Acupuncture and the ART of Conception
In furtherance of our quest to truly master the Art of Conception, PFC is now offering our patients acupuncture as a concurrent therapy in their treatment plans. PFC has teamed with Integrative Conception, a group of qualified practitioners who specialize in treating fertility with Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The simple aim of our acupuncture team is to support your fertility treatments and improve your success.
Following traditional TCM theory, our acupuncturists will develop a treatment plan that is specialized for you. Practitioners communicate effectively with your PFC fertility specialists to create your unique treatment plan. Treatment plans typically include various pre-ovulatory therapies as well as specialized acupuncture treatments performed immediately before and after embryo transfers.
Acupuncture treatments are performed on-site in an inviting and soothing environment. Your personalized care consists of well-researched acupuncture, guided imagery, nutrition and lifestyle advice, as well as close communication with your physicians about any additional concerns.
What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
Traditional Chinese Medicine is the formal term for the combined therapies of Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, Moxibustion and other healing modalities. TCM theory achieves good health by balancing energies in the body using these several methods. The theory has evolved over thousands of years and is safe and highly effective. TCM uses a "holistic" approach, meaning it treats any individual problem by treating the whole body at the same time. A patient can expect TCM to provide benefits for virtually any illness, and fertility is no exception.
Acupuncture. Acupuncture is performed by inserting fine needles into carefully selected points which correspond to the TCM theories of energy meridians that run through the body. According to TCM theory, acupuncture needles correct unbalanced energy in the body when the needle is inserted in the proper location. With the needles in place, a patient may feel very little, or may feel a dull energy sensation flow briefly through the body.
How it Works. TCM theory explains that channels of energy run in regular patterns through meridians in the body like water flowing through an aqueduct. Any obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is akin to a dam that backs up the regular flow, causing disease, pain and imbalance. Acupuncture and other TCM modalities can influence blocked energy in meridians, reestablish proper flow, and promote good health.
Acupuncture, TCM and Infertility. Acupuncture can be used to treat any type of fertility disorder including spasmed tubes. (Spasmed tubes are often de-spasmed with acupuncture, though blocked tubes will not respond to acupuncture). Acupuncture is often combined with herbs to treat elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), repeated pregnancy loss, unexplained (idiopathic) infertility, luteal phase defect, hyperprolactinemia (when not caused by a prolactinoma), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) with annovulatory cycles, and male factor including men affected with sperm-DNA-fragmentation.
When Should Treatment Begin?
Patients are commonly treated for three to four months before an insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF), or donor-egg transfer.
The Pre- and Post- Embryo Transfer Treatments. One of the most important implementations of TCM during an IVF treatment is what is commonly referred to as Pre- and Post- Transfer Treatments. The chances of conception increase when reproductive-specific acupuncture is administered prior to and shortly after the embryo is transferred to the uterus during an IVF treatment. Recent scientific studies have demonstrated that acupuncture immediately prior to and after embryo transfer assists fertility outcomes by improving uterine artery blood flow, decreasing uterine contractions, supporting endometrial lining and implantation and increasing pregnancy rates.
Fertility & Sterility, Vol.77, No. 6, Human Reproduction, Vol. 22, No.4
Acupuncture in Pre-Ovulatory Phase. Reproductive acupuncture treatments do not consist only of pre- and post- embryo transfer treatments. Your pre-ovulatory phase acupuncture treatments work to bring your body back to its optimum balance and get ready for conception. Typical changes you may sense quickly include: reduction in the stresses that interfere with ovulation, regulation of menses, and a general feeling of good health.
More subtle changes may eventually include a normalization of the hormones that regulate ovulation and allow an egg to be released, an increase in uterine blood flow improving chances of a fertilized egg implanting, or an improvement in ovulation cycles in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, to name a few.
All together, TCM will work to get your body in a healthier and more balanced state which will better lend itself to conception in conjunction with your other assisted reproductive treatments..
Initial visit: $180
Follow-up visits: $100
Day of Embryo Transfer or Day of IUI: $250 *includes before and after treatments
Package: $1,800 (includes: initial visit, 16 follow-up visits, + day of transfer treatments)
Additional Packages are available. Contact us for more information.
The Acupuncture Facility. Our in-house acupuncture facility is a welcoming and soothing environment designed to suit your acupuncture needs.
General Infertility Acupuncture Research
- Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture - Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Urban Waldenstrom, Sven A. Andersson and Matts Wikland
- Acupuncture Normalizes Dysfunction of Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian Axis - Bo-Ying Chen M.D., Professor of Neurobiology
- Effects of Electro-Acupuncture on Nerve Growth Factor and Ovarian Morphology in Rats with Experimentally Induced Polycystic Ovaries - Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Thomas Lundeberg, Urban Waldenstrom, Luigi Manni, Luigi Aloe, Stefan Gunnarsson, and Per Olof Janson
- Substitution of Acupuncture for HCG in Ovulation Induction - Cai Xuefen, Obstetrical & Gynecological Hospital, Zhejiang Medical University, Zhejiang Province
- Relationship Between Blood Radioimmunoreactive Beta-Endorphin and Hand Skin Temperature During The Electro-Acupuncture Induction of Ovulation - Chen Bo Ying M.D. Lecturer of Neurobiology, Institute of Acupuncture Research, and Yu Jin, MD., Prof of Gynecology, Obstetricus and Gynecology Hospital Shanghai Medical University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
- Role of acupucture in the treatment of female infertility - Raymond Chang, M.D., The Institute of East-West Medicine, The Department of Internal Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Pak H. Chung, M.D., The Department of Internal Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Zev Rosenwaks, M.D., The Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility
In Vitro Fertilization Acupuncture Research
- Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy - Wolfgang E. Paulus, M.D., Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut. Mingmin Zhang, M.D., Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical University, Wuhan, People’s Republic of China. Erwin Strehler, M.D., Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut. Imam El-Danasouri, Ph.D., Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut. and Karl Sterzik, M.D. Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut
- Acupuncture Treatment For Infertile Women Undergoing Intracytoplasmic Sperm injection - Sandra L. Emmons, MD, Phillip Patton, MD
- Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial - Lars G. Westergaard, M.D., Ph.D., Qunhui Mao, M.D., Marianne Krogslund, Steen Sandrini, Suzan Lenz, M.D., Ph.D., and Jørgen Grinsted, M.D., Ph.D.
- Influence of acupuncture stimulation on pregnancy rates for women undergoing embryo transfer - Caroline Smith, Ph.D., Meaghan Coyle, B.Hlth.Sc. (Acup.), and Robert J. Norman, M.D.
- Effect of acupuncture on the outcome of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study - Stefan Dieterle, M.D., Gao Ying, M.D., Wolfgang Hatzmann, M.D., and Andreas Neuer, M.D.
- The Infertility Cure by Randine Lewis, P.HD.
- Inconceivable by Julia Indichova
- Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford
Our Team. The PFC Acupuncture Group is brought to you by Integrative Conception. We are an inspired and dedicated group of acupuncturists who specialize in reproductive medicine. We have advanced training and a wide knowledge base of western medicine to best complement your treatment choices.
We are members of American Society for Reproductive Medicine, American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine, RESOLVE and California State Oriental Medical Association. We are nationally and locally licensed and active in ongoing education and research in the field of reproductive health.
Tiffinie McEntire Tang, M.S., L.Ac.,
Tiffinie McEntire Tang is a California State Board licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist; she is also a co-founder of the Integrative Conception, the acupuncture group at Pacific Fertility Center. Receiving her Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, Tiffinie dove right into private practice, focusing primarily on women’s health care and wellness. Her approach to healing is one that is holistic, incorporating, not only acupuncture and herbs, but nutritional enhancements to her patients. She also encourages her patients to find creative ways to incorporate exercise, meditation, and overall mindfulness into their daily lives to give way to a more stress free life.
Tiffinie’s undergraduate education includes a BA in English Literature and holistic health from San Francisco State University. She has also worked in the high stress worlds of journalism and finance, which has proved to create a deeper understanding of needs of her urban patients. With regard to Chinese medicine and your experience, she has also been fortunate to have studied and interned with some prominent practitioners of Chinese medicine in the Bay Area who focus primarily on fertility. In addition, she continues to increase her knowledge of women’s health, reproductive medicine, and gynecology. Overall, Tiffinie encourages her patients to keep learning, too, in an effort to empower them to optimize their healing experiences and lives.
Sara Stieg, M.S., L.Ac., FABORM,
Sara Stieg, M.S., L.Ac., holds a Masters of Science degree from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She was first introduced to acupuncture as a student at UC Santa Cruz where she earned a Bachelors degree in psychology. After experiencing great success using Chinese medicine to treat her own health issues, she continued to graduate studies in Traditional Chinese Medicine so that she could share its benefits with others. Sara has been fortunate to intern under several prominent Chinese doctors during her career, and has continued increasing her knowledge in the field of gynecology and reproductive medicine. She has a strong belief in the value of integrated medicine and collaborates with doctors to maintain continuity of care. Sara believes strongly in keeping her patients informed and educated so they can be active participants in achieving optimal health.
Sara is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the California State Oriental Medicine Association, and she is a Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (FABORM).
She keeps her own balance by spending time with her husband, and her two kids. She loves exploring local hikes and beaches, heading to yoga for a little alone time, and traveling whenever possible.
Denise Mailloux Bowden, M.S., L.Ac.,
Denise Mailloux Bowden, M.S., L.Ac. is a California State Board licensed acupuncturist and clinical herbalist with a Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Since she began her private practice, Denise has focused primarily on women’s health and reproductive medicine and sees patients for fertility, pregnancy and postpartum support. Her work stems from a deep desire to help people overcome physical as well as emotional challenges to improve their health and optimize fertility. To that end, she assesses patients holistically by taking a detailed history, evaluating diet and lifestyle, and customizing each client’s care.
Denise earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Colby College in Maine. Upon graduating, Denise became a Research Associate at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) for the Department of Medicine. At UCSF, she worked with doctors and TCM practitioners to develop and conduct clinical trials to assess the efficacy or Chinese herbs. Denise credits her background in psychology, her experience in the biomedical field and research approaches for helping to shape and influence her work as a clinician.
Anne Cabrinha, M.S., L.Ac.,
Anne Cabrinha, M.S., L.Ac. received her Bachelor’s degree from UCLA and then her Master’s from Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine in Santa Monica, California.
Anne’s particular interest in women’s health led her to Jane Lyttleton, author of "Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine," in Sydney, Australia, where she studied the integration of IVF with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Locally, Anne has worked with Dr. Lifang Liang, author of "Acupuncture and IVF," in San Francisco. She is a Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Medicine (ABORM).
Outside of the clinic, Anne is learning how to play the piano for a salsa ensemble.
Nicole Withrow, M.S., L.Ac.,
Nicole Withrow, M.S., L.Ac. combines the best of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) with experience in the western sciences to formulate a unique and caring style of acupuncture that is based on ancient tradition and the best of modern science. She received her TCM post-graduate degree from Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine and a BA degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona. She has practiced at UCLA, The LA Free Clinic, Anne Arundle Medical Center, and has done an intensive hospital rotation in Beijing, China. Her passion is research and she is currently conducting a clinical study at Pacific Fertility Center investigating the effects of using acupuncture in conjunction with IVF.
Ms. Withrow practices at Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco and has a private practice in Marin County, where she specializes in fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum cases. She is a fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (ABORM).
Bethany Richardson, L.Ac., FABORM,
Bethany Richardson has shaped a long-standing interest in natural health into a focused, integrated approach, utilizing traditional Chinese medicine, nutrition, and the diagnostic tools of western-based Functional Medicine.
Bethany’s diverse educational background includes a BA in Latin American Studies, minors in Art History and Business, and an MS in Oriental Medicine from Meiji College of Oriental Medicine. Her certification by the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (ABORM), as well as the Functional Medicine Institute (FMI), offers her a developed perspective on the physiological imbalances that can lead to infertility. She is a board member and treasure of the American Board of Oriental Medicine. Her professional associations include RESOLVE, American Society of Reproductive Medicine and the Endometriosis Association.
Learning is a journey, and as such, Bethany continues to enthusiastically expand her working body of knowledge regarding women’s health and infertility. She is happiest when soaking in any of Northern California’s natural hot springs, or when hunting for sublime Indian food in the Bay Area.
Marnie R. McCurdy, L.Ac., FABORM
Marnie McCurdy, M.S., L.Ac., is a California licensed practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a nationally certified acupuncturist and herbalist. Marnie earned her master’s degree in science at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco in 2002. She is a fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine and a member of Norcal Fertility Group. In addition, she spent her internship in Hangzhou Province, China working in several hospital settings with a focus on gynecology and pain management. In the field of reproductive medicine, she has completed many hours of additional specialized training, a two year internship with a prominent fertility specialist, and now has several years of clinical practice.
In addition to treating fertility in her private practice, she enjoys caring for women throughout their pregnancies. Marnie draws inspiration and joy from working in the field of obstetrics, sharing her experiences of how effective acupuncture can be in working with some of the common conditions that arise in the course of pregnancy. Marnie is pleased to be able to integrate Chinese Medicine with her earlier training as a birth doula. When she is available she can assist in labors, and especially enjoys tending to new moms in those special first weeks postpartum in the comfort of her home.
Rachel Schneyer, M.S., L.Ac, D.OM, FABORM
Rachel Schneyer is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist in the State of California. She is also a National Diplomat of Oriental Medicine specializing in Endocrinology, Women’s health and Fertility. She received her BA in Biology from Mills College in Oakland, California, and a four year Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Five Branches Institute in Santa Cruz, California. While in graduate school, Rachel completed a two-year apprenticeship in Nutrition and Functional medicine.
Rachel also studied at two renowned Chinese Universities in Hangzhou and Chengdu. There, she followed courses on the treatment of Diabetes and blood sugar regulation using Chinese Medicine. She also sought training in gynecology. This training has been a capstone in establishing her clinical specialty. She now lectures locally at NASA Ames Research Center on aspects of the endocrine system, women’s health and the future of medicine. A clinical expert in the treatment of infertility and endocrine disturbance, she is compelled by clinical treatment of multi-factoral disorders like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
The "Integrative Medicine" Rachel employs draws from various areas: Chinese Medicinal theory, Nutritional medicine and Functional lab assessment. She offers functional testing where it can inform deeper insight for clinical care. She routinely teams with medical doctors to develop integrative treatment plans and interpret conventional lab data from the holistic care perspective.
Rachel has worked in various capacities clinically. She began her clinical work sharing a holistic practice with one of her mentors, David Anzaluda, M.D. (Family Practice). She now runs her own clinics, one in Mountain View, CA and a second in San Francisco, CA. She serves on faculty at Five Branches University, the Chinese medical school in San Jose, CA. She is a founding member of the program for Clinical Excellence in Fertility organized by Dr. Randine Lewis. Rachel is also a member of NorCal Fertility, a collaborative group of acupuncturists specializing in Reproductive Medicine. She is honored to work with couples toward their objective of becoming parents.
Ashley Callen, M.S., L.Ac.
Ashley Callen is a California State Board licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist. She holds a Master’s of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine, specializing in Women’s Health and has received advanced training in the areas of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Her post-graduate experience includes treating patients with menstrual pain and irregularity, pelvic inflammatory disease, interstitial cystitis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, women undergoing fertility treatment, as well as women in all stages of pregnancy.
Ashley believes acupuncture is an important adjunct to fertility treatment because it activates the body’s parasympathetic or "peaceful" nervous system, which cultivates relaxation by slowing the heart rate, mildly decreasing blood pressure and increasing the release of endorphins - making you feel calmer and happier. Adding acupuncture to your integrative treatment benefits fertility while allowing you a precious slice of time to wind down.
Education, Licensing, and Certification: Master of Science: Traditional Chinese Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, Certified Massage Therapist, Certified Neuromuscular Therapist, Bachelor of Arts: Psychology
Kate McCarthy, M.S.
Kate is a gifted Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist with her Masters in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She is a graduate of The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Kate practices with joy that is rooted in empathy, connection and her own experience of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, as an in-depth healing art. She is a certified massage therapist, trained in a wide range of styles including Swedish, Shiatsu, Tui-Na and is a Reiki Master.
Kate specializes in women’s health, fertility for women, men and lesbian couples seeking assistance in enhancing fertility and achieving pregnancy. As well as, supporting healthy pregnancies and post-partum health. She also treats many other conditions.
Kate has a thriving private practice in Albany, CA and treats patients from throughout the Bay Area. Her commitment is to co-create health and well being with her patients. Kate incorporates much hands-on work to her acupuncture practice and her soul soothing touch reaches her clients physically, mentally and emotionally.
Qualifications: Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Certified Massage Therapist, Licensed by the California Acupuncture Board, Diplomate of NACCAOM and Member of CSOMA
Liz Carlson, M.S., L.Ac.
Liz Carlson is a California licensed acupuncturist and board certified Chinese herbalist. After five wonderful years of running Clarity Point Healthcare in New York City, Liz is thrilled to have made the cross country move and fulfill her dream to do some West coast living. After graduating from Bowdoin College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, Liz pursued her Master’s of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at the New England School of Acupuncture, the oldest college of Oriental Medicine in the United States.
Liz focuses specifically on Women’s health and fertility and has extensive experience supporting women through all stages of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. She embodies a true passion for the art and science of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Liz will help you feel supported and cared for yet inspired and empowered to achieve your health goals, whatever they may be.
Monet Sexauer, L.Ac, Dipl OM (NCCAOM), BS.
Monet has a Master’s in Traditional Chinese Medicine/ MTCM from Five Branches University. Additionally, she has a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences from the University of South Florida and Extended Study in Biochemistry from Bryn Mawr College. She is currently a candidate for the Certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy from the Tamalpa Institute. She has also completed her Advanced Study in Five Elements Acupuncture from Tai Sophia Institute.
Monet has been a practitioner of Acupuncture, Herbalism and TCM modalities at private practices for several years. She has taught several workshops at the Omega Institute and Gaian Mind.
She is currently a member of the San Francisco Doula Group, California State Oriental Medical Association (CSOMA), American Acupuncture Council (AAC), and the National Certifying Commission (NCCAOM).
Shirliey Fung, M.S., L.Ac
Shirliey Fung is a licensed acupuncturist in California and certified in Maya Abdominal Therapy. She graduated in 2006 from the Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine a Master’s in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina.
Shirliey’s practice focuses on women’s health and fertility. Her personalized treatments help women and men achieve their fertility goals through acupuncture, herbs, Maya Abdominal Massage, diet, and lifestyle support. Shirliey’s goal is to assist each patient with his or her individual fertility journey, supporting both emotional and physical health along the way.
Shirliey, her husband, and her two dogs recently moved to the Bay Area from Seattle. She enjoys yoga, walking the dogs, cooking, and reading and writing.