When and How Should my Exercise Routine Change When Pregnant or Trying to Conceive?

Written by: Charlene Hagner M.Ac., Dipl. O.M., L.Ac.

It is important to move and get your blood circulating. In Chinese Medicine, movement facilitates the qi, and removes stagnation; it’s essential to keep the blood and qi moving for a healthy endometrial lining and pregnancy. It can be as simple as taking a daily walk for 20-30 minutes.

If you are regularly active, and have been staying on an exercise routine, it is safe to continue, but stay away from abdominal strengthening activities after ovulation (around cycle day fourteen) and with a positive pregnancy test. When trying to conceive and during pregnancy, yoga can be relaxing and helpful, but hot yoga can be counterproductive.

After an Embryo Transfer (FET), the reproductive endocrinologist asks the patient to rest the three days following, and keep their heartbeat under 100 beats per minute in the first 10 weeks after transfer. After the first trimester, the woman can return to her normal exercise routine, with the consent of her doctor.

Here are some of the benefits from exercise during pregnancy you may experience according to the American Pregnancy Association:

  • Helps reduce backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling May help prevent, or treat, gestational diabetes.
  • Increases your energy
  • Improves your mood
  • Improves your posture
  • Promotes muscle tone, strength, and endurance Helps you sleep better
  • Regular activity also helps keep you fit during pregnancy and may improve your ability to cope with labor. This will make it easier for you to get back in shape after your baby is born.

You will probably want to avoid the following type of exercises during pregnancy:

  • Activities where falling is more likely
  • Exercise that may cause any abdominal trauma, including activities with jarring motions, contact sports or rapid changes in direction.
  • Activities that require extensive jumping, hopping, skipping, or bouncing
  • Bouncing while stretching
  • Waist twisting movements while standing
  • Intense bursts of exercise followed by long periods of no activity
  • Exercise in hot, humid weather
  • Do not hold your breath for an extended period of time
  • Do not exercise to the point of exhaustion  

You may want to include these basic guidelines in planning exercise during pregnancy:

  • Be sure to wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes, as well as a good supportive bra.
  • Choose well-fitting shoes that are designed for the type of exercise you are doing.
  • Exercise on a flat, level surface to prevent injury.
  • Eat enough healthy calories to meet the needs of your pregnancy, as well as your exercise program.
  • Finish eating at least one hour before exercising
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout.
  • After doing floor exercises, get up slowly and gradually to prevent dizziness.

Here are a few resources of trainers that work with women trying to conceive and during pregnancy.

Lindsey B. Cusey, Lindsey@fithappygirl.com - owner/online coach, certified personal trainer, and paleo nutrition specialist. Website- WWW.FITHAPPYGIRL.COM

Mckenzie Smalley, Mckenzie@fithappygirl.com - Personal Trainer, online and At home Training, and paleo nutrition specialist.

Steel Fit, Joe Steel, CPT jsteelfitness@yahoo.com

How Do I Choose An Acupuncturist?

You’ve been reading testimonials about acupuncture in the press and online. Your sister in Idaho is raving about her acupuncture treatments and thinks you should try it too.  You have decided to give this different kind of medicine a try. Now, you wonder, how do I find the right person? Are all acupuncturists the same? My physical therapist offers dry needling, is this acupuncture?  You honestly do not know what to expect or where to begin.

One factor to keep in mind is that no two acupuncturists are alike. There are acupuncturists that are generalist and those that specialize. There are also acupuncturists that are warm and interactive and those that are cold and direct.   This is not unlike physicians. Some acupuncturists have a specialty with advanced training and years of experience. When searching for a provider, it is important for you to ask about the level of training and education and if they are trained in Oriental Medicine. Licensed Acupuncturists are required to have a minimum of 1800-2400 hours of education and clinical training. In most states they must be certified by the NCCAOM and state licensed. Online you can search for a trained acupuncturist at the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) at http://www.nccaom.org

 Catherine Travis, M.Ac., Dipl.Ac., L.Ac.

Catherine Travis, M.Ac., Dipl.Ac., L.Ac.

When searching for an acupuncturist we also encourage people to ask about the style of needling technique used. Acupuncture can hurt. There are many styles of acupuncture techniques. Often when a new patient  experiences acupuncture here at ilumina, they often assume this is how acupuncture treatments feel in all clinics. Our style is extremely gentle and mindful.  There are actually many different approaches to needling. Traditional Chinese acupuncture believes in needling to get “De Qi” (strong stimulation). The French and Korean styles also have a stronger needling technique. Here in the U.S., there is a needling technique used to release trigger points and is a very strong needling.  We can provide these stronger needling treatment as well. Then there is  Japanese style acupuncture which can be very gentle and almost without any sensation.

 Dana Price, DOM, L.Ac., Dipl. OM, FABORM

Dana Price, DOM, L.Ac., Dipl. OM, FABORM

Here at ilumina, we are happy to answer new patient’s questions about who we are and the kinds of treatment we provide. We want to understand your needs and help match you with one of our experienced practitioners. We also offer a free 15 minute consultation. If the idea of needles is stressful, we can provide treatment with gentle needling or without needles. Your comfort is our priority.

Also, when searching for an acupuncturist, keep in mind the atmosphere of the clinic.  It is a medical practice but it doesn’t have to feel cold and sterile.  Our owner, Dana Price, aimed from the beginning to create an atmosphere that is truly healing in itself.  Our mission is for ilumina to be a healing sanctuary.  It is a peaceful space with compassionate staff that sees our vision with every interaction, ensuring that you have a safe, comfortable, and healing experience.

Ten Reasons to Meditate and Practice Mindfulness (and how to do it)

Ten Reasons to Meditate and practice Mindfulness (and how to do it)

1) Increases blood flow, lowers respiration rate, slows heart rate 2) Decreases heart rate 3) Reduces stress, anxiety and aggression 4) Enhances the immune system 5) Harmonizes the endocrine (hormonal) system 6) Relaxes the nervous system 7) Improves brain function and electrical activity 8) Reduces stress and balances hormones to stimulate ovulation 9) Improves learning ability and memory and increases productivity 10) Improves relationships with others

Mindfulness Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

This exercise is very simple, but the power, the result, can be very great. The exercise is simply to identify the in-breath as in-breath and the out-breath as the out-breath. When you breathe in, you know that this is your in-breath. When you breathe out, you are mindful that this is your out-breath. Just recognize: this is an in-breath, this is an out-breath. Very simple, very easy. In order to recognize your in-breath as in-breath, you have to bring your mind home to yourself. What is recognizing your in-breath is your mind, and the object of your mind—the object of your mindfulness—is the in-breath. Mindfulness is always mindful of something. When you drink your tea mindfully, it’s called mindfulness of drinking. When you walk mindfully, it’s called mindfulness of walking. And when you breathe mindfully, that is mindfulness of breathing. So the object of your mindfulness is your breath, and you just focus your attention on it. Breathing in, this is my in-breath. Breathing out, this is my out-breath. When you do that, the mental discourse will stop. You don’t think anymore. You don’t have to make an effort to stop your thinking; you bring your attention to your in-breath and the mental discourse just stops. That is the miracle of the practice. You don’t think of the past anymore. You don’t think of the future. You don’t think of your projects, because you are focusing your attention, your mindfulness, on your breath. It gets even better. You can enjoy your in-breath. The practice can be pleasant, joyful. Someone who is dead cannot take any more in-breaths. But you are alive. You are breathing in, and while breathing in, you know that you are alive. The in-breath can be a celebration of the fact that you are alive, so it can be very joyful. When you are joyful and happy, you don’t feel that you have to make any effort at all. I am alive; I am breathing in. To be still alive is a miracle. The greatest of all miracles is to be alive, and when you breathe in, you touch that miracle. Therefore, your breathing can be a celebration of life. An in-breath may take three, four, five seconds, it depends. That’s time to be alive, time to enjoy your breath. You don’t have to interfere with your breathing. If your in-breath is short, allow it to be short. If your out-breath is long, let it to be long. Don’t try to force it. The practice is simple recognition of the in-breath and the out-breath. That is good enough. It will have a powerful effect.

This meditation instruction excerpted from the Shambhala Sun website. http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=3490

Acupuncture: Another Option When Facing Depression

A recent study in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry suggests that acupuncture, as a stand-alone therapy, may be quite effective for mild to moderate depression. This particular report was a compilation of several different studies looking at the effectiveness of acupuncture at relieving the symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Our practitioner, Catherine Travis, L.Ac. was part of the University of Arizona 's National Institute of Health's funded study "Acupuncture and the Treatment of Depression " and is quite familiar with the research on this subject.

Read the complete article.. http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120903/entlife/709039967/

Q. I have had recurrent shoulder pain for 2 years. I am a tennis player and at times I am unable to play due to the pain. Can acupuncture help me?

A. Yes. The shoulder’s muscles, tendons and ligaments are prone to a variety of repetitive stress, trauma and degenerative problems. Pain and restricted range of motion are the most common symptoms. There is now evidence that shows acupuncture treats pain. Dr. Bruce Pomerantz, a neurophysicist, holds the theory that acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s own natural painkiller. For treating shoulder pain, we give a series of acupuncture treatments that work together to build the release of these endorphins. Along with the acupuncture, we often include Chinese medical massage for tendinitis; cupping for myofascial release, and needling trigger/motor points.

Our goal is to find the shortest route to your full recovery.

Acupuncture and Sports

Does acupuncture have a place in the world of sports & major athletes?  It certainly does.  It plays a bigger role in the long term health and performance of athletes than most people would guess.  Any sports fan knows that major athletes need to find ways to improve their performance and gain an edge over their competition.  Acupuncture is helping out in both aspects. According to an article written by Jeanne Rose, there are three main health benefits an athlete can gain from receiving acupuncture treatments.  These are relieving muscle and joint pain, easing stress or anxiety and improving circulation which promotes healing.  The need for pain relief for athletes is obviously one that needs to be addressed regularly.  Injuries are common and acupuncture not only helps to relieve  pain associated with these injuries, but can also relieve pain from overall feelings of achiness or stiffness in the muscles and joints.

Acupuncture oxygenates tissues, calms the nervous system, stimulates hormone production, and decreases inflammation.  It also stimulates the body’s innate healing response, making it a perfect treatment for athletes hoping to improve performance or get back into the game after an injury.

Several well know athletes are believers in the benefits of acupuncture.  Superstar Charles Barkley has been using acupuncture since the early nineties.  Some of our own Arizona Suns players including Kevin Johnson and Steve Nash have been known to get acupuncture treatments.  Professional golfer, Fred Couples uses acupuncture to keep his swing in shape.  There is even an official acupuncturist for the NFL who treats 40 players on various teams including the Jets, Giants, Steelers, Bengals and Dolphins.

From Golfers Elbow to muscle strains, acupuncture has become a vital tool in maintaining health and healing the wear and tear that competitive sports can put on the body.  Check out the link below to find out more about how ilumina can treat your sports injuries and pain.

http://www.iluminahealing.com/sports_injuries.php

Written by: Heather Scheuring

Sources:

Meet the NFL’s (Very, Very Brave) Acupuncturist. Patricia Pilot. (2010, November 30). Retrieved from http://espn.go.com/blog/sportscenter/post/_/id/94596/meet-the-nfls-very-very-brave-acupuncturist

Acupuncture for Athletes. Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM.  Retrieved from https://www.acufinder.com/Acupuncture+Information/Detail/Acupuncture+for+Athletes

Acupuncture for Athletes. Tamara Moffett.  (2011, April 20).  Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/424694-acupuncture-for-athletes/

Three Health Benefits an Athlete Can Gain from Acupuncture. Jeanne Rose.  (2012, January 31).  Retrieved from http://sports.yahoo.com/top/news?slug=ycn-10907377

Athletes Do it Better With Acupuncture. Jennifer Dubowsky.  (2011, April).  Retrieved from http://www.tree.com/health/blog-blog/archive-2011-04-11-athlete-s-do-it-better-with-acupuncture.aspx

Acupuncture for Athletes

All athletes and coaches are involved in a constant search for ways to improve performance and gain a competitive edge over their rivals. Many are finding that acupuncture can often provide that edge. By following the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), an acupuncture treatment can strengthen body function and restore internal harmony and balance. Professional sports teams and top athletes regularly have an acupuncturist on staff to treat injuries and to keep them performing at their peak.

Some of the best Olympic athletes are incorporating acupuncture into their wellness programs. China's most popular sportsman, the 7 foot 6 inch China basketball center, Yao Ming, used acupuncture and Oriental medicine to help him recover after undergoing surgery on his ankle in April, 2007.

Chinese swimmer, Wang Qun, was photographed doing some last minute training in Beijing with round marks on her back from an acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine treatment. The marks on the swimmers back were caused by cupping. Cupping is a technique in which a glass cup or bamboo jar is suctioned onto the body. It is used to relieve muscle pain, especially back pain from stiffness or injury; and to clear congestion in the chest, which can occur with common colds and influenza.

Studies on Acupuncture to Enhance Athletic Performance

Studies have shown that acupuncture has measurable effects on the flow of blood to certain areas of the body, which could in turn boost athletic performance. One such study conducted at the Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine involved athletes running 5,000 meters, and then sitting for acupuncture treatments before they had a chance to catch their breath. The heart rates of the athletes who received the treatments recovered more quickly than those in the control group.

Another study published in the American Journal of Acupuncture measured the effects of acupuncture on anaerobic threshold and work capacity during exercise in healthy young males. Researchers found that individuals in the acupuncture treatment group had higher maximal exercise capacity and were able to perform higher workloads at the onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA) than individuals in the placebo group. The individuals that received acupuncture also had lower heart rates.

A recent study published in the January, 2008 issue of the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine examined the effects of acupuncture on cyclists. Twenty young (between 18 and 30 years of age) male cyclists underwent three tests per week, riding a stationary bike for 20 kilometers as fast as possible. The volunteers were divided into three groups that either received acupuncture, sham acupuncture or no acupuncture. Acupuncture points were chosen on the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine and administered immediately before cycling. Sham acupuncture was shallow needling of known acupoints. Not only did the study show that the group that received acupuncture had a higher RPE scores compared to the other tests. The men receiving the real acupuncture treatments completed their cycling tests at a higher acceleration than the others.

Acupuncture is well known for its effectiveness in reducing most types of pain, including sports-related injuries.

Acupuncture can be used to help decrease swelling, spasms and inflammation. Additionally, it can be used to control pain, increase range of motion and help promote healing. Because of its broad range of applications, acupuncture can be used during any of the phases of injury. The focus is not only to treat the injury but also to treat any underlying conditions that may predispose an individual to injuries. This is especially important when treating chronic or recurrent injuries that interfere with life activities or athletic performance.

Injuries occurring from sports are mostly due to trauma or overuse syndromes involving the musculoskeletal system and its soft tissues. Trauma to these soft tissues, including ligaments, tendons and muscles are generally the result from falls, blows, sprains/strains, collisions, compressions crushing and disruptions of the healing processes due to inflammation.

Some Commonly Treated Sports Injuries:

  • Muscle Pull
  • Neck Pain
  • Shoulder Impingement
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Lower Back Strain
  • Groin Pull
  • Hamstring Strain
  • Runner's Knee
  • Shin Splints
  • Ankle Sprain
  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Arch Pain

By: Diane Joswick L.Ac., MSOM for Acufinder