Acupuncture 101 - Understanding the art and how it can support your fertility.
Meet Julie Von - an incredibly talented acupuncturist and co-director of the New Clinic for Integral Medicine & Psychiatry with practices in both Manhattan and Brooklyn. You walk into a session with Julie and it’s as if she can read your mind - see your “stuff" and immediately put you at ease - that is before she begins to stick you with needles.
She has helped countless women over the years, including myself, on the journey to become mothers and she has a few pearls of wisdom to share regarding acupuncture and fertility.
For those who don’t know – what is acupuncture and how can it help with fertility?
Acupuncture helps with stress. Many people feel like this is the most essential aspect of how it helps with pregnancy, however it is much more complex. Stress is inherent to life but when you start to have the desire to create life and begin to have the associated worries, anxieties and fears associated with becoming pregnant and becoming a parent, stress has the opportunity to run wild in your mind and body. Stress effects the hormonal system in all kinds of ways, but lowering the bodies adrenal and stress hormone response with acupuncture, can help to regulate your cycle, improve ovulatory timing and allow your body to find balance and calm. All stress reduction is important and the magic of acupuncture is that it is medicine that helps you balance hormones and feels really great while doing it! It also helps provide space and meditation to be able to center and hear your inner guide as you traverse some pretty complex and intense territory. Acupuncture and herbs can help strengthen blood and energy and give you more vitality. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to grow a baby. There is a marked increase in blood production with pregnancy of about 40% your normal level. Most women, who I have worked with, have some history at some point, of sub clinical anemia, or what we call in Classical Chinese Medicine, blood deficiency. Blood deficiency can make it hard to become pregnant and in addition it can make for a very exhausting pregnancy. There are a few very simple things we can do to improve the way your body creates and stores blood that can have a tremendously positive effect on your pregnancy. In addition, because many of these methods help to improve digestion (blood comes from nutrition) addressing them can benefit some of the digestive problems (constipation, morning sickness) associated with pregnancy.
How would you describe a typical session?
First session is about 1.5 hours with a full intake into your menstrual and medical history. Follow up sessions are typically 1 hour and when working on fertility might be spaced in accordance with your menstrual cycle.
How long have you been practicing acupuncture?
I have been studying Traditional Chinese Medicine for 16 years. I completed a Masters degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medici and went in to earn a clinical Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine with a specailization in Woman’s Health and Fertility.
It takes a long time to perfect the art of acupuncture - how long did you study for? A medicine that is 5000 years old is always evolving and changing yet the basic functions and anatomy of human beings has not changed all that much. What have changed are the complex health patterns people have and the effect of the environment and mental stress. I’m fortunate to be able to proactive this medicine my entire professional life because my curiosity is never satisfied and there is always more to learn.
You work with a lot of women who are hoping to become pregnant - when and why did you start working with this population?
I’m a 7th generation Texan and my family has deep roots in agriculture and ranching. When I moved to NYC in 2005 I stated seeing fertility patients almost exclusively. It came to me organically if you will but I’ve always associated my love of land and nature with my instinct and clinical skills in helping people become pregnant.
Do you find more OB’s recommend acupuncture as an additional therapy now? Why do you think this is? Definitely. I think that more women then even are practicing medicine, which means more doctors have experienced pregnancy. I think most people who have been pregnant are sympathetic about how difficult pregnancy, birth and postpartum period can be. Most doctors, the good ones at least, keep an open mind to all things the assist their patients in health and wellness.
Do you also work with postnatal women?
Yes! I actually try to get people to schedule sessions for after birth before they leave on maternity leave. There are so many important things to focus on after the baby is born and a woman’s body is recovering from pregnancy and birth.
- Dr Julie Von is a rare blend of intuitive and pragmatic wisdom. She specializes in fertility and woman’s health and has been a widely sought after expert on the field of holistic medicine for over 15 years. Julie blends her advanced training in acupuncture and eastern medicine with practical magic. She shares her experience and knowledge at psychicfertility.com.