As a clinician, I began supporting couples with fertility challenges a bit by accident.
My clinical focus is mostly on the treatment, reversal, and prevention of autoimmune disease. Over the years, many women and some men who were seeking treatment for an autoimmune condition, after repairing their immune system, conceived after years of trying – seemingly by accident.
This is because one of the most common reasons women and men lose their fertility is an underlying immune system dysfunction and endocrine (hormonal) imbalance.
If this is the cause in a woman, your immune system may begin attacking your uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, or even the fetus as it is attaching to the placenta. This is one of the most common reasons that I see clinically for frequent miscarriages as well.
If this is the cause for a man, your immune system would cause epigenetic changes that cause a reduction in sperm motility, maturity and functional fertility. Other factors like physical fitness, an adaptive overload causing erratic hormonal disruptions can also affect the formation of healthy sperm.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), infertility has many causes.
The most common are Deficiency Syndromes of the Kidneys (Endocrine/Circulation/Immune/ Epigenetic), Liver and Blood (Hormone clearance/Inflammation/Circulation/), or stagnation in the Extraordinary Meridians (Altered Immune Function due to Genetic changes or Severe Trauma).
In Modern medicine, infertility is understood in similar but more specific ways. Most clinical causes (not genetic causes) of infertility include hormonal dysregulation(reproductive, stress, and insulin), immune system dysfunction (often autoimmune and/or post-infection (STI)), chronic circulatory issues and epigenetic dysfunction.
For women, these are the most common causes of infertility (roughly in order).
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Endometriosis (Immune/Circulation/Insulin/Endocrine)
- Hormonal Ovulation Disorders (Immune/Circulation/Insulin/Endocrine)
- Post Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)| Immune Disorders and damage. (Other infections can do this).
- Clinical Obesity or fluctuating Unhealthy Body Weight.(Insulin/Endocrine)
These are the main causes of male infertility:
- Sperm Disorders. (Size and motility)
- Varicoceles. (Swollen veins in the scrotum)
- Immunologic Infertility – often post-infection or post toxin exposure.
- Hormonal Imbalances (stress/Insulin/Inflammation).
- Genetic and Epigenetic Changes (Inflammation/Circulation/Insulin/Endocrine)
- Side Effects of Medication.
Collaboration and Consensus
Infertility, as unfortunate as it is, is a good example of how Traditional Chinese Medicine, Functional Medicine, and Modern Medicine can all agree on what is going wrong. Together, all of these approaches to health care offer many options for restoring your vitality and fertility.
It has been my experience and will always be my clinical advice that a combination and collaboration of all of these perspectives and skillsets is your best chance to resolve something as complex as infertility.
Qi Gong and Restoring Fertility
As I have described in earlier articles in this series on the Ten Proven Benefits of Qi Gong, the regular practice of Qi Gong can help balance stress hormones, modulate inflammation, release painkilling and mood-lifting endorphins, increase and balance reproductive and growth hormones, reduce inflammation, Improve circulation, tissue repair, mindset, release any instinctual fears and traumas from your fascia and nervous system.
Advanced Qi Gong exercises that strengthen the tendons and restore the jing, bone marrow, can be combined with breathwork that engages the pelvic floor, sacral plexus, solar plexus. Together, these influences restore Vagus Nerve tone and Polyvagal System resilience. Your Vagus Nerve connects to, regulates, and communicates with all of your internal organs. Better Vagus Nerve tone has been associated with increased fertility.
The Polyvagal System regulates your experience of the fight, flight, and freeze response, and your tend, befriend, restore nervous system response. Life has always had a mixture of both of these experiences. The more socially connected to your ‘tribe’ and intimately connected you are to your intimate partner, the better your fertility will be. The more adaptive and resilient your Polyvagal experience is, the more you feel trust and connection. This increases your body’s release of Oxytocin – a hormone related to uterine health, orgasm, and childbirth.
The Qi Gong practices of imitating animals, imitating movements as they are learned and imitating and exploring your body’s physical tension and embodied sense of distrss.
A specialized part of Qi Gong called Zhan Zhuang – asks you to maintain extended Standing Meditation postures from 20 – 45 minutes.
During this extended period of postural realignment, nerve and muscle transformation – metabolic adaptation on a cellular level begins to happen, especially in your bones.
Your entire metabolism changes with REgular Zhan Zhuang practice because of an increase in mitochondria in the biggest muscles of your body. This generates more Human Growth Hormone (HGH) to enhance fertility.
Another benefit of Zhan Zhuang is the constant load along the length of your bigger bones and spine. especially your legs and hips. These bones are the storehouses of bone marrow – an expression of Jing in TCM. The benefit of extended standing on your hormonal health and fertility has to do with the hormone/peptide Osteocalcin. For men especially, an increase in Osteocalcin has been shown to increase fertility.
and fertility and extended loading of your bones
and stabilize your immune system – in the article – showed that keeping your cortisol levels balanced and adaptable through regular exercise, meditation, stretching, and times of extended stillness, emotional intelligence practices.
Qi gong often engages in internal visualization practices. I have clinically observed the benefits of visualization practices that improve both male and female fertility. Sometimes these practices include changing your physical environment and preparing at least one room for a baby.
The practice of sitting and rocking and imagining that you have a baby in your arms, your schedule is now on a new rhythm and you get to feel a love that is like no other. Sitting and rocking and breathing with intention is an ancient and powerful form of Qi Gong.
This form of Qi Gong focuses on moving your pelvis in a way that stimulates your Sacral Plexus and Solar Plexus– both have a significant impact on fertility and stress hormones.
This kind of movement often regulates and resets these essential – they directly connect of your Central Nervous System (CNS) to your reproductive organs. Those instinctual and intuitive ‘Energy Centers’ are directly connected to your Polyvagal System status and how you experience the world. Human connection and changing social connections towards ease and collaboration change hoe your deeper instinctual body – your Sacral Pelxis read on the world, and your social solar plexus read on the world.
If they ancient theories and practices behind Qi Gong and Yoga are right, and they certainly seem to be, realigning these Chakras, or all of your Dan Tian, or lower and middle Energy Centers is the most powerful natural way improve how alive you feel in your body. At least in my experience as a Qi Gong practitioner.
When activated and reestablished, the Sacral and Solar Plexus reassert a more positive Poly Vagal Nervous System experience of getting your needs met, how much love, safety, and social connection you feel is available in your environment – and how intuitively you trust your primary relationship.
There are many Qi Gong practices for improving fertility that activate your growth hormones, reduce inflammation and immune distress, put some extended load on your bones while boosting your entire metabolism. With some dancelike Qi gong gestures and intentional breathwork, you could easily regulate and reset two of the biggest structures in your Central Nervous System – your Solar Plexus and your Sacral Plexus.
Qi Gong and its recent ancestor Dao Yin are practiced around the world. The traditional Cultures and more New Age populations who practice Qi Gong regularly experience better sex drive and fertility. There are actual myths and movies about it.
for improving fertility and longevity.