During your video consultation we will spend around 1hr discussing your full health history, your fertility journey so far, any tests or treatments you have already received or are undergoing, medications and supplements you are taking, diet and lifestyle. My aim is investigating all aspects of your health as full as possible and leave you feeling informed with a renewed sense of hope and energy for the next stage of your journey. If male factor infertility is part of your picture a couple’s consultation can also be organised and a plan that encompasses all issues developed.
Once I have gathered all the necessary information, I will advise you on the best plan of action for you. As well as planning frequency of acupuncture sessions and possible herbal prescriptions I may also recommend various lifestyle changes. Sometimes I may refer you to other professionals to help you on your journey such as a nutritionist. I may also give you information for you to discuss with your GP or Consultant. Sometimes you may be required to track your basal body temperature. From this, your treatment plan will be formed and you may receive your first acupuncture treatment.
Initial consultations (£65) performed via a video link a consultation includes up to 60 mins online video chat, 30 mins treatment planning and a detailed treatment report and home care kit.
I am a TCM style acupuncturist which means I was trained in the University standard system style. This was developed from the barefoot and traditional styles used throughout China to ensure a consistent standard of training and education in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine).
Acupuncture is now one of the most widely practised complementary medical treatments in the UK.
Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body located along pathways called meridians. Each treatment is tailored to the individual with points used across the whole body. Many people are nervous about trying acupuncture but it can be incredibly relaxing with many patients falling asleep.
Acupuncture for women's health, Female Infertility and Male infertility:
In 2006 after much success and an increase in patients seeking help with conception, I made the move to specialise in women's health and fertility. Since then I have endeavoured to develop my knowledge and practice to give up to date evidence-based acupuncture and support in this field.
At your initial consultation, we will spend time discussing all aspects of your health history, menstrual history and fertility journey so far. As male fertility is equally as important, we will review both sides of your team if necessary. Diet, supplements and lifestyle factors will also be covered. My aim is to make this as informative as possible so you leave feeling confident and relaxed about where you are going from here.
From here together we will make a plan and begin implementing that with your introductory acupuncture session.
How does acupuncture help fertility?
The research base for acupuncture, in general, is huge however the majority is undertaken in other areas of the world with the amount translated to English still limited. However, acupuncture is now accepted by the WHO and NICE as an effective treatment for a number of conditions.
We are still currently building the research base for treatments around fertility and funding for larger research is much needed. However, on top of the anecdotal and clinic evidence, there is still some promising results been seen.
Current research suggests acupuncture:
Has a significant effect in improving the birth rates of subfertile women undergoing IVF or ICSI.
Has a beneficial effect on clinical pregnancy rates.
May be a suitable treatment to help reduce the stress and anxiety levels of couples suffering from subfertility.
enhances relaxation, lowers stress levels and increases beta-endorphins, the feel-good, pain-busting hormones.
Acupuncture may improve sperm quality and counts in infertile men.
Acupuncture may improve the lining of the endometrium including increased the blood flow to the uterus.
Acupuncture may help regulate hormone levels, specifically gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which in turn may improve ovulation rates.
Acupuncture may help women with PCOS and anovulatory cycles.
Acupuncture may help those with thyroid problems. (And problems with the thyroid can lead to problems with fertility.)
Acupuncture may increase the number of follicles produced during an IVF treatment.
Acupuncture during pregnancy:
Acupuncture is also great during pregnancy and is recognised by the WHO as being an effective treatment option for many common pregnancy-related conditions. There are many conditions it can help with including Morning sickness, breach presentation and labour induction. In my experience, it can also offer great support and outcomes for women who have a history of miscarriage.
Acupuncture treatments are £45 for a 45 min session including a 15 min telephone or video consult.
Out of hours, treatments are £60 (after 6 pm or Friday - Sunday)
It is traditionally said herbal medicine can put back what acupuncture cannot.
What is Chinese herbal Medicine?
Chinese herbal medicine has been a key part of healthcare in Asia for thousands of years. It is still used across the world and increasingly in the UK.
As a classically trained TCM practitioner it is traditional to use herbal medicine along side acupuncture when treating certain conditions. The use of herbal medicine is very effective at getting to the root of more chronic and complex conditions. Together it can enhance the therapeutic effects of acupuncture and increase recovery times. The repertoire of plant based medicines available is vast. With some indigenous to specific regions of China and others as simple as ginger and cinnamon.
As a registered practitioner I use only herbs from an RCHM approved supplier. These suppliers must fulfil rigorous criteria following a thorough investigation by independent auditors and includes demonstrating that herbal medicines are manufactured according to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards. These are important safeguards for ensuring safety standards are met and to ensure that you receive the best quality herbs available.
What can Herbs be used for?
With over 15 years of clinical experience in prescribing Chinese herbal medicine for many conditions I have found particular success in:
Symptoms of ovulatory disorders such as PCOS including irregular or absent periods.
Other gynaecological conditions such as painful periods, endometriosis, fibroid management, menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms.
male and female subfertility
Mood disorders such as PMT and PMDD
Early pregnancy support
Chronic and recurrent respiratory illnesses
Gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome
I will never discourage essential medical treatment for conditions where your GP or consultant needs to be consulted and am happy to discuss your treatment options with your GP.
Laura completed 200hr Forrest Yoga Teacher Training in October 2020. Laura enjoys using her yoga knowledge to help women improve their lifestyle, posture and health. She currently runs classes via Zoom. Classes follow the intelligent sequencing style of Forrest yoga. They are designed to bring you back into your body, to build strength, endurance and a deep level of core strength. Poses are designed to counteract the postural effects of modern-day life on the body. Through breathwork, meditation and pose sequences you can learn to look deeper into your body and mind and begin to take control. If you would like to join a class just click the button below.
Laura holds a diploma from the Tissue Flow institute in Tuina and An Mo massage. Laura does not provide massage as a stand-alone treatment but incorporates it into her treatments where appropriate
There are many aspects of women's health which can affect fertility. Traditional Chinese Medicine can provide a natural treatment to many conditions and assist in boosting female fertility.
TCM fertility treatment starts by looking at the menstrual period. By regulating the menstrual cycle many issues can be resolved. Treatment aims at improving the flow of the qi and blood. This can improve the endometrial lining, ovulation, egg quality, strengthen the luteal phase and regulate the hormone levels.
By improving the endometrial lining we can increase the chances of implantation, which can also help in IVF cycles.
By improving ovulation many women who have been unable to conceive previously due to infrequent or no ovulation can be helped to ovulate regularly so conception may occur.
By increasing the circulation of qi and blood to the ovaries, available nourishment for the eggs can be improved and in turn the quality.
By strengthening the luteal phase we can ensure it is long enough for implantation to occur and conception to be achieved.
By balancing the hormones we can strengthen the body's ability to achieve and maintain a healthy pregnancy.
Conditions treated: PCOS and LUFS, Amenorrhoea and ovulation disorders, Endometriosis, Fibroids, Unexplained Infertility, Hyperprolactiaemia
The one of most common problems encountered by couples today having difficulty to conceive is male infertility. This has lead to an increase of the use of assisted conception methods such as ICSI. Methods such as ICSI can bypass many of the logistical issues of male infertility but do not address the root cause of the infertility.
TCM can help by working on the underlying cause of infertility. Improving sperm quantity, quality and increasing the success rate of assisted conception.
Treatment mainly uses Chinese Herbal medicine to strengthen the male reproductive system. Acupuncture can also be used to improve circulation and relaxation.
IVF / ICSI
Oriental Health offers treatments to prepare and support the body for assisted reproduction.
Acupuncture during IVF provides 4 main benefits:
Helps alleviate the side effects of medical treatments and improve response to hormonal stimulation.
Improves blood flow to the uterus and ovaries.
Helps alleviate the tension as a result of the stress of IVF procedures.
Helps relax the uterus in preparation for implantation.
Ideally preparation for an IVF Cycle begins 3 months prior to the start of down regulation. Aiming to make the body as strong as possible before undergoing IVF and in some cases help increase the chances of conception before the cycle begins.
Once the IVF cycle begins an IVF treatment protocol is used throughout the IVF cycle to encourage the body to produce the appropriate response. Below is the current treatment protocol used by Laura Bicker.
Down Regulation and Up cycle:
Treatment is usually given weekly
During down regulation treatment aims to encourage the thinning of the endometrial lining and in Up-regulation encourage follicle growth and circulation.
Prior to egg collection Acupuncture is used to help relax and prepare the body for the procedure that follows.
Two treatments are given either side of embryo transfer.
A pre-transfer treatment is given to improve blood flow to the uterus, relax your mind and cervix and prepare your body to receive the embryos.
After transfer an acupuncture treatment is given. This gently encourages circulation to help nourish the embryos, boost energy, relaxes the uterus and aid implantation.
Two Week Wait
An optional treatment is given during the 2 week wait, to help with implantation and relaxation during this stressful time.
Acupuncture can offer drug free treatment during pregnancy for many ailments, such as:
Urinary tract infections
Fatigue and exhaustion
Anxiety and depression
Breech and posterior positioned babies
Chinese Medicine offers a simple non invasive treatment for breach presentation. A one off treatment using moxibustion is given, ideally around 34 weeks. Specific acupuncture points are stimulated using heat. You are then taught how to repeat the treatment at home and provided with all you need to continue your treatment.
Pre birth treatment to prepare the body for an efficient labour:
From 36 weeks acupuncture is performed once a week to prepare and encourage a smooth and spontaneous labour. Points are used to encourage the baby to engage, assume the correct position, ripen the cervix, relax and energize the mother for birth. Research and clinical experience has shown that pre birth acupuncture helps reduce:
the number of inductions epidurals given
emergency caesareans performed
the length of the first stage of labour
the time between expected due date and actual delivery by supporting cervical ripening
Acupuncture treatments can be used from 40 weeks to encourage spontaneous labour to occur and reduce the need for medical intervention. Treatment usually produces increased foetal movement and mild contractions. In some instances, treatment may need to be repeated.
Treatments can also be used for:
Labour pain relief and problems during labour
There are many different menstrual disorders including:
Amenorrhoea (no periods) -
dysmenorrhoea (Painful Periods)
metrorrhagia (Irregular and inter menstrual bleeding)
Mettoraghia (Heavy Menses)
Oligomenorrhea (Infrequent menstruation)
Menorrhagia (heavy periods)
Many of the above conditions are accepted by women to be normal. However in Chinese medicine the menstrual cycle should be pain free and uneventful. By using the Chinese diagnostic system it is possible to find and treat the root cause of these disorders and return the menstrual cycle to a normal and regular flow.
This is especially important for patients wishing to conceive, but can also improve the quality of life for many women.
"Before using Chinese Medicine i was lucky to have two periods a year and often they would need to be medically induced. After 4 weeks of treatment with Laura i had my first period and in my 3rd month i conceived. Sadly my body wasn't ready and i had an early miscarriage, but Laura was there to support me and help me understand my cycles following the miscarriage. Surprisingly though my cycles remained regular and within two more months i was pregnant again and this time my body was ready."
Fibroids cause a lot of discomfort for many women. Treatment for fibroids can help patients in a number of ways
Improving the symptoms associated with fibroids
Improve chances of conception
In some cases reduce the size and growth of fibroids so surgery can be avoided or left till a later date.
"I have always been lucky that my fibroids have never produced many of the nasty symptoms, but when my intermenstural bleeding became worse my gynaecologist told me my only option was a hysterectomy. I decided to look for something else. I would still like to have children some day and am just not ready to have surgery. After 3 months of treatment with Laura my intermenstrual bleeding had stopped and i now have regular maintenance treatments, which have kept this under control. But the biggest surprise has been at my last two checkups my fibroids have reduced."
TCM regards endometriosis as blood stasis and abnormal deposits in the lower abdomen. The abnormal deposit can be as a result of factors such as digestive dysfunction, poor blood circulation or infection.
Endometriosis can produce secondary issues as a result of adhesions such a ectopic pregnancy and damaged fallopian tubes. It is understood that due to the abdominal obstruction, healthy blood flow is unable to circulate. Therefore the aim of TCM treatment is to remove the blood stasis and clear the abdominal obstruction. By using this method of treatment menses can be regulated, blood flow improves and pain greatly reduced. The increased circulation can also then assist the natural movement within the tubes so that obstructions can be reduced and naturally removed.
Women diagnosed with polycystic ovaries and polycystic ovary disease (PCO/PCOD) often don't ovulate regularly and most of them may have prolonged menstrual cycles. Patients are usually prescribed ovulation inducing drugs by their fertility doctors or attend for assisted fertility treatment. However, TCM has a role in correcting PCO/PCOD to readdress the entire problem. TCM diagnoses the causes of PCO/PCOD as mostly associated with dampness downward to the abdominal system. This results in the ovaries storing too much fluid. This fluid needs to be drained and the healthy blood flow returned.