Recently, I attended the AAC conference, where I listened to a speech by Gerrard Kite. He discussed his approach to treating infertility through five element acupuncture (5E). I pondered: does this elemental treatment, focusing on the body, mind, and spirit mantra (which is not part of Chinese Medicine) truly have the capacity to address all fertility issues. Can we really assume that we can “treat the spirit” whenever we like, and that everything else will then automatically fall into place?
Kite’s strategy, treating patients holistically according to an elemental diagnosis rather than the condition itself, raises questions about the efficacy of such a method. While I respect his belief and acknowledge his success, I believe there’s more to fertility treatment than just addressing elemental imbalances. During my training in 5E acupuncture, we often ventured beyond the CF (Causal Factor/Core Element) to channel blocks and CV & GV blocks. Actually, I expect Gerrard does this, although in the presentation he was specifically emphasising treatment of the element and “spirit”. I’m suggesting that a broader approach might be necessary even within the scope of 5E and I note that most 5E fertility specialists I know are also experts in Western Medicine & IVF protocols etc.
Fertility challenges are complex and multifaceted, particularly in the developed world. Factors range from age and societal pressures to emotional, environmental, and physiological issues, like hormonal imbalances caused by toxins, mould or diet. Kite’s statement saying that he does not know how to treat fertility and his confidence in treating hormonal and environmental factors solely through elemental acupuncture is admirable, yet I question its universal applicability.
For instance, a recent conversation with an acupuncturist and functional medicine practitioner highlighted a case where traditional diagnoses and treatments failed. This included Western Medicine and treatments from two acupuncture practitioners. Only after hormonal tests and subsequent estrogen supplements (estrogen problems were not suggested by the symptoms) did the patient successfully conceive. This example illustrates the need for a truly holistic approach to fertility, encompassing not just elemental, emotional and spiritual balance but also environmental factors and advanced testing and diagnostics in some cases.
In contrast, mainstream fertility treatments, like IVF protocols, often overlook these holistic aspects, focusing solely on physical physiology. This approach, too, is limited. We should start with what we know, be it 5E acupuncture or TCM, and incorporate sensible dietary advice. However, if these methods fall short, we must be open to broader functional medicine insights, including blood and hormone tests, and possibly even DNA analysis.
Ultimately, the best course of action for patients might involve acknowledging our limits and either expanding our own knowledge or referring them to specialists. Fertility is a complex issue, and we must avoid oversimplifying it or manipulating statistics, as seen in some IVF clinics. Our focus should always be on what’s best for the patient, transcending our own assumptions and knowledge boundaries.