Saturday, 19 September 2009

Alternative therapies

After we'd been trying to conceive for 12 cycles, I decided to have a go at something to give our attempts a little boost - so I started having acupuncture. I quite like going to my acupuncture sessions - the guy's very friendly, and he listens to me and makes reassuring noises, and the needles don't hurt or bother me at all. Obviously, once we discovered that our main problem was MFI, I realised that the most successful acupuncture ever wasn't going to get me pregnant if the needles were only going to be stuck into me, but still...

After a few sessions, he decided to try giving me herbs as well, and I took those for a couple of months. My cycle became a little screwed up, and my DH wasn't happy about it at all. He blamed the herbs and told me to stop taking them - so now I'm back to just the needles every week or two.

The thing is, I've heard from lots of people who say that after an acupuncture session they feel particularly relaxed or floaty. I can't say I feel any different at all - the herbs definitely seemed to do something, but the needles? If they do have an effect, it's a very subtle one. Except that when he uses the heat lamp and leaves me for half an hour with needles sticking into me and a gentle heat diffusing across my stomach, I do sometimes fall asleep - but then, I suffer from chronic insomnia and therefore also from chronic exhaustion, and if you get me lying down in a warm, comfortable place and leave me there, it's not surprising if I fall asleep, needles or no needles.

Last night a friend invited a group of us round to her house for a taster session with her reflexologist. Again, I'd heard great things about how relaxing reflexology is, and since things are quite stressful in my life at the moment, I'm all for a bit of relaxation. So I went along, presented my feet and let the woman play with them for 45 minutes or so, and felt... well, nothing really. It was pleasant enough, but I didn't get these warm, relaxed, sleepy feelings that other people have talked about.

On the other hand, both the acupuncturist and the reflexologist have pointed to areas of my body and said that something in them indicates a problem with a completely different area of my body, and in each case they've been right. So is there something in it? I don't know.

Similarly, I don't know about this hypnotherapy relaxation CD I've just bought. I'm willing to try it, because I really do need to destress. But I've only listened to it once so far - and the back of my mind was telling me that I didn't feel any different and it was all a load of tripe ... until I fell asleep halfway through it.

Am I too stressed to feel the effects after just one or two sessions? Or is my scepticism stopping me from entering into it fully and therefore stopping me from benefiting from it? Or is it all a load of bunkum that I'm throwing my money away on because I'm desperate?

I wish I knew...


  1. For me, the main reason for going to reflexology was relaxation. I used to feel very sleepy and relaxed after each session! IN terms of any actual therapeutic benefit, well, I have no idea. BUT a less stressed person has got to be good for all sorts of things??

    Re the CDs, I've never been able to listen to one all through - either I fall asleep or get bored. On the other hand, I remember a structured meditation class at uni, where I heard the initial part of the visualisation, and next thing I knew I was hearing the facilitator counting us out and it was half an hour later. I'd been sitting up all the time, and I did feel extremely relaxed.

    Sigh. I don't think it can hurt, and it may help. Worth keeping up with it, I think! XXXXXXXX

  2. I did find my mind wandering a bit when I listened to the CD again this morning - but then I have also been very relaxed today. I suppose every little bit helps.

    Tomorrow we've got our first Pilates class - poor old DH was the only man on the sign-up sheet when we signed up, but I think it'll be good for him... xx

  3. I never know what to think about alternative therapies. I have never done acupuncture or reflexology, but I have had massages and a body wrap before for relaxation. The body wrap freaked me out so badly (I felt immobilized with this strange lady in the room ... haha paranoid I know) that I couldn't even relax. The massages always left me relaxed temporarily but never with the kind of peace that some people tell me it gives them.

    I really thought about doing acupuncture for this IVF cycle, but I chickened out at the last minute. Let me know how these things go for you over the long term -- I would be very interested in getting the opinion of someone who is somewhat skeptical but still willing to give it a fair shot.

  4. I always had an open mind re all alternative therapies and am currently having acupuncture but have also had reflexology regularly for 18 months (since ttc looked like it was going to take longer than I thought!) I have to say I do get the floaty feeling after acupuncture, but not always so I think it must depend on the levels of stress I go in with. I love the needles though and I love the 'drag' feeling you get when they hit the right spot. Again that doesn't always happen but when it does the feeling is wonderful. I would say stick with it, but if you feel it's not working for you perhaps you should talk to your acupuncturist about why this might be. Are you getting the drag feeling when the needles are in? I also have mine manipulated during the session which can then give you the same feeling again.

    I hope you find something that works for you too xx

  5. I do feel the needles affecting other areas - like I'll feel a tingling further down my leg and ask if that means anything, and he'll almost always say that the area is connected to where he's just put the needle in. Sonja, I definitely think the acupuncture does something for me - I just don't think it particularly helps me to relax.

    The trouble is, once you've started something, it's really hard to stop it, just in case it might eventually work. I even kind of regret stopping the herbs, even though I had some really weird temperature patterns and spotting when I was on them and my cycle hasn't really fully settled down since I stopped.

    This morning I listened to the CD for the third time, and I'm afraid all I felt was bored - but then, I had a really bad headache when I started and it was gone by the time I finished, so who knows?

    I suppose I'm lumping them all in the 'can't hurt, might help' category - and certainly anything that can help with stress levels must be a help.