“Truly, even had I not got pregnant I would have been grateful that I’d gone for the acupuncture. It’s set my thinking along a different course.” Anna (43)
"The secret to more energy, balance and positivity"
"Writer Juliet Davey talks to 5 Element Acupuncturist Michael Arnold on how to renew your energy through connecting to seasonal change."
Read this article.
Secrets, Lies and Fertility
Over the last 15 years I’ve spent a lot of time listening to the stories of couples going through infertility.
The one thing that’s really struck me recently is the shame and secrecy that still surrounds infertility.
I’m talking about the feelings many people feel but rarely dare to admit. A big one is the feeling of inadequacy.
“Will I be enough, if I don’t have a baby?”
The media is plastered with images of “successful” women, who “have it all” – The perfect job, the perfect husband, and two perfect children.
As one of my patient’s, Katie, said:
“You question your marriage, you question yourself as a woman. ‘Am I am ever going to be a mum?”
You can hear Katie talking more about her journey in the video below:
A few months ago a patient told me that every time she saw a woman on the tube with a “Baby on Board” badge she felt an uncontrollable anger.
“I want to be pleased for her” she said “but I just have this urge to go up to her and say “Well good for you! Aren’t you clever?”
“Does that make me a bad person?”
“No, not at all.” I said “In fact it makes you very normal.”
You see the truth is most of the woman I treat have these kinds of feeling of resentment all the time.
Free email series: “Secrets, Lies and Fertility”
- Have you ever had pangs of guilt after you learned a friend was pregnant and your first reaction was one of jealousy and “Why not me?”
- Did you know the statistic that your fertility suddenly drops at age 35 is actually based on data that is over 100 years old?
- The IVF industry would like you to believe that there's nothing you can do to increase your fertility naturally.
Enter your name and email address below to receive the free email series "Secrets, Lies and Fertility”. This is the same information I use to help my patients.
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Research shows how acupuncture affects the brain and reduces cortisol levels
Hi my name’s Michael Arnold. When I was studying Neuroscience at UCL I did my third year dissertation on acupuncture research. I found several studies that looked at the changes in brain chemistry when people and animals have acupuncture. This is particularly interesting when you look at animals because they are not susceptible to placebo.
Here's a link to an article from Time Magazine that shows how acupuncture affects the brain:
And here's a link to research that shows how the stress hormone, cortisol, significantly reduces IVF success. (Source: American National Library of Medicine.):
I remember going for my first Five Element acupuncture session 21 years ago.
My best friend had just died. I was desperately trying to suppress the feeling of enormous grief. But the feelings had to go somewhere, and they came out as dreadful insomnia. I was feeling awful. But on the surface I was still putting on a brave face.
The acupuncturist I saw was very skilled at putting me at ease. He gave me the space to talk about what was really on my mind. For the first time I was able to start to admit the depth of the emptiness I was feeling. I felt the pressure of holding it all in start to lift. Even before he did any treatment. He helped to shed light on my feelings and let me know that they were ok. I was normal for feeling confused and upset.
We're conditioned from a young age that we have to "be strong" and "keep it all together". However, suppression of emotions has been shown scientifically to have harmful effects on the body, such as weakening the immune system, increasing blood pressure and disrupting hormone balance.
NEUROSCIENCE BASED APPROACH
As well as 18 years experience in Five Element Acupuncture I hold a degree in Neuroscience from UCL. I have found that there is one area that is consistently overlooked by other fertility professionals. Namely, how your brain sends “pregnancy lockdown” signals to your body and how it will continue to do so unless you address this problem.
During periods of physical or mental stress, the brain causes the body to release cortisol. Increased cortisol levels has been shown to inhibit the burst of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which triggers ovulation. This means that if you are stressed for an extended period of time you may not ovulate every month.
Overproduction of Cortisol due to stress can also leads to increased levels of estrogen. Elevated estrogen is a major cause of symptoms such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Endometriosis and recurrent miscarriage. Cortisol also inhibits Testosterone. In men it is testosterone that stimulates the production of healthy sperm. So reduced testosterone can have huge consequences on sperm count and quality.
To summarise: Research shows the the release of the stress hormone cortisol, upsets the balance of your fertility hormones and can dramatically reduce your fertility.
Neuroscience of Fertility Seminar
In this video clip I describe how your brain sends messages to your body that can block you from having a baby.
“Several months of trying to conceive passed but no joy…. frustration set in, stress levels rose. I was finding it difficult to cope.”
Does this sound familiar? Many doctors will acknowledge the effects of stress on fertility but they don’t have any answers for it. They’ll most likely say something like “Just go home and relax”.
The link between increased stress and reduced fertility has been established scientifically, as this article shows:
“Stress could double chance of infertility after year of trying, study find”
However how do we use this information to help boost fertility? Its all very well saying you need to relax but if it were that easy you probably wouldn't be reading this right now.
"I consider myself very luck to have conceived after 3 months of acupuncture treatment”
“I was able to enjoy my life through an entirely new perspective. One really important thing I managed to do was to SLOW DOWN in all aspects of my life, and just let go. My sisters noticed a massive change in my personality and were very pleased for me. I consider myself very lucky to have conceived after 3 months of acupuncture treatment,”
- Amrit Kaur, personal trainer - www.amrittandt.co.uk
"Neuroscientific Fertility Treatment Helps Patients Conceive Naturally."
"The natural method has success rates of up to 77 per cent"
"The new treatment focuses on removing mental blockages that prevent pregnancy and reducing the stress hormone cortisol, which can also impede conception."
Read this article
Note: The Daily Mail Article says we can help any couple. This is not accurate. We asses everyone on a case by case basis.
"Michael Arnold is my choice. His roots are based in Traditional Science."
"Michael Arnold is my choice. His roots are based in traditional science. He studied Neuroscience at University College London. Like myself he discovered effective alternatives to traditional methods. Michael shares my devotion to cure the root cause of a complaint and not just treat the symptom".
- Yvonne Bishop-Weston, Natural Health Magazine
Read this article
"I had been told it might be difficult due to my polycystic ovaries. Within two sessions I fell pregnant."
"I had used Michael over the years mainly for stress and always had good results. My partner and I had been trying to conceive for around nine months when I decided that I should try acupuncture again. Within two sessions I fell pregnant. I do believe it unblocked something and also helped me feel very relaxed so the combination made the right environment. I had been told it might be difficult due to my polycystic ovaries.
I went to Michael for acupuncture almost every month during my pregnancy especially for back pain. In one session I felt the energy run up my back which was amazing. During the last six weeks of my pregnancy I had no back pain at all amazing! I even wanted to use acupuncture during labour as pain relief. But our Daughter didn't want to wait and arrived perfectly at week 39.
- Lisa McAlinden, Fashion designer
"Having our two boys is nothing short of miraculous"
"When I first visited you we had been trying to start a family for a few years with a number of early pregnancy losses. I came to the clinic as a last resort so we could feel that we had done everything we could before moving on (we had decided that we weren't interested in IVF). I was very sceptical that it would work. Within a week of starting acupuncture I felt much more energetic, motivated and on an even keel emotionally. A few weeks later and I found out I was pregnant. I continued with acupuncture throughout my pregnancy and had a very easy pregnancy, and a normal birth. We had a healthy baby boy.
Over the next three or so years we tried to add to our family, however we lost more babies early. We happened to be back in London for a few months and so I got in touch with Michael. "No pressure", I said, "but we'd love to have another baby. You've got five months!" Again I became pregnant within a matter of weeks and had another completely straightforward pregnancy. We now have two gorgeous healthy boys who are flourishing. We are so grateful to Michael for his help and expertise in enabling us to complete our family. Words really can't express how thankful we are and we feel that having these boys is nothing short of miraculous.”
- Pam Aldersley
Can this work for you?
To be totally honest, I have no idea. I don’t know your unique situation and I don’t know how committed you are to maximising your physical mental and emotional health.
To find out if what we do can help you I offer a free half hour consultation at my clinic in Primrose Hill, London NW1.
This allows me to find out about what’s holding you back and what’s realistic for your situation. From my background in Neuroscience, Five Element Acupuncture and 15 years experience working with infertility I can often see things your doctor might have missed. Like precisely how your cortisol levels and life situation are affecting your fertility hormones
I am very fortunate to work with some amazingly committed and inspiring patients.
This is not for you if you want a quick fix where someone else does all the work for you.
This might be for you if you’re ready to do what it takes to optimise your physical, mental and spiritual health and maximise your fertility.
To book your free consultation (in Primrose Hill, London NW1) just email Dee, our office manager at:
or call 02071180920
You can also book a free consultation with me here:
Note: You will need to pay a deposit of £50 to secure your free consultation.
This will be refunded in full if you do not have treatment. If you do start a course of treatment, the deposit will count towards the payment for your first treatment.
Whether it's a good fit or not, you'll leave with new insights into what's holding you back in your life and your fertility.
Career Woman, Family Woman, Superwoman
Being a woman in your 30’s and early 40’s is no easy task. You’re trying to make it in your career - arriving at work early and leaving late, and probably earning less than your male colleagues (income equality? what’s that?).
You’re also trying to start a family, without letting on to your boss that you’re going to be going on maternity leave sometime soon. Yes feminism may have made a start but there is still a long way to go in today’s workplace.
Your parter wants a child too and he does his best to be supportive. “Don’t worry. Just try and relax. It’ll happen.” He’s well meaning but he can’t really understand it when you’re period comes again and you sob with frustration and anguish. He’s doing his best but his mind works in a practical, rational manner. He wants to solve the problem but he doesn’t realise that at that moment you just need to be heard and held.
If you’re a man reading this you may have noticed this frustration when you focus on practical solutions. I’ve had to learn the hard way that this is usually not the best way to help my partner when she’s upset.
I have a huge admiration and respect for the woman who come to my clinic. They are doing an incredible job of keeping it all together. Their relationship, their career, their huge desire to have a child that they can’t really talk to anyone about. The sense of isolation and the feeling that nobody really understands what they’re going through.
Imagine if being a great mother got you as much respect and admiration in our society as being a great footballer, or a film star. What greater gift is there to give to a child and yet what a thankless role. Yes society’s values are completely topsy turvy. As the saying goes: “Do not adjust your TV, there is a fault in reality.”
This is all very well you may be saying “but what can I do to help myself in this situation?” The bills still need to get paid and this baby’s not going to make itself. Well very often just to recognise that you are under a lot of conflicting pressures is the beginning of a new way of being.
Just to see that this is an extremely difficult situation and that you are doing the best you can. It’s so easy to give yourself a hard time. We do it all the time. “Oh well Suzanne is coping much better. I should be able to manage this.” The hard time that we give ourselves is actually a large part of the pressure we feel. Not to mention a huge cause of strain on the body.
When I was 18 my best friend James died. He was one of the best friends I've ever had.
I remember answering the phone that day. I heard James' girlfriend Mary say to me "Michael, I think you'd better sit down. I've got some bad news". I sat speechless as she told me how he had taken a taxi to Archway bridge and at 4am that morning, jumped off.
For at least a year I struggled to even take in what had happened. I was in shock. Inside I was pushing down the feelings of loss and grief. Like many people I believed in "negative emotions" and "positive emotions". On a subconscious level, I made a decision not to let myself feel these feelings of enormous sadness.
But the grief had to come out somehow. It started to manifest as insomnia. I'd wake at 5am every morning feeling exhausted but no longer able to sleep. Endless fatigue plagued me.
Then someone suggested something that would transform my whole experience.
It was actually my mother who suggested I try acupuncture for the insomnia. I didn't really know much about acupuncture but I thought "Well I guess it's worth a try". I probably would have tried anything just to cure this horrible insomnia.
On my first acupuncture session with Dave I remember leaving feeling somehow lighter and more alive. Was this real or just placebo? That night I got home and cried for James' death for the very first time.
Over the next 6 weeks my sleep started to return to normal. I started to feel like myself again. But there was a difference. I actually felt more alive and at peace than ever before. I realised that by avoiding "negative emotions" all my life, I had not only cut myself off from pain, but also from the full extent of the the joy and aliveness that is possible.
I remember Dave saying to me that sadness is ok. "It's when we push it away that problems arise."
I decided to do an experiment. One evening while sitting quietly I decided to allow myself to feel what was there. Not to push anything away. I started to feel a deep sadness well up inside me. I allowed it be. It was ok. This was a big surprise. Just sitting immersed in the sadness felt ok. Yes it was sad and painful but it was somehow alright. Suddenly my instinct to push it away kicked in and I was plunged into internal struggle and horrible suffering. Wow, so it was actually the pushing away that was causing the suffering. I once more allowed the feelings to be, and once more I was able to find a peace with them. Sadness yet peace. Simply by allowing.
This was the most profound learning of my life. What I thought all along was the cause of suffering was not the real cause. That I could "make friends" with my feelings and by doing so allow them to come and go.
You suffer. You have deep feelings of sadness and frustration. Maybe you feel like you have to "be strong and carry on". Most people probably have no idea what you're going through.
Try this for an experiment. Find a quite space to yourself, where you know you won't be disturbed. Just allow things to be. Exactly as they are. Whatever you're feeling right now, it’s ok.
See what happens when the urged to push the feelings away kicks in. The mind might say "Oh this is horrible, I can't take this feeling any more". These thoughts themselves may actually be the cause of suffering. Don't take the minds word for it. Test it out. Can you be at peace with how things are right now?
There is huge liberation in "allowing". This doesn't mean resignation. It means that things right now (the situation, how you're feeling) are a certain way. In this moment, they cannot be any other way. You can either resist this and create suffering or you can allow and find a peace.
You might at first find momentary glimpses of what I'm talking about. Gradually these glimpses will join up and form longer stretches.
This is quite possibly the most healing thing you can ever "do".