Ep 115: Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for Fertility with Sharon McDermott
Fertility Forward Episode 115:
What if there was a possibility that western medicine can’t do everything our bodies need to create a conducive environment for fertility? Joining us today on Fertility Forward is acupuncturist, Sharon McDermott to discuss how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can contribute to fertility treatment. Tuning in, you’ll hear all about how Sharon’s approach is different from traditional medicine, the importance of advocating for yourself as a patient, why women lack confidence about birthing, and why you need to slow down and evaluate options when making birthing decisions. Sharon then goes on to break down different body and personality types and what food they need specifically, before explaining what Chinese medicine can do in fertility treatment that western medicine is unable to do. Finally, we discuss how Sharon’s treatments can improve sleep. So to hear all about why you need to understand your body and how Sharon can help, tune in now!
Rena: Hi everyone. We are Rena and Dara, and welcome to Fertility Forward. We are part of the wellness team at RMA of New York, a fertility clinic affiliated with Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Our Fertility Forward podcast brings together advice from medical professionals, mental health specialists, wellness experts, and patients because knowledge is power and you are your own best advocate.
Dara: Sharon McDermott is a licensed acupuncturist and the owner of Healthy Healing, which specializes in fertility, stress, and pain relief. She creates individualized acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas to address a person's needs. Sharon received her Master in Science in Oriental Medicine from Pacific College of Health and Science in New York City. She's board certified in acupuncture and herbology and licensed to practice acupuncture in New York State. Sharon is also a certified birth doula from Long Island Doula Association since November, 2019. As an acupuncturist, Sharon can use acupressure points to help decrease labor pains, decrease anxiety, lower blood pressure, decrease nausea, and increase mom's birth experience. Sharon, thanks so much for being here today.
Sharon: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Rena: Yes, we're super psyched to have you on to talk about all sorts of holistic healings and alternative. I know Dara and I are both very into this and we're so excited for you to enlighten our listeners too on some maybe alternative methods they can try.
Dara: So we were curious to hear, you know, you specializing in acupuncture, but acupuncture for fertility. How did that come about?
Sharon: So, you know, it's been around for thousands of years and you know, in terms of my practice, it's just something that I was drawn to. I really have, you know, a great desire and also just feel impassioned about helping women with their health needs. And you know, and fertility has become really a big problem in a lot of countries. Women are waiting longer, they're working hard. We have a lot more environmental pollutants that are causing problems, not just for women, but men's fertility also. So anyway, I got into that more and did more study on it and you know, that just was growing in my practice to do that. I still do other things, but it's special to me to try to help women, you know, have that family planning, you know, that they want for their life.
Rena: Sure. So do you recommend, should someone start to see you or consider acupuncture if they're struggling to get pregnant, or when they're just starting to think about getting pregnant or while they're pregnant or after pregnancy? What do you, all of the above?
Sharon: All of those! All the above! Yeah. So, and I have a couple of different packages, you know, that I'm sort of trying to show that there's different, you know, cycles, there's different parts of this whole process, you know. But basically, yes, I have women coming in who just may be having missed menstrual cycles or irregularities. Some women who have had miscarriages, some women who have been going through IUIS or IVFs unsuccessfully and they haven't done acupuncture. You know, it could be a host of different reasons. Sometimes there are some really serious hormonal issues. And so a variety of those things. Sometimes they take a break and then they come back after doing a lot of, you know, fertility, hormonal drugs. I try to get them, it's better for me if I can get them, you know, women before they start going down the road of IUI and IVF to try to balance things hormonally in the body naturally, rather than just going that route. So yeah, I do that.
Dara: So how does eastern medicine, how is that different than Western medicine and, and kind of the approach that you take?
Sharon: Yeah, so you know, as you know, western medicine is more like, let's give you a pill or something to basically hit you over the head to get things started. But you know, I feel like Chinese medicine's much more subtle and it takes a little longer. And again, both working on the level of in terms of fertility, balancing the hormones. So we are doing the same thing, but we're doing it with natural substances. We're not using estrogen or progesterone per se. We're using substances that act like that. So more or less phytoestrogens or some other types of herbs that do that. Acupuncture also helps to do that. It also works on the nervous system to de-stress cause it's very stressful going through all these fertility treatments, you know, a lot of time or just going through the whole process in general. So, you know, what's different to me is that also at the same time we can be working on various different factors. So not only hormonal, but the stress. Maybe the woman is having pain somewhere and we look very closely at details of things like, you know, your blood and how the period's going and we can track that and all those things. And western medicine just, you know, they tend to use more lab results to make things happen. That's not necessarily a bad thing cause it does give me information too, but you just can't rely on that because it's an individual process and you know, not every woman responds to hormones in the same way when they're doing those IVF or IUI treatments, whatever they may be.
Dara: And especially I, I feel like the lab results can be great, but a lot of times people aren't necessarily aware that labs can be a snapshot in time. So it may not necessarily give you the big picture in terms of where your levels are at.
Sharon: Yeah. So, I mean, it's helpful for me when they come in to have something. So just, I could look at it of course, more recent is better. But when they're doing IVF and they're getting blood taken like, you know, all the time because you know, they're checking the levels to see when they're gonna do their next step. It's like they're controlling the cycle with meds basically. So I'm kind of doing the same thing, but again, in a gentler approach. And we use the herbs for each part of the cycle. So I might have them start out with one set of herbs and whatever, but usually it's one or two, at least one or two things. But yes, it's, you know, nothing is like totally a hundred percent in terms of when you're talking about test results, whether it's an MRI or it's, you know, blood work. It's like you said, it is a snapshot in time. But, however, if someone's really having hormonal problems, it's gonna keep showing up and then you're gonna have to really address that, you know. So that's what I do and that's kind of what the doctors do. IVF, by the way, is only about 30% effective so it's not the cure-all for infertility. Like people might think they can run and just get pregnant. It's not that easy. And of course the statistics go down as you get older. So when you add up putting acupuncture on top of that, you're already increasing that by like another 10%. And then if you add on the herbs to that, you're increasing another 10%. So you could go from 30 to like 50% or maybe even a little bit more depending on what's going on. So it's, it's very useful and it's been proven that it does work, you know, on that level.
Rena: So do you collaborate with a lot of physicians in your work? A lot of, you know, reproductive endocrinologists and an integrative approach?
Sharon: Yeah, I mean there's a few here on Long Island that I definitely know and work with. I mean, there's one or two that allow me to do the herbs, even when they're doing their part. Some don't want that because they feel it's gonna confound their results. A lot of times I kind of work through the patient. You know, I don't necessarily have a direct conversation. Sometimes I do have a direct conversation with the doctor, but you know, they're so busy. Usually I just ask the patient to advocate for themself and ask, you know, well, can I do this or that? And then if there's an issue, then I would, you know, reach out to them or the nurse. You know, sometimes the nurses are a little more accessible than the doctor. But I have had conversations with the doctors, you know, it just depends.
Dara: I think that would be, you know, very important to work collaboratively and to be on, you know, somewhat of a similar page of these are my thoughts, these are my thoughts, how can we put them together and you know, do what's best for the patient.
Sharon: I think in a perfect world that's what we would all like, but in reality that's not exactly what happens all the time, you know? So I mean the plenty of the REs now do recommend, you know, and will refer out. That's how I get some of my referrals just directly from the doctor's office, you know, and they've got a selection usually of acupuncturists they work with, but they know, they do know that it helps and they're willing to help the patient achieve that, you know, no matter what, really.
Dara: What I find fascinating also with acupuncture is that there's a connection also with like the mind body. You know, a lot of eastern approaches connect with the mind body and with the gut. And I feel like that can also be connected with acupuncture. Isn't that true?
Sharon: Yeah. Oh yeah. I mean, one of the big tenets of Chinese medicine or you know, Asian medicine, is that the gut is very important for the overall function of the body. I mean, it's kind of, you know, makes sense. But they knew that, like, way back. So there was even a school of thought that your, in our lang, our language, the spleen in the stomach are the central digestive organ functions. Of course, it's not the same thought in Western. But anyway, there's a whole school of that. Like, just treat the digestive system and you'll be okay and you'll be great and you'll live a hundred years, you know. So there is that connection. And obviously we know there's a brain connection too, so yeah. You can't separate the mind and body and you know, if somebody's, it's very important for me not just have people come in and talk about physical stuff, but you do have to kind of get out some of the emotional baggage that's going on because you are not gonna get through a lot of the problems if people don't figure that stuff out too. Sometimes they don't, you know, or sometimes they can or whatever. And sometimes despite that, you know, they'll still have success. But, you know, I do talk to my patients and I do feel it's important even when we're, you know, we're doing a wrap up or you know, in the very beginning I always ask, Hey, how are things going? What's going on? And try to, you know, I'm sort of a bit of a coach cuz I try to give them strategies. Well, if you're feeling this way, maybe you need to talk to a counselor. How about doing some meditation? How about, you know, let's, and I work on nutrition with them and then, but I also send them to a nutritionist if I need to. So, you know, those are, that's all in there, you know, to try to get this person to be more functioning on a better level, both, you know, mentally and, and physically.
Rena: Well I think that's so important. I mean, I think between myself, you and dare were the, you know, the trifecta of people that you need to bring on, you know, to a fertility journey. And I think it's super important to build out supports and you know, as you said, patient advocacy is really important as well.
Sharon: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. You know, and you guys know, part of my thing was also I became a birth doula and I wanted to sort of see the end product, you know, and also just, it's amazing to me that, you know, we are able to do this with our bodies that we birth. I mean, it's really an incredible thing that we have. But the other part of this was me just seeing that a lot of women do not feel confident even in the whole pregnancy process. Or, I mean, of course I get a lot of women that have are high risk. So there are a lot more stresses involved, but then, you know, women are not even confident about birthing. And I think part of that problem is that the medical community has made birthing a disease process. I mean, it's a medicalized thing that it's a natural process really. So, you know, I saw a lot of that and I think that disempowers women a lot and doesn't give them, you know, I was trying to give them tools to like, ask questions, know what these procedures are, know what your hospital rights are, you know, things like that. And then I, I wrapped it up into these goddess archetypes of women who, you know, showing that women can do a lot of things and we don't have to be perfect, but it's about, you know, how do you harness this type of energy and make yourself feel more heard and and confident.
Rena: Well I love that, I think Yeah, totally. About holding your power, knowing your power, executing your power. You know, as we sort of talked about a couple times on this podcast, I think, you know, medical gaslighting is a real thing. There was a great New York Times article about that a couple months ago, and I think it is really important to be able to take a step back and think about how you're feeling in the process and speak up for yourself. And be able to, you know, say what you want and make sure you are being heard.
Sharon: And a lot of times, just again, from what I experienced, you know, everything needs time. And all you're doing with when you're in labor okay, is moment by moment. And you need time to just be in that moment. And then, you know, why do you need somebody coming into the room and rushing to ask you if you need this or that, or you want this procedure, that procedure, you know, it's, take time. Think it through as much as you can in between contractions. And you know, then have me or this partner advocate what has already been discussed, hopefully way before that, what you want, you know, and what the woman is willing to do. You know, some women can, they're great and they can go through the labor with, you know, not much intervention, but others maybe there's issues or they just want that epidural and that's okay. But, you know, and I've seen that epidural's work because sometimes you need the rest, all that. But at any rate it's all about, you know, let's take the time. There's no reason to rush in to any particular decision of course, unless it's a life and death kind of thing, which sometimes it's overstated, I think sometimes. But, you know, again, I'm not an OBGYN, so I can't really say that, but just like you said, see a lot of just push to do things when, you know, maybe you could just stand back for a minute, you know.
Dara: Yeah. Yeah. Knowing your options. But I like that you mentioned slowing down. I mean that's something that Rena and I talk about quite a bit in terms of being in the moment and being present. And especially during, you know, what can be such a beautiful experience. Just that pause and reflection of, okay, what are my possibilities can make an experience that much more positive.
Sharon: Sure. Yeah.
Rena: I don't want, you know, I don't want listeners to be scared. I mean, I know we work with amazing physicians at RMA. We have a wonderful team of doctors who will listen and who are fantastic to work with. And so I think, you know, just about finding the right person for you
Dara: Or persons or groups.
Rena: Building out, you know, a team. I think true compassionate care with the teams we work with over here. And so it's just about, you know, kinda, yeah, finding your people.
Sharon: Yeah. And I do, I stress that in the book. I'm like, get your team together of who you trust, who you can, you know, speak to, relate to, you know, all that. It's very important. And you know, and of course I hope to be part of that team, but sometimes feel like women, I've seen it happen where they just don't know what's gonna happen. They don't, they're not taking the correct steps and then they kind of get blindsided once they get into the hospital. So they haven't taken any childbirth education class, they're gonna wing it. They don't know anything about the procedures that may happen. So I just believe, like, education is knowledge and it's only gonna help you, you know?
Rena: So tell us, I really wanna dive into this chart that you sent us before - the five basic body types and personalities based on five elements of Chinese medicine. I know both Dara and I have been looking at this, trying to figure out who we are, where we fall into the, I'd love to talk about that.
Sharon: Yeah. It's kind of a, you know, it's kind of a fun thing because as like Chinese medicine is all built on, you know, what they saw in their environment, right? And then they put it into the body saying, okay, do these same things kind of happen in the body? Like, you know, there's cold and heat and wind. And then they have these elements, wood, fire, earth, metal, and water to kind of help explain different attributes. First of all about, maybe like a body type, which is more or less what we're talking about here, which is, you know, you gotta remember it's not all or nothing kind of with this, it's a, most people are a combination of different things, right? Of different, what would you say? I don't know, attributes or whatever. So yeah. But we do in Chinese medicine, use these to understand how the organ systems work cause each basic element is associated with like an organ system. So you know, actually it's paired organs. We have two organs together. Which are sometimes similar to western and sometimes not. And then just these things about, you know, I don't know where, if you wanna go through it, but like body types.
Dara: Yeah, let's go through it.
Sharon: Qualities and you know, sort of like the pluses and the minuses in terms of personality type kind of thing. And then again, we come back to what these other attributes are, like what color goes with that. And they kind of make sense with what these elements are and then which organ again they go to. And then some foods. So I guess for you guys, that would be interesting too, sort of what could be zeroed in on. And remember also some of this does not take into what we use for describing people and diagnosing is yin and yang. So yin and yang is another part of this where we help to figure out what's going on with somebody. So anyway, so like if we start with wood, I think all three of us are sort of a little bit of that, but there might be some other things. So slender body, kind of very straight body, you know, goal setting, achieving type. So wood, remember wood is very upright, but it does bend, you know, this kind of idea and has roots. So usually pretty grounded people, but you know, they're task oriented, visionary, that kind of stuff. So, but then the downfalls are that you could be an overachiever. So look, wood in some ways can be, you know, it's solid. And I did say it does move, but remember the trunk's not moving, the tops moving. So sometimes they get a little rigid in their thinking and you know, my way or the highway kind of thing. Can be impatient cause they just want things to happen and could be frustrated easily. But the, again, we're gonna go through some of these attributes. The color is green, is associated with wood, even though, you know, kind of think of wood as brown, but they, we use green and taste is sour. So meaning that if you're kind of in this body type, and usually you're a combo of at least two, that you probably should have more sour because it's also, what that does is it smooths your liver. So you should have more of those. I mean, most people probably should have more things for your liver to filter it. And some people may actually crave those things, you know, and sometimes a craving means there's a kind of a deficiency going on. Could be. So here we have things like green apples, kale, spinach, you know, whatever kind of sour foods you could think about. Like actually some, you know, kimchi, those types of things. Artichokes, lean meats, sauerkraut, that's another probiotic type, right? Sour. So actually liver as an organ meat, you know? So that's wood. And then we go to fire. So that's, and they even say heart shaped face, smaller hands and feet. And of course as you would expect, fun, passionate kind of person, you know, likes to laugh. Now we always want all these attributes to be balanced. So if somebody is like, there's too much laughter or that's inappropriate laughter, you also have to think about that. You could see that with, sometimes with people who have mental illness or you know, there's just inappropriate sort of response to things which you can kind of hear that you'll be surprised after this. You'll start thinking about who you know and people you've run into and their voices. And that's another thing, what the person's voice sounds like. You know, what is that about, you know? But anyway, fire, they're team players, they're usually the life of the party, you know? But because fire moves around a lot, right? If you look at flames they’re always kind of moving and of course hot, they always have to be moving around and doing something different. So they sometimes don't have a good way of following through with things or you know, things like that. They get distracted or bored easily, that kind of thing. And they, I don't know, they here it says they don't like to be alone, I guess because again, they like that whole social atmosphere and kind of being the center of the party kind of thing. Then red would be the color and bitter is the taste. Heart obviously is the associated organ with fire. So here we would be talking, you know, here's some more. A lot, lot of Chinese medicine foods are based on signature foods, foods that look like something. So like walnuts for the brain, you know, something like that. So here they're trying to do more red foods like cherries, cayenne pepper. If somebody's really a hot type, which sometimes mean they have a lot of fire, you actually don't want them eating a lot of hot spicy food cause actually that'll just usually make them feel worse. So that's kind of the ways that we look at things when we're seeing what people are eating, what their habits are, and then what is their actual constitution, you know? So again, they put some other things on here in this chart. I got, I didn't make this up, this came from somewhere else, but dark, bitter chocolate again that just depends on, you know, your makeup. So then we move over to earth. So more of a pear shaped person, more rounded in the buttock area, you know, so a little of course softer, rounder kind of look. And of course we know earth meaning, you know, we have all these symbols of earth mother and all that. So probably more of a nurturing person. And then I think a lot of women have these combo of, you know, like I'll take myself, I'm both, I'm like an earth and I'm a wood. So I can be very nurturing, but I can also be kind of frustrated and get fiery if somebody doesn't go along with, like, my treatment plan or other people in my life, you know? So definitely the helper, the nurturer listener, somebody who's caring, you know, obviously, again, this could be a lot of women, they take care of everybody else except themselves are last, you know, but can also be sensitive to criticism. It's me. You know, often worries rather over things, you know, to the point of just making yourself sick almost, you know? And sometimes as a doormat will allow people to walk over them. I would say that's not me cause that's probably cause my wood comes in. Like if people start raining in on my spleen, I'll just, I'll get kind of upright and be like back off, you know? So there's, you know, there's all those kinds of things you could come play into your personality. But, so the color is yellow and sweet is the taste and spleen is the organ. Again, remember I said that's different from Western and so watch out for sweet because in Chinese medicine there is no real, we're not talking about sugary cakes and desserts and all that. You know, we're talking very mild type of sweet. So if you've got people who are coming in and they just have these sweet cravings, it's most likely that they're deficient in their spleen. And that's, as we know most Americans. So you know, that's because of all the sugar that's put into our products and, and everything else and the over stimulation of sugar being in our diet and you know, the whole story. So the things that can help though are things like pumpkins, cinnamon, sweet potatoes cause these are good for your digestion. Turmeric, oranges, I don't know, I that's on there. I, I make a little bit of disagreement with that. But honey, potatoes…
Dara: So it's interesting, those are still carbohydrate rich foods. They break down into sugars, but they're more complex carbohydrates. So they do maybe feed into that sugar craving but in a much more nutritious way.
Sharon: Right. So that's I think what is getting around you. Yeah. And so of course we don't want people eating as much as we all love chocolate. We don't. And that's, we'll see with
Dara: That's not yellow. That's not yellow!
Sharon: Not yellow, good to stick with the yellow, right? So the next one is metal. And so the sort of the body type is more broad squared, shoulders defined, face features probably a little bit more, almost like a sturdy kind of look to this person. But they're very dependable people and they always finish through with a project and they're what you would call the strong silent type sometimes, you know? For, I think because metal is that hard substance that they kind of sometimes put a wall around people. So they're not always good at having close relationships. You know, then that means they're having difficulty sharing their feelings or you know, those types of things. And because metal is also, I mean all of these are also associated with certain feelings that we have the lungs and that could be lungs is the organ, but really sadness is kind of that feature of that organ or can be, you know, so sometimes those people have a tendency to be more depressed or blue again. It's not like, oh gosh, you're metal, you're gonna be depressed. It's not like that. But like again, we're talking about these tendencies, right? So the color for metal is white and for some people like actually wearing these colors may actually make them feel better, you know? And there is a whole psychology, I believe, around colors too, anyway. But pungent would be the taste. So something a little bit more, you know, spicy. But we're still looking at things like you want ginger and here they're specifically saying what types of ginger, yellow or white ginger bone broth, Keifer, cauliflower, onion, remember? So these are some more white looking foods. Garlic, pears. Pears and apples are actually good for the lung system. Some people who have asthma, bronchitis, those types of things should probably do more of those foods along with maybe some of these other things. Honestly, they listed black Spanish radish. Do you either one of you know what that is causeI really don't.
Dara: I know red radish, but I've never heard of a black or watermelon radish.
Sharon: I think they just maybe put it there cuz it's a little bit pungent, you know?
Dara: Little bit, well yeah, but it has a little stronger flavor.
Sharon: Yeah. So that's metal. And the last one is water. And so that's, you know, know you think about softness and what water could be hard, but rounded baby face, soft skin, creative person, more self-reflective dreamer, probably more artistic in some sense easygoing, but can also be better at working alone. They get drained if they're around too many people at a time. So you probably know some people like this or you, you wonder, well how come they like to be by themselves so much? Well that's just how they are, you know, that's just their thing. And they feel they can be with people for short periods of time, but not a lot. This one's saying, you know, more sometimes have self-doubts, fear of failure. I mean, you know, I think this is in all of us, but maybe again, more propensity in this group because they're more, I would almost say more sensitive in that way. The color is dark blue for the water and the kidney is the organ associated with this. So salty is the flavor that's associated with, now remember if you have somebody comes in and they're just craving salts up the wazoo, like they're eating salty snacks all day, it could be that they're again depleted in their kidney system. They actually may be, they actually do have an imbalance, you know, possibly with their kidney. But you know, most of the time when we're talking about all these organ systems, it's metaphorically, we're not saying that there's actually something wrong with the organ. And so then they looking at sort of again some, you know, darker colored, blueish colored things like berries, pomegranates, you know, dark colored grapes. But other things like spinach and walnuts, chestnuts. Again, these are things to be kind of known that are good for the kidney system. And for us the kidney system is just not about the kidneys, it's also about the reproductive system. So when we're treating, going back to fertility, we're almost always treating the kidney system because there's usually some excess or deficiency in there on some level. And there's also the idea of your essence, your jing, and that's kind of like related to DNA. And so if we're having issues with in reproduction, you know, how the woman is producing good eggs or not, you know, we talk about the AMH level and you know how, you know her ovarian reserve is, there is a bit we can tap into to that to kind of help her even have possibly a better quality egg. But again, that's over time. That's not gonna happen in like a couple of treatments or even a couple of months. That takes a while. But what we really do work well on, just to give you the wrap up on what really happens, it's not only what I said hormonally, but there's a major thing about increasing blood flow to the uterus and to the ovaries, you know, and even the fallopian tubes, all of that's important and also important for implantation. You know, it's all those things that western medicine can't really do much with any of that. So that's where we come in to really help that environment to be optimal so that the egg and the sperm will join and stay there basically and multiply in a healthy way, right? That's what we want to create a baby. And of course to create a healthy baby. But those are, you know, again, some of the other things we do. So we're always looking at how, how can we optimize this? And we do use supplements and other things, but you know, diet is like, would be the first thing that we would go to.
Dara: It's fascinating to see because all those foods that you mentioned are quite nutritious. But it's interesting to note that, you know, certain people with certain types that are more prone to, you know, that would maybe be more in the water type or the metal type or the earth type may do better with upping some of those specific foods. So it's not a matter to say to eliminate the other ones from the other groups, but perhaps to prioritize certain foods in your specific group slash groups.
Sharon: Yes, absolutely. Yeah.
Rena: And okay, so I, it's fascinating. So for anyone listening, okay, say they're, you know, they're identifying with, you know, whichever type or whichever two types here. So to sort of live this sort of optimal life, if you will, is it, this is kind of in general, not just if you're trying to conceive or pregnant, it's, if you identify with this type then it's to know, okay, you know, I do myself a lot of good by, you know, upping my green vegetables, fewer fats, et cetera. Is that correct?
Sharon: Yeah. And then they could just, like you’re saying, just modify it so that it's a little bit more on their type of what maybe more foods they should be eating and staying away from the other things. So again, like if somebody is, you know, you've seen this, I think we change as women because our hormones change. But you know, I was always a really cold person, kind of still am to some degree, but of course sometimes get the hot flashes. But the thing is, is that I don't like drinking cold drinks and things with ice in them and that's also a Chinese precept that you would not be drinking cold things and you would not be having a lot of raw food either, actually. But someone else who's a hot type, you know, you could see, even see it sometimes people have their cheeks are red, they're blustery, they talk loud. That's a young person that's a, they have a lot of energy but they don't, you know, so they want the cold drinks, they want all the cold foods, they want all that stuff cause it makes them feel less hot basically. Yeah. But we try to give a balance cause even though, you know, okay, yes, maybe for you it feels good, but some of these other things are just about, like you said, just about nutrition. I mean, you know, what's, what's really better to eat. And of course in our society everybody's guzzling coffee and you know, eating on the run and you know, so it's, this is what I do - I just try to get them to make a couple of different choices to start off with. I’m not gonna change everything overnight, but once you get on that path, I think it's a lot easier. And then you can start recommending some of these things. Now some people just won't eat sweet potatoes no matter how much you tell them how good they are. They ain't gonna eat them, you know? But you know, maybe you could have 'em eat something else. You know?
Dara: Yeah. Like yellow beets that's still kind of fallen within that category. And I love how you said, like, you could be a combination of the cold and the hot. That's where I feel like I'm like looking at this, which I wanna get your insight, Rena, what you think you are. Like I think I'm a combo of wood and fire and so like the fire, I can understand like those red foods and you know, but it's true that sometimes I can run hot. So it's fascinating even like the green foods, but then you can think about, like, cucumbers are green and that's still refreshing, but it's not necessarily super cold like putting ice in a drink. So I guess there are ways of like still kind of getting something that's refreshing without necessarily disrupting the digestive process.
Sharon: Right? So for you for that's right. So you would do, cucumbers are cooling, so you would do that more and it would, I
Dara: Or I think watermelon, which is red too.
Sharon: Yeah. And right and mostly water basically. But yeah, you could do that and that's why, right? Why do we have watermelon in the summertime? That's the reason because it's actually a cooling food.
Dara: And hydrating too
Sharon: Hydrating Right. Along with some other melon. But you know, that's the general idea. Yeah. But I mean, you know, this stuff is not rocket science, you know, like, but people don't, they don't know this stuff. They don't understand how foods can help them, you know. And whole foods. Obviously we're not, you know, we're not talking about, you know, pre-made boxed food or something like that. But
Rena: I love this. I think, you know, it's like the quote, let food be thy medicine and I think this is and these are, you know, so many good quality foods, you know, delicious and nutritious and you're not filling your body with junk, but you're still getting treats and you're getting some dark chocolate, fruits, veggies. I think it's, it's great. And I think, you know, this sort of reminds me of like its own version of the dos, you know, if you will. You know, understanding your body just to help create better balance and you know, heal from within. And I think that's sort of the theme of this episode, right? Is you know, healing from within is what, you know, you're kind of doing with acupuncture and, and Chinese medicine and sort of doing a bandaid. So I think this is wonderful.
Dara: So, which you think you are, Rena, by the way?
Rena: I think same as you - wood and fire.
Sharon: Yeah. So, you know, and I mean, you know, it's fun to go through this and you know, I don't strictly, you know, obviously go by this, I mean I'm going by other factors when people come in, of course we do pulse and tongue pulse is different from the western pulse, but you know, we're looking, but when a person walks in the door, you kind of are already looking at what their body type is like, what their voice sounds like, how they present themselves. I think we all do that subconsciously, but we just break it down more to help us really realize how we can help this person and you know, and who we're dealing with really basically.
Dara: Yeah, create that balance. I think also I find fascinating, I'm not sure if you work at all with acupuncture for sleep, which can also be connected to fertility.
Sharon: Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. I mean I've had people that come in that have had insomnia, you know, either difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep or just, I mean it's obviously, you know, it's a much more difficult when it's a really chronic situation. I mean, you're not gonna cure that in like three, four treatments. You know, I've had an insomnia for 30 years somebody tells me, I'm like, okay, you know. But yes, it actually, because again, it's calming down the nervous system. It's working on a different level and many people do start having a lot better sleep. And I think it's just the whole awareness and process. Once people come in and they realize they actually can relax cause some people just don't believe they can relax, they just always think they have to be on the go. You know? So it that, you know, there's that awareness and then it does on a real physical level, yes, it changes. And I talk about sleep patterns and you know, some people are shift workers, so that can be difficult. Nurses have a really hard time with that. You know, people who work on other types of shift jobs like for the MTA or whatever, I've had those kind of…but you do the best you can to try to help them to get to that point where, you know, they can have sleep and, you know, it definitely couldn't work. You know, it's always about I can help you, but how are you gonna help yourself? It's not just me which I'm happy to help, but, you know, that's the other part of the piece. But yes, lots of different things that can help. I have people coming in that, you know, have lung issues. I have had some long covid and that's been a, a combination of fatigue, actual pain in the upper back, which is, I don't believe is real muscle pain. It's more like lung pain. So things like that that, you know, we can help with that really right now western medicine can't do a whole lot with, you know.
Rena: Well we're so happy that you came on today to share your wisdom. You know, I think we both learned so much from you and what a great supplement to treatment, you know, if people are, are family building. This is fascinating. We're so grateful you came on to share your wisdom.
Sharron: Well, thank you. Thanks so much for having me.
Rena: Well, the way we like to wrap up our episodes is by each sharing a gratitude. There's something that you are grateful for today.
Sharon: I mean, right now I'm very grateful for my health and to have that with me at this moment.
Dara: That's beautiful. I second that one. Rena, what about you?
Rena: Yeah, I mean, I can just tie that up and, and that too, I mean, I think health is wealth for sure. Absolutely. Super grateful to be healthy and sitting here with the two of you talking about this. And Sharon, tell our listeners where they can find you.
Sharon: Yeah, sure. So I'm located in Westbury on Long Island, right on Post Avenue 55 Post Avenue, suite 206. But they can reach me at 516- 410-4297. My website is healthyhealingli.com. And if you wanna, you know, I have a Facebook couple pages there of Healthy Healing. I have a doula page and a regular page. You could also, you know, email me. It's healthy [email protected]
Rena: Well, wonderful. Thank you so much for coming on and teaching us some of your wisdom. And it's so wonderful to connect with someone else who cares so deeply about patients and women's health as well. So we so appreciate it and look forward to seeing where your work takes you.
Sharon: Yes, thank you. Thank you so much.
Dara: Thank you so much for listening today. And always remember: practice gratitude, give a little love to someone else and yourself and remember - you are not alone. Find us on Instagram @fertility_forward and if you're looking for more support, visit us at www.rmany.com and tune in next week for more Fertility Forward.