Mind Body Fertility
Mind-body practices (MBP) go hand in hand with fertility. So much so that fertility doctors often recommend integrating one or two modalities into a self-care routine while on the family-building path. Research shows that MBPs are a wonderful companion to treatment and show statistically significant increases in IVF success rates as well as reduce anxiety and stress associated with TTC.
Where do mind body practices come from?
Most MBPs are based on Eastern traditions and systems, which approach life and healing in different ways.
Western medicine is really good at reducing the body to its parts to pinpoint a problem. However, in this model, the body and mind are for the most part considered separate systems. You see a doctor for your body, and a therapist for your mind.
As an example, IVF is a western science approach to making babies, where the endocrine and reproductive organs are controlled or changed by drugs. It is all about the parts of the body – with little regard to the mental hardships and stress of treatment and how that effects fertility. And I’m not bashing IVF here at all! It is the best option for so many people and has created many beautiful families that would not be here without.
In Eastern traditions, the mind and body are not separated – one can not be treated without the other, and vice versa. The whole person (mind, body, and soul) is considered, as is the individuality of that person.
As an example, Ayurveda (the life and health science of yoga) approaches fertility from all aspects of the individual (mind, body, and soul). Ayurveda also recognizes that each person has their own constitutional makeup (Dosha) which fluctuates with the season and certain times of one’s life. All of this is considered when looking at fertility from this perspective.
The Eastern and Western views can work hand in hand to create your most fertile self!
What is the mind body relationship?
The foundations of mind-body practices are based on the mind-body relationship.
Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes (mind) can positively or negatively affect our biological functioning (the body). And, what we do with our body (diet, exercise, posture, media, medication) can positively or negatively impact our mental state (mind).
Like a web, the mind and body are integrated, interacting, and supporting each other. If one part of the web changes, it ripples throughout the whole system. There is no way to untangle only part of the web without it affecting the integrity of the rest of the web. So by receiving fertility treatment, you are most definitely shaking the web!
Mind-body practices can help to mitigate the negative effects of fertility treatment by balancing them with positive mind-body relationship interactions. Like rebuilding or reinforcing the web.
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How mind-body practices support fertility
Whether it’s yoga, acupuncture, reiki, massage, or meditation – there is one thing these MBPs are amazing at – bringing forth profound relaxation.
And even though we don’t like being told to relax while TTC, we truly know deep down that we would benefit from a little downtime.
When in the relaxation response, the body is in its most fertile state, stress hormones are processed and reduced, and the reproductive system is receiving a green light!
And beyond relaxation and stress management – acupuncture, fertility yoga, and massage can provide direct benefits to hormonal functioning, increased blood flow, and releasing tensions that may be affecting fertility.
If you’re convinced, but don’t know where to start – check out this blog post for the top 6 mind-body practices that support fertility! Remember, you don’t need to do ALL the things, choose the ones that you will actually do in relationship to time, motivation, and finances.