A diagnosis of unexplained Infertility can be an emotional rollercoaster. Fear, Uncertainty, anger, grief and helplessness can be some of the emotions women might feel. From a Chinese Medicine perspective, these emotions can absolutely influence the flow of qi, general energy levels, menstrual cycles and hinder the fertility journey further.
In Chinese Medicine, the organs said to be affected most by stress is the Liver, Kidneys and Heart. The Heart is said to “house the Shen” or Spirit.
Here’s some definitions of Heart-Shen to help give you a better understanding – as this is a Chinese language term, its often not simply defined in one sentence!
||And Therefore influences…
||your Thoughts & Memories, mental faculties
|Mental Health & Vitality
||your Clarity of mind
||your Sleep/Wake cycles
||Our relationships around us
In fertility Acupuncture, the Heart-Shen is very important:
- It controls and distributes blood
- Induces downward flow of menses
- It relates to sleep quality
- Can loosely be associated with the Hypothalamus/ Pituitary axis and is affected by Stress
Stress & The Hypothalamus.
The Hypothalamus receives signals from the central nervous system, amygdala (emotional response), Testes and Ovaries. It’s like the control centre for hormones – the ovaries and Testes take their instructions from the Hypothalamus in the Brain. So if Stress impacts the Nervous system and Brain, It impacts the hormones and can affect fertility rates- its a vicious cycle. Therapies like Acupuncture can help break the cycle of stress by managing it and nourishing the Heart-Shen energy.
And when Stress is enough that The Heart-Shen is not Happy:
- Emotional strain shuts people down (emotional walls, grief in private, lack of joy)
- Irregular ovulation & menstruation
- Which is a big problem when you’re trying to fall pregnant.
A healthy Heart = A healthy mind
|Aspect of You
||When its Healthy
||When its Unhealthy
||Empty eyes, glazed, vacant expression
||“Healthy, harmonious spiritedness”
||Excessive or muddled
||Breadth & depth of mind
||Mental cloudiness, poor concentration & focus, forgetfulness, foggy head,
||Self awareness & aware of things outside of themselves
||Unaware, denial, oblivious
||Emotional response and recovery
||Little or no emotional response or overreaction with no recovery
|Shen Power /Strength
||Physical & mental strength and adequate rest at night
||Mentally drained, Depression – sluggish or weak shen, Manic – overactive, requires less sleep and over animated
||Sound sleep quality and quantity
||Disrupted Sleep, Dream disturbed Sleep, Nightmares
Here’s 7 things you can do to Nourish your Heart Qi:
- Get out in nature – hiking, swimming, walking, cycling
- Ground yourself – meditation, tai chi, yoga (Dru Yoga is specific for Heart energy, but all Yoga styles are beneficial)
- Connect with real people – spend one on one time with people that make you feel GOOD or energised. Social Media does not count!
- Laugh – watch funny movies with friends, go do something fun that makes you giggle or belly laugh
- Nurture yourself – good food, pampering (but this doesn’t have to be outward focused or about your appearance) Natural Therapy treatments such as Acupuncture, Massage or Kinesiology work a treat here!
- Creativity – do something creative, that excites you or energises you.
- Anything else that makes you feel GOOD – cuddle puppies, cuddle babies (if that works for you), random acts of kindness.
It’s healthy to express and unhealthy to repress. Who is part of your support network? If you’re not sure where to turn to air out your thoughts and feelings anonymously and you’re feeling really down, consider Beyond Blue or Lifeline. If you think you’re ok but still a bit in the dark about who to talk to, try this FREE Cheat Sheet on Figuring out Your Support Network. Download it now!