After 5,000 years of success in Asia, acupuncture is now a household name in the West. And while acupuncture helps to address a whole list of health challenges, much of its recognition comes from its success in helping women become pregnant. This was such a popular cultural phenomenon that even Charlotte in the famous television series “Sex and the City” became pregnant after a series of acupuncture treatments and herbs to calm her mind.
Acupuncture is one part of a larger system called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM is based in the philosophy that the body is composed of interconnected systems. We can think of the female reproductive system like a garden, and the surrounding organs or systems as the providers of the things the garden needs to grow life. Imagine that the Heart provides the heat or sun, the Kidneys the water, the Lungs the oxygen, and the Liver the nourishment. Dysfunction in any of these organs will keep you from being able to grow your monthly seed in your garden. But if addressing these interconnected systems was all that was necessary for health, then why do some women still not get pregnant after TCM treatments?
Getting acupuncture and herbs will help anyone achieve a level of greater health and balance, but there is one thing that is forgotten in the quest for fertility. To understand that, we have to turn to the philosophy of Taoism that TCM is based in. Taoism says that the blood in the body follows the chi (energy); the chi follows the mind; the mind follows the spirit; and the spirt follows the Tao. The Tao is a name to represent the greater wisdom that governs all life. TCM was traditionally a medicine that addressed the spirit to bring about positive changes in the body. If you did not address the spirit level, you were not able to create lasting results for the patient. Pathology at the level of the body was always linked to the level of the spirit. But how does one address imbalances at the level of the spirit?
Addressing the spirit means addressing our ability to let go. The Taoist philosophy says that we are not in control of what is happening to us. Our spirits are following the flow of the Tao, and this is manifesting as our lives. There is a greater order to what is happening, and when we surrender to this “current”, we let go of resistance to what is, and experience peace in our life’s journey. This peace manifests as a greater flow of chi and blood, and therefore, better health at a mental and physical level.
Addressing this spiritual aspect of life is what modern acupuncture treatments can be missing. In many cases, doctors of TCM have become just as “Western” as Western doctors, wanting to focus on the physical level of health, and leaving the spiritual aspect of surrender to someone else. Charlotte in “Sex and the City” did go on to become pregnant and conceive a child, but it wasn’t after acupuncture treatments and herbs. It was after the surrender and the letting go that happened when she accepted what life was giving her at that moment. It is hard for us to accept in Western culture that we are not in control of our lives. This impacts the way we want medicine to be practiced. But in order to deeply address our health, we have to look at the relationship of our spirit to life, rather than focusing on merely dietary and lifestyle choices. In this surrender, you can become more open, receptive, and fertile.
If you are exploring acupuncture for your fertility, don’t stop! But don’t forget that no matter what treatments you get, or lifestyle changes you make, the most important focus must be your surrender to what is. How deeply can you let go and trust what life has planned for you? How much can you accept that you are not in control? True peace, health, and fertility comes from the action you take from a place of surrender.