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Traditional Chinese Medicine and its Relationship to Fertility

W H A T   I S   T C M ?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a type of medicine that is often used by Naturopathic Doctors and Acupuncturists, especially when working with fertility. TCM views the body as a whole and that all organ systems work together to keep us healthy. There are two central ideas behind how TCM works - Qi, and Yin and Yang.

Qi: this is called vital energy, and is believed to run throughout the body’s organs. It is always on the move and changing. TCM treatments, like acupuncture, are used to promote and maintain flow of Qi.

Yin and Yang: these two things are complete opposites, but one cannot exist without the other. They exist together to keep us balanced and feeling well, there are certain things that are more yang, and others that are more yin.

Y I N: night, dark, cold, female.

Y A N G: day, light, warm, male.

According to TCM, when there is balance between all of these things within all of our organ systems, you feel healthy and well. Regarding fertility, acupuncture and lifestyle changes are used to find balance in these specific TCM organs, to encourage reproductive function and fertility:

  • Kidney
  • Spleen
  • Heart
  • Liver

The use of these organs from a Chinese Medicine perspective is different from Western Medicine’s view of the body. Western Medicine views organs as having a single job, and as not connected to other organs. TCM believes all organs are connected and require balance to be healthy, meaning that if one organ falls out of balance and cannot perform it's job, the function of other organs may be affected and there may be symptoms right away or they may take time to develop.

What does a TCM fertility diagnoses look like?

Liver Qi Stagnation: Two important events that need to happen to achieve pregnancy are menstruation, and the release of an egg. In TCM, for these events to occur, it is important that Qi is moving through the Liver. Qi that does not move or becomes stuck can cause imbalances at ovulation and menstruation. Some symptoms associated with Liver Qi Stagnation include irritability, breast tenderness, and painful periods.

Spleen Qi Deficiency: Spleen Qi plays a role in supporting the second half our cycles, which is important in achieving and maintaining pregnancy. If Spleen Qi becomes low or is lacking, you may experience low energy, craving for sugars or carbs and spotting.

Kidney Deficiency: In TCM, the kidneys play a major role in fertility. It’s role, like most things in TCM, has Yin and Yang aspects maintaining its balance.

K I D N E Y   Y A N G  works with Spleen Qi, helps to support the second half of the cycle, and helps to achieve and maintain pregnancy. When Kidney yang is low, you may experience cold hands or feet or intolerance to cold in addition to menstrual cramping that is alleviated by a heating pad.

K I D N E Y   Y I N  helps support the first half of the cycle, when menstruation occurs. When Kidney yin is low, people may experience night sweats, hot flashes, or may experience the absence of a menstrual period.


There are more TCM organs and vital substances that can be affected as well. Both Naturopathic Doctors and Acupuncturists are trained to assess and come up with individualized plans to help support fertility from a TCM perspective; one of the most useful tools to correcting imbalances in TCM infertility is acupuncture.

We recommend weekly acupuncture for 4-6 weeks, which can seem like a big commitment, however it is when best results are seen.

We have Naturopathic Doctors and Acupuncturists that offer acupuncture treatments in both Moncton and Charlottetown - contact us to book!

M O N C T O N : [email protected] // (506) 830-8333

C H A R L O T T E T O W N : [email protected] // (902) 367-5300

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