Saturday, August 30, 2008

Book review -- The Tao of Fertility

When I first found out I had fibroids, I would not have been willing to read a book related to fertility or go to a clinic specializing in the topic. In fact I think that one of the reasons I have fibroids is due to the high-stress period in my late 30s and early 40s when I was having difficulty finding The Guy. At that point, thinking about fertility was very distressing as I knew someday I wanted children, and that my fertile years were not unlimited, but that I was lacking an important necessary ingredient – the right man. However, I know now that acupuncturists who work on fertility have a lot of experience with fibroids, and I wish now that my first step in my fibroid journey had been to find someone with this specialty.

Now that fertility is my focus, and I have been cleared by my gyn to TTC, picking up a book on fertility by a Chinese medicine expert seems like a natural thing to do. However I understand how some readers of this blog might be in a different situation, such as where I was a few years ago.

At any rare, it turns out that Tao of Fertility has some good input for fibroid fighters. In the beginning he spells out the Chinese medicine approach in a way that is very well-written and easy to understand. It’s perfect for someone who doesn’t have any prior knowledge of this topic and who might have trouble “getting it” -- I’m going to have my husband read it! The book also outlines a detox program and general diet suggestions that are good ones for fibroid fighters –just go easy on the meat and eggs and wheat included.

The most interesting part of the book for me is a simple 10-step Qi Gong practice that targets the reproductive system, and also is quite easy. He says that patients have shrunk their fibroids using it. One thing I have been thinking that I really need is more routine and discipline – so I am going to try to start doing this regularly. (As readers may recall, I took a Qi Gong class this spring that I enjoyed but have to admit that with everything going on in my life lately it’s been hard to practice on my own. I want to start doing it again, but at the same time I like the one from this book as it’s specifically focused on reproductive issues. If I can really get organized, I’ll do both!)

The book also has a simple 5-point acupressure practice, also intended to be done daily, that looks like it’s worth doing. Especially if you are not getting acupuncture regularly.

Several of the case studies involve women who had fibroids along with their other fertility issues. Each one of the cases studies finishes with the miraculous ending of the patient getting pregnant and having a healthy baby. Of course he’s not going to share any failure stories, and wants to showcase his best cases, but to be honest something about these case studies I found rather irritating. To be honest I had trouble relating to them -- either it seemed like him just boasting about how he worked magic on a difficult case, or someone whose lifestyle was so clearly out of whack even I as an amateur could have given them useful advice (e.g. cut back on the excessive running if you want to get pregnant! Duh!) But they do offer some hope and make for interesting reading.

In the appendix there is mention of a new group of acupuncturists who specialize in reproductive issues. This could be a good resource. Interesting that this is becoming enough of a specialty to have its own group!

In sum, if you are planning to try to conceive soon or want to preserve your fertility for the future, this book would definitely be interesting and useful. As a fibroid shrinker not interested in fertility (e.g. don’t plan to have children or are approaching menopause), the central fertility emphasis might be annoying but it still might have useful information for you.

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