Acupuncture and Massage for Fertility, IVF, IUI and Pregnancy in Charleston, SC, West Ashley, SC

FERTILITY & PREGNANCY

We experience so much joy supporting women’s fertility, healthy pregnancies, births and postpartum recovery.  Blue Heron provides acupuncture, bodywork, herbal medicine, essential oils, nutrition, mindfulness and stress reduction techniques to support you through these different stages.  Dedicating this time to yourself is an invitation to your healing and the unfolding of your fertility.  We also offer packages for each stage of fertility and pregnancy (scroll to the end of this page for details).  With these, our collaborative approach ensures a richness to your care.  LET US BE YOUR VILLAGE.

Chinese Medicine significantly increases your likelihood of becoming pregnant and sustaining a healthy pregnancy.  We have successfully supported patients with hormone imbalance, luteal phase defect, polycystic ovarian syndrome, amenorrhea, recurrent miscarriages, endometriosis, fibroids, poor egg quality, premature ovarian failure, hypothyroid and other endocrine disorders, autoimmune disease and unexplained infertility to become pregnant and have healthy babies. Acupuncture has tremendous impact on the success of Assisted Reproductive Techniques, such as IVF and IUI.  Incorporating a Western understanding of fertility issues, we thoroughly discuss your health history, look at your lab work and temperature charts, help you communicate more clearly with your OBGYN, provide you with resources to improve your fertility, and rely on a deep understanding of Chinese medicine patterns that nurture your health and ability to conceive.  We provide treatments that bring vitality to your uterus, nourish your blood and hormones, reduce stress, and calm and uplift your spirit.

Just beginning your journey to conception?  Come on in for preconception support!

We offer the following comprehensive programs to support your healthy fertility and pregnancy.  Our team approach helps you feel your best physically, heal emotionally and recognize the beautiful essence of YOU.

NOURISH: YOUR FERTILITY JOURNEY

Pregnancy can be such an exciting time – looking through baby name books, planning nursery colors, dreaming of what this little person will be like, and sharing those dreams with loved ones. But for those who have trouble conceiving or experience miscarriage, the experience is entirely different, often filled with fears and frustrations, insecurities and guilt, wondering what could have been done differently, and trying to decide what to do next. On top of that, it’s typically a very isolated experience, as we don’t talk about the challenges of fertility and pregnancy very openly in our culture.

We are here to help, wherever you are on this spectrum.

Not only do we work with you to help you achieve your fertility goals, we support you as a whole person. This means offering a safe space for you to express your emotions about the process, accept yourself, ease self-criticism, process and let go of painful emotions, and soften into the experience.

Our fertility services include:

  • Acupuncture – Strengthens your ability to conceive, encourages circulation and vitality to your uterus and ovaries, nourishes your blood and hormone levels, moves stagnation, decreases inflammation and autoimmune reactions, reduces stress and facilitates emotional healing.
  • Bodywork – We offer massage and neurostructural integration technique, both of which open the pelvis to support circulation to the reproductive organs, relax muscular and mental tension, calm the sympathetic nervous system, and boost your parasympathetic nervous system, which allows your body to return its priority to your hormones and fertility.  You can also schedule specialized Fertility Massage with Master Masseuse Becca Roberts.
  • Nutrition – Healthy fertility begins with the foods you eat each day.  During your Fertility Nutrition Consultation, we discuss foods that support your body’s hormones, circulation and vitality while decreasing inflammation, stagnation and anxiety.
  • Resources – Health tips, dietary information, acupressure points, recommended supplements and mindfulness exercises to encourage conception.

Using the Five Elements, Chinese Medicine supports pregnancy from conception through labor.  Conception relates to the Water (Kidneys) and Metal (Lungs). The Kidneys equate to the parents’ DNA and sperm and egg health. The Kidneys are the foundation of reproductive health. The Lungs bring the “spark” that makes conception happen. They invite divine or cosmic inspiration to meet with the jing, or DNA, of the parents to create a new life. The Lungs relate to the breath in, welcoming new life, and the ability to let go via exhalation.

Read on to learn how we can improve your health during the different trimesters as well as the “fourth trimester”, restoration after you have been pregnant.

NURTURE: HEALTHY STAGES OF PREGNANCY

Our team provides acupuncture, bodywork, nutrition, resources and health tips to help you have a healthy pregnancy, connect with baby and feel your best.

First Trimester – Earth (Spleen/Stomach). Earth represents the digestive system. The first trimester is all about nourishing mother and baby to support growth. Earth also encourages the body to lift and hold the pregnancy. Typical first trimester symptoms reflect the role of the Spleen and Stomach during this time – nausea, bloating, fatigue and mild cramping.

Second Trimester – Fire (Heart). The second trimester is a great time to tone the cardiovascular system and nourish the spirit. As the baby’s nervous system is developing, it is beneficial for Mama to keep calm and collected. Acupuncture can ease anxiety, improve sleep and reduce stress. Strengthening circulation decreases swelling and pain. The heat of Fire can lead to acid reflux and heartburn, also alleviated by acupuncture and herbs.

Third Trimester – Wood (Liver/Gallbladder). As one approaches labor, it is time to get active! The yang energy of Wood helps one get the body moving and ready to bring your little one into the world. Treating the Liver and Gallbladder also eases pain and tension, including that of the back and hips.

Our pregnancy services include:

  • Acupuncture – Helps your body sustain a healthy pregnancy, decreases nausea and acid reflux, addresses body aches and pains (think carpal tunnel, swelling, tight hips, back pain), and aids sleep.  We also include points for a happy, healthy baby!
  • Bodywork – We offer massage after your first trimester and neurostructural integration technique throughout your pregnancy.  Your body is working hard to care for your growing baby, and bodywork feels amazing during this time!  Both techniques are lovely options to ease tight muscles, open the pelvis and hips, decrease TMJ and carpal tunnel, reduce swelling, calm your digestive system, and nurture restful sleep.  They also are excellent go-tos as you prepare your body for labor.
  • Nutrition – Wondering what to eat to have a healthy pregnancy and feel your best?  We will share dietary suggestions to alleviate digestive discomforts that often occur during pregnancy.
  • Resources – Health tips, dietary information, acupressure points, safe supplements and mindfulness exercises to ease your mind, encourage a joyful spirit and help you connect with your baby.

Did you know acupuncture and bodywork can help you have an easier labor and even turn a breech baby?  We recommend beginning weekly or twice weekly treatment around weeks 34 to 36 to help you achieve these goals.  (p.s. You are welcome to come in weekly at any point during your pregnancy to help you feel your best!)

RESTORE: YOUR POSTPARTUM RECOVERY

After giving birth, it is important to replenish your body.  It has worked hard these past ten months and can use boosting to keep you healthy and strong.  Our postpartum program includes acupuncture, bodywork and nutritional support to help you rebuild your resources, harmonize hormones, improve your sleep and boost your mood during the ups and downs of having an infant.

Our restoration services include:

  • Acupuncture – We focus on nourishing your body, blood and hormones, easing aches and pains, strengthening lactation, and supporting your emotional journey through motherhood.
  • Bodywork – Back pain, shoulder aches, sore boobs, little sleep, oh my!  Massage and neurostructural integration technique are amazing options to help you nurture yourself after all the feeding, diaper changing, spouse reassuring, and running around you’re doing for others.  Savor relaxing self-care and know that you’re doing your body good while you’re at it.  p.s. Both of these forms of bodywork are great aids for lactation and issues of the breast (clogged ducts, mastitis).
  • Nutrition – Nourishing foods are key after giving birth to help you restore your resources, feel energized, regulate hormones, promote lactation and lose weight.  Incorporate healthy foods to help you enjoy this special time of the “fourth trimester” and take care of both your baby and yourself.
  • Resources – Health tips, dietary information, acupressure points, recommended supplements and mindfulness exercises to strengthen your spirit and resources, build your body back up, balance hormones and help you connect with your baby.

PACKAGES

To further support your dedication to your health and wellbeing, we offer packages for each of the above programs.  These packages are the optimal way to commit to your health, realize your goals and discover new levels of wellbeing.  Each package includes 3 acupuncture treatments, 1 neurostructural integration technique session and supportive resources (plus 1 fertility nutrition consultation for Nourish: Your Fertility Package).

Package Prices:

Nourish: Your Fertility Journey $489.25

Nurture: Healthy Stages of Pregnancy $370.50

Restore: Your Postpartum Recovery $370.50

treatment for allergies

IMMUNE & ALLERGIES

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine provide a powerful boost to your immune system, whether you are dealing with an acute cold, chronic immune issues, acute or chronic allergies, or asthma.  As with all conditions, we evaluate your personal situation to determine your diagnosis and course of treatment.  Herbal formulas and essential oils can enhance the effects of your treatment and provide much needed relief from your sniffles and sneezes.

When considering your immune system, we think first of your Lung channel and organ, representing your respiratory system, and its paired Large Intestine channel, which opens into your nose and sinuses, clears heat (inflammation, elevated histamine levels) and alleviates pain.  Both of these channels assist your body’s production of white blood cells, strengthen your immune and respiratory systems, and impact your nose and throat.  Working with the Lung channel expands your lungs and chest, making breathing easier and supporting your body’s elimination of phlegm from the lungs.  Enabling the Large Intestine channel opens your head as well as supports your body’s elimination via the bowels, which is important for detoxification and removal of pathogens.

The Kidneys relate to your deeper constitution and are often implicated when genetic or longstanding immunodeficiency is involved.  Strengthening the Kidneys’ support of your Lungs and respiratory system can take time yet has a profound impact on your immune system.  If you are someone whose stress takes a toll on your immune system, we need to treat your Liver channel.  Your Lung channel begins in your Stomach (similar to our current understanding in Western medicine of your immune system beginning in your gut; we love to witness these correlations!) and we often see the need to support your Stomach and Spleen channels (yin-yang pair) to boost your immune system, strengthen digestion and resolve dampness (congestion, heaviness, bloating, diarrhea).  We look at your whole picture to identify your specific pattern of imbalance and treat most effectively.

Allergies

Do you suffer from allergies? From itchy eyes to stuffy sinuses and skin conditions, we can help!  Acupuncture decreases pain and inflammation, supports your immune system, and regulates your body’s histamine response to its various offenders.

We evaluate your individual allergy picture to determine the best treatment approach for you.  Your Lungs relate to your immune system in general and typically need support for allergies regardless of season.  For some people, deficiency of the Lungs is at the root; for others, an overactive wei qi (defensive/immune qi) and/or heat is prevalent.

The Lungs relate to the Fall season and are especially important in treating Fall allergies.  Lung patterns of imbalance tend to manifest with sinus and respiratory issues, such as runny nose or congestion, cough, skin problems and fatigue.  The Liver corresponds to Spring, a time of year when yang (heat) is beginning to rise.  Spring allergies often show more heat signs: red, itchy eyes, yellow congestion, inflamed sinuses, red rashes.  When treating Spring allergies, we commonly use points on both the Lung and Liver channels.

For some, a deeper, constitutional weakness of the immune system indicates the importance of engaging the Kidney channel in treating allergy symptoms.  For others, dampness related to the Spleen and Stomach makes them more prone to phlegm, showing up as heaviness of the head, foggy thinking and congestion.  We recommend addressing your underlying issues in the preceding months to stay ahead of those uncomfortable allergy symptoms.

A Chinese Medicine Toolkit for Allergies: Our Favorite Remedies

One of the many strengths of Chinese Medicine is that it can be used as preventative medicine to stop allergies before they start as well as nip acute symptoms in the bud. If you are a seasonal allergy sufferer, you may find relief with these natural healing remedies:

*Lifestyle: Drybrushing – Daily drybrushing along the related channels (and always the Lung channel) stimulates the immune and lymphatic systems.  This facilitates your Lungs’ detoxifying function via the skin and keeps other channels engaged and open.  The Lung channel traverses the upper chest and inner arm down to your thumb.  The Large Intestine channel (the yang channel paired with the Lungs) starts at your index finger, travels up your outer arm to your elbow and shoulder, and ascends your SCM/neck to your nostril.  The Liver channel starts at the inner corner of your big toe and moves up your inner shin all the way up your leg to your groin and then spreads over your lower ribs, ending on your ribs below your breast.  Drybrushing leading up to and during allergy season keeps your body better able to handle the pollens and viruses you encounter.

*Food Therapy: Apple Cider Vinegar – Especially pertinent for Spring allergies and a nice aid throughout the year, apple cider vinegar boosts the smooth flow of the Liver, thereby supporting its detox function and proper histamine levels.  Drink a teaspoon to a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in your water first thing in the morning (and throughout the day, if you like).  Apple cider vinegar is alkalizing (or “cooling” in Chinese medicine terms), helping your body counter the heat of elevated histamine levels and inflammation.  Note: If you drink apple cider vinegar throughout the day or in large amounts, use a straw so you are less likely to damage the enamel of your teeth.

*Essential oil: Niaouli – An oil extracted from the Melaleuca plant, Niaouli is related to Tea Tree and has similar antiviral and immune strengthening properties.  Niaouli decreases your histamine response and is most effective when used preventatively – that is, before you anticipate an allergy attack. Use a chest rub, steam inhale, or just hold a bottle up to your nose for a quick sniff before and during allergy season to help keep symptoms at bay.  Note: We do not recommend use of Niaouli during an acute allergy attack as it may increase histamines at that time.

*Herbal Formula: Bi Yan Pian Often used to treat sinusitis, rhinitis, and nasal allergies, this formula helps stop a runny nose and opens stuffy sinuses. The formula contains herbs that clear heat and reduce toxicity, so it is best for nasal allergies that present with inflammation, infection, yellow phlegm, and heat in the face.

*Single Herb: Ju Hua (Chrysanthemum) – This bright yellow flower is used to clear heat, disperse wind, and clear the liver and eyes. The herb is cooling and enters the Lung channel which opens into the nose, and Liver channel, which goes to the head and opens into the eyes. “Wind” refers to sensations (like pain or itchiness) or maladies of the body that appear quickly and are constantly changing.  Allergies can come on suddenly and may present with sneezing, headaches, and dry, itchy eyes. Ju Hua is a great herb to use as a tea when allergy symptoms hit. Make a compress from the tea and put over the eyes when they feel hot, dry and itchy.

*Supplement: Quercetin – A common flavonoid found in many fruits and vegetables, quercetin offers significant antioxidant protection for cells lining the sinuses, reduces allergic responses by stabilizing mast cells (which release histamine and other inflammatory signals), and boosts the immune system. Foods with the highest quercetin content include apples, onions, and green tea.

*Acupressure point: Large Intestine-4 (LI-4): Located in the meaty muscle between the thumb and index finger, this point is used to treat all symptoms of the head and face. A popular acupressure point for headaches, this point is used to alleviate red, itchy eyes, fevers, heat in the face, sinus troubles, toothaches, and jaw pain. In combination with other points, LI-4 boosts the body’s defensive Qi and strengthens the immune system, regulates sweating, and moves qi and blood stagnation to stop pain.