Wednesday, March 31

A new poem...For My Son

Can I write about a boy whose blood surges through my veins
whose heart pumps in my chest as a ferocious wind

May I write about a young man whose blue eyes pierce through darkness and
spread gold on shadows and transforms sins of the world – is this not profound?

I’d like to write about my son who makes my breath shallow and makes my heart pound

I must have his spirit close like a good suit of clothes and a handsome vest

I must write about the gift of joy that I receive every minute from my son, my very, very best

But write I cannot as the desk I sit at is splintering under the weight of my love

Sunday, March 28

Buddhism & Albert Einstein

"The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sence arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description.
...If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism."

-Albert Einstein

Saturday, March 27

Reproductive Medicine & Herbal Medicine

Your reproductive endocrinologist will not want you to take herbs when you are trying to conceive.

This speaks well of your reproductive endocrinologist because he or she doesn't know anything about herbs and therefore is afraid that they may be harmful to you or to your cycle. He or she has your best interest in mind; they are trying to protect you.

As I am sure that you are aware, there are many acupuncturists/herbalists who don't want you to take Western reproductive medicine. This speaks well of your acupuncturist/herbalist because he or she doesn't know anything about Western medicine and therefore is afraid that they may be harmful to you or to your cycle. He or she has your best interest in mind; they are trying to protect you.

"What we think we know prevents us from learning."

Western reproductive medicine when prescribed by a trained expert is completely safe. I am not aware of any deaths occurring as a result of taking reproductive medicine nor am I aware of an increase in cancer risk when using reproductive medicine within the appropriate guide-lines.

Herbal medicine when prescribed by a trained expert is completely safe. I am not aware of any deaths occurring as a result of taking herbal medicine nor am I aware of an increase in cancer risk when using herbal medicine within the appropriate guide-lines.

Reproductive endocrinologists are experts in a field of medicin, the aim of which is to assist infertile couples to start or grow their families.

Acupuncturists/herbalist who specialize in the treatment of complementary reproductive medicine are experts in a field of medicine, the aim of which is to assist infertile couples to start or grow their families.

"What we think we know prevents us from learning." What reproductive endocrinologists think they know is that herbs are not safe. It is this closed-minded ignornace that keeps them from learning the truth which is that herbal medicine has been used for more than 2500 years to help infertile patients start or grow their families.

"What we think we know prevents us from learning." What acupuncturists/herbalists think they know is that Western reproductive medicine is not safe. It is this closed-minded ignornace that keeps them from learning the truth which is that Western reproductive medicine since it's inception has been responsible for the birth of approximately three million babies.

What reproductive endocrinologists and acupuncturists/herbalists who specilize in complementary reproductive medicine need to learn is that when any medicine is provided to a patient by an expert in their field that expert should be respected and trusted unless there is a reason not to.

What reproductive endocrinologists and acupuncturists/herbalist who specilize in complementary reproductive medicine need to learn is that by combining both modalities of intervention outcomes are improved and patient satisfaction is met or exceeded.

If you are interested in seeking treatment from an acupuncturist/herbalist who has advanced training in complementary reproductive medicine please visit

This way you will know that you are being cared for by an expert in the field of complementary reproductive medicine.

Until the field of reproductive medicine embraces an East meets West approach to care, patients will not be as successful as they could be.

I propose to acupuncturists/herbalists who specialize in complementary reproductive medicine that you try and learn as much as you can about Western reproductive medicine so your ignorance will be destroyed by the light that comes from the acquisition of knowledge.

I propose to reproductive endocrinologists that you try and learn as much as you can about herbal medicine so your ignorance will be destroyed by the light that comes from the acquisition of knowledge.

We all seek the same thing: to help infertile couples start or grow their families.

It is through potentiating the power of our respective modalities of intervention that service to our respective patients will be improved.

Potentiation may be achieved by working together as a team.

Let's leave our egos where they belong: in the void; lets join forces so that together we can facilitate improved outcomes and more effectively serve our patients.

Friday, March 26

A new poem...'Blues'

alone. blues biting at my bones
cold and hard and taking me for all I’m for
i wipe the blues to the dusty floor
whole now and stronger too
present and fully accounted for
in transition from blue to renew
free again. and reborn too

Mike Berkley

Thursday, March 25

New Protocols for Pregnant Patients

You’re Pregnant. Congratulations! Now What?

I have developed three separate protocols for women who are pregnant.

The first thing to be aware of is that any pregnant patient is always at risk for miscarriage.

The Miscarriage Prevention Protocol
I treat my pregnant patients’ twice weekly with acupuncture. Additionally, I prescribe special miscarriage prevention herbs. You are under my care for thirteen weeks. The reasoning behind this is statistically sound: 90% of miscarriages occur within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The use of acupuncture and herbal medicine assists in preventing miscarriage that is not due to chromosomal anomalies. One reason for miscarriage other than aneuploidy (chromosomal problems), is lack of blood flow to the embryo and then, later on, to the placenta. Acupuncture and herbal medicine addresses this issue by stimulating blood flow first to the embryo, and then, later on, to the placenta, ensuring proper delivery of oxygen and nutrition to the developing fetus.

Another reason for miscarriage is that sometimes the body attacks the embryo or the placenta. This occurs when women have certain types of autoimmune disorders. As acupuncture and herbal medicine are frequently able to regulate immune function, these women’s pregnancies are often saved due to the inclusion of acupuncture and herbs.

The Healthy Mom/Healthy Baby Protocol
Under this method of care you are treated throughout your entire pregnancy at the frequency of once weekly and you will also take herbs. The purpose of this protocol is to help maintain your health during pregnancy and to assist in avoidance of possible complications such as pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, gestational diabetes, hyperemesis gravidarum (severe vomiting), etc. Further, the acupuncture and herbal medicine will serve to deliver more blood and more oxygen to your growing baby helping to ensure a beautiful, healthy and well developed child.

The Recovery Protocol
Post partum bleeding, swelling (edema) sweating, lack of energy, depression, weight gain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and lower back pain are not uncommon after delivery.

Through the proper use of acupuncture and herbal medicine, relief may frequently be found for these issues. I typically treat post-partum patients with any of these complaints for a period of two to four months at the frequency of two treatments per week.

Thursday, March 11

IVF & Acupuncture -repsonse to new challenge to efficacy

It's a Meta Analysis of already published RCT's on Acupuncture/IVF. I'm sure that it includes the "usual suspects", i.e. the same RCT's or at lest most of the ones, that have been looked at in the previous Meta Analysis, i.e. Mannheimer, etc. What's curious of course, is how different PI's can look at the same RCT's for Meta Analysis, and come out of the number crunching with vastly different conclusions.

This has to do with the fact that the strength of any given Meta Analysis relates to the homogeneity of the RCT's looked at within it. Because the published RCT's in Acupuncture and IVF are not very homogeneous in terms of their inclusion criteria, exclusion criteria, controls, STRICTA guidelines, etc., it is very difficult to say for sure whether or not their is a positive, negative, or no effect from Acupuncture in IVF patients. Even Professor Adam Balen (co-author of one of the ABORM Reference Texts (Balen and Jacobs) noted, " patients needed to be aware of the lack of evidence on acupuncture and herbs before signing up to a course of treatment.There was a a great deal of discrepancy, he added, in the way in which the trials were designed and the type of acupuncture used".

Dr. Balen goes on to say, "Any future randomised controlled trials in this area need to ensure that they use a standardised acupuncture method, have a large sample size and include adequate controls to account for any placebo effects".

Therein lies the "rub". Acupuncture is notoriously difficult to control or blind for, and both placebo acupuncture (fake acupuncture needles in real acupoints), and sham acupuncture (real acupuncture needles in "sham" off-channel points) are undoubtedly not inert controls, and therefore the outcomes are muddy.

Perhaps the greatest insight - and one that might point a motivation for this Meta Analysis - was the quote, "But this sometimes comes at a cost which could buy a couple a further cycle of IVF"

Let's face it, there is increasing competition among REI's for patients as the field has increased in number, so any non-conventional therapy or treatment that might compete with that revenue source is going to put under the microscope.

Ray Rubio, DAOM, L. Ac. (FABORM)
Reproductive Medicine Department Chair/Yo San University DAOM Program

Westlake Complementary Medicine
910 Hampshire Road, Suite A
Westlake Village, CA 91361
Phone: (805) 497-1335
FAX: (805) 497-1336

Wednesday, March 10

New Study 'Acupuncture Fails to Improve IVF Outcomes'

Acupuncture has been used to treat infertility for three thousand years usually in conjunction with herbal medicine.

The current study done in the U.K. which states that the studies found no efficacy in helping couples conceive with the addition of acupuncture contradicts a previous study reported by The British Medical Journal. The synopsis of the study follows.

"February 8, 2008

Vittorio Hernandez - AHN News Writer

London, England (AHN) - Seven scientific trials among 1,366 women of different ages who found it difficult to conceive showed that having acupuncture at the same time the embryo was placed inside the womb during an in vitro fertilization procedure more than doubles the chance of the woman becoming pregnant.

The study was made by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the VU University Amsterdam. It compared results of women who underwent acupuncture, those who were given fake needle treatments and those who had no extra therapy.

Those who received acupuncture increased their chances of conceiving by 65 percent, the study said. The British Medical Journal published the result of the medical breakthrough Friday.

While the study did not clearly explain how acupuncture aids fertility, experts theorized it could possibly be the relaxing effect of acupuncture on the IVF procedure, considered extremely stressful.

Compared with repeated fertility treatment cycles which costs $7,785 (4,000 pound) per cycle in Britain, the acupuncture therapy is easier on the pocket.

One percent of births in the U.K. or 11,000 babies out of 32,000 IVF procedures are born every year in the U.K. The findings will be particularly significant for many western nations grappling with dwindling populations."

I have questions as to the new and negative study:
1. Was the acupuncture performed by experts in the field of acupuncture and infertility? This is as important as being treated by a physician who is an expert in the treatment of infertility, i.e., a reproductive endocrinologist, not a generalist.
2. How long was the acupuncture performed pre embryo transfer and at what frequency? Through treating thousands of patients over a span of thirteen years I have found that treating twice weekly for three months prior to IVF ET and twice weekly for 13 weeks post IVF ET is the efficacious protocol.

From my own experience I can share that I have treated thousands of infertile couples, hundreds of whom conceived while under my care but were unsuccessful without it. I have also had many failed cases. This type of outcome is not dissimilar to that of the typical reproductive endocrinologist.

IVF Et fails 65% to 70% of the time. Many of the ‘failed cases’ go on to conceive on their own without assisted reproductive medicine proving that there is more to a successful conception than that which is solely provided by A.R.T. alone.

I urge the readers not to have a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction to this recent bad press and think logically about the points that I have elucidated in this article.

The other thing that I’d like to state is that herbal medicine is the medicine which most reproductive endocrinologists tell their patients not to use. Most of my patients use a combination of acupuncture and herbs while under my care and they have successful outcomes frequently. This is not an indication that acupuncture alone won’t help; it obviously does. Want proof? Simply ask the thousands of patients who have conceived with the implementation of acupuncture who did not conceive prior to its use.

My point about the herbs is that without them it is similar to having a reproductive endocrinologist do an IVF ET with a patient using clomid only. Yes; there would be positive outcomes but not nearly as many as would have occurred had the reproductive endocrinologist been allowed to utilize all the tools at her or his disposal.

The use of acupuncture and herbal medicine for fertility treatment has been extant for thousands of years; the first in vitro fertilization techniques occurred in the U.K. in the 1970’s.

There are many Chinese medical books written on the subject. In China today many infertile patients use both Western and Chinese medicine together when treating for infertility and most other disorders. This is typically recommended by the Chinese medical doctor handling the case.

Here is another question which I frequently ponder: the doctor states that the patient has beautiful blastocysts and a perfect lining. The patient does not conceive and the doctor then states “I just don’t understand it.” This speaks to the fact that much of infertility is a mystery and many interventions which are successful are also quite mysterious. For example, there are probably ultra- structural defects in sperm and/or egg which are currently beyond the scope of available diagnostic tools. These defects render the “beautiful blastocyst” not, in fact, not so beautiful.

Perhaps when acupuncture or acupuncture and herbs are included in the protocol, and success manifests it is because the Chinese medicine is addressing these ultra structural defects which Western medicine cannot.

Contrary to this single study, there are many studies all over the internet which attest to the efficacy of acupuncture in the arena of increasing take home babies.

I would also like to say that ALL IVF business is down through the United States because of changing demographics and due to a poor economy. I am wondering if the individuals who were involved in putting this study together might have some financial motives in mind by ‘steering’ more money to their practices. I say this with caution as the reproductive endocrinologists whom I know are all men and women of the highest integrity. But, at the end of the day, IVF is a business.

I always tell my patients to use all legitimate materials they have at their disposal to increase the odds of a successful outcome. These tools include dietary changes, exercise, meditation, acupuncture, herbs, and IUI or IVF when appropriate. I caution those who are willing to give up tools with a history of success in creating families.

Mike Berkley, L.Ac., FABORM
Founder and Director, The Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness

Monday, March 8

Cigarette Smoking Contributes to Infertility and Miscarriage

Cigarette Smoking linked to Infertility and Miscarriage

Reproductive cells are vulnerable to genetic damage from smoking, but can be repaired.

In ejaculated spermatozoa, repair capacity declines drastically. This means that that repair is necessary at the time sperm is growing and developing in the testicles.

Smoking leads to chromosome errors which affect reproductive outcomes.
Smoking is associated with reduced numbers of eggs leading to early menopause.

Smoking inhibits embryo fragmentation; inhibition may confer survival advantage to embryos genetically altered. This can lead to pregnancy with impending miscarriage, or children born with cancer or born with genetic defects.

Smoking is associated with low sperm quality. Cadmium (a heavy metal), nicotine (a toxic alkaloid), and its metabolite cotinine, are detectable in testicular and ovarian tissue tissues and fluids in association with smoking. Cotinine incorporates into ovarian granulosa–lutein cells, compromising the developmental potential of follicles. Benzo[a]pyrene is a carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon resulting from cigarette combustion.

Smoking-related cellular products were detectable in ovarian granulosa–lutein cells, eggs, sperm and embryos. Transmission of altered DNA from smoking by sperm was demonstrated in embryos and in association with increased risk of childhood cancer.

We know that cigarette smoking stems in part from anxiety. The satisfaction derived from cigarette smoking is complicated and manifold but nonetheless stems from the need to reduce anxiety.

In 1999, clinical researchers reported that inserting acupuncture needles into specific body points triggers the production of endorphins. In another study, higher levels of endorphins were found in cerebrospinal fluid after patients underwent acupuncture. Endorphins have been shown to reduce anxiety.

Based upon my clinical experience, acupuncture can aid in the cessation of cigarette smoking and thereby serve two purposes: 1) improve the health of the individual and, 2) improve the quality of egg and/or sperm and increase pregnancy outcomes and reduce miscarriage rates as well as aid in the health of the newborn.

If you and your partner are trying to conceive, the cessation of cigarette smoking is of the utmost importance.

At the Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness, a leading fertility center in New York City, we have devised a protocol which confers an approximate 50% cure to cigarette smoking without drugs, nicotine, or other chemicals.