About Lynn

lynn jaffeeLynn Jaffee is a licensed acupuncturist and the author of the book, Simple Steps: The Chinese Way to Better Health, a clear and concise explanation of Chinese medicine for the lay person. She is co-author of the book, The BodyWise Woman, a personal health manual for physically active women and girls. Read more about Lynn...

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Chinese Medicine, Fertility and Essence

We have a guest blogger!  Aimee E. Raupp is an author and acupuncturist in New York.  Welcome, Aimee, and thanks for your post.

As many of you know, infertility is and has been on the rise—it affects about seven million women and their partners in the United States. Why? There are several reasons, but a predominant one is that women are waiting until their mid to late thirties to have children. If you happen to be one of these women, don’t fret: Chinese Medicine theory states that a woman with ample essence can easily have a healthy baby in her forties.

What is essence?

Essence is similar to what western medicine would refer to as your genetic predisposition. In Chinese Medicine, we coin two types of essence:

  • Pre-natal essence is before birth essence. This is the foundation from which we are created. This essence is completely out of our control. It not only includes what some would refer to as our genetics but also the internal embryonic environment we developed in—the physiological and emotional state of the woman who carried you in her womb.

  • Post-natal essence is after-birth essence. This is the health and longevity that we can create by eating and living as naturally and as emotionally balanced as possible. When it comes to creating post-natal essence, ladies, the ball is in your court. Post-natal essence is critical and can override potentially negative dispositions that were passed down to us by our folks. Said another way: an abundance of post-natal essence will assure you longevity and the ability to have a healthy baby later in life.

You see as you age, so do your ovaries. Aging ovaries are less efficient and may not ovulate every month. As well, aging eggs (eggs are housed in your ovaries) make for poor quality eggs which make for poor quality embryos which, unfortunately, make it harder to get pregnant being that our body only wants to carry to term a baby that is going to be genetically healthy. And aging eggs typically have genetic abnormalities. Not to mention, as we age, the number of eggs we have in our ovarian reserve (we are born with a set amount of eggs in our ovarian reserve) decline. So, for women who are getting married and having children later in life, this whole aging ovary and egg business isn’t the best news.

What can we do?

Well, here’s my advice: to keep your body and ovaries from untimely aging and to make top-notch quality eggs, we need to focus on building and maintaining abundant and healthy post-natal essence.

The 4 main factors that affect post-natal essence are:

  1. Stress. Find ways to manage your stress, anxiety and or depression. Whether it’s through exercise, seeing a psychotherapist, journaling or meditating on a daily basis. You need to get a handle on your stress. Stress ages us before our time and depletes our post-natal essence.

  2. Weight. A healthy weight varies from individual to individual. I like to use the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale as a reference range. The formula for determining your BMI is: weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703. For example if you weigh 150 pounds and are 5’5” (65″ inches) the calculation would be as follows: [150 ÷ (65)2] x 703 = 24.96. Try to stay in the 18-25 range on the BMI scale.

  3. Diet. A key to maintaining a healthy hormone balance in your body is to eat a healthy, clean and organic diet. Avoid processed foods, packaged foods, fast foods and soda. Your diet should consist of a lot of fresh vegetables (especially green ones!), fruits, whole grains, and small amounts of lean animal protein as well as legumes and nuts. And be sure all of your animal products are organic and hormone free!

  4. Exercise. This is key to not only keeping your physical body in great shape, but exercise also keeps your mind clear and alert, helps regulate your hormones and improves circulation and blood flow all of which play an important role in getting pregnant. My general rule of thumb is 4-5 days/week of at least thirty minutes of exercise. The level of intensity depends upon your comfort level and your goals.

To recap, if you put in some time and energy NOW into creating an abundance of post-natal essence, you can and will increase your odds of having a healthy and viable pregnancy in your thirties and forties.


Aimee E. Raupp is an NCCAOM certified and licensed acupuncturist and herbalist in the state of New York. Her first book, Chill Out and Get Healthy: Live Clean to Be Strong and Stay Sexy, is in bookstores now. For more information go to: AimeeRaupp.com.

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