How to Optimize Ovulation
Some of the most common conditions that we treat at Acubalance are ovulatory disorders, which can manifest as irregular menstruation, short or long cycles, few cycles or sometimes no menstrual cycle at all. These irregularities can start from the time of menarche (first menstruation) or can occur later in life. The irregularities can be due to hormone imbalances, a big change in diet, exercise or BMI, or with discontinuation of the birth control pill. Sometimes stress or other health conditions can signal our bodies to stop ovulating too.
The state of your menstrual cycle is a revealing snapshot of your body’s overall health. In Chinese Medicine, looking at the broader landscape of your body can also inform us what the underlying cause of an ovulatory issue is. It could be a deficiency or an obstruction that is hindering communication along the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, which mediates the delicate cascade of hormones involved in the menstrual cycle. Click here to read my colleague Bronwyn’s recent blog on the breakdown of the mechanics of ovulation and how to track it.
If you have signs of ovulatory dysfunction, consult with your TCM practitioner to find out what underlying imbalance is disrupting ovulation for you and what you can do through diet, exercise, acupuncture and herbs to realign it.
There are also exercises that you can do at home that increase blood flow through the reproductive organs, helping to stimulate ovulation. One such exercise is the Femoral Massage and it can be done twice per day from the time your period ends leading up to ovulation. Do not perform this exercise while menstruating, if you are possibly pregnant, have high blood pressure, heart disease or circulatory issues, a history of stroke or detached retina.
Here’s how to do it:
You can repeat the following exercise up to three times…
1. Find the crease between your upper thigh and the trunk of your body.
2. Using your fingertips, locate the femoral artery
3. Find the pulsation and press down deeply into the artery until you feel the pulse stop.
4. Hold for 30-45 seconds and allow the blood flow to gather in the uterus and ovaries.
5. Release the pressure and resume natural flow. You will feel a warm rush as the blood returns down your leg.
6. Repeat on the opposite side.
7. Gently massage the belly in clockwise rotations lifting the uterus and ovaries.
Best of luck!
Dr. Alda Ngo