Transfer Day Acupuncture helps to increase chance of pregnancy by 10%

Blog 10% Increase.png


Nearly 1.6% of all infants born in the United States every year are born using Assisted Reproductive Technology. Reproductive Endocrinologists are persistently looking for ways to increase couple’s success for pregnancy. Recently a two-year study was done in the Arizona Valley to determine the success of using acupuncture day of transfer. The total sample size was 396 patients with the minimum age of 23yo and the maximum age of 45yo, and an average age of 35yo. Those who did receive acupuncture before and after transfer improved their chances of pregnancy by 10%; compared to the group that didn’t receive acupuncture.

According to Manca di Villahermosa et al “failure of embryo implantation is considered the biggest challenge of reproductive medicine”.

IVF is a stressful process to the body and finding ways to relax and prepare the body for implantation are crucial. Acupuncture increases the blood flow to the uterus, increases endometrial-lining development, decreases spasms, and calms the patient. Many studies continually support the data that when ART is combined with Chinese Medicine the pregnancy rates are higher. Acupuncture not only improves the pregnancy rates, but also helps ease the anxiety of the patients.  Wherever you are in your fertility journey acupuncture will be helpful, if you are thinking about onsite acupuncture day of transfers, we will go to most doctors in the valley to offer our services.

By Charlene Hagner M.Ac., Dipl. OM. L.Ac.


Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy

Pregnancy symptoms differ from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy; however, one of the most significant pregnancy symptoms is a delayed or missed period. Understanding the signs and symptoms of pregnancy is important because each symptom may be related to something other than pregnancy. You may experience signs or symptoms of pregnancy within a week of conception. However, it is possible you may not experience any symptoms for a few weeks.

Acupuncture in Pregnancy

Acupuncture and its parent medical system, Traditional Chinese Medicine, have a long and rich history in the treatment of women during pregnancy. There is explanation of the treatment of infertility with herbs as early as the Warring States Period (476-221 BC). Many early obstetrical texts have been lost but there is evidence that many existed before the Han dynasty (206 BC-221 AD) one being ‘Series of Herbs for Obstetrics’. Later during the Tang dynasty (618-907) the famous doctor Sun Si Miao wrote the ‘Thousand Golden Ducat Prescription’ which included three volumes dedicated to obstetrics and gynecology. More recently the integration of Western and Chinese medicine has been taking place since 1949 and many innovative treatments in obstetrics have been devised for example, the treatment of pain and nausea and vomiting with acupuncture, and the use of Chinese herbs for postpartum depression. Years of working as a Chinese medicine doctor has proved to me that acupuncture can not only promote the health of the mother and baby, but can effectively treat most of pregnancy aliments as well. Common disorders of pregnancy that we see at ilumina are: nausea & vomiting, fatigue, constipation, digestive disorders, insomnia, anxiety, depression, back pain, rib pain, edema, carpel tunnel syndrome, allergies, sinusitis, elevated blood pressure, gestational diabetes, varicose veins, headaches and migraines.

Sometimes I have patients ask if acupuncture is safe during pregnancy. When performed by a properly educated and experienced Chinese medicine doctor, I strongly believe that it is one of the safest and most effective medical treatments to utilize during pregnancy.

The Lecture Series Returns July 9

Many of you may have been fans of the monthly lecture series here at ilumina.  Our break of information is over and we are now ready to meet and share. July 9, at 6:00 pm

Presenter: Dana Price DOM, L.Ac. FABORM

Topic: Infertility

Please Sign up at 602-957-2602, or, Space is limited.

On the Second Monday of each month we will be presenting lectures based on specific topics of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  You will need to sign up to attend.  These lectures will be free and will be an amazing opportunity to learn from our healing professionals.

Safe Fish for Pregnancy

We often look to fish for great nutrients such as omega 3, vitamin B, and lean protein. However, some unhealthy contaminants can be found in fish as well. Mercury is a contaminant we’ve been hearing a lot about recently because it can affect brain development and the nervous system. Government studies show that one in every six pregnant women in the United States will give birth to a baby whose blood is contaminated with mercury levels above the federal safety standard.

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine stresses moderation in fish consumption for pregnant women and women who are trying to become pregnant, stating that no one should cut fish out of their diet altogether. With so many healthy nutrients that are essential for the growth and development of your baby, it’s important to be informed about the fish you are consuming.

Below is a helpful list provided by the Environmental Working Group ( for making your fish choices.

Avoid: bass (large mouth), gulf coast oysters, halibut, mackerel (king), marlin, pike, seabass, shark, swordfish, tilefish, tuna (canned), tuna steaks, walleye, white croaker

No more than one serving per month: blue mussel, channel catfish (wild)*, cod, eastern oyster, Great Lakes salmon, gulf coast blue crab, lake whitefish, mahi mahi, pollock

Lowest in mercury: blue crab (mid-Atlantic), croaker, fish sticks, flounder (summer), haddock, salmon (wild Pacific), shrimp**, trout (farmed)

* Farmed catfish have low mercury levels but may contain PCBs in amounts of concern for pregnant  a** Shrimp fishing and farming practices have raised serious environmental concerns.

Although there is no recent data available, studies from the 1970s show high concentrations of contaminants in:

  • Bluefish
  • Gontino
  • Lake trout
  • Orange roughy
  • Porgy
  • Rockfish
  • Snapper

The American Fertility Association also cautions women seeking to improve their fertility to “ease up on your fish intake.” Shark, swordfish, and mackerel typically contain high levels of mercury, which is associated with infertility, miscarriage, and birth defects. Eliminating ingested mercury from your system can take over a year.

Since fish contains protein and other essential nutrients, the association suggests that you “stick to two meals a week of low-mercury seafood like shrimp, salmon, and light tuna.”

For additional information about mercury levels in fish, visit the following web sites:

Body Burden: Why Natural is Best and Recipes for Homemade Belly Balm&Oil

Here is a repost from the blog of one of my favorite companies Healing Anthropology. Their baby care, facial care and body care products are delicious, nuturing and "clean".   We love them so much that we carry most of the line at ilumina and the ilumina team is already addicted. Body Burden: Why Natural is Best and Recipes for Homemade Belly Balm & OilNobody should be putting chemicals on their skin (and therefore in their bodies), but pregnant women need to be especially careful about avoiding chemicals. The sad truth is that newborns come into this world with an average of 300 chemicals already in there little systems. Scientists call this a body burden and they also now know that prenatal exposure to many chemicals leads to fertility problems later on in life for these babies. If we live in a modern society, unfortunately some of these chemicals are impossible to avoid, however, we do have a choice about what we bring into our home, and what we put on and into our bodies. It is our responsibility to do our best at giving our children a healthy and happy life. The good news is that there are so many options for chemical free products and food that this responsibility is getting easier and easier.In conjunction with our Calendula Salve I have been using a homemade cocoa butter belly balm on my growing tummy for the past few months. Not only is it incredibly easy to make and 100% natural, but it smells like chocolate!! I have included this recipe below along with one for a simpler belly oil. You can also watch me make it with additional tips and directions here: Belly Balm If you are pregnant, try this massage oil to help prevent stretch marks. The lavender essential oil also acts as a muscle relaxant.Ingredients4 400-International Unit vitamin E capsules2 ounces almond oil2 ounces any light vegetable½ ounce cocoa butter (available in drugstores)15 drops lavender essential oil (optional)DirectionsPop open the vitamin E capsules and squirt contents into almond oil. Heat mixture in a saucepan over low heat. Add cocoa butter. After cocoa butter melts, remove mixture from heat and let cool. Add essential oil and stir to blend. Massage the oil on your belly— or get someone to do it for you—at least once a day, or as often as you like.Pregnancy Belly OilIngredients:2 ounces of basic oil (you can choose from sesame, almond, sunflower, jojoba)2 ounces of organic oil (you can choose from Wheatgerm, Hazelnut or Macadamia Nut but if you can’t find any of these then just use any of the basic oils)24 drops of Organic Lavender Oil OR 12 drops Mandarin oil and 10 drops Neroli oilDirections:Measure out a total of 4 ounces of oil into a clean jar. Then add a total of 24 drops of essential oil (the essential oil jars come with a built in dropper). Stir well and you’re done.How To UseYou can begin in the first or second trimester, whenever your abdomen starts to “grow”. With gentle circular movements apply balm or oil to the abdomen twice a day. You can also use these blends on your thighs, sides and anywhere else your skin is stretching. The important thing is to start using it before the stretch marks appear. You should continue to use it until about 1 month after the birth as rapid decrease in weight can leave stretch marks as well.Important if this is the first time you are massaging either the oil or balm on your body, do a patch test first to make sure you don’t have any allergies to the ingredients. Just rub a small amount of the finished blend on the inside of your elbow and wait 24 hours. If there’s no rash or reaction, you’re good to go.

Natural Skincare at ilumina

Now FeaturingHEALING ANTHROPOLOGY: NATURAL SKIN CARE LINEWe are proud to announce the newest addition to our retail line here at ilumina.  Healing Anthropology is now exclusively available at our location.  This all natural skin care line offers wonderfully rich, effective products completely free of any toxins or chemical preservative.All Healing Anthropology products are blended in small batches by a clinical herbalist and ethnobotantist.  The use of solely natural and organic ingredients such as cold-pressed essential oils, healing herbal extracts and reparative antioxidants makes the products as luxurious as they are safe.  The Rejuvenating face care line combines anti-aging ingredients that have been used for thousands of years with modern natural nutriceuticals.  The Nourishing Body Cream and Soothing Calendula Salve contain wonderfully emollient ingredients and essential oils that heal even the driest, most damaged skin and are excellent for eczema and psoriasis.  The Nurturing Baby Line is especially delicate and calming with organic calendula, lavender and chamomile.The product line will be available at the clinic beginning October 20, 2010.  Look for the November 1, 2010 Newsletter for more in depth details on this exciting new line.

Labor of Love

Tune in to your body, connect with community, and embrace the birth you're given with prenatal yoga.By Catherine Guthrie (as appeared in Yoga Journal)After the birth of her first child, Colleen Millen, 35, knew that she would approach childbirth differently if given another chance. Then a Forrest Yoga teacher in Chicago, Millen stuck to her typical yoga routine throughout her pregnancy. She modified her practice as her belly blossomed, but she shrugged off the prenatal classes at her studio, assuming her years of practicing yoga had bestowed on her the tools for a trouble-free childbirth.But when the initial pangs of labor brought unrelenting nausea, Millen and her husband raced to the hospital, where her confidence unraveled. Nurses rushed to start intravenous fluids and hook up equipment to monitor the baby's heart rate. Millen was soon on her back, and as the contractions intensified, so did her feelings of helplessness. "I'd practiced yoga for years, but none of that was a comfort when the pain came," she says. After a long, difficult labor, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Jacob, but she still feels haunted by the lack of presence she felt during the experience.Three years later, while planning for baby number two, Millen dived into prenatal yoga. "I cultivated a strong prenatal practice so that when the time came, the movements and breath would kick in instinctually." And that's what happened. When her labor began, Millen focused her attention on a gazing point, relaxed her jaw (to encourage the pelvis to release), and harnessed the power of her breath to make the most of every contraction. "My preparation helped me surrender to the energy and move with it instead of fighting and struggling against it."After just 15 minutes of pushing, she and her husband welcomed their daughter, Samantha, into the world. But even if she'd had to face an arduous labor again, Millen believes that her prenatal practice would've helped. Not only did she feel more physically prepared the second time around, but she felt as though her mind and energy were more united throughout the entire birth experience.Prenatal yoga, the deliberate weaving together of yoga and childbirth preparation, opens the door for women to reclaim their physical, mental, and emotional power and receptivity during the birth process. "Somehow, as women, we think we will automatically know how to give birth," says Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, co--founder and director of Golden Bridge Yoga in Los Angeles, who has taught prenatal yoga for nearly 30 years. "But we are so detached from our instinctual selves that sometimes we need to be reminded of what we already know."For a growing number of women, that reminder is prenatal yoga. Expectant mothers in urban centers are flocking to yoga studios that have whimsical names such as Mamaste and Baby Om, while moms-to-be in smaller locales are finding a proliferation of prenatal classes at yoga studios, gyms, and birthing centers. What's the universal appeal? Prenatal yoga classes offer a place of refuge where women learn to connect with their chang-ing bodies, their babies, and each other. Asana prepares them physically for giving birth, but most women find that the awareness of body, mind, and breath that it teaches is what truly helps them when it's time to deliver. As Rachel Yellin, a prenatal yoga teacher in San Francisco, says, "Doing prenatal yoga doesn't mean you'll have the 'perfect' birth; it means you'll be able to accept the perfection of the birth you're given, regardless of whether it goes according to your plan."

Creating Connection

The community-oriented approach of prenatal yoga took Stephanie Snyder, 35, by surprise. A Vinyasa Yoga teacher in San Francisco, she was accustomed to using her practice as a means to feel connected to others. But the true meaning of oneness didn't fully resonate until she joined her first prenatal class. "When I practice yoga in the company of pregnant women, not only do I feel connected to them, but I feel connected to every woman who has ever been pregnant and any woman who will ever give birth," she says. "That primal connection is empowering, and I know it will help me through the labor and delivery."Cultivating that bond is a big part of most prenatal classes. Like many of her counterparts, Deb Flashenberg, founder and director of the Prenatal Yoga Center in New York City, encourages the women in her classes to get to know one another. She starts each class by asking students to introduce themselves, give their due date, and share any pregnancy-related aches and pains. The check-in is both an icebreaker and a means of lessening isolation. "I can see the relief register on women's faces when they realize they aren't the only ones with a particular complaint," Flashenberg says. "The sharing of information among new mothers is a wonderful perk of prenatal yoga."Snyder, pregnant at press time with her first child, often found that her jitters were best soothed by those women in her class who were pregnant for the second or third time. Judith Hanson Lasater, president of the California Yoga Teachers' Association and author of Yoga for Pregnancy: What Every Mom-to-Be Needs to Know, says that prenatal classes provide the space for women to pass down the legacy and wisdom of childbirth. "The way we live now, pregnant women aren't around their family and friends as much." The result? As Lasater explains, "There is very little tribal support anymore for pregnant women." Prenatal yoga can be the answer. Flashenberg notes that many of her students form bonds that last long after they leave the classroom. Connections blossom into friendships, moms' groups form, and their children often become friends. What manifests is a network of support that grows richer as their children grow.

Not Just for Newbies

The community-based atmosphere makes prenatal yoga a magnet for newbies, but even experienced students may find themselves stretching in new directions. Snyder, for instance, has practiced two to three hours of Vinyasa Yoga daily for the past 12 years. Needless to say, she knows her way around a mat, yet she's discovered the value of bringing a beginner's mind to her prenatal yoga class. For the first time, she's actively mellowing out her practice and shifting her focus away from rigorous vinyasa and toward the union of being one with her baby. "It's a great way to literally start making space in your life and in your practice for your baby," she says. "And I get to practice asana that is geared toward the special sensations and vibrations that come with pregnancy." She especially enjoys Savasana (Corpse Pose) at the end of class, when the teacher offers guided visualizations, prompting the women to envision their babies surrounded by love and warmth. "Prenatal yoga is a special bonding time for me and my child in a way that's different from my regular asana practice," Snyder says.For others, the switch from practicing solo to having a baby on board can be a little bumpier. Releasing the ego can be a challenge for intermediate and advanced practitioners, Flashenberg says. Students may find it hard to accept how pregnancy changes their bodies and how their practice must shift. Some women can continue to practice fairly vigorously. But certain poses should be dialed back or phased out during pregnancy, particularly unsupported inversions, deep twists, prone backbends like Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) and Salabhasana (Locust Pose), and strenuous backbends. That means forgoing Sun Salutations with Cobra or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog) and instead stepping back to simple lunges. Also, certain pranayama techniques should be avoided, such as Kapalabhati Pranayama (Skull Shining Breath) and anything in which you hold the breath, which is called Kumbhaka Pranayama (breath retention).Attending classes can help you reconsider the temptation to overdo. "Prenatal yoga reminds you it's not just your body," Flashenberg says. "You're sharing it now, which means it's not the time to push yourself." She also notes that during pregnancy, the ligaments in your pelvic area and lower back loosen due to an increase in the hormone relaxin, which is thought to help widen the pelvis and facilitate labor. So it's especially important to avoid overstretching, or you could wind up injured for lack of the usual painful warning signs telling you to stop.That's not to say prenatal yoga is for wimps. You won't master any new Handstand variations and you should avoid jump-throughs, but the level of intensity might surprise you. Classes focus on uncovering hidden sources of stamina, nurturing new ones, and maximizing hip flexibility. To that end, the most strenuous portion of the class is typically the standing segment, during which you can expect to work your edge by holding poses for a minute or longer—the length of an average contraction.Prenatal teachers knowingly seed their classes with opportunities for students to safely explore and expand their threshold for discomfort. When Amy Zurowski, 32, a prenatal yoga teacher who lives in McMinnville, Oregon, takes her students into Warrior II, for example, she guides them through an imaginary labor. As they hold steady in the pose, thighs working overtime, they imagine themselves breathing through a contraction. Zurowski encourages them to stay present and accept the discomfort by gently reminding them that women have been birthing babies for hundreds of thousands of years. "As you ease out of your pose, perhaps with tired quads, you are more confident of your innate abilities as a woman and as a mother-to-be," she says.Otherwise, classes typically start with gentle warm-ups, graduate to standing and some basic balancing poses, then move to the floor for seated poses. Savasana may be as long as 15 to 20 minutes, giving students time to set up props and sink into deep relaxation. After the first trimester, lying on the back for long periods of time is not recommended since it can slow blood flow to the baby, so blankets and bolsters are used to support students as they lie on their left side to rest.

Don't Forget to Breathe

Prenatal yoga conditions the mind even more than the body. "The primary benefit of prenatal yoga is breath awareness," Yellin says. "If you can use the breath as an anchor, it will draw your attention inward and downward, exactly the direction you want your baby to go."Yellin gently reminds her students that the breath should always be their primary focus; the physical sensations arising from the asana are secondary. In this way, she explains, they learn to train their focus on the breath during labor and not on the contraction: "Using the breath as an anchor keeps a woman grounded, no matter how overwhelming the sensations might be."Monica Paredes, a Kripalu Yoga teacher in Austin, Texas, relied on her breath during the birth of her son, Gabriel. On the taxi ride to the hospital, she took comfort in the vibration of chanting Om. Later, as her labor progressed, she relied on the Ujjayi Pranayama (Victorious Breath) to steady her resolve. Looking back, she says, "My breath and intention were focused on trust and surrender. I dropped into my breath and let everything else go."As a Kundalini teacher, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa encourages her prenatal students to return to the breath as a touchstone during the intensity of labor and childbirth. She uses the mantra Sat nam with the breath. Loosely translated, it means "Truth is my identity." Say "sat" on the inhalation and "nam" on the exhalation. The mantra can quell anxiety during pregnancy and childbirth. Gurmukh says, "Added to the breath during pregnancy, it can help you realize that where there is truth, there is no fear, and where there is no fear, there is only love."

Own Your Birth

The benefits of prenatal yoga can extend well beyond the big moment. Yoga's time-honored teachings of acceptance and surrender can gently nudge practitioners past a birth that doesn't go according to plan. Flashenberg likes to remind her prenatal students that birth is like everything else in life: You don't always get to choose your circumstances, but you can choose how you react to them.The acceptance she honed in her prenatal yoga class helped Jennifer Coffin, 36, a yoga teacher in Knoxville, Tennessee, come to terms with the birth of her son, Max. She'd set her sights on having a natural birth, but Max had other ideas. Toward the end of her last trimester, an ultrasound revealed the baby was about to enter the world feet first, a breech position often considered too dangerous for vaginal delivery. First, Coffin threw herself into a "fix it" mode, trying to goad him into flipping. She tried therapies from traditional Chinese medicine and practiced gentle inversions. But when he refused to budge, she acquiesced to a cesarean section. "I had to accept the fact that it was the safest option for me and my baby," she says. She credits her prenatal yoga training with helping her let go of the disappointment. "I would have fallen apart if it weren't for the mental and emotional strength I had gained from my yoga practice," she says.In the end, childbirth, like parenting, comes down to trusting your intuition, feeling what's right, and not relying on what others think, Lasater says. "That's what the practice of yoga is all about...being fully, deeply, richly, and radically present with your own self."

Catherine Guthrie is a freelance writer who lives and teaches yoga in Bloomington, Indiana.

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean is a Safe Option

New ACOG Guidelines: Vaginal Birth After Cesarean is a Safe OptionWashington, DC - The Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), a professional midwifery organization since 1982, commends the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) for their updated practice guidelines on Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) released July 21, 2010. ACOG's recent guidelines are less restrictive than previous ones. The new guidelines state that VBAC is a "safe and appropriate choice" for most women who have had a prior cesarean delivery, including some women who have had two previous low-transverse cesarean incisions, women carrying twins, and women with an unknown type of uterine scar.There has been a dramatic increase in cesarean delivery in the United States (from 5% in 1970 to nearly 32% in 2009) and a rapid decrease of VBACs (from 28% in 1996 followed by a decline to 8% in 2006). Lack of VBAC availability in U.S. hospitals due to practitioner and institutional restrictions, which diminished women's choices in childbirth, is often cited as the reason for the conspicuous decrease in VBACs. In light of the VBAC restrictions that have become commonplace in most U.S. hospitals, it is noteworthy that ACOG's new guidelines emphasize a woman's right to self-determination. The new ACOG guidelines state that even if a hospital does not offer a trial of labor after cesarean (TOLAC), a woman cannot be forced to have a cesarean nor can she be denied care if she refuses a repeat cesarean. In addition, previous ACOG guidelines on VBAC stated that anesthesia and surgery must be "immediately available" for an institution to offer VBAC; the new guidelines have relaxed this restriction.ACOG has seriously considered recommendations from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Development Meeting on vaginal birth after cesarean held in Washington DC in March 2010. Based on the scientific evidence, the NIH expert panel affirmed that risks in VBACs are low, similar to risks of other laboring women, and repeat cesareans expose mothers and infants to serious problems both in the short and long terms. The NIH expert panel concluded that in the absence of a compelling medical reason, most women should be offered a trial of labor after cesarean. The NIH expert panel further recommended that all women be given unbiased educational information during their pregnancies with which to make decisions regarding VBAC in partnership with their healthcare providers. Women should also be offered full informed consent and refusal during their labors."While we are pleased that ACOG has issued less restrictive VBAC guidelines and affirmed a woman's autonomy in her childbirth experience, it is still up to women to take charge of their lives, educate themselves about childbirth practices, and put pressure on their healthcare practitioners to provide the safest birth options for their babies and themselves," says Geradine Simkins, President and Interim Executive Director of the Midwives Alliance. The Midwives Alliance takes the position that the best interests of most mothers and infants are served when women are given the opportunity to birth under their own power and in their own way with the intention of avoiding primary cesarean deliveries and other unnecessary interventions. An impressive body of research literature shows that the midwifery model of care results in less intervention in the birth process and safe and satisfying outcomes for mothers and babies. In addition, evidence shows that birth in a woman's home with a trained midwife, or in a freestanding birth center, results in decreased cesarean sections and other obstetrical interventions. "We want women to have all the choices they need to have healthy pregnancies and give birth safely," say Simkins, "and we are pleased that ACOG's new guidelines on VBAC will add another choice to the menu of maternity care options."For more information on the Midwives Alliance visit For information on practitioner and childbirth options visit Mothers Naturally at

Upcoming Events

Please register early for these special events early as space is limited. (ilumina Healing Sanctuary: 602-957-2602) Unless listed, all special events are complimentary but donations are accepted and will take place at ilumina Healing Sanctuary. All donations received will be used to fund microloans for women starting businesses in developing countries through Kiva

Monday, June 8th 6:00pm-7:00pmIntroduction to Polarity Therapy with Marion Light

All living things are intricate arrangements of energy. Your physical body, thoughts, and feelings are all patterns of energy. When your energy fields are aligned in smooth-patterned states, their natural expression is health and happiness. However, when the patterns of your energy fields become chaotic or distorted by stressful life experiences, it can have a negative impact on your well-being. Polarity therapy works to restore the intregity and flow of your energy patterns using touch, toning, breathing and communication techniques. A comprehensive system of Eastern and Western modalities, polarity therapyworks to bring your energy field back into thier natural state of alignment.

Come for an evening with Marion Light and learn about the value of having a balanced energy system and how to connect to your own energy and imbalances. You will learn how to listen to your own body's messages and where you might be blocked in your life, on the physical, mental/emotional, financial or spiritual levels.

About Marion Light

Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Marion Light has lived in the United States for 20 years. She has three adult children, a son, Roscoe and twin daughters, Kelsey and Megan.

As a young adult, Marion was a top athlete, selected to play for the national field hockey team. She earned her bachelors degree, with English and Physical Education as a double Major, and received her teaching credentials in South Africa, where she worked as an educator for five years. After moving to the United States, Marion taught physically and mentally challenged children for five years in Los Angeles while earning a Masters Degree in Education at Cal State.

It was after moving to Phoenix that Marion's own health issues compelled her to explore holistic healthcare and alternative therapies. She was drawn to pursue a life in the healing arts, and from that time on, she has felt her life has been divinely guided. She began to follow her intuition and studied energy medicine, including Master level training in polarity, cranial sacral and massage. She also began teaching classes in cranial sacral unwinding, polarity therapy and communications.

Marion feels her practice is the fulfilling of her life's purpose. For over 10 years, she has successfully helped men, women and children find deep relief from depression and anxiety, physical pain, illness, infertility, grief, childhood and sexual abuse, attention deficit disorder and many other issues. She is honored to guide individuals on a journey of self discovery, helping them achieve a greater state of well-being.

ilumina Healing Sanctuary, located in Scottsdale, is a unique clinic that combines acupuncture, Traditional Chinese medicine, emotional wellness, general and fertility massage, and whole food nutrition. We are the only clinic in Arizona with board certified practitioners of Oriental Reproductive Medicine. Our highly trained and experiences specialists provide therapies that support the body, mind and spirit through all phases of a women’s life.ilumina Healing Sanctuary7520 E. Camelback RoadScottsdale, Arizona 85251(602)957-2602

Acupuncture for Infertility on Fox News!

Acupuncture: A Cure for Infertility?Tuesday , April 26, 2005By Catherine Donaldson-EvansNEW YORK —At 36, Lucy Appert has suffered through two miscarriages, a stillbirth at 8 1/2 months and, because of a rare pregnancy-related liver dysfunction, intensive illness and surgery.Yet after enduring five painful years of trying to have their own baby, Appert and her husband Edward finally saw their dream come true last month when their son Henry was born — premature, but healthy.For all the fertility treatments, technologies and prenatal care available to women today, Appert credits the success of her pregnancy to an ancient Chinese secret."I recommend acupuncture (search) to everyone," Appert said. "It does work. I did everything possible for years to have a baby. I almost lost hope."The millennias-old Asian medical practice — in which the acupuncturist places tiny needles in various pressure points, or "Qi" (Chee), in the body to improve circulation and reduce stress — has been around in the United States for years as an "alternative" treatment for numerous ailments.But recently, acupuncture has been picking up steam as a possible remedy for female infertility, with a handful of American and European studies showing that it enhances the success rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF) (search).“Do I believe in it? Absolutely,” said Dr. Paul C. Magarelli, an infertility doctor at the Reproductive Medicine & Fertility Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and co-author of an ongoing study into the use of acupuncture with IVF with Dr. Diane K. Cridennda. Cridennda is a licensed acupuncturist with a master's degree in Oriental medicine from the International Institute of Chinese Medicine (search) who owns East Winds Acupuncture, also in Colorado Springs.Magarelli said he joined the study at the urging of Cridennda, who had approached him about using acupuncture with IVF based on her knowledge of its history as an Eastern fertility treatment. A skeptic at first, Magarelli said he dismissed the idea for a while before signing on."I thought, this is rubbish — it can't be true," Magarelli said. "But no matter how I look at this data, I see an improvement. ... I'm pretty much a convert."In general, studies seem to indicate that doing acupuncture about 30 minutes before and after in vitro fertilization can increase the chance that the embryo will be implanted successfully and reduce the chance of miscarriage.There are also indications that the effectiveness of the IVF drugs and procedure may improve if acupuncture is done about once a week in the month or two leading up to the start of IVF and then continued regularly — once or twice a week — during the whole cycle.And, as in Appert's case, there is anecdotal evidence that acupuncture can help with other fertility and pregnancy problems. Appert didn't need IVF to conceive, but she was told she probably couldn't carry a healthy baby to term because of her liver disorder.But some doctors caution that there is no "magic pill" for fertility, pregnancy and IVF troubles — whether it's acupuncture or something else."The jury is still out on that," said Dr. Eric Surrey, president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) (search), who has a practice at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. "I don't think we have good data to show that acupuncture before and after the embryo transfer is truly beneficial."And they warn against making too much of claims that acupuncture can help with having babies."It's impossible to say at this point," said Dr. Robert Schenken, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) (search), who has a practice at the University of Texas Health Science Center. "In the absence of any controlled data, I don't think we can come to a firm conclusion."Promising ResearchAcupuncture seems to help some women because it improves circulation to the ovaries (search) — which makes for healthier eggs — and to the uterus (search), which increases the chances that the lining will be strong enough to hold those eggs to full-term."Acupuncture provides better circulation and better blood flow to the womb," said Dr. Raymond Chang, director of New York's Meridian Medical Group, who has been incorporating acupuncture into fertility treatments for the past decade. "It will give a better chance for the eggs to be nourished and therefore carried."There's also the fact that acupuncture can be a stress-reliever during an emotional time."Trying to get pregnant is incredibly stressful," said Victoria Koos, the acupuncturist who treated Appert at Yin and Tonic Acupuncture in New York. "They're crossing their fingers. The longer they're trying to get pregnant, the worse it gets ... Part of [acupuncture's success] is simply relaxation. When the body is relaxed, all systems function better."The Colorado study Magarelli and Cridennda presented at a conference this fall is one of a series the pair have done with acupuncture and in vitro.That one looked at 114 patients who had a good chance of IVF being effective, some who did acupuncture and some who didn’t. It found, among other things, that there were fewer miscarriages, more pregnancies and a 7 percent higher birth rate among those who got acupuncture treatment over those who didn’t, according to Magarelli.It piggybacked off other research the team did on 147 “poor responders” to IVF, which found that the pregnancy rate was 40 percent, with 11 percent more babies born, among those who did acupuncture with in vitro fertilization compared to those who didn’t.In March, Magarelli and Cridennda released findings in Italy involving patients with an average prognosis for IVF success. Those yielded clear numbers that the pregnancy rate increased with acupuncture by 24 percent, according to Magarelli.“What got us was that now we were seeing a firm trend toward getting more people pregnant,” he said.The Colorado research seems to support some findings of two earlier studies, one in Germany by lead researcher Dr. Wolfgang E. Paulus — published in ASRM's “Fertility and Sterility” (search) in April 2002 — and one in Sweden by lead researcher Elisabet Stener-Victorin in the 1990s.Of course, even those who believe in acupuncture concede that while the existing studies have yielded good information, there still isn't sufficient evidence, or a broad enough sample of patients tested, to call acupuncture a proven remedy."We are convinced, but scientifically you need proof — or so-called proof," Chang said. "There is a whole set of proof from lab experiments and animal studies to human studies, but it's very difficult to do human studies."Schenken noted that even though there might be one set of data showing positive results, "it really needs to be corroborated, preferably with several different studies and different patient populations." For example, there can be bias when the entire study sample comes from the same clinic, or when patients know they're doing something different from usual.Schenken said he doesn't get asked about acupuncture often, but when patients do, "we don't recommend it, but we do not discourage it."Surrey takes a similar approach. In his opinion, the data "is not bad" on the theory that acupuncture can help when administered before IVF, but as far as acupuncture generally improving fertility or helping after the embryo transfer in IVF, "there really isn't a whole lot of data on that."But at the very least, "there is absolutely nothing to show that it's harmful if it's done with a trained and appropriately skilled acupuncturist," he said. It's a notion that nearly everyone in the medical field — whether they believe in needles and Qi or not — seems to agree upon.Some Eastern medicine-Western medicine rivalry may come into play with how to treat reproductive problems, but Chang said he sees more resistance with the use of Chinese herbs — which are ingested — than he does with acupuncture. Often, it's the in vitro specialists themselves who refer their patients to him for acupuncture after a couple of failed IVF attempts.As for the couples trying to bring a child into the world — particularly through a complicated, invasive procedure like IVF— anything that helps the process along is welcome.“IVF is so technical that patients feel like they’re being pushed and pulled … with acupuncture, they’re in a sense taking some control,” Magarelli said. "Acupuncture isn't a needle, it's an environment."Added Koos: "They're on these incredibly strong drugs that make the poor women crazy. They're running around like Catwoman. This is to help them stay sane while they're going through the process."The emotional cost of infertility comes with a hefty financial price tag as well — in vitro fertilization can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 a cycle and generally isn't covered by insurance; acupuncture ranges from about $30 to over $200 per treatment — Koos and Chang charge about $90 a pop — and certain health plans do cover at least a portion of it.Meanwhile, researchers and experts in the field are excited at what they're seeing in the studies. Chang said he's currently working with NYU Medical Center on a trial that looks at IVF with and without acupuncture.Appert, for her part, was at the end of her rope and felt she had nothing to lose. She started acupuncture with Koos about two months before she began trying to conceive — with needles in her toes and a couple of liver points — and continued with the treatments throughout the pregnancy."The first time I went, I was completely terrified. My husband went with me and held my hand," she said. "I could feel the muscles in my liver jump and an electric current going through my body. It was very strange but also felt right."She said being monitored by both her obstetrician and Koos helped reassure her about what was going on during her high-risk pregnancy."She would tell me things about how I was doing physically and then I would go to the doctor and he would tell me the same thing," remembers Appert, who works as a professor.When she got sick late in the pregnancy, both Koos and Appert's OB/GYN were able to detect when her liver went dangerously haywire and get her to the hospital for delivery six weeks early, before the problem harmed the fetus and caused another stillbirth.Regardless of the skeptics, Appert said she's relieved that she was finally able to have a nearly full-term baby of her own. At 4 pounds, 6 ounces, Henry has been in intensive care but otherwise is doing "fine.""It really was a miracle," the new mom gushed. "It's one of these weird things that Western medicine can't explain."ilumina Healing Sanctuary, located in Scottsdale, is a unique clinic that combines acupuncture, Traditional Chinese medicine, emotional wellness, general and fertility massage, and whole food nutrition. We are the only clinic in Arizona with board certified practitioners of Oriental Reproductive Medicine. Our highly trained and experiences specialists provide therapies that support the body, mind and spirit through all phases of a women's life. ilumina Healing Sanctuary7520 E. Camelback RoadScottsdale, Arizona 85251(602)957-2602