Fertility Treatment: Overview of Mind-Body Tools + Resources
Looking for natural fertility treatment options? We explore different types of holistic mind-body tools and alternative resources to reduce your stress and increase your fertility including diet, acupuncture, journaling, meditation, visualization, and hypnotherapy–even if you have preexisting conditions like PCOS!
PSST… we have a GIVEAWAY!!! Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter. Ends April 29, 2020.
This guest post is by Joanne Verkuilen, founder and partner at Circle+Bloom. Circle+Bloom was born out of Joanne’s passion for helping women overcome stress and infertility linked to stress. She was diagnosed with PCOS in her late teens and was told that having a child would be very difficult for her.
While her first child came quite easily, her second child was an altogether different story. She tried for years to conceive another child, unsuccessfully. A few times the pregnancy test came back positive, only to find out weeks later that the pregnancies were not viable and needed to be terminated. She was heartbroken. It happened eventually, and she is now blessed with two beautiful, healthy children.
Joanne’s goal with Circle+Bloom is to help others like you take a more proactive approach to your health and wellbeing. While you should always see a doctor if you suspect serious health problems or infertility, you can use the power of visualization and meditation to change your mindset, how you feel, and expel negative energy that gets in the way of your dreams and aspirations. Over to you, Joanne!
Fertility Treatment: Stress Tools + Resources
There is no doubt that stress is on the rise worldwide right now. Chronic stress appears in many emotional and physical forms including irritability, fatigue, and illness. At Circle+Bloom, we’re passionate about the potential of the mind-body connection in helping to reduce stress and support you on your fertility journey.
Part of the reason I created Circle+Bloom is to help other people manage their life stress using the tools and resources that I and others have found helpful. Let’s explore these different tools and resources including diet, acupuncture, journaling, meditation, visualization, and hypnotherapy.
Fertility Treatment: Your Fertility Diet
Eating a healthy diet, avoiding toxins in foods, and developing stress-reducing practices are beneficial avenues to help de-stress and take control of your life. We are strong believers in the power of food to help with fertility at Circle+Bloom. While none of these suggestions alone will guarantee you a baby, all of these healthy tips are backed up by scientific studies.
Many of the following tips come from or are mentioned in the book, The Fertility Diet. This book is based on research from the landmark Nurses Health Study–one of the largest and most comprehensive studies on women’s health.
*Root + Revel Editor’s Note: We follow an intuitive eating approach to food and diet, meaning we believe every woman needs to listen to her own body’s wisdom. While there is research supporting foods for fertility, don’t stress about eating ‘perfectly’ or having to change everything in your diet and adopt food rules. Stress, guilt, and shame have more detrimental impacts than the food themselves, so please be gentle with yourself and these guidelines.
First tip is to eat more veggies, choose meat thoughtfully, and eat fewer refined carbs. Vegetables are a great source of antioxidants such as folate, zinc, vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and lutein. These nutrients help deactivate the free radicals in your body and have shown to improve sperm quality and increase the chances of conception with IVF.
A Harvard Public Health study found that infertility was 39% more likely in women with the highest intake of animal protein. However, if you choose to eat meat, try to stick with high-quality meats that are organic, wild, pasture-raised, and/or grass fed and limit processed meats as much as possible. Eggs and fish are also great choices for non-plant-based proteins.
The body absorbs refined carbohydrates very quickly, causing spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. One large observational study found that refined carbs with a high glycemic index were associated with a greater risk of ovulatory infertility.
Unless you’re drinking organic coffee or tea, there’s probably a lot of pesticides and other toxins in your cup. It’s also worth considering the other toxins that may be present in your life and reducing or removing as many as possible. This may mean:
- Choosing to eat organic as much as possible
- Not spraying pesticides on your lawn
- Avoiding plastics
- Picking up healthier cleaning products
- Re-evaluating your cosmetics
The Environmental Working Group is a great resource for learning about which products are healthy and which aren’t.
Fertility Treatment: Acupuncture and Fertility
Acupuncture is a practice that can increase fertility by improving blood flow to the reproductive organs and balancing the endocrine system. Acupuncture practitioners we’ve talked with agree that the best results for fertility will take at least three months of treatment.
Acupuncture is a cumulative therapy; it builds on itself visit after visit. Success rates are hard to quantify, but acupuncture helps improve circulation, can resolve ailments such as pain or anxiety and provides tremendous stress relief.
Fertility Treatment: Journaling Your Journey
Keeping a journal is a powerful tool for relieving stress, providing clarity of thoughts and emotions, and helping to achieve greater inner harmony. Journaling is a very personal process… and one size shouldn’t fit all. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Like meditation, there is evidence to support the theory that repetition and consistency are much more important than the amount of time spent on mindfulness and reflection activities.
When you sit down to write, ask yourself a simple question, “How am I feeling today?” Then set your timer for five minutes, and start writing! Be truthful, brutal, honest and open. Allow yourself to express the full range of emotions that you feel without shame, embarrassment, or any other self-regulating thoughts. Allow your reactions to come out loud and clear, and be the witness and recorder of those thoughts. Something truly amazing happens when you do this!
Fertility Treatment: Meditation, Visualization + Hypnotherapy
Meditation, Visualization, and Hypnotherapy are three mind-body tools that rely on the idea that our minds have power over our bodies, but they function in distinctly different ways.
Meditation is an individual or solitary practice to train attention and awareness in the present moment. The act of meditation is simple, to quietly be as mindful as we can. The emotions we carry around with us, especially anger and anxiety can completely sap your energy. They can also be destructive to your hormonal and immune systems, which in turn can affect fertility. Meditation is one of the most powerful natural relaxation techniques you can employ to combat anger and anxiety.
Still meditation, with which we are more familiar, involves sitting for a period of time focusing on your breath, heartbeat, or a mantra, as in Transcendental Meditation. It is based on your exploration and experience of your own mind.
Moving meditation is an active form of meditation that uses simple, repetitive motion to help you gain awareness and relaxation. Movement meditation is good for people who find peace in action and prefer to let their minds wander. Meditate while you wash dishes, take a shower or walk to work. Simply slow down your daily activities to half-speed and use the process as an opportunity to be mindful and focus on your thoughts.
Moving meditation styles include Dance, Hand Movement, Tai Chi, and Qigong which help the individual: control their reactions to stress; reduce anxiety, depression, and pain; improve blood flow; increase energy, a greater sense of peace, and mental clarity; and support an emotionally calm and stable state.
Visualization is another mind-body tool but is a bit more active and goal-oriented, with a specific end result in mind. You can use visualization to help your brain “see” what your body should be doing, then physically do it. It can be focused on the present moment, but just as often, it explores a projection of future desires, a replay of past events, or conjures an entirely imaginary experience.
This tool often integrates a second person who leads an audio. This is typically an audio recording, but could also be in-person. All the Circle+Bloom programs incorporate visualization that is focused on your reproductive system and its daily changing cycle.
Not as commonly known as meditation or visualization, hypnotherapy–also called hypnosis–is also a powerful mind-body tool. Similar to visualization, hypnotherapy also is typically used to achieve a specific goal. The difference is that while visualization engages the mind’s imagination to exert control over the body’s physical functions, hypnosis is more often used to affect neuro-behavioral change.
For example, hypnotherapy is often used to help people quit smoking, help with addictions to drugs or alcohol, address fears, or help with weight loss or depression. Lead by a trained hypnotherapist, it induces a trance-like state with a heightened level of suggestibility and focused awareness.
In this state, beneficial suggestions can be placed directly into the subconscious mind. Circle + Bloom’s guided programs are a kind of virtual hypnotherapy that delivers specific supportive messages to help strengthen your reproductive health.
As with anything, which tool or practice that is most helpful will depend on your unique needs and situation. Any of these can aid you in making powerful changes to your life. They can help with stress-relief and relaxation. They can support medical infertility interventions, and general improvements in self-care and health. But finding the right path to maximizing your own physical and mental well-being may mean trying out a few different things to see how they work for you.
To help start you on your journey, we invite you to
try our FREE Introduction to Relaxation for Fertility guided meditation program!
In 10 minutes a day, you can increase awareness of your mind-body connection, balance hormones, and learn valuable relaxation techniques that will make you feel more positive about your future pregnancy.
Once you try the free program, take advantage of a special offer for all Root+Revel readers: enjoy 20% off all Circle+Bloom programs! Just use code rootandrevel20 when you checkout.
With love & gratitude,
Thanks again to Joanne for sharing her wisdom with us, and be sure to take advantage of getting 20% off Circle+Bloom’s programs!
Want to WIN a FREE Circle+Bloom Program of your choice? Enter the giveaway below!
- Fertility Diets: Book The Fertility Diet based on research from the landmark Nurses Health Study.
- Acupuncture & Fertility: Licensed Acupuncturists Barbara Pocznyiak (Vital Bloom Wellness), Jim Vitale (Suffolk County Acupuncture), and Lorne Brown (Acubalance Wellness Centre).
- Meditation, Visualization, or Hypnotherapy: “Relaxation Response” Dr. Herbert Benson, Study by Emory University’s Dr. Sarah Berga, Mind-Body Therapy, by Ernest Rossi and David Cheek, Molecules of Emotion, The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine, by Candace Pert, Ph.D, NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, BreastCancer.org, and MedPedia.org.
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser
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