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Infertility, unfortunately, is on the rise.  More and more women are finding themselves unable to get pregnant or sustain a pregnancy.  The cause is multifaceted.  We find ourselves in an extremely toxic environment with chemicals in our foods, in our houses and in our air.

I am so excited to help women create their dream families.  I highly recommend using a combination of functional medicine and acupuncture to do this.  The lab work gives us very specific information to what exactly is happening in your body.  This information is then used, to create a very individualized treatment plan.

How Functional Medicine Can Help Infertility

The Hormonal System:

Adrenal hormones that underlie proper female hormone production are the leading cause of female hormone symptoms such as PMS and menopausal symptoms.

The Digestive System:

Unstable blood sugar, over-consumption of carbohydrates and sweets, poor digestive function and food sensitivities all contribute to female hormone problems. Chronic undetected infections, particularly in the intestinal tract, weaken immune function, and are a leading cause of adrenal hormone and female hormone problems.

The Detoxification System:

Women who have taken birth control or hormone replacement therapy have placed an extra burden on the liver detoxification pathways as the body tries to eliminate the hormones from an external source. Many women who react poorly to birth control or HRT or even natural hormone programs have liver detoxification issues.

Example of a Month Long Hormone Panel


fertility hormone graph - infertility
Normal Estrogen and Progesterone Curves in a Woman

In the graph above, the blue line represents the normal fluctuation of estrogen throughout a normal 28 menstrual cycle.  The purple line is the way the progesterone changes should look.

Now, compare the above graph to the one below.  What do you see?

infertility functional medicine hormone panel
The top graph is the estradiol levels. The bottom graph represents the progesterone levels.

You don’t have to have a lot of medical training to see the the third (bottom) graph does not look anything like the purple line of the first light blue graph (top).  Progesterone levels in the woman above are completely erratic.  They should be about the same low level for the first 14 days of the cycle, and then spike after the estrogen level spikes on day 14.

Once the progesterone spikes, it should stay at a high level until the menstrual flow starts.  If you look carefully, at the 3rd graph, representing progesterone.  Look at day 24.  Do you see the large decline in progesterone on that day?  That drop in progesterone is what will cause you to lose a pregnancy.  That drop in progesterone on that day is the difference between having the family of your dreams and not having it.

The reason I like this panel is because we can see what is occurring during the entire cycle.  Is your timing correct?  Are you ovulating on the proper day?  Do you have enough hormones?  Do you have too many hormones?  Is the production smooth and even or is it jagged with sudden rises and sudden dips?

The single sample blood test just cannot give enough information to correctly figure out where the problem is in the cycle.  If the woman above was to go in for a single sample hormone level check on day 18 of her cycle, everything would seem to be ok.  Her levels are a bit low, but the proper spike is present.  She would need to get a blood draw on day 24 to see the huge drop in progesterone on that day.

In my opinion, the better option is to run the month long panel.  I have home kits available at my office.  There is no blood involved.  You will take a saliva sample and every other day for an entire menstrual cycle.  You will also record your basal body temperature daily during this cycle.  The samples are frozen and then mailed directly to the lab.

The woman who’s graph you are looking at cannot get pregnant.  The erratic progesterone levels make it impossible.  The only way she has a chance to conceive is to balance out her hormone production, distribution and timing.  Without the lab, that task is almost impossible.

Now, the hormones don’t just suddenly go haywire like the example we see above.  This happens over time and the root cause is either mental/emotional stress, dietary stress, trauma and injury or hidden inflammation.  These stressors, if occurring continuously for a long time, wreak havoc on the adrenal system.  If the adrenal system is broken for a while, then there is consequences on the hormonal system, as indicated in the graphs above.

For more information about the adrenal test, click here.


How Acupuncture Can Help Infertility

The treatment of infertility with acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) dates back 2,000 years. These ancient, time-tested techniques improve fertility rates and support a woman’s whole body, unlocking unlimited potential for health, healing and childbearing.


Studies reported by The American Pregnancy Association suggest that the most effective fertility treatments involve a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and traditional medical interventions. However, conception does sometimes occur without traditional medical interventions when acupuncture and herbal medicines are used alone.1

Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York reviewed recent studies and concluded that acupuncture helps to:

  • Increase blood flow to the uterus, which improves the chances of an ovum implanting on the uterine wall.
  • Reduce anxiety and stress. The hormones that are secreted during stressful situations can significantly decrease fertility.
  • Normalize hormone and endocrine systems that regulate ovulation, especially in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.
  • Positively affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, which plays a key role in fertility.
  • Regulate menstrual cycle.2

In a 2007 study, researchers found that acupuncture may improve the quality of life in patients undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). It was also found that women receiving acupuncture reported significantly
less abdominal pain, other pain, nausea, and stress two hours after
oocyte aspiration (egg collection) compared to women receiving conventional analgesia.3

In 2008, the British Medical Journal published research which
concluded that acupuncture can be offered as a significant, clinically relevant adjunct to IVF, relaxing the uterus and increasing blood flow
for the successful implantation of an embryo within the uterine lining.4

An Acupuncturist’s Approach To Fertility.

According to the theories of acupuncture and TCM, infertility is caused by an imbalance of Qi (pronounced “chee”) and blood affecting the healthy functioning of one or more of the organ systems. When Qi, also known as our vital energy, and blood are circulating freely throughout the body, every cell, tissue and organ is properly nourished and can function well. Acupuncture and TCM can raise the fertility potential of women by effecting the quality, quantity, balance and flow of Qi and blood (keep in mind that the organs described reflect Chinese medical theories and philosophies).

Kidney Organ System.

The release of an ovum is controlled by the kidneys. The kidneys also create a substance called Jing Qi, which is required in order to have a healthy body, mind, and pregnancy. If an imbalance exists within the kidneys, Jing Qi may be inadequate in supply and may be a cause for infertility. Chinese herbal medicine, along with acupuncture, can nourish and support Jing Qi and overall kidney health.

Spleen Organ System.

An adequate supply of blood is required by a woman’s body to sustain a normal menstrual cycle, a growing fetus, and a healthy pregnancy. Disharmony within the spleen can result in an inadequate supply and imbalance of blood. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can build and nourish blood in order to promote a healthy flow
of blood to the uterus.

Liver Organ System.

In order to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy, it is important to have a free flow of Qi and blood throughout the body. The liver is in charge of facilitating this function. When it is out of balance, areas of the body will not receive the required supply of Qi and blood. This imbalance can lead to depression, anxiety, stress and increased possibility of infertility.

Acupuncture and TCM provide a safe, effective, drug-free, and natural approach to treating infertility and enjoying a healthy pregnancy. Here are a few reasons to try acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine:

  • An acupuncturist does not treat just symptoms and signs, but instead activates the body’s natural healing potential by treating
    the root causes that have lead to the problem or disease.
  • Acupuncture and TCM are completely natural. No drugs are ever used. Invasive procedures and drug therapies that are used in the Western treatment of infertility can cause undesirable side effects and accumulated toxicity in the body.
  • Acupuncture and TCM can be used to strengthen, support, and balance overall health and well-being, therefore can increase the effectiveness of other procedures.

What is Next?

There are many choices when treating infertility.  I suggest sitting quietly, think about each option, and check in with your gut (not your brain) and feel what option speaks to you.  What option resonates with you.

If time and money were not considerations this is what I would recommend for maximum possibility of success.

  • Schedule an acupuncture appointment.  We will discuss your health history and your goals.  I will determine what your “diagnosis” is from a TCM perspective.  Based on this diagnosis, I will suggest functional medicine labs that will be most informative in helping me decide on a treatment plan.
  • Take the adrenal functional medicine test at home and mail to the lab.
  • Start the month long hormone functional medicine test on day two of your next menstrual cycle and mail to the lab when your cycle starts again next month.
  • Acupuncture visits are the most helpful if done 2 or 3 times per week.  The more variable and difficult your menstrual cycle, the more times you should come in for treatment.
  • Schedule a functional medicine follow-up appointment to review your adrenal labs.  An adrenal restoration program will be implemented while we wait for your month long panel to be completed.
  • Schedule a functional medicine follow-up appointment to review your month long panel and implement a complete treatment protocol.
  • Continue with the acupuncture on a regular basis.  We will also check in on the functional medicine protocols at this time.
  • Hopefully, get pregnant.  Now, ladies.  I have several fertility patients that don’t have very much intercourse, and I have to say, it is impossible to get pregnant if you are not intimate with your husband.  This part is up to you!

Fixing the adrenal system, sometimes is enough to fix the hormonal imbalances.  It may be tempting to skip the adrenal test, but this test is critical.  Only looking at the progesterone and estrogen levels, without addressing the adrenals will not be effective, ever!   The breakdown in the adrenal system is the initiator of almost all other disease in the body.  If we only address the body symptoms, we will not correct the underlying imbalance.

I applaud you in taking your health and fertility into your own hands.  There are many options available, but I believe that the combination of functional medicine and acupuncture has a lot to offer women, without side effects, embarrassing medical procedures and pharmaceuticals that make you feel crazy.

Take the first step.  Push the schedule online now button and setup up your first acupuncture treatment.  I look forward to walking this road to wellness together.



  1. American Pregnancy Association.
  2. Five ways acupuncture can boost fertility. 2002.
  3. Alternative Therapies, May/June 2007, Vol. 13 No.3.
  4. Manheimer, E., et. al. Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilization: systematic review and meta-analysis. British Medical Journal. February 2008;336:545-549.
  5. World Health Organization.
  6. A Manual of Acupuncture. Deadman P. & Mazin Al-Khafaji. Eastland Press, 2007. Page 326.

Heartburn & Reflux

Heartburn and acid reflux on a regular basis are a sure sign that your body is out of balance.  We can use functional medicine to determine which one of the three body systems is experiencing dysfunction.

The Hormonal System:
Insufficient stomach acid production leads to undigested protein sitting in the stomach. This undigested protein putrifies, or rots, and releases organic acids that contribute to heartburn. Taking antacids does reduce the burning experiences from the rotting proteins and relieves symptoms but does little to address the underlying problem. Antacids are currently the number one selling medication in the United States. Evaluating and correcting stress hormones through diet, lifestyle changes, stress management and supplement programs can restore normal stomach acid production.

The Digestive System:

In addition to stomach acidity, gluten and cow’s milk dairy sensitivities can trigger heartburn. Furthermore, overeating, lying down after large meals, and emotional stress can all lead to an improper function of the valve between the stomach and esophagus. Incomplete closing of that valve will lead to the symptoms of heartburn as the contents of the stomach come in contact with the delicate tissue of the esophagus. A common bacterial infection of the stomach called helicobacter pylori destroys the parietal cells in the stomach lining that produce hydrochloric acid. Without sufficient stomach acid we won’t properly digest protein. Bacteria and parasites that come into the stomach from the foods we eat are also destroyed by the proper acidity of the stomach.

The Detoxification System:

Improper protein digestion leads to protein putrefaction. This undigested protein leads to the release of 33 known carcinogenic compounds into the bloodstream. These toxic compounds then need to be eliminated from the body,  putting a large burden on the liver.

To read about the danger of using antacids check out my article by clicking here.

Osteoporosis and Osteopenia

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia you will definitely want to start a functional medicine program.  Functional medicine fixes the cause of osteoporosis.  Osteoporosis and osteopenia occur when the body is in a catabolic state.  This is when the body starts to eat itself to provide fuel to keep the systems functioning.  When we are catabolic, the body eats the bone, the lean muscle tissue and the lining of the gut.  It is imperative that this system gets repaired so you will stop breaking down the good parts of your body.

Functional medicine stops the breaking down of the bone, and Chinese herbs can help facilitate the rebuilding of the bones.

Osteoporosis and the Hormonal System:

The hormones estrogen, progesterone and cortisol all play a role in maintaining bone mass. Cortisol, like cortisone or prednisone, is a corticosteroid hormone. All corticosteroid hormones accelerate bone loss.  This is why they are used only when absolutely necessary and why long-term steroid therapy puts people at great risk for osteoporosis. Even your body’s over production of the naturally occurring hormone cortisol will inhibit bone growth.

Osteoporosis and the Digestive System:

Calcium is the primary mineral of bone formation. It is best absorbed in an acidic environment, but due to digestive dysfunction most people suffer from a lack of acidity in the stomach that impedes calcium. Examples of digestive dysfunction would include hydrochloric acid deficiencies from B vitamin and zinc deficiencies, bacterial infections of the stomach such as h. Pylori, and stress, which inhibits hydrochloric acid production. Your immune system is designed to both protect us from invading organisms and repair worn out cells. If your immune system is focused on fighting infections or maintaining mucosal barrier function, it is less able to carry out its other basic functions, including repair of bone. Bone is a dynamic structure and on a daily basis is being broken down and replaced: so much so that every seven years, your entire skeletal structure is torn down and rebuilt.

Osteoporosis and the Detoxification System:

High levels of mercury, lead and other heavy metals directly interfere with bone strength. These toxic metals lead to leaching of calcium and magnesium out of bone as the calcium and magnesium attempt to chelate, or pull out heavy metals. The toxic heavy metal lead is actually stored in bone tissue, which leads to further weakening of the bone structure.


Rebuilding Bone with Chinese Herbal Medicine

Osteoporosis is a bone disorder that primarily affects aging individuals. These people gradually lose bone mass density over a period of several years. As a result of osteoporosis, their bones become weak and fragile, and they have much higher risk of bone fracture from minor injuries. Furthermore, individuals with osteoporosis often require an extended period of time for recovery after an injury, which is often complicated with infection.

Osteoporosis is six times more common in women than in men because a tremendous amount of jing (essence) is lost during the process of pregnancy and delivery. We are born with a finite amount of jing and our lifestyle determines how quickly we burn through it. Post- menopausal osteoporosis is most common and happens between 51 to 75 years of age. Women who have children may see signs and symptoms of osteoporosis earlier than those who have less or no children.

The western medical approach is to use drugs called biphosphonates, a category of drugs that include Fosamax (alendronate), Actonel (risedronate), Didronel (etidronate), Aredia (pamidronate), and Skelid (tiludronate). On average, these drugs do indeed increase bone mass density by 3 to 5% after continuous use for three years. They cause numerous side effects, however, such as stomach irritation, and may increase the risk of cancer (thyroid adenoma and adrenal pheochromocytoma) and fertility impairment (inhibition of ovulation, and testicular and epididymal atrophy).

Furthermore, there is evidence that use of these drugs do not decrease the incidence of bone fracture. Though these drugs increase bone mass density, the bones remain brittle and are susceptible to fracture. This is evident as the use of biphosphonates is linked with increased risks of osteonecrosis of the jaw (1 in 952 cases) and subtrochanteric or femoral shaft fractures (274% increased risk). [i],[ii]. This happens because the dead bone cells are not removed from the bone matrix and new bone cells just pack in around these dead cells. It is often said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In this case, the dead bone cell becomes the weakest link.

In menopausal women, hormone replacement therapy may be used to decrease the loss of bone mass density. These drugs, however, must be prescribed and monitored very carefully, as use of these hormone substances have been shown to significantly increase risk of cancer, such as breast cancer (by 20 to 30%), endometrial cancer (by 6-8 folds), and ovarian cancer (by 10 to 20%). Other side effects and adverse reactions of hormone replacement therapy include gallbladder disease, thromboembolitic disease, and photosensitivity. [iii] In brief, treatment of osteoporosis requires careful evaluation of risks versus benefits by both practitioners and patients.

Treating osteoporosis with acupuncture and the Chinese herbal formula Osteo 8 can strengthen bone without the side effects associated with the biphosphonate drugs or hormone replacement therapy. The herbal formula, Osteo 8 by Evergreen Herbs, facilitates the removal of the dead bone cells so new bone cells can fill in that space leading to stronger, healthier bones. This formula has an osteogenic effect to stimulate osteoblast proliferation and differentiation and an osteoprotective effect to prevent and treat osteoporosis. It also has an angiogenic effect to stimulate blood vessel formation, invigorate blood circulation, facilitate wound healing, enhance tissue regeneration, and facilitate healing of bone fractures.

Some of the other conditions treated by Osteo 8 include:

  • Soreness
  • Weakness and pain in the bones
  • Lower back and knees
  • The inability to stand for a prolonged period of time
  • Pain or soreness that is aggravated by weight-bearing activities
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Hair loss
  • Dryness
  • Blurred vision
  • Degeneration of muscle.

Herbs have been used with great success to nourish underlying deficiencies, and prevent and treat osteoporosis. Osteo 8 contains herbs that enter the Kidney to revitalize the body and replenish jing (essence). Osteoporosis or weakness of sinews and bones are the result of Kidney and Liver deficiencies. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the Kidney stores the jing (essence) that is vital for strong bones.   The Liver stores blood and controls the sinews and tendons. If the Liver and Kidney are deficient, bone, sinews and joints become weak. Therefore, treatment of bone disorders requires tonification of the Liver and Kidney. Osteo 8 is a well-balanced formula designed for women and men of all ages who want to maintain healthy bones.

In conclusion, drugs and herbs are both effective for prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. However, herbs are safe and natural, and should be considered the treatment of choice. Furthermore, patients are encouraged to adopt dietary and lifestyle recommendations to maximize the overall efficacy of the treatment program.

Call today, 239-260-4566, or schedule online,, to find out more about how acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help you keep your bones strong and live a healthy and active lifestyle.


[i] Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Volume 68, Issue 2 , Pages 243-253, February 2010

[ii] JAMA. February 23, 2011

[iii] Estrogen Supplements. Drug Facts and Comparison, 1999.

Kidney Stones

Do you suffer from recurrent kidney stones? If you do, Chinese herbal medicine might be just what you need to keep recurrences to a minimum or to help you through an acute bout of kidney stones.

Kidney stones can form when the urine contains too much of certain substances. These substances can create small crystals that become stones. Kidney stones may not produce symptoms until they begin to move down the tubes (ureters) through which urine empties into the bladder. When this happens, the stones can block the flow of urine out of the kidneys. This causes swelling of the kidney or kidneys, causing pain. The pain is usually severe.

The main symptom of kidney stones is severe pain that starts suddenly and may go away suddenly. The pain may be felt in the belly area or side of the back. The pain may move to groin area or testicles. Other symptoms can include abnormal urine color, blood in the urine, chills, fever, nausea, and/or vomiting.

There are different types of kidney stones. The exact cause depends on the type of stone. Calcium stones are most common. They occur more often in men than in women, and usually appear between ages 20 – 30. They are likely to come back. Calcium can combine with other substances, such as oxalate (the most common substance), phosphate, or carbonate to form the stone. The biggest risk factor for the development of kidney stones is dehydration. If you are prone to chronic kidney stones, be sure you are drinking a lot of water.

The Chinese herbal kidney stone formula has many actions. First, it actually smoothes the edges of the stones in the urinary tract making the passage of the stones less painful. Second, large stones shrink in size. Some stones may also break apart into smaller stones making them easier to pass. Third, it makes the ureters more flexible, so they can expand and assist the body in the expulsion of the stones from the body. This formula is unique, in that it has an effect on stones of all make-ups and sizes, including calcium and uric acid stones.

In some cases, after 2-3 courses of treatment with the herbal formula, the stones were reduced to a small enough size, and the edges smoothed enough so that they could be expelled without pain. Some patients didn’t even know they had passed the stones.

The kidney stone formula plus an increase in water intake can be taken long term to prevent the recurrence. In most people with recurrent Kidney stones, there is some kidney Qi Deficiency which results in the build up of toxins which turn into stones and then the body doesn’t have enough Kidney Qi to expel the stone from the body. This formula contains some Kidney tonic herbs, therefore, a person becomes healthier as they take the formula on a long term basis.

If you are prone to chronic kidney stones, it would be a good idea to have two or three packages of the herbal kidney stone formula on hand, so it is available to take at the first sign of a stone passing. Be sure you make it a habit to drink a lot of water. Acupuncture, is also very effective in relieving any pain associated with the passing of kidney stones, so schedule an appointment at the first sign of any discomfort.

It is always a good idea to purchase your Chinese herbs from a reputable distributor or a licensed acupuncturist. Counterfeiting of Chinese herbs is rampant, and it is extremely important that a company using cGMP standards is the source of any Chinese herbs you purchase and use. I only use reputable distributors & manufacturers when purchasing my Chinese herbal remedies.

If you have any questions about kidney stones and Chinese herbs or acupuncture, schedule your appointment and we can discuss an individualized treatment plan.

Bell’s Palsy

No treatment modality works better for Bell’s Palsy than acupuncture.

With Bell’s Palsy, the most important thing is to help the eye blink and close normally.  If the eye is unable to close, severe damage and possible blindness can occur.

When did your Bell’s Palsy happen?  If it happened yesterday, then I can help you to recover quickly.  You should be able to close and blink your eyes at least 30-50% after the first treatment and about 80-90% after five treatments.  By the end of the tenth visit, you should be able to blink naturally.  There are no guarantees with acupuncture, but this is the progression that most patients make.  Usually 10-20 visits are required.

If you were struck with Bell’s Palsy 4 months ago or longer, treatment becomes much more difficult.  It could take 20-30 treatments and there is no guarantee of a cure.

Treatment must be frequent in order to maximize results.  Treating daily gives the best results.  The minimum number of treatments is 3 times per week for recovery. One treatment  per week will not give you the results you want.

Many people are afraid that needles will be inserted into the face.  I am happy to tell you, that with the Balance Method style of acupuncture, no needles are put into the face.  All of the needles will be on the arms and legs, and possible the top of the head.

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