Integrated Wellness Fertility Program
RMACT. We are doing it. We are having our first event as an Integrated and Fertility Wellness Program (IFW). This event is open to the public and is limited to 8-10 people. Please register early as we expect that this event will be well attended. We are so excited, we hope you come join us and treat yourself to a gift for the new year.
Look for blogs to come describing more fully the programs being offered.
Mind-Body Workshop in CT
RMA of CT would like to invite you to a special one day offering of our Mind/Body Program. Our Integrated Fertility and Wellness (IFW) team is presenting this workshop to provide you with valuable tools to assist in reducing stress and increasing fertility.
This workshop includes presentations by:
• Our Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Melissa Kelleher, will discuss the link between stress and fertility. She has trained with world renowned psychologist, Ali Domar, on the Mind/Body program. She will present proven techniques to help reduce stress in your daily life.
• Our Licensed Acupuncturist, Amy Matton, will provide an overview and demonstrate the benefits of acupuncture
• Our Certified Yoga Instructor, Lisa Rosenthal, will lead you through Fertile Yoga and Guided Meditation
• Our Peer Counselor, Carrie Van Steen, will lead a “Mini” session of Ladies Night In
For further information and to enroll in this exciting workshop please contact
Carrie Van Steen at firstname.lastname@example.org
When: Sunday, January 12, 2013 from 12:00pm - 5:00pm
Where: 20 Glover Ave, Norwalk, CT
This group is limited to 12 participants.
Lunch will be served and materials will be distributed.
RSVP: please call 203-731-2520 ext. 289 or e-mail: email@example.com
Reduce Stress and Increase Fertility - Special Workshop
RMA of CT would like to invite you to a special one day offering of the Mind/Body Program. Our Integrated Fertility and Wellness team is presenting this workshop to provide you with valuable tools to assist in reducing stress and increasing fertility.
Integrated Fertility Wellness ~ Mind & Body Workshop
This fertility wellness Mind & Body Workshop includes presentations by:
*Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Melissa Kelleher, will discuss the link between stress and fertility. She has trained with world renowned psychologist, Ali Domar, on the Mind/Body program. She will present proven techniques to help reduce stress in your daily life.
*Licensed Acupuncturist, Amy Matton, will provide an overview and demonstrate the benefits of acupuncture.
*Lisa Rosenthal, our Yoga Instructor, will lead you through Fertile Yoga and Guided Meditation.
*Carrie Van Steen, our Peer Counselor, will lead a "Mini" session of Ladies Night In.
Date: Sunday, November 10, 2014, from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location: 20 Glover Avenue, Norwalk, CT
This group is limited to 12 participants.
Lunch will be served and materials will be distributed.
For further information and to enroll in this exciting workshop, please call Carrie Van Steen at (203) 815-3770 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
Affirmations for Health: A Positive Practice
You have the ability to replace thoughts or beliefs that you hold that may not be affirming or healthy.
Know that using positive affirmations may feel strange at first. These are suggestions. Perhaps there are other affirmations that you prefer.
As you become more used to repeating positive affirmations, you will feel calmed and soothed. That's part of what our Integrated Fertility & Wellness Program at RMACT is about. Trying each of our approaches--ranging from massage to acupuncture, nutrition to yoga, support groups and counseling--will help you figure out what works best for you. Here's one meditation and relaxation method to consider:
Ten Positive Affirmations to Try
- I hold myself up tall, with pride, for who I am in this moment: a beautiful, strong man or woman;
- I think well of myself and of my partner if I have one;
- I remember that I am a whole person, not an infertility diagnosis or a sperm count;
- I remind myself that I have value and worth, whether I am pregnant or not, whether I am a parent or not;
- I remind myself that I learn something about myself every day and that what I have learned about myself because of infertility is that I am strong and courageous. I know how much easier it would be to accept my infertility and remain childfree. I remind myself that I am brave enough to move forward and farther than I thought I could in my goal of becoming a parent;
- I remember the health and wellness that I enjoy in so many areas of my life;
- My gratitude towards the beautiful things that I enjoy in my life fill many moments;
- I know that when I become a parent I will hold it even closer to my heart because of my present experiences;
- I embrace my life as I am, knowing that my truest self is revealed through the hardship of this experience;
- I love myself--my body, my heart and my soul.
How to Use Affirmations
If you are creating or using your own affirmation, use it in the present tense, not the future tense. If you use it as a mantra, to repeat over and over again, let it warm you from the inside out. If it doesn't do that, try another one. And please share any affirmations that you like to use with us. I could always use a new one.
Here's a bonus, a long-time favorite of mine that my Fertile Yoga students are familiar with:
- I am beautiful, I am graceful, I am whole and complete.
Positive affirmations. Try one. Let me know what you think. And let me know if there's another affirmation that resonates with you.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
The Integrated Fertility and Wellness Team at RMACT
It's spring time, time for something new, to let something unfold. I'd like to introduce you to a remarkable team of women with whom I'm lucky enough to colloborate. If you have not met us, maybe that's a way to bring something new into your life. And please remember that on April 11, Thursday, we will be holding the Fertility Seminar for Couples - a great chance to meet some of our Integrated and Fertility Wellness Team.
Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut's (RMACT), Integrated Fertility and Wellness Team. Wow, that's a mouthful. At RMACT, we simply call it our IFW team.
Our Integrated Fertility and Wellness team includes, Lisa Tuttle, PhD (read her blog that was published yesterday!); Jing Jang, one of our beloved fertility accupuncturists; Carolyn Gundell, MS, fertility nutritionist; Lisa Rosenthal, MA (me); and last but not least, our gentle, wise leader, Amy Matton, fertility accupuncturist.
Read more about each of us below.
Clinical psychologist Lisa Tuttle, PhD, is a valuable member of our Complementary Care Team at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut. She specializes in fertility consulting and is available to all RMACT patients for individual and couples counseling. She also facilitates a support group that is offered free of charge at our Norwalk clinic.
Dr. Tuttle completed her undergraduate work at Duke University and received her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from the New School for Social Research. She completed her internship at Columbia-Presbyterian. She has been practicing for 17 years and is a long-standing member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, RESOLVE, and the American Psychological Association.
Dr. Tuttle specializes in the area of fertility counseling and maternal mental health, seeing patients in her private practice and at RMACT. She is a regular speaker for RESOLVE and supervises other clinicians who are entering the field of fertility counseling.
Our Fertility Acupuncture Team
Amy Matton is a graduate of Pacific College of Oriental Medicine with a master’s degree. Amy is a licensed acupuncturist and certified herbalist. While attending the four year master’s degree program at Pacific, she was awarded the prestigious Kamwo Award for academic excellence. Her clinical internships included Fortune Society and the Hospital for Joint Diseases. At the hospital her worked focused on disabled women and issues of pain management, sleeplessness, medication side-effects and depression. Her extensive study includes training at the distinguished China Beijing International Acupuncture Centre.
Ms. Matton’s areas of expertise include women’s health and fertility issues, pain management, stress, and adjunctive cancer care. In addition to a decade in private practice she has been working with Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut for the past six years providing traditional and laser acupuncture to women undergoing treatment for infertility.
Amy has been treating RMACT patients for many years, and was instrumental in bringing laser acupuncture to our patients. She has been a leading force for acupuncture sessions before and after IVF retrievals and is a strong advocate for fertility patients.
Amy is also the leader of IFW, guiding us all with a strong, but gentle hand. She is always willing to listen to new ideas and help support them getting off the ground.
Jing Zhang joined our infertility treatment center in August 2006. Jing holds a M.D. degree from Capital University in Beijing, China, and has fifteen years of experience in acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
While in the United States, Jing completed a three year postgraduate acupuncture program at the AIA Institute in New York. Besides her work at RMACT and her private office in Stamford, she is an instructor at the Acupuncture Institute of the University of Bridgeport.
Her areas of interest include infertility, anxiety, menstruation disorders, weight control and gastrointestinal problems.
Jing uses her vast expertise to bring relief to patients through accupuncture, accupressure and specific massage. Jing's patients report feelings of relief and calm following sessions with her, as well as a clearer mind.
Our Fertility Nutrition Program Leader
Carolyn Gundell, M.S., leads RMACT’s Fertility Nutrition Program, a service available to all patients. Carolyn has a great passion for nutrition and its link to fertility, which she shares with her patients to empower them with food and lifestyle behaviors that optimize their health for conception, successful fertility treatment, and healthy pregnancy.
After a nutrition assessment, patients benefit from individualized meal plans, advice on how to develop positive relationships with food, and on going motivational counseling sessions with Carolyn. She works closely with her patients and their team of fertility specialists to personalize their nutrition plans to reflect each patient’s own food preferences, concerns, and experiences – all influenced by their culture, religion, values, health, and emotions. In addition, Carolyn encourages her patients to embrace comprehensive wellness through acupuncture and relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, and tai chi to reduce stress. The goal is to support their fertility treatment while improving blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and insulin control, and weight management.
Under Carolyn’s direction, RMACT has implemented a Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)Clinic, one of the few of its kind in Connecticut. With Carolyn’s help, patients address this frustrating metabolic condition that causes hormonal imbalances, preventing women from ovulating and leading to infertility. It is a common condition, affecting 5 – 10% of women of reproductive age, and is best managed through lifestyle changes such as healthy eating habits, exercise and weight management.
Beyond patient care, Carolyn co-conducts health and nutrition seminars with Monica Moore, Nurse Manager, as part of an RMACT patient’s standard of care. Topics include Pre-conception Considerations, Nutrition Tools for Fertility Success, Heart Disease Risk Factors, Diabetes Risk Factors, Health and Nutrition for Pregnancy, Exercise, Fitness & Fertility and more.
With over 20 years of nutrition experience, Carolyn has a special interest in helping women with conditions that affect fertility, including insulin resistance, diabetes Type1/Type 2, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), lipid disorders, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, underweight and overweight concerns. Carolyn earned her M.S. in Nutrition from Columbia University and completed her undergraduate studies in Biology/Nutrition at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven. She is trained as a Research Associate in Clinical Skills Training, and is certified in HIPAA, CPR, First Aid and Food Safety & Sanitation. Previously, Carolyn worked at Pediatric Endocrine & Diabetes Specialists, The Center for Advanced Pediatrics, both in Norwalk and at Yale University Medical Center’s Obesity, Diabetes, PCOS Clinic and The Yale Fertility Center.
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa Rosenthal, MA had a six-year struggle to conceive, she was amazed by misconceptions about fertility and how reluctant and ashamed women were to share their stories – even with their mothers and friends.
Seeking meaning from her fertility challenge and unsatisfied with the information available, Lisa began volunteering with RESOLVE: the National Infertility Association. She lent her help with hands-on roles such as the telephone support helpline, leading peer support groups, and organizing fundraising efforts. Her impact on the association grew as she took on new positions, including Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.
In 1999, Lisa was part of the team that founded The American Fertilty Association, a nationwide patient advocacy, support and educational non-profit organization. Twenty-five years later she continues to encourage women to share their experience and speak up about their fertility challenges.
Working with Reproductive Medical Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) as Coordinator of Professional and Patient Communication gives Lisa an opportunity to continue to educate patients, doctors and the general public about infertility and the impact and availability of responsible fertility treatment.
Currently Lisa channels her passion for fertility education and the importance of women breaking infertility stigmas by creating and teaching Fertile Yoga, a program and class designed to support, comfort and enhance men and women’s sense of self. “Yoga is affirmative. My students are reconnecting with their bodies – even when they are angry with themselves, even when they are wishing they could disconnect. I work with students to heal and forgive their bodies. After all, infertility is not a label we need to use to define our identities,” says Lisa, who is a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200). Fertile Yoga is offered by RMACT, free of charge, to the general public. Fertile Yoga is a restorative style class; gentle movement, guided meditation; positive affirmations, relaxation and breathing techniques are all offered as ways to make the journey towards fertility as supportive as possible.
Writing the blog, PathtoFertility, Lisa’s objective is to further women’s and men’s understanding of their fertility challenges and to provide a compassionate forum for telling and hearing experiences. Ultimately, her hope is that readers will feel supported as they move along their personalpaths of fertility. Sometimes, simply knowing that one is not alone nor the first person to have experienced these challenges can relieve stress and provide a sense of comfort.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
Acupuncture for Pain Relief, even Headaches
Sometimes we get so used to something that we think it's normal.
I've had headaches almost all my life. Since I was a young teenager. Which was a very long time ago. My headaches are mainly from allergies and nothing has worked in decades without such mind-numbing side effects as to render me useless for anything productive during the time that I am on it. So I don't take medication, not because I'm a martyr, but because I like to be able to talk, walk and operate heavy machinery during the waking hours of the day.
I got used to the pain. Sort of.
I got used to it keeping me company during the day. When it was gone, I noticed more than I did when it was present.
I discovered that if I drink a glass of water an hour, I feel some relief. This was a blessing that I discovered about 15 years ago. So I drink a lot of water. And when I don't, I'm reminded because my head hurts.
As a yogi, I'm prone to going upside down. (Sorry for the bad joke, it's hard to be prone and upside down at the same time!) Inversions are a part of yoga, whether it's downward facing dog or headstand and handstand. It's simply getting your head below your heart.
Headstands, done every day, will quiet and relieve my headaches. The pressure on my head, along with fresh blood, oxygen and prana (life force flow) relieves my headache, sinus pressure and even nasal congestion. I try to remember to do them every day. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes my head will feel okay for a few days and I think I'm okay without them. Usually the reminder is a roaring return to head pain.
Going Wheat-Free: Motivations and Results
Going wheat free for a while to support someone else in my family who needed to opened new doors for me. It was a little like training a dog. When I ate wheat, hello headache. When I stayed away from wheat, no headache. I kept trying it. It kept working. No wheat, no headache. Eat wheat, hello headache. I mainly didn't eat wheat for about ten years. I did eat bread when it was handmade in Italy; I knew the headache would come and decided the tradeoff was worth it. Given the utter melt-in-your-mouth taste of that bread, it was the right decision. Recently I haven't had wheat in over a year.
Okay, so I drink a ton of water, don't eat wheat, do headstands and still get headaches. For those of you who read my blog regularly, this realization really brought on the urge for a very loud F-bomb.
Discovering Acupuncture and Two Wonderful CT Acupuncturists
Then I discovered Jing. Jing Zhang, along with Amy Matton, our two acupuncturists at RMACT. They have been doing acupuncture for fertility for over six years. (They are easily found, by clicking here. They provide accupuncture before, during and after treatment, including pre- and post-transfer with IVF patients.)
My apologies to all of you out there that I love. I still love you all, very very much.
I may love her more.
Sorry, but it's true.
Funny part is that she sticks needles into me. Ever since fertility treatment, I have despised needles. Really and truly despised them. Her gentle sense of humor and the fact that she radiates calm releases a lot of stress even before she places a single needle near me. That helps, cause I still don't like needles.
But Jing works magic with them. She places them in strategic places, makes sure I am warm and comfortable and allows acupuncture to heal, soothe and comfort.
Sometimes it's easy to drift into a meditative state.
There have been occasions that make me feel lit up like a Christmas tree. Feeling energy sparking from one needle point to another. Bright lights flying around, watching the fireworks just past my closed eyelids.
Oh, yeah, I totally love Jing.
Did I mention that she does accupressure afterwards? The best ever.
Yep, I really love Jing.
Thanks for the lack of headache this morning!
Focus on Preconception Health for Successful Pregnancy
MOVING TOWARDS A MORE INTEGRATED APPROACH
We are what we eat, breathe, think, do!
Over the past three weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to listen and learn from many different sources. All of these sources support the concept of taking care of our bodies as a route to changing our overall health and our genetic potential. As many of you are aware, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) is focused on preconception health, as a result of research-based data that finds increased chances for pregnancy and healthy conception to be associated with healthy lifestyle choices.
Epigenetics: Influencing Gene Expression
This same message—being able to modify one’s genetic potential—is being sent to us on many different levels: from within the medical literature and the lay press. Epigenetics is the term that applies to the concept that we all have the ability to change our own gene expression and how our bodies work based on our lifestyle choices. These choices can affect our overall health, and, therefore, potentially the health of an embryo and the life of a child.
"The greatest expression of epigenetics is the effect
a pregnant woman can have on her unborn child"
We are all aware of the stress associated with our daily lives in the New York metropolitan area. Most of us work too much, sleep too little, and don’t eat well enough.
Well, as it turns out, our choices are affecting all aspects of our lives. As a reproductive medicine physician, I read with interest an article in Vogue magazine called “Destiny’s Child.” This article discussed how choices of diet and exercise in pregnancy affect the health and well-being of the fetus and future child. It struck me as remarkable that an iconic fashion magazine such as Vogue chose to highlight the scientific concept of epigenetics. In fact, perhaps the greatest expression of epigenetics is the effect a pregnant woman can have on her unborn child. In addition, I had the opportunity to listen to a GYN Oncologist, who also has a Master’s degree in Integrative Medicine, at a Stamford Hospital education symposium. She discussed how lifestyle choices affect cancer rates and cancer outcomes in women and could be decreased dramatically if we all ate better, achieved a healthy weight, and controlled our stress.
Healthy Lifestyles, Healthy Conception, Healthy Children
I believe that the time is coming soon when Western medicine recognizes that your health is not only about taking the right medicine, but also about making the right choices in how you treat your body. That means as we all try to eat better, relax more, sleep more and make overall better choices we not only improve our own health, we also increase our chances for pregnancy, and our chances for a healthy child. These lifestyle changes are decisions that you and your partner need to make and should be lifelong decisions which will help us all be healthier and happier.
Dr. Mark P. Leondires | June 2012
Lead Infertility Doctor and
Medical Director, RMACT
Fertility Acupuncture: Fear and Discovery
Ever since I experienced infertility and underwent fertility treatment, I've dreaded needles. I did many injections while I was in treatment and have avoided needles like the plague ever since.
That was quite a few years ago.
Since then, coming to work with Reproductive Medicine Associates of CT (RMACT), I've been meaning to try acupuncture. We have two experienced acupuncturists, Amy Matton and Jing Zhang, specializing in fertility acupuncture, who have been with the practice for six years. I've been here for four and a half.
For four and a half years, I've heard rave reviews about them. Patients and Fertile Yoga students talk about how relaxing, refreshing and revitalizing the acupuncuture treatment is that they receive from Amy and Jing.
All I can think about is that there are needles involved.
Laser Acupuncture in CT
At RMACT, we also are the only fertility program in Connecticut to offer laser acupuncuture. In well-researched, clinical studies, laser acupuncture has increased pregnancy rates.
Hmmm . . . not needles, but laser as in lights? Okay, I like that a lot more.
Only, I'm not really a chicken; in fact, I'm pretty brave--if you can consider it brave that I've made several appointments over the last four years and then cancelled each one. Maybe not so brave. Not when it comes to needles. Just don't like them.
When I was in the Stamford office recently, I bumped into Jing, who noticed my allergy suffering. It was pretty hard to miss.
Jing suggested that, since no other treatment in decades had worked without so many considerable side effects as to render the treatment useless, I try acupuncture.
I was miserable enough to say yes. Although, five minutes after I made an appointment, I wanted to cancel it! Wow. Maybe I am a chicken. At least when it comes to needles.
The Acupuncture Experience
Two days later, I entered Jing and Amy's sanctuary. Warm and softly lit, lovely music playing in the background, clean white sheets on a massage table. So far so good.
Given my fear of the needles, Jing had me lay on my stomach. It was a great idea. I couldn't see the needles and it helped my breathing regulate. Thank goodness for yogic breathing!
Jing's soft, calm voice continued to set the tone.
I could barely feel the needles go in.
If I hadn't known that something was happening, I'm not quite sure what I would have thought the incredibly mild sensation was on my skin. There was the slightest of sensations, followed by a feeling of energy flowing.
One or two did hurt, just the slightest, and Jing removed them immediately and repositioned them. When I say hurt, it was about a tenth of the feeling of getting bitten by a mosquito.
Jing put 28 needles in, including into my scalp. My scalp! With needles? You're kidding me.
When they were all in, Jing asked me about my comfort, made sure I was okay, wrapped me up, and sweetly and comfortably and allowed me to have the experience for about twenty minutes or so.
The best way that I can describe the experience is to relate it to twinkling lights. Or maybe the stars. There was a definite feeling of energy moving around, lighting up here, and then there, and then over there. It was a lovely, subtle feeling.
The removal of the needles was simple and easy, very smooth.
After acupuncture, with a huge thank you to Jing, I was on my way. With advice to drink lots of water and stay warm and perhaps avoid very strenuous exercise.
The entire rest of the day I felt relaxed, calm and as serene as I feel after a restorative style yoga class. My body felt as peaceful as my mind. My breathing was even and without any constrictions.
Allergies have been far less of a problem than they have been in over twenty years. No sneezing, no red eyes, no inability to be outside near grass. I've tried everything under the sun before acupuncture and none of it worked particularly well, without exhausting side effects.
No red eyes, no sneezing and lying out on the grass on a sunny day.
So glad I found enough courage to face my needles. I mean, my demons.
And now, I can speak intellegently about fertility acupuncture with Jing and Amy.
My sage words of advice?
Try it! It was truly a wonderful experience.
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. ~Henry Ford
I wonder if we all think we are alone in this.
We see all the people around us, helping. Wonderful doctors, clinicians, support services. We see them. We even feel that they are there.
I know from speaking to patients that RMACT feels like a safe haven. That they know they are surrounded by people, professionals, who are devoted to their goal.
Having a baby.
Overcoming their infertility struggles.
I like Henry Ford's quote. And I paired it this morning with the picture for a specific reason.
Keep your eye on the goal and don't do it alone.
That's my mantra for today.
I don't mind sharing that with you if it makes sense to you too.
You're trying to conceive, carry and give birth to a baby.
That's your goal.
You don't have to do it alone. We are here. In lots of different ways.
Our Integrated and Fertility Wellness Program includes acupuncture, nutrition, mental health support, Fertile Yoga, and peer support.
You don't have to do it alone.
Our goal is the same as yours.
To help you become pregnant and have a baby.
Keep your eye on the goal and don't do it alone.
Mantra for the day.