I Did Shiatsu Treatments Based on TCM to Help Two Young Women fall Pregnant. (All thanks to Giovanni Maciocia and his wonderful books)
Both ladies hadn’t been able to fall pregnant for about a year and the doctors said that there was no specific reason. I investigated possible treatments according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
The menstrual cycle in Western medicine is largely composed of two main phases; the follicular phase and the luteal phase.
In the follicular phase, increasing amounts of oestrogen cause the uterus lining to thicken and follicles in the ovary begin to develop. After several days, a dominant follicle releases an egg which is carried along the Fallopian tubes to the uterus. This is the ovulation period.
The second, or luteal, phase is dominated by progesterone. The follicle which housed the egg becomes the corpus luteum and produces progesterone. If the egg is not fertilized and implanted, the corpus luteum shrivels and dies causing sharp drops in both progesterone and oestrogen. These hormone drops cause the uterus to shed its lining and menstruation begins.
Traditional Chinese Medicine sees the menstrual cycle in four phases.
Starting at menstruation, the flow of menstrual blood is under the control of Liver-Blood and the Penetrating Vessel.
The follicular phase is when various hormones stimulate the development of the ova and the uterus develops a new layer of endometrium. In TCM, this is seen to be influenced by Liver-Blood, the Kidneys and the Conception Vessel.
During the ovulation period, hormones mature the egg and weaken the walls of the follicle allowing the fully developed egg to be released into the Fallopian tubes. Fertilization by sperm usually occurs in the widest part of the Fallopian tubes. This phase is influenced by Kidney-Yin and Kidney-Yang, and the Conception and Penetrating Vessels.
The Luteal phase is the period between ovulation and the onset of menstruation and lasts about 14 days. The corpus luteum is producing progesterone in preparation for pregnancy. This period must be at least 10 days long in order to support pregnancy. From a Chinese point of view, this period should be subdivided into two parts; the first part, where temperature rises after ovulation, is influenced by Minister Fire of the Heart, Kidney-Yang and the Governing Vessel. The second part is under the control of Liver-Qi and Liver-Blood whose movement is essential to move Blood in preparation for the period, and the Penetrating Vessel.
The treatment included a typical shiatsu massage, tracing of the meridians and the specific and concentrated working of the applicable pressure points. Treatments were an hour long once a week. In the first instance, the lady fell pregnant within 4 weeks, in the second instance, within 6 weeks. Both delivered healthy girls.
I've been fascinated in Traditional Chinese Medicine since the late '90s when my reflexology course introduced me to the meridians. Since then I've thoroughly enjoyed learning more about most things holistic.