Thoughts on Fertility
Female patients knocking on my clinic door for infertility issues are usually grouped into two categories. One is age factor: younger (ages 30 – 35) or elder (36 and above). The other factor is mentality or degree of mental activity associated with their profession or education level.
The group with the least chance of prognosis are the elders with more mental activity required in professions such as teachers, researchers or high-level corporate managers. I hardly remember any patient who was just a homemaker in their married life.
This group usually shares common characteristics such as late marriage, history of expensive IVF treatments (more than couple of times), or repeated miscarriages in the first trimester after IVF procedures.
There are a couple of old sayings in the East that are related. One is, “women think with the womb” the other is, “the head should be cold and the lower stomach should be warm”.
Whether the patient realizes it or not (often in the form of stress), the higher the mental activity, more Qi (yang) will be demanded from the brain pulling up other resources of Yin such as blood, fluid and nutritional factors. In terms of simple dynamics and homeostasis, this imbalance will be manifested as, “cold hands or feet, feeling cold in the lower stomach, sleep or digestive problems, dry skin or reproductive part, and easy to fatigue” to name a few.
In terms of TCM treatment, the focus is more on, “calming the mind” along with rejuvenating the reproductive system by both acupuncture and herbal prescriptions.
One practical tip for balancing your high mentality and uterus is meditation, which you can do alone. Find a space you can be alone for at least 5 minutes.
You can sit on a chair or floor (doesn’t have to be cross-legged).
- Sit upright with straightened spine, neck and nose
- Eyes naturally half closed
- Imagine your lungs are located 1 or 2 inches below your navel (which is the centre of the body and let’s call it the “Centre point”)
- Breathe in through your nose and slowly swell up your Centre point all the way
- Exhale slowly and naturally, again all the way through your nose
Breathing in and out through the nose is the source of the physiological flow of, “heavenly Qi” (yang) propelling the flow of yin such as blood and fluid. Breathing is more than just the exchange of oxygen & CO2 as viewed in western medicine. If you observe infants or toddlers carefully, they breathe with their belly button moving, while seniors do with the chest. By focusing on the centre of body through breathing, the balance of your system can reach more harmony between body & mind, left & right and above & below. Try to turn around the busy traffic of your uptown to downtown by focusing on the “centre of the body”.
In the beginning, you might experience all kinds of fragmented thoughts floating up to the contrary of your anticipation. Instead of suppressing them, let them float up and flow by. This is the key: let them go by themselves.
Am I thinking the thoughts ?
Or are Thoughts thinking me ?
Are the Mind (yang) and Body (yin) two or one ?
Ben Lim / Dr. TCM