leading up to ovulation or an IVF retrieval.

Not only does acupuncture help to improve blood flow, but it also reduces stress and balances hormones, which can also influence egg quality. Lokahi Acupuncture offers a free 15 minute consultation if you have questions about how acupuncture can help you on your fertility journey.

Cathryn Davidson, L.Ac. is a senior fertility specialist at Lokahi Acupuncture.

Click here if you would like to schedule a free online consultation to evaluate if acupuncture might be right for you.

Cathryn Davidson, San Jose Acupuncturist
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Coping with Grief in the Face of Infertility

Coping with Grief in the Face of Infertility (Part 1)

By AmarAtma Singh Khalsa
Board Certified chaplain, Adv. Grief Recovery Specialist

My wife is sweet, loving, kind, and generous. Above all, she’s the most creative person I know! She’s also 11 years older than me.

I was 28 years old when we dated, and she was 39. She had just come out of a toxic relationship that led to a divorce. Much of the strain of the relationship came after a miscarriage she had near Christmas a couple of years earlier.

When I proposed to her, we had several long conversations about children.

We both understood that with her age also came an increased risk to her health if she were to become pregnant. My love for her was undaunted, though I paused in the reality that I may not be a father. Grief arose within.

After marrying, we were excited to try. We were sure that she would get pregnant right away. We began making videos for our future children so they could see us before we were their parents. We were quirky and silly, and had a lot of fun. But, alas, after the first year of trying, we were unsuccessful. We were stunned when it didn’t happen.

As time moved forward, it became clearer that parenting wasn’t going to be a reality.

It was a loss.

I was able to face this grief when I became a chaplain. I began working in the acute care hospital setting, (often called in for night shifts in the L&D department supporting families who lost their babies late-term).

As a chaplain, we are specially trained in grief and bereavement. Within our training is “formation,” the work we do to become aware of our unresolved grief. When working with the bereaved, our role is to console the soul, and to do so is to have done the internal work. A chaplain can’t sit in the dark spaces of other people’s lives unless they can sit comfortably in the dark space of their own life.

During this professional development, I cared for hundreds and thousands of grievers. I learned that grief is massively misunderstood, and our typical ways of coping fall short when it comes to grief.

Insights around grief that may support you on your fertility journey:

  1. Grief is often misidentified. It sometimes shows as depression, chronic pain, burnout, or trauma.

  3. We often relate grief solely to death. However, dreams, visions, or hopes for the future that do not come to pass are losses we grieve. This form of grief can be confusing because these are losses that we’ve never held in our hands. They’re an intangible form of loss.

  5. There are over 40 different types of loss. These range from deaths, to divorces, to finances, to health, to shifts in careers, to changes in education. The grief you may be experiencing may be exacerbated by unresolved grief of the past.

  7. Grief is the normal and natural response to loss of any kind. It’s not an emotion as much as it is a process that comes with many emotions simultaneously. We call it the tangled ball of emotions.

  9. What makes grief so difficult is that it draws us into our heart, and in some ways, we’ve never learned about the heart. We’re rarely taught about emotional resilience, emotional intelligence, or how to emotionally cope. “We’ve learned how to acquire things, not what to do when we lose them” is a quote from the program I teach called the Grief Recovery Method[1].

  11. Grief is often categorized as the 5 stages of grief based on Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ work, though misappropriated to represent all grievers when it was only meant to help identify a grief process for those facing terminal illness in end-of-life scenarios. We don’t often grieve in stages or in a linear fashion. Grief doesn’t fit into categories nor do we all grieve the same way.

  13. Grief is an emotional response, not an intellectual one. We cannot think our way through; we have to feel our way through.

  15. Our culture is “emotion-phobic[2]”. We’re petrified of “negative” feelings. We often cope through suppression or  repression of pain. Often grief is unbearable because the coping mechanism of our past fails us in the current and acute situation. It calls us to go deeper into areas of life unexplored.

  17. We often think that emotions equate to fragility or weakness. Actually, connecting to our emotions is a super-power.

  19. While we want to maintain an attitude of positivity, negating raw emotions creates a complex of toxic positivity[3-5] that prevents authentic or emotional honesty. Avoiding or denying emotions leads to further emotional unrest.

  21. Emotional tension often manifests somatically lodging itself in tissues, muscles, tendons, bones and our immune systems. Our neuro-endocrine functions are modulated by the increase of unresolved emotional stress. We refer to this as ‘somatic grief’[6].

  23. Emotional releases like crying contain stress-relieving hormones that allow the physiology to return to homeostasis[7]. Often the most difficult thing to do is what’s necessary – to cry. Courage is often required to face and embrace the reality of the situation. Emotional release provides physiological equilibrium.

  25. While we may put grief in the back of your mind to avoid pain, it’s difficult to deny. It consumes our thoughts, mind, and spirit. It’s ever-present and overwhelming. The way through grief is to move through grief.

  27. Grief is one of the essential life skills we’ve never been taught.

  29. Grief often feels like an uncomfortable presence that takes an indefinite residence in our heart. However, there are effective ways to “give notice” and reclaim some internal peace.

AmarAtma is a Grief Coach with advanced certification as a Grief Recovery Specialist. He has spent the better part of the last decade helping hundreds and thousands of grievers working in a Trauma-1, University Hospital as a board-certified chaplain. He has a Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and uses a mindfulness and mind-body-spirit approach to teaching and helping grievers from the many losses that occur through life. He currently offers 1:1 virtual grief coaching teaching and helping grievers to cope and release emotional pain.


[1] James, John and Friedman, Russel. The Grief Recovery Handbook. Harper Collins. 2009.

[2] Greenspan, Miriam. Healing through Dark Emotions. Shambala. 2004

[3] Quintero, Samara and Long, Jamie. “Toxic Positivity: The Darkside of Positive Vibes.” 7/12/2022. The Psychology Group 2019

[4] Villenes, Zawn. “What to know about Toxic Positivity.” 7/12/22. Medical News Today. Posted 3/30/21

[5] Marie, Simone. “Toxic Positivity is Real – And it’s Big Problem During the Pandemic.” 7/12/22. Heathline. Posted 7/22/20

[6] Prashant, Lyn. “Transforming Somatic Grief.” 7/12/22. County of Santa Clara Behavior Science. Posted 2/7/19

[7] Mukamal, Reena. “All About Emotional Tears.” 7/12/22. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Posted 2/28/17



Why Support Detoxification Before Trying to Conceive

Why Support Detoxification Before Trying to Conceive

By: Bonnie Burgess

If fertility is on your mind, one of the best things you can do to prepare is to support your body’s natural detoxification processes.

Detoxification is a function of natural bodily processes.

The hitch is that the world we live in puts an extra burden on these innate detoxification processes. We have to deal with heavy pollution, processed food with manufactured additives and preservatives, and manufactured chemicals in our environment. This is especially true if you live in the United States where we have banned a small fraction of what the European Union has deemed harmful to the public.[1]

Many feel this extra burden later in life as it contributes to chronic disease. However, you may be impacted well before you notice symptoms. In fact, impaired detoxification affects fertility. It disrupts hormone balance and increases inflammation.

Disrupts hormone balance

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, are an unfortunate reality of living in our modern world. They’re found in items like cosmetics, our food packaging, nonstick pans, mattresses, carpet and electronics. In fact, there are over 700 estrogen-mimicking chemicals which can dramatically increase estrogen levels relative to other hormones in the body. Some, like PFOS and PFAS decrease testosterone levels which impact male fertility.[2]

We are exposed to EDCs on a daily basis, and even low doses of exposure can have an impact capable of influencing our hormones. Our thyroid, metabolic, and sex hormone signaling are at risk for disruption, directly affecting reproductive processes. For example, flame retardants have been associated with thyroid disease, and phthalate exposure interferes with androgen production. While that certainly doesn’t sound good, studies have investigated exposure to flame retardants and to phthalates, chemicals commonly found in flexible plastic. Both may negatively affect success rates of IVF[3].

Increases inflammation

With a burden of toxins that exceeds our detoxification capacity, they accumulate in our system. Both the cache of toxins and the processes to deal with them are stressful on the body. This stress interferes with hormone function and contributes to chronic inflammation. Inflammation is a factor in many of the conditions which commonly affect fertility, including; polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS,) endometriosis, and repeat pregnancy loss (RPL.)

Affects baby’s health

Unfortunately, the impact of toxin exposure doesn’t end with conception. It can also affect a baby’s health. Stored chemicals in the body can easily cross the placenta and affect the baby in the uterus. Some of the effects include; low birth weight, breastfeeding challenges, and cognitive development[4].

What can you do?

Reducing your exposure is one important strategy, but EDCs are so pervasive that avoiding all exposure is unlikely. Supporting your body’s detoxification processes is the other critical strategy to reduce their negative effects:

1. Take care of these 5 easy, everyday changes to make to your diet and lifestyle.

2. Support detoxification with an intentional 10-day program, like Replenish & Reset: A 10 Day Real Food Reset.

Bonnie Burgess - Burgess WellnessWe’d like to offer $20 off Replenish & Reset (levels 1 and 2) which begins August 21st.

Pre-register with the code “Lokahi” in the message field.

For any questions about the program, you can reach Bonnie Burgess at



Bonnie is a holistic functional nutritionist who specializes in women’s health and fertility including patients undergoing ART. She uses a “food first” approach to determine individual nutritional needs coupled with lifestyle modifications and possible nutrient supplementation. Bonnie lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where she serves an international client base through a 100% virtual consultancy at Burgess Wellness.






Nutrition for IVF | Acupuncture and IVF San Jose

Nutrition for IVF

3 Nutrition Goals when Pursuing IVF

Prior to and during an IVF cycle, there are 3 major goals when it comes to nutrition.

  • Replenish with key nutrients
  • Support stable blood sugar
  • Reduce inflammation

Attention to nutrition offers best possible IVF outcomes due to the impact on egg quality, sperm health, uterine lining, hormone signaling and more. The benefits impact you beyond IVF. You also maintain mom’s future health throughout pregnancy and postpartum, and lay the foundation for a healthy baby.

It’s a great idea to be conscientious about your nutrition at least 3 months before starting fertility medications. Then throughout the IVF cycle, each of the 3 nutrition goals must be addressed: replenish key nutrients; support stable blood sugar; and reduce inflammation.

Replenish with key nutrients

In the weeks leading up to egg retrieval, replenishing key nutrients tops the list of the 3 nutrition goals. While a good-quality prenatal supplement is a good idea, also focus on nutrients from fresh food.

Amp up your diet by including:

  1. A wide diversity of vegetables helps to ensure you’re getting a wide spectrum of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to prepare your body for the nutrient-intensive journey to come. Make it a goal to incorporate dark leafy greens and seasonal produce every day.
  2. Omega-3 fats from cold-water fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring), oysters, flaxseeds, chia seeds and pastured eggs.

Some key nutrients come from animal sources, so if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, we suggest seeking the support of a nutritionist.

Reduce inflammation

Leading up to and through transfer is the time to place extra attention on reducing inflammation in the body. Excess, chronic inflammation leads to high output of cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol disrupts hormone balance, egg maturation, as well as implantation.

In addition to actively incorporating a diversity of seasonal vegetables and sources of omega-3 fats:

  1. Avoid processed and fried food as much as possible. Packaged food is an unfortunate source of chemical additives and industrial vegetable oils, and fried food also delivers a dose oftrans fats. Cooking at home or selective sourcing of meals is the best way to avoid these inflammatory ingredients.
  2. Reduce refined sugar. Excess sugar is known to be inflammatory for anyone, and not only problematic for those with metabolic conditions like PCOS or diabetes. Instead, experiment with including a portion of sweet whole foods into your meals. For example, sweet potato, beets, carrots, butternut squash and seasonal fruit.
  3. Reduce gluten and dairy. They’re known to be inflammatory for many, and while you may not need to remove them entirely, you can benefit from minimizing them on your plate. For example, instead of a sandwich, toss the same fixings on a bed of quinoa and leafy greens. If you had cheese on the sandwich, add vitamin and mineral-rich avocado instead.

Support stable blood sugar

Blood sugar that stays relatively stable throughout the day is optimal for health, especially during an IVF cycle. Otherwise, extreme dips and spikes in blood sugar negatively affect IVF outcomes, in part due the impact on hormone balance and inflammation which have implications on egg quality and implantation.

A couple key principals do wonders to help keep blood sugar relatively stable: 

  1. Eat regular meals. An IVF cycle is not the time to skip meals. Rather, have breakfast within 90 minutes of waking up or soon after morning physical activity. Eat a satiating meal midday and again in the evening at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. If there’s longer than 6 hours between meals, be sure to have a snack as well.
  2. Fill your plate with PFF, that’s protein, healthy fats and fiber. These combine to slow the impact of higher-glycemic foods on your blood sugar. Protein can come from animal or plant sources. Healthy fats include avocado, olives, coconut, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds and organic dairy. For fiber, think about adding a plant, especially a vegetable to your plate. Each time you eat, do a check for PFF.

Bonnie Burgess - Burgess WellnessIf you are interested in nutrition support for IVF, but have more questions, we encourage you to reach out for a free consultation with Bonnie at Burgess Wellness. Bonnie is a holistic functional nutritionist who specializes in women’s health, and a trusted partner of Lokahi Acupuncture.


Bonnie is a holistic functional nutritionist who specializes in women’s health and fertility including patients undergoing ART. She uses a “food first” approach to determine individual nutritional needs coupled with lifestyle modifications and possible nutrient supplementation. Bonnie lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where she serves an international client base through a 100% virtual consultancy at Burgess Wellness.