Glossary of Terms

Acupuncture
Acupuncture is the method of inserting thin, sterile needles into points along channels in the body called meridians. Needling acupoints stimulates and balances the body’s energy to prevent disease and restore health. It has been shown to reduce pain, increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, promote relaxation and treat a variety of internal disorders.

Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART)
These are medical procedures used to help achieve pregnancy, including: Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI), Super ovulation/ovulation induction, In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), and Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Breech position
This is a term used to describe a baby’s position in the uterus, meaning that the baby’s head is up near the mother’s ribcage rather down in her pelvis. Research has shown that acupuncture and moxibustion can help encourage the baby’s head to move down by stimulating and warming an acupoint on the foot that is connected to the uterus by the bladder meridian. Treatment results are most successful between 32 to 35 weeks.

Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbal medicine, which can be used alone or in conjunction with acupuncture, is the most popular mode of treatment in China for gynecology and other internal medicine disorders. There are approximately 400 pharmacologically active plants and minerals commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM); formulations are customized to address each patient’s distinct condition.

Individual herbs are rarely prescribed in TCM. Instead, herbs are prescribed together and each one is chosen for its unique function as well as its interaction with other herbs in the formula. The synergy of combining 5-20 herbs has a balancing and harmonizing effect, which enables practitioners to treat a person’s whole body constitution more completely.

Doula
A doula provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the expectant mother and her partner during labor, delivery and in the immediate post-partum period. The wisdom and emotional support provided by experienced women at birth is an ancient tradition. The role of the doula is to help support a woman through the birth of her child so that it is a rewarding and memorable experience.

Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
ICSI is used as an adjunct to IVF when there is a severe male factor issue. The process of IVF is the same except that specialized laboratory equipment is used to inject a single sperm into a mature egg.

Infertility
Infertility is reproductive disease, whereby a man and/or a woman have factors which inhibit them from successfully conceiving and birthing a child. Infertility is often not considered until a couple has been actively trying to conceive without using any protection for one year.

Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI)
IUI is a fertility enhancing procedure in which sperm are washed, concentrated and injected directly into the uterus through the cervix with a fine catheter.

In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Literally defined, IVF means “ fertilization in glass”. In this technique a sperm and mature egg are mixed in a specialized laboratory to achieve fertilization. It is used as a treatment for infertility when the process cannot occur naturally inside the woman’s body.

Massage
Massage enhances the bodies functions while promoting relaxation and well-being by manipulating the superficial layers of muscle and connective tissue of the body.

Meridians
According to TCM theory, Qi circulates in the body along 12 major energy pathways called meridians, each of which links to specific internal organs and organ systems. When there is physical injury, mental stress, or emotional conflict, the natural healthy flow of Qi is impeded within the meridian system over time. On each meridian there are specific points that function to re-establish the correct flow of energy. Acupuncture is the method of inserting thin, sterile needles into these points in order to stimulate and balance the body’s energy to restore health.

Menopause
Menopause is the cessation of menses. Many women experience symptoms as this hormonal shift takes place, often over a series of months/years. The current western medical approach is to treat menopause as a “disease” and many women are prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to suppress their symptoms. In contrast, TCM views this as a time of transition which can be supported and treated through balancing the different systems in the body; once this balance is achieved, the symptoms are resolved.

Motor points
A motor point is defined as the most electrically excitable area of a muscle and represents the greatest concentration of nerve endings. Motor points are not exact anatomical points, but follow a reasonable fixed pattern of locations. These points can be identified clinically as the site where a twitch may be evoked in response to minimal electrical stimulation without producing contraction elsewhere in the muscle. Motor points are located on the skin over the muscle and correspond approximately to the level at which the nerve enters the muscle belly. This area is known as the neuromuscular junction or zone of innervation.

Acupuncture to the motor point seems to “reset” the dysfunctional muscle that is causing abnormal muscle function and spasm. Motor point needling corrects muscle group imbalances by encouraging tight muscles to lengthen and relax while the opposing weaker muscles are able to fire and contract more effectively.

Moxibustion
Moxibustion (also called “moxa”) is the method of burning an herb called mugwort, Artemesia vulgaris , over different acupoints and regions of the body. The warming effect of moxa is used to promote blood circulation as well as to stimulate a nourishing, tonifying response in various organ systems.

Musculo-skeletal conditions
Musculo-skeletal conditions involve injury or pathology relating to the muscles or bones of the body.

Neuromuscular junction
The neuromuscular junction is a zone of innervation in muscles located where the nerve enters the muscle belly. Motor points are located on the skin over this junction and acupuncture needling to this area creates a ‘twitch’ response which causes the muscle spindles to stretch and relax.

Qi
Qi (pronounced “chee”) is the life force that supports our existence; it keeps the blood circulating, warms the body and fights disease. It is Qi that distinguishes living creatures from inanimate ones. According to TCM theory, Qi circulates in the body along 12 major energy pathways called meridians, each of which links to specific internal organs and organ systems. The Qi in our bodies is influenced by and connected to the life force present in all the elements around us; our environment, the food we eat, and the air we breathe. In this way, Qi acts as a conduit that connects and interweaves all that exists in the universe.

Super ovulation / ovulation induction
Super ovulation is used when a woman is not ovulating on her own and has not responded favorably to simpler medications such as clomid. The fertility medications used are administered as injections and stimulate a woman to release more than one egg during her monthly cycle, thus increasing her chances of conception.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a system of medicine that includes acupuncture, herbology, moxibustion, massage, exercise and diet. It views optimal health as a state of balance and harmony of the body, mind and spirit. During its clinical use for over 2000 years, TCM has developed into a complete medical system that may diagnose, treat and prevent an extremely diverse range of conditions.

TCM is a natural means of restoring health and preventing future illness by changing the flow of the body's energy system. This energy source - referred to as Qi (pronounced “chee”) - is the life force that supports our existence; it keeps the blood circulating, warms the body and fights disease. It is Qi that distinguishes living creatures from inanimate ones.

As with many ancient cultures, the Chinese feel an intimate connection with the earth and do not see themselves as separate from their surroundings. This belief is so strongly embedded in their culture that the foundation of Chinese Medicine is rooted in what is called the Five Elements System. TCM uses this system to explain how the primary powers of nature – Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal – ebb and flow within human beings.

Yin and Yang
The concept of yin and yang are central to the foundation of TCM philosophy. They represent the balance between opposing forces and the natural ebb and flow of this balance in ourselves and the world around us. The night (yin) can only become so dark before shifting to daylight (yang) and the sunshine of morning. An example of this in our bodies is a woman’s menstrual cycle; the time of yin (estrogen) reaches its maximum and then transforms to yang (progesterone) as she ovulates.

The cycles of yin and yang flow through all aspects of the universe and it is the balance of these forces that create and sustain optimal health, vitality and well-being. Too much water (yin) will put out the fire (yang), just as an excess of fire (yang) will evaporate water (yin).

 

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