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Should we have acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine before we start trying to make a baby?

Before the trying to conceive it’s ideal to do a minimum 3 months of treatments. It’s important to realise all treatments are unique for the individuals. It’s helpful to share any sperm analysis or blood test results in your first consultation.

Why 3 months?
For men, a new crop of sperm develops every ninety days, therefore, three months is a perfect time to adjust ones lifestyle, diet, have acupuncture and incorporate (twice daily) Chinese herbal tea.

For women, similarly it’s also around three months for the follicles to turn into a mature egg and release. Three months is a good amount of time for the build up of the endometrium for strong implantation.

Why do you like to see both males and females for fertility?

We love to help couples become families. And we can increase the chance of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby if we have healthy sperm and healthy eggs. 3 months preparation work is worth it.

What happens when we get pregnant?

We support women during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. After that, we have another appointment after the 20 week scan. And then, we see them again at 30 weeks to begin labour preparation. That being said, some continue to come along for treatments because they love their acupuncture/herbs and pregnancy is quite a journey.

I’m scared of needles, do they hurt?
Firstly, please do not feel silly if you are scared – we understand. Nearly everyone is on their first visit. Acupuncture needles are much smaller than hypodermic needles that you most likely imagine. We use sterile, . We use filiform needles, which are solid, extremely fine, stainless steel needles. They are single use needles.

What will I feel?
Acupuncture needles are inserted into the body to stimulate a response from your body. A number of sensations can be experienced, some people describe it as tingling, heaviness, warmth, some people feel no sensation at all and some points are more sensitive than others. If there is any discomfort let me know, we want you to be able to have a nap whilst the needles are in.

How long do you leave the needles in for?
We leave needles in our patients for just under half an hour. A cycle of Qi is 28 minutes and 46 seconds. MRI studies show the brain responds well for about 28.8 minutes. During the treatment, most patients have a nap called an ‘acunap’. Acunaps are defined as the nap that you take during your acupuncture treatment, when you are neither fully awake or fully asleep, yet when you are finished you feel fully refreshed.

Why have you put needles into my hands and feet when I told you my back hurts or I’m having trouble falling asleep?
In our experience, we get the best results that last the longest when we practice distal needling acupuncture. To get effective results, we needle different depths, layers of images and apply various theories of channel relationships. Your body knows it has a stimulus and it reacts accordingly.

How many needles do you use?
One can sometimes be enough. In most cases, especially in cases involving poor sleep, digestion and stress we need to use more. Imagine trying to stop the flow of the Yarra river by placing one finger on the site.

What should I wear?
During treatment you keep your clothes stay on, as most points will be on your arms and legs. It’s advised to wear comfortable clothing. Loose fitting pants that can roll up over your knee are ideal.

Why do you want to look at my tongue?
Your tongue is the only muscle we can see from the outside. There is body map on the tongue. Chinese medicine practitioners can gather so much information about your overall body’s health by looking at the colour, the shape and the coat of the tongue.  .

Why do you want to feel my pulse?
Like the tongue, the pulse is also another tool we can use to get feedback from your body.

How often should I get acupuncture?
It depends on how you respond, the severity of the condition, how long you have had the symptoms and such. The response differs. In most cases, we would expect a slight shift by the first treatment and a bigger shift after 4-6 treatments. Momentum is the key,  it is ideal to have treatments close together.

Below is a suggested treatment plan for someone with an acute pain condition:

2 treatments first week
1 treatment second week
1 treatment in the following fortnight
1 treatment in the following month
Maintenance visits beyond the initial treatment plan. Like your car requires a tune up, so does the body.

For patients coming for women’s health and/or fertility, we see them monthly, ideally after each period. 3 months is the minimum amount of time we work with a couple before they plan to conceive.

Do the herbs really taste disgusting? 
Yes! They tastes disgusting. Some of our patients say they taste like dirt, others refer to them as mud water, twig tea or a cup full of earth. They take nurturing and time cook, but we love them and will happily discuss using them with you. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

My IVF transfer is on Saturday, can I still have a pre and post transfer treatment?

Due to the nature of our work with IVF, yes, you can request an appointment after hours and on weekends. We will do our best to accommodate your request. Please contact us.

How does acupuncture work?

Before we discuss how acupuncture works, it is important to keep in mind that that no one knows exactly how paracetamol works, but we know both work. 

Our body is comprised of multiple systems and acupuncture works on many systems getting different responses from different areas. The needles are inserted into different depths and anatomical locations using a variety of techniques. Acupuncture does not just work on the area where the needle is inserted, the needles selected will work on an entirely different area of the body.

Research suggest that acupuncture may activate neurohormonal pathways and trigger biochemical processes in the body. Acupuncture releases of endorphins, serotonin, enkephalins, and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA, a major inhibitory neurotransmitter of the brain), norepinephrine, and dopamine.

The acupuncture needles stimulate specific nerve and biochemical processes that activate the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. For example, endorphins and Beta-Endorphins work by binding to opioid receptors in your brain to block the perception of pain, similar to opioid pain medications such as oxycodone or morphine. Acupuncture can also decrease pain by reducing pro inflammatory markers or proteins in the body, in turn lowering inflammation and reducing pain.


  • Lim, H.D., Kim, M.H., Lee, C.Y. & Namgung, U. (2016). Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Acupuncture Stimulation via the Vagus Nerve. PloS one, 11, 3:4-5. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26991319
  • Lu, D.P. & Lu, G.P. (2013). A Historical Review and Perspective on the Impact of Acupuncture on U.S. Medicine and Society. Medical Acupuncture, 25(5): 311–316.