Creating a Family: Talk about Adoption & Foster Care

Benefits of Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine for Infertility Patients

February 02, 2022 Creating a Family Season 16 Episode 5
Creating a Family: Talk about Adoption & Foster Care
Benefits of Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine for Infertility Patients
Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever thought about using acupuncture or herbal medicine to improve your fertility or treat your infertility? We talk with Dr. Mike Berkley, a New York State licensed acupuncturist and board-certified acupuncturist and practitioner of herbal medicine by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. He is also a member of The American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine.

In this episode, we cover:

  • What are the principles of acupuncture? How does it work?
  • How does acupuncture differ from Herbal Medicine or Traditional Chinese Medicine?
    • Do they have to be used together?
  • Can acupuncture and/or Chinese Medicine be used in conjunction with Western infertility medicine and IVF?
  • Is there western research that supports the benefits of acupuncture and Herbal Medicine for the treatment of infertility or is western style research not relevant to the discussion of acupuncture and Eastern Medicine?
  • Can acupuncture increase the blood flow to the uterus and ovaries? 
  • Can acupuncture and Herbal Medicine be used to treat PCOS? What results are seen?
  • How does acupuncture and Herbal Medicine impact endometriosis?
  • One of the most common reasons for female infertility is advanced maternal age. How can acupuncture and Herbal Medicine impact the diminution of ovarian reserves and egg quality?
  • Can acupuncture reduce stress?
    • Is acupuncture more effective than other stress reduction techniques such as exercise, yoga, meditation or prayer, massage?
  • Many women, men, and couples will not have a firm diagnosis of why they are not getting pregnant. Is acupuncture and Herbal Medicine effective for unexplained infertility?
  • Male infertility is the cause of approximately 1/3 of infertility. How successful is acupuncture or Herbal Medicine in the treatment of male infertility?

Get more information at The Berkley Center at

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Welcome, everyone to Creating a Family talk about infertility. I'm Dawn Davenport. I am the host of the show as well as the director of the nonprofit creating a Today we're going to be talking about the benefits of acupuncture and eastern medicine for infertility and infertility patients. We will be talking with Dr. Mike Berkeley. He is a New York State licensed acupuncturist and board certified in acupuncture and herbal medicine by the National Certificate Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. He is also a member of the American Board of Oriental reproductive medicine. Welcome Dr. Barkley to creating a family. We're so happy to talk with you today.

Thank you so much. It's a pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.

So what are the basic principles of acupuncture? In other words, how does it work?

Yep, so let's see where to start. So the main objective in my practice is to improve air quality or sperm quality. And what acupuncture does is it hyper stimulates blood flow to the ovaries and testes. Why is this important? Because blood is nothing other than a taxicab. Blood picks up FSH and LH from the brain. It picks up nutrient products and electrolytes from your food and oxygen from your inhalation. And the blood distributes all of those components through every area of the body, including the testes and the ovaries, like a taxicab when the passengers are let off. What are the passengers FSH, LH, oxygen, nutrients, electrolytes, when the passengers are dropped off, the cab wants to return with another passenger just doesn't want to come back to the from the airport empty. So the blood picks up dead cells from the testes and ovaries. These cells are known as debris, and they get rid of the cells or they help to eradicate the cells we have four ways of eliminating toxins from the body which are sweat, exhalation, urination defecation, so the acupuncture helps promote blood flow, which carries good things to the testes in the ovaries, and takes away bad things from the testes and the ovaries. Now there's a couple of add ons to this. First of all, when you deliver more of the good and excrete more of the bad, there's a presumption which is often proved out clinically, that one will get better at quality and or better strung quality, and sometimes better endometrial lining quality, if that's an issue. Now, I will be the advocate for whoever is out there thinking the following thought, well, I have a beating heart in my chest. And the function and purpose of the heart is to distribute blood throughout my body. Why should I use acupuncture when it's when it's redundancy? In a sense, it's doing the same thing My heart is doing? So that's a good question. And here's the answer. Do you exercise? Oh, yes, I do. Oh, that's great. So how often do you exercise? Oh, I exercise once a week. Oh, that's great. Just a second. How about you over there? Do you exercise? Oh, yes, I do. How many times a week do you exercise, oh, I exercise six times a week. So that the person who exercise to six times a week gets a better benefit all around other than the person who exercises one day a week. So even though the heart is beating, that's kind of like exercising one day a week, when you're getting acupuncture twice a week consistently. That's like exercising five or six days a week. It's improving hemodynamics it's improving the delivery of the blood trophic Li, which is very important. The heart stimulates blood flow throughout the entire body. When you do acupuncture, it is a trophic delivery of blood. So we're not just hyper stimulating blood flow all over the body where hyper stimulating blood flow only to two or three areas which are attached to the ovaries and what the lining.

So how does it work? Now I understand that acupuncture involves the insertion of needles. But how does the insertion of needles increase blood flow? And secondly, how does it increase blood flow to the ovaries and the testes since that's directly where you're wanting the blood flow to be increased?

Got it? Good, good, good, good questions. So the answer is not so straightforward. I'm going to say two things. I'm going to say I'm not exactly sure how it works, but I'm going to tell you that it works and I'm going to prove it to you. So There's something called uterine artery index. And this index can be obtained with a trans vaginal ultrasound, utilizing a color Doppler. And the higher the uterine artery impedance index is, the less amount of blood is going to the ovaries, or the endometrial lining of the uterus. So what happens is this, here's the proof, that when you do a trans vaginal ultrasound with a color Doppler, without acupuncture, one, we'll see the tiniest little presentation of the color red, which obviously indicates blood, blood flow in the lining, and what feeds the lining the uterine artery, but the uterine artery also branches out at the distal hens, and feeds the ovaries. So when you do acupuncture on a patient, and then subsequently do a TPU, with a color Doppler, you'll see a much greater amount of proliferation of blood flow in the uterus. And so that indicates that through some mechanism of action, which is beyond my scope, and beyond everybody's scope, there seems to be some type of dilation of the uterine artery, which causes therefore, a greater throughput and a greater flow through, if you will, of blood. And so I can't tell you how it happens. But I can tell you that what I just stated does, in fact happen. And so that's a very interesting idea and concept. And now, so acupuncture is totally trophic based. In other words, if somebody has a headache, that's a temporal headache on the left side of their head, you're going to use certain acupuncture needles that affect meridians that go to that region. If you're going to treat somebody with lateral epicondylitis, because because they're playing tennis all the time, and the elbow is killing them, if you put needles at the elbow, at the hand, and at the shoulder, you're treating locally, just just deleting and adjacently. This will send blood flow to the elbow. So in other words, when you go to acupuncture school, you learn these points protocols, which will determine how to effectively reach certain areas of the body, there are literally 1000 acupuncture points on the body. And of course, I don't use all 1000 points, but these points are used in combination, you know, you use these three points to reach this area, and these two points to reach another area. So there are point protocols or point prescriptions that one can use to reach certain areas of the body.

Okay, so how does acupuncture differ from Eastern medicine or herbal medicine?

So, Eastern medicine is an umbrella term that takes into consideration all forms of medicine that were born in the east, two of which are still extent to this day. Those two are traditional Chinese medicine. And either Vedic medicine, which is from India, AI or Vedic medicine has a 10,000 year old history. And traditional Chinese medicine or Chinese medicine has a about a 3000 year old history. We don't use the term Eastern medicine, we say Chinese medicine because it's very specifically Chinese medicine that we're doing. And Chinese medicine is comprised of two major components. These are acupuncture and herbal medicine. And herbal medicine is much more difficult to learn. It'll take somebody you know, 15 years to become a good herbalist. It could take somebody five years to become a decent acupuncturist. acupuncture works from the outside in herbs work from the inside out. Let me give you a nice example. If Nancy happens to have a splitting headache, and she says to her husband, Robert, Robert, could you please massage my neck and my shoulders in my head because I have a splitting headache? And Robert says of course Nancy, I'd be happy to and Robert gives Nancy a massage over a period of time or headache will diminish. If not completely. She'll recover from it, you know, at the best case, or get better to some extent the worst case. But if Nancy wouldn't take three Advil first, and then tell Robert to give her a massage. Our headache would be eliminated much faster. And so that's why it's better to use Advil and massage as opposed to just using massage or even just using Advil. So acupuncture and herbal medicine work in a similar fashion. Acupuncture, as they say, is used in the outside. And acupuncture has a quality of moving something, it moves blood, it stimulates blood flow, it improves and increases hemodynamics. Herbal medicine does that as well. But herbal medicine is also very supplementing and herbal medicine can also be draining. And I'll give you an example of the difference between supplementing and draining in a minute. And the best case scenario is to use both acupuncture and herbal medicine. So what's what's draining. So I'm going to speak strictly now from a traditional Chinese medicine perspective. And I'll try to stay within the, you know, the realm of being understood. So if you have a polycystic ovarian syndrome patient or for that matter, any patient, that's that's morbidly obese, that patient, you know, can change their diet, improve their exercise, or maybe take Metformin. But this is what you call in Chinese medicine in excess condition. Why is excess because she has too much fat. So acupuncture is not going to help that woman to lose weight, but herbs wills herbs can reduce that which is in excess and support that which is deficient. So what could be deficient in in a woman. Her egg quality may be deficient. Let me give you a beautiful example. A woman is doing an in vitro fertilization. And she has a nice looking blastocyst and it is tested by a pre Implantation Genetic testing. And it's found to have chromosomal let me restate, she does TGT. And it's chromosomally normal. It's a perfectly good embryo. And this woman has no confounding issues that will that will negate her ability to conceive. They transfer the embryo and guess what happens? She doesn't get pregnant. Now, why not? Now there are two things to say about why not number one is who knows? And number two is maybe it's a bad embryo. But wait a minute, you just said it's a chromosomally normal embryo? Yes, I did. But just because an embryo is chromosomally normal doesn't mean that it's a good embryo, you know, you can have a patient that's HIV positive, and can be in a gym every day can benchpress 500 pounds. So just because you're HIV positive doesn't mean that other ways you can't be totally healthy. So just because you have a chromosomally normal embryo doesn't mean it's a good embryo. So the herbs are going to support that which is deficient, which in English is to say, to try to nourish and benefit the embryo itself, which can be done much more efficaciously than that which would occur solely through the use of acupuncture.

Okay, I'm a little confused. Let me let me ask it again. So he Oh, it's okay. But first of all, let me ask it, can acupuncture and or herbal medicine be used in conjunction with Western infertility, treatment and IVF?

So the answer is absolutely. However, most reproductive endocrinologists will not want their patients to take herbs when the patients are taking Ganatra opens, because the reproductive doctors seem to suspect that herbal medicine might either you know, attenuate or increase the effect of the canal patrol. This is totally not true. I've had I'm friends with several reproductive endocrinologist who say to the patient's foot Mike Berkeley wants to give you the herbs take yours, we find nothing wrong with it. But in any event, the answer to your question is it is totally safe to take herbs with an editor opens, but your reproductive endocrinologist will not want you to do it. Well, and we would recommend

that if you're spending the money for infertility treatment to listen to your reproductive endocrinologist. Alright, so my question that where I was getting confused, you were talking about the case of a failure to what looks like a chromosomally normal embryo failing to implant How does acupuncture improve the quality of the embryo when the embryo is not connected to the bloodstream? Of the of the woman at that point?

But yes, got it. So, acupuncture will not help. It will not help an embryo. It the purpose of acupuncture and herbs is to improve the egg quality and the sperm quality. So then therefore, one will have a greater chance of getting a good egg embryo. So how do you determine what a good embryo is, there's only one determinant. And that determinant is a live birth. So you can test an embryo for chromosomal abnormalities, and the embryo will be euploid, meaning chromosomally normal and it still won't work. So probably what that means is the egg quality and the sperm quality, we're still not good enough to make an embryo that is adequate enough, healthy enough to yield an ongoing pregnancy or a pregnancy at all. So I think what I'm trying to say is, just because you have a euploid embryo, or chromosomally normal embryo, doesn't necessarily mean that it is a good embryo. And the way to improve embryo quality is through reverse engineer it, you don't treat the embryo that's already the horses out of the barn, you treat the egg and the sperm, so that you will have a greater chance of obtaining or getting or developing a healthier embryo. Okay, that makes sense.

Let me pause here for just a moment to ask a favor of you. Any of the podcasting apps refer people to podcasts, based on the number of reviews and the number of star ratings, you could do us a HUGE favor by going to rate this A family and leave us a rating and a review that would help us it would also help others who are struggling with infertility. And that website is the easiest way we have found two that you can put in a review and it goes to all the podcasting apps. So thank you so much in advance that is rate this A family is and I know that having discussed having talked with other acupuncturist and traditional Chinese medicine doctors, that this is sometimes a question that that is frustrating to them. But having been raised in the Western medical approach and Western research approach. I can't help but ask this question. And is there Western research research that follows the western approach and style of understanding science that supports the benefit of either acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of infertility.

So there's not that much research done on herbal medicine. And I won't get into it too deeply, because that's not what this presentation is about. But I'll just briefly touch on it, you know, you have to get the exact amount of herbs and they have to be made the exact same has to be uniform. But if you're testing aspirin and aspirin is an aspirin. herbs can vary a little bit quantity and the and the quality, how old it is where they come from. So it's very difficult to do a study on herbs. However, there have been multitudinous Western medical studies on acupuncture, showing the efficacy and the benefit of acupuncture in the context of fertility. And I have plenty of these research papers on my website. If somebody if anybody goes to my website, there's a link that says research. And it's a bunch of research there. The other thing anybody can do is go to Google and just type in scholarly articles, acupuncture, infertility, and all these scholarly articles. In other words, really well researched document and articles will pop up. So there's plenty of research done at this point has been done and is continuing to be done on acupuncture much less so on herbs. Alright,

even mentioned PCOS, and we certainly know that PCOS is a common diagnosis. For women struggling to get pregnant. What is the result of any of the research has been done on acupuncture? How it used to treat PCOS.

So I don't have an answer for you. I don't have the research documents in front of me, but but I'll put it this way. I'll just my answer to some experience. Yes. So the problem with PCOS is first of all a piece to us. But I guess I don't have to give a lesson on PCOS because your listeners already know about it. But let's put it this way. PCOS patients have twice the chance of miscarrying as the non PCOS population. Why is that? It is because the egg quality of the PCOS patient is not good. Why is that? Because these PCOS patients have eggs that are just sitting there and becoming cysts, they're not ovulated. And the other thing is, so those are not even going to ever be. They're not ever going to become legitimate full sized eggs or eggs that can be utilized. And so the other problem why why is the egg quality at some point when the when you do a retrieval on a PCOS patient, why is the egg quality not so good, because the PCOS patient has more testosterone in the follicles then they should have and testosterone at a higher level is going to serve as an anti estrogen. And even though the follicles secrete estrogen, estrogen also is something that nourishes the egg in the follicle. So if you have too much testosterone, it actually serves as an anti estrogen, and this negatively affects the egg quality. So now, when you do herbal medicine, with less salt with acupuncture, when you do acupuncture on a PCOS patient, you're highly stimulating blood flow, highly improving hemodynamics. So the ovaries sending in all that blood carrying the oxygen, the nutrients, the hormones, the electrolytes, everything, removing debris. When you use herbal medicine, herbal medicine has about you. Listen, everybody has heard the term yin and Yan, what is it mean? It means homeostasis, it means balance. So herbs are very good at trying to achieve homeostasis. And homeostasis is impossible to achieve. But certainly one wants to get as close as possible to homeostasis. So when one is using herbal medicine, what we find is that the egg quality gets better. And the presupposition I suppose, is that what's happening is, is herbs are balancing. And so perhaps they're either reducing the amount of testosterone in the follicular Amelia or they're increasing the amount of estrogen in the follicular Millia. But whatever the mechanism of action that is, we seek to PCOS patients do well under with acupuncture and herbal medicine. And what does do well mean it means give birth, not necessarily get pregnant on pregnancy is not our end goal. It's a live birth. So again, I think it's all about regulating the internal environment of the follicle.

Okay, now, how does acupuncture impact endometriosis, Metamask acupuncture or herbal medicine? I'll ask for both.

So number one, anytime a patient comes in, and she says I have endometriosis, there's an assumption that that patient has either had an ultrasound that has indicated the endometrioma if an endometrioma was not seen, but she says she has endometriosis, perhaps she's had a laparoscopy or she's had an MRI of the pelvis, or perhaps even a history of cell picogram showing scarring or tubal obliteration. And so this patient has had a laparoscopy and she's 30 years old. So this is not an advanced maternal age case. In conjunction with endometriosis. It is the young woman who has endometriosis. Her tubes are totally fine. There is no male factor. There is no endometriosis on the ovaries. There's not an end Dmitri OMA insight, but she has endometriosis. And she had a laparoscopy and now the endometriosis has been eradicated. And she still cannot get pregnant. Why not? So here's the why not. Because when a surgeon is utilizing a laparoscope and doing a laparoscopic intervention to resect, endometriosis, they are looking for tissue that is discolored, it can be black tissue, it can be purplish, what's called powderburn. There's various different colors have endometriosis. Of course that can be adhesions seen. Endometriosis, a tissue, or Endometriotic tissue is very easily observable. However, what's very fascinating about endometriosis is some Endometriotic tissue looks exactly like normal tissue. So when the surgeon is in the pelvis, or even above the pelvis, because you can have endometriosis in the diaphragm and in the nose, and but let's just let's just reserve let's just talk about the pelvic environment. When the endometrial when the doctor is in the end in the pelvis, and he or she has resecting, any endometriosis and they stitch the patient up and they send the patient home very, very frequently, probably more often than not that patient still has endometriosis. She has had most of the endometriosis taken out, but she's totally healthy in every other way, and so as the husband, but they still can't get pregnant. So my idea, my belief system says she still has endometriosis. And so why is that preventing her from getting pregnant? It's preventing her from getting pregnant for the very same reason that she wasn't getting pregnant beforehand. Which is this reason this cause when the patient has endometriosis, it is a disease that is outside of the uterus, however, it actually and always affects the uterine cavity.

So how does acupuncture and herbal medicine change that?

Yeah, we're going to get there. So I don't mean to be long winded. I just want to kind of really nurture. That's okay, good. So what happens is, the woman had the laparoscopy she still can't get pregnant. So what's going on? Patient says to me, Mike, why what's going on? I can't get pregnant, I had the laparoscopy everything is good. So Endometriotic tissue will leak. L EA K will leak pro inflammatory cytokines. These are inflammatory cytokines, inflammatory components, they will leak inflammatory components, and they will go into the uterus. And this causes inflammation in the uterus. This causes a hostile environment for an embryo to try to implant and develop. And now to your question. So, herbal medicine more than acupuncture, but certainly acupuncture but let's talk about herbs. There are herbs that do different things. You must think of herbal medicine as regular medicine, there is regular Western medicine to treat headaches, and there's regular Western medicine to treat pancreatic cancer. So herbal medicine is like that. It has different herbs that you different things. There are a body of herbs, a type of herbs that have strong anti inflammatory properties. So when you prescribe this endometriosis patient who's already had a laparoscopy, but who cannot get pregnant, you prescribe herbs that have anti inflammatory properties to this woman, very often her uterus is rendered normal, at least for a temporary period of time in which the embryo can implant and once it implants, that other things happen. And usually, a miscarriage will not occur, unless it occurs for another reason. But to answer your question, in a nutshell, it's about reducing inflammation in the uterus.

Gotcha. And that is by increasing a release to the acupuncture route by increasing blood flow to the uterus. Is that correct?

Well, I listen, I'm not a big fan of acupuncture for endometriosis and conception? I don't think acupuncture doesn't work. Now look, if a person has severe pelvic pain from that from endometriosis, I guarantee you listen, 100% guarantee that acupuncture will reduce the pain by 20 to 50%. That's a pain issue but not a fertility issue. With a fertility issue to me, it's a straight up herbal medicine case.

Gotcha. Because herbal medicine is more effective at reducing inflammation are as acupuncture in this case, can't control what can help with curl the pain. Interesting. That's right. One of the most common reasons for female infertility particularly now in this day and age is advanced maternal age. So how do acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine and herbal medicine impact the elimination of ovarian reserves and egg quality associated with age?

Yep, another terrific question. And you're you're spot on with all of these questions. I guess you have a little experience in this field. A little bit, right. So Okay, the first thing I want to say is acupuncture. Herbal Medicine cannot ever under any circumstances give a woman more eggs. A woman is born with all the eggs she's ever going to have. And the typical healthy female loses 1001 Eggs month 1000 Become a triptych and disappear, they die and one is ovulate so you can't give a woman any more eggs. However, let's take a somebody who is 40 years old and wants to run in the marathon. And let's take somebody who's 19 years old and wants to run in the marathon can the kind of 40 year old do it can a 60 year old do? Yes, all they have to do is actually Exercise and workout, they can improve their cardio, they can improve their muscularity, they can do fine. What if you had bad hearing? Well, you can get a hearing aid. What if you had bad eyes where you can get, you know, eyeglasses, whatever you have a coronary artery blockage where you can have, you can fix the coronary arteries, so everything in the body can be improved even the eggs of a 40 year old woman. And the way this works is, I'm going to kind of fall back on my previous explanation. By doing acupuncture and herbs, acupuncture first, you're hyper stimulating all this blood flow, you're delivering more amounts of FSH or the proper amounts of FSH just listen to it, the blood circulation is not great. And it's certainly not as good in the 40 year old as it is in the 35 year old. And it's not as good in a 35 year old as it isn't a 16 year old. My father who's now passed, but I used to come to his apartment in July. And he was 90 years old, and he's wearing a tweed jacket. And I said, Dad, you're making me hot just looking at you. And you say, Mike, I'm freezing. I mean 90 degrees, and you have a tweed jacket on. Why is that? Because a 90 year old man has minimal circulation. So as we grow older, a circulation diminishes. So treating a 40 year old patient is the perfect patient for acupuncture, because she's trying to do IVF or not, let's just say she's trying to do IVF to get pregnant, and she keeps failing because she has lousy egg quality. So if you if you improve the delivery of these good things and improve the expression of the bad things, you're going to create an environment in the follicle, which is a healthier environment. And therefore and thereby you stand the chance of getting a better quality egg on the next retrieval.

Okay. So it's not it's not increasing her eggs, but you're increasing the general overall health of the ovarian cavity everything in there. That does Gotcha. Something that I think that but I shouldn't say I think it's well known. I have certainly always heard that acupuncture is very effective for reducing stress. And though we we know that infertility is not caused by stress, we do know that stress impacts on some level of woman's fertility. So let's talk about the reduction of stress that can be found through acupuncture, as well as herbal medicine.

I'm very sensitive to this issue. And and you will understand why in a second. Number one, it is my humble opinion that stress has nothing to do with infertility, I can prove it. I will I will prove it to you in 30 seconds. It has nothing to do with infertility whatsoever, which is essentially what you said. And and I think you went on to say that, you know, if you're suffering with infertility, you're going to be stressed, which I completely agree with. There are many 10s of 1000s, hundreds of 1000s of women and men that think oh, you know, my wife is so stressed. That's why she's not getting pregnant. That's completely nonsense. And here's the proof. Here's the proof. The proof is that if you watch the news, and you see any any news story, on a war zone, if you look back in Vietnam, or Iraq, or a Syria, any place where there's more wood, there was more wood is more, what do you always say? You always see a little crying three year old naked sitting in the corner of the street. And then you see other kids running down the street and running around all over the place. And you see pregnant women running around while the bombs are coming down. So I don't believe that stress has any effect on fertility, I will tell you the stress does have an effect on male factor issues. But I don't believe it has any effect on female factor issues. Now to answer your question, which is talking about acupuncture, insofar as how it relates to stress, I will never treat a patient with stress. If a patient calls me on the phone and says Listen, I want to come in and get acupuncture for stress reduction. What I say to the patient is why would you want to get on the table half naked in front of a man you don't even know and have me stick 15 needles in you so you can relax? Why not just go and get them a sausage. Why not go to Bloomingdale's or Saks Fifth Avenue and go shopping and buy a new bag. I mean, there's nothing better than shopping therapy. There's nothing better than having a good glass of wine or a great meal, or make love or go out running. I do not recommend acupuncture distress. Now, when I have a patient that comes in who I'm treating, and the patient says to me, oh my god, I had a horrible day I'm really stressed. Of course, I'm going to treat the patient to reduce our stress, because I want my patient to feel good. But I'm not in the business of stress reduction.

Gotcha. Okay, that makes sense. And some from your standpoint, you're saying that exercise or yoga or massage or meditation or prayer, any of those are equally if not more effective for stress reduction, that would be accurate. But did I hear you? That's

true, but you That's true, but you left out two important points. Okay? Don't get a good glass of wine. And don't forget shopping therapy.

I would just say that shopping is stressful for many people. So whether or not I think that maybe a gender stereotype and it certainly doesn't apply,

I happen to I'm a guy and I love to shop. So yeah,

there you go. I'm a woman in doubt. So for me, it's, it's, that is not a that is not a stress reduction for me in the leaf. Tea, Sharon. Yeah. This show as well as all the resources provided by creating a would not happen without the support of our partners. And our partners are organizations that believe in our mission of providing unbiased medically accurate information to infertility patients. One such partner is Cooper surgical fertility and genomic solutions. They are global leaders in IVF and reproductive genetics, Cooper genomic offers PGT a PTT M PTT S R as well as E RP, individual receptivity testing. For those who are pursuing IVF. They are peak test offers accurate and reliable detection of the receptivity status of the woman's endometrium. Thank you Cooper to omics. So many men, women, both couples, don't ever get a firm diagnosis of why they're not getting pregnant. And it's I honestly think it's probably the hardest, hardest thing to face and unexplained infertility because you don't have you have nothing to coalesce your thoughts and your and you don't have a diagnosis, you don't know. There's simply no reason why you're not. So is that so what can acupuncture herbal medicine do for unexplained infertility?

Okay, I hate to keep sounding like a broken record. But I'm just so impressed with your questions that I can't help myself. So I'm going to say it again. Another great question. So I don't believe that there's any such thing as idiopathic infertility. And I'm going to explain all that right now. So first of all, I want to start by saying some of my best friends are reproductive endocrinologist, and I'm totally 1,000% supportive of the sister reproductive technology. Having said that, I will tell you that Western reproductive medicine is not that great. And I know that's going to come as a shock to millions of people, but it's, it's the truth. Let me tell you why I can prove that it's the truth. This is what happens when you have an infertility evaluation, you go in, you get a day three bloodwork, you get a transvaginal, ultrasound, and your protocolized you're going to take a certain amount of gone all up and men if you're going to start you with estrogen patch, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, okay, you know, and you get this protocol and you get treated. That's it. I mean, very rarely is any digging done. If the, if the diagnosis is not obvious. If you do a transvaginal ultrasound and she's got cystic ovaries. Okay, cool. You know, she's got polycystic ovarian syndrome. So you know, you treat her with Clomid or letrozole or whatever, it you know, you okay, the patient has severe pain and some smart doctor because most doctors will say, Oh, you know, take two aspirin and call me in the morning, but some doctor determined she has endometriosis. Okay, you got to remove the endometriosis. Beyond that. I mean, I've been doing this for 24 years, I've had 1000s of patients. And it's not a matter of idiopathic. There's no such thing as it er. It's a matter of reproductive endocrinologist and seeing 50 patients today. 30 patients a day, 20 patients a day, lots of patients. You need time, energy, effort, a team to dig deep and find out what is going on with the patient. I will give you some examples momentarily. This is very, very rarely done. So it's not that it's idiopathic. It's that it's under diagnosed. Now I'll give you some pertinent medical Western medical examples of this. So this woman, I'm when I say this woman, I mean just 10,000 women, they can't get pregnant. 25 years old. There's nothing wrong with them. Nothing wrong with the sperm, everything is good. And she'll go on and on and on. Multiple IVs that fail to fail to fail, and a doctor will say okay, it's time to consider donor egg. Stupidest story that I could ever tell. but it's a story that I hear frequently. What is the problem with the story? Here's the problem. Have you done an endometrial receptivity array to determine if the endometrium and the embryo are in sync and communicating with each other properly? No, you have not. Okay. Well, let's do that. Have you done the receptive a DX test to see if your patient has undiagnosed asymptomatic endometriosis? No, you have not. Have you done a semen analysis? Yes. And the sperm is perfect. Well, did you know done that 10% of men that have perfect sperm present with sperm DNA fragmentation. The higher level of fragmentation, the more difficult it is for a sperm to penetrate an egg. Very easily treatable with acupuncture and herbs, sperm DNA fragmentation. What about polycystic ovarian syndrome? Let's go back to this patient. You do a transvaginal ultrasound and nothing is there. So I guess that means she doesn't have PCOS. She doesn't have polycystic ovaries completely wrong. There's something called biologic PCOS where the patient will have elevated testosterone hyperinsulinemia. And this is an kind of irregular period or maybe even regular periods. PCOS patients, there's a whole cohort of these patients have regular periods, but they still have too much testosterone, too much insulin. That means they have a reduced amount of sex hormone binding globulin, which means testosterone is not being as free from the body properly. This is undiagnosed, because the only way to doctors to diagnose PCOS is in and out with a transvaginal ultrasound. I see this sister I don't I don't you don't have it. So what I put to you for your consideration is you gave me 100 cases that were idiopathic, I would come up with a diagnosis for 80 of those patients. I'm not myself personally, but I guess I'm not a medical doctor. But I would recommend certain tests and those tests would come back positive. What about what about undiscovered activated natural killer cells? What about chronic second or third trimester miscarriages, where the patient has undiagnosed thrombophilic problems where it's never tested? So there's multitudinous reasons for infertility and for chronic recurrent miscarriage that are never properly die.

Okay, so from your standpoint, if you look hard enough, there is a cause you just haven't found it yet. 95% of the time. Gotcha. Okay. Now, male infertility is depending on who you're talking to, but approximately 1/3 of infertility is caused by male infertility. So how successful is acupuncture or herbal medicine in the treatment of male infertility?

So, it all depends. Let's do it this way. If a man has a genetic problem, like for example, micro deletion of the Y chromosome for if he has a anatomical problem, for example, congenital bilateral absence of the boss deference. Or if he had a problem that was a sequential of treatment, for example, this man had cancer and he had radiation on his testicles. And now there's no sperm, acupuncture, herbal medicine cannot do anything for that man. I wouldn't touch that man with a 10 foot pole, I would say you need to use donor sperm and that's the that's it. However, if a man presents with sperm problems, whether it's motility, morphology, or count and there are no genetic problems, and there are no anatomic problems. Acupuncture herbs are very efficacious in improving count motility and morphology, for the very same reason that acupuncture and herbs are efficacious in improving air quality, because you're strongly improving hemodynamics to the testes, which are bringing all this nutrient product of bringing oxygen, electrolytes, hormones, etc, etc, to the testes and taking debris out of the testes. And finally, and, and interestingly, I treat these men with a lot of stress reduction points. Because stress has been shown decisively to reduce sperm quantity. And so I will treat them for stress, you know, in addition to causing hemodynamic improvement of the testicles, so men do very well. You know, a certain cohort of men do very well. Now, let's talk about a couple of other things in sperm. If a man has a severe varicose seal, I can't do anything for him. And you know, in vehicles select dummies for a severe will seal only 50% of them end up with good outcomes. So If a guy has a miracle selected me as a result of a severe varicose seal, and there's no improvement after the surgery, still, there is no place for acupuncture and herbs, you just have to do Tessie, for donor sperm. So you know, there are situations where acupuncture herbs can be very helpful. And there are other times when herbs and acupuncture are of no utility whatsoever. And I want to say something else here, which I think is very important. I know I'm speaking to two health professionals, but but they should hear this as well. What's very important about an acupuncturist is that the acupuncturist should know what they can not treat. I'll give you an example. Very briefly. I see this on these chat boards and these these sites for acupuncturist all the time. Oh, my patient has the six centimeter fibroid in the uterus. You know, can anybody make a suggestion as to what herbs would be good? And I answer, I just use one word myomectomy. You're not going to shrink a fibroid, with with herbs and acupuncture. Number one. Number two is sometimes fibroids are silent and and do not contribute to infertility. So leave the damn thing alone. But if it has to come out, you take it out with surgery. So there are many acupuncturist that will treat this woman to get rid of a fibroid That's stupid, uneducated and ridiculous. So it's very important that the practitioner knows what they can treat and knows what they can't treat. That's key.

I would say that's a key for all medicine. But go ahead. Yeah, I totally agree with you. Yeah. So from the standpoint of male infertility, does you they talked about increasing blood flow to the testes? Does that? Have you seen evidence that that would increase fertility in men?

100%? Absolutely. I went out. I say 100%. I don't mean 100% of the time, but I mean, honor percent that it's effective. It's kind of like we can talk about IVF we can say does IVF effective? Yes, it's effective, though. It's not effective 100% of the time. And I think acupuncture and herbs are effective, but not 100% of the time, but I've had many, many men that had sperm issues that were at least temporarily cured. Because I don't know what happens later on. But I know that the wife got pregnant and the sperm was fine, and everything was good. And who knows what happened to the sperm six months later, but acupuncture herbs can be very effective in improving sperm quality.

Okay, well, this has been fascinating. Thank you so much, Dr. Mike Berkeley. To get more information about Dr. Berkeley, you can go to the Berkeley Center website at Berkeley to our audience, I'll see you again next week.

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