Fertility Spas

More and more spas these days are offering a lot more than massages and mud baths. Many are also offering fertility-boosting treatments that range from acupuncture to fertility yoga. And that’s not all. An increasing number of fertility and wellness centers across the country are creating spa-like settings and adding spa treatments to their menus of options. So women (or couples) who have tried unsuccessfully to conceive and who may be a bit stressed from the effort may appreciate a spa getaway with benefits.

The Raj This well-appointed Ayurvedic health spa, located in Fairfield, Iowa, offers an in-resident fertility treatment program that includes a 55-minute herbal oil application and massage, followed by one of several possible heat treatments and an herbal colonic to complete the detoxification and purification process believed necessary for a healthy reproductive system. Ayurveda is a system of holistic healing based on traditional Indian medicine. The Raj’s program offers a very individualized fertility treatment plan based on these principles. For more information, visit theraj.com or call 800-248-9050.

Santa Monica Fertility Specialists Women who need fertility treatments in order to conceive might consider this holistic clinic, which combines traditional treatments like IVF (in vitro fertilization) and egg freezing with such mind/body treatments as acupuncture, massage, and meditation delivered in a spa-like setting. The on-site wellness center is designed to help patients relax during what is usually a stressful time. Since some of the wellness programs are couples-oriented, women can select options that allow their partner to participate as well. For information, visit santamonicafertility.com or call 866-991-1990.

Exhale Mind Body Spa East meets West at this holistic spa, which offers three-, six- and nine-month fertility and reproductive wellness programs. A menu of Eastern and Western options is offered, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutritional counseling, massage therapy, yoga, and Exhale’s Core Fusion classes. All treatments are designed to increase vitality, relax and de-stress the body, and improve the function of a woman’s reproductive organs. Exhale has locations around the country and in the Caribbean. For more information visit exhalespa.com or call the location nearest to you.

Glastonbury Naturopathic Center & Wholistic Spa This Glastonbury, Connecticut wellness center and spa offers an infertility treatment program involving acupuncture, specialty testing, and holistic spa treatments for both men and women. The holistic treatments can be used alone or in addition to traditional medical infertility treatments. The spa uses only organic products for facials, nails, and other services. Couples can opt for the infertility treatment program, the spa, or both. For more information, visit naturopathicwellness.com or call 860-657-4105.

Find a Spa close to you: http://www.spafinder.com/newsletter/online/2008.01.08.Insider4.html

A version of this article originally appeared in the Spring 2010 issue of Conceive.

Eating to Optimize Fertility

By: Cindy Bailey

It’s no secret that what you eat plays a critical role in your health.  Just as a healthy diet can support your heart and fight against cancer, it can also have a huge impact on your reproductive health.

When eating for fertility, the goal is to increase the availability of nutrients that support your reproduction, as well as your overall health. You’ll also want to eat to support your hormonal health – because that finely tuned balance of hormones is critical to fertility and conception.

To do this, you’re going to want to get rid of the “bad” foods, which overly tax or stress your body, and keep or add in the “good” foods, which provide wonderful nutrients and support optimal health.

It’s more critical to get rid of the “bad,” so let’s look at what you should definitely take out of your diet. The main foods (or substances) you’ll want to eliminate include alcohol, caffeine, trans fats, processed sugar, artificial sweeteners and other overly processed foods (including all those bottled sodas and beverages!).

These foods have a negative impact on your fertility. Processed sugar, for example, negatively affects blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to hormonal imbalance. In addition, it causes inflammation in the body and suppresses your immune system—meaning that your body has to work even harder to process the sugar.

Another example:  Alcohol disrupts the absorption of nutrients, weakens our immune system and raises prolactin levels, which in turn inhibits ovulation. Overly processed foods can be full of additives, preservatives, sugar (which goes by many names), trans fat and other substances that can disrupt your hormones and are not good for your health.

You’ll also want to avoid, or eliminate, wheat and dairy, because not only are both of these especially hard for your body to digest, but they are also highly allergenic foods. Many people have sensitivity to wheat, for example, and may not even know it because the symptoms are so mild. If you have sensitivity to foods, it is especially tough on your body to digest them. While trying to conceive, you want to ease the energy used for digestion—the most labor-intensive function in the body—so there is more available to nourish and heal other systems in your body, such as your reproductive system.

As for the “good” foods, you’ll want to eat an all-organic diet that includes plenty of vegetables (at least five servings a day!), lean protein, beans, good carbohydrates, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. Low-mercury seafood is also a great choice, in moderation (up to two servings a week).  Also select fresh, whole fruits instead of fruit juice, which contains too much concentrated amounts of sugar.  Add natural forms of sugar, such as all-natural honey, maple syrup and brown rice syrup to your diet in moderation. Be sure to check labels to make sure nothing else has been added.

If you eat meat, choose organic and lean forms. By eating meat that’s organic you avoid added growth hormones that affect our own hormones negatively, and you avoid any antibiotics used on the animals. By eating meat lean, you avoid many of the dioxins—which are industrial chemicals ingested by animals regardless of organic farming practices that often settle into the fat of those animals.

The importance of eating healthy fats cannot be overemphasized.  Healthy fats can be found in vegetable oils, such as olive oil; nuts and seeds; and avocados. Since some of your estrogen is made and stored in fat, you definitely need it while trying to conceive, and just want to stick with the healthy kind.  Healthy fats also help stabilize blood sugar levels, ease inflammation and prevent premature births.

People always ask, “What are the top fertility-boosting foods?” While an all-around healthy, balanced, organic diet is the first priority, these are what I consider to be the top three fertility-boosting foods:

•           Beans –  Not only are they packed with protein, fiber and nutrients (such as calcium, iron and potassium) important for fertility and pregnancy, they also contain a high percentage of folate (a B vitamin), which boosts fertility in both men and women and helps prevent neural tube defects at birth.  Beans are also low in fat, good for digestion and a great source of antioxidants.

•           Nuts and Seeds – These are high in protein and all-important healthy fats. They also contain essential minerals and fiber, which is important for the health of the digestive system and lowering cholesterol. Good choices for seeds are pumpkin and sesame, which also contain zinc. As for nuts, try almonds and walnuts.

•           Avocados – This fruit is great for fertility! Not only is it packed with folate, it’s also high in monounsaturated fat. That’s the good, healthy kind, which helps to lower cholesterol and plays such an important role in your endocrine system, which regulates the hormones involved in reproduction. Finally, avocados contain good enzymes which aid digestion. Avocados are also high in fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels, and are filled with other great nutrients, such as potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.

Eating this way not only optimizes fertility and chances of conception, but is great for your overall health too. Remember to give yourself time to adjust to the diet, and don’t skip visiting your doctor to assess your particular needs.