'Unexplained infertility'. Pregnant after treatment with acupuncture and herbs
'When I first came to see Maeve, I had been trying to get pregnant for over a year. I believed there were many factors that had contributed to my husband's and my lack of success- We got married in 2003 and 2 weeks later I left my home country of Australia to settle in England, start a new business, buy a property and renovate it, and learn to fit in with my new family - a fair bit to achieve in a relatively short time!
Once we had settled into our new flat, we started trying to conceive, but the stress of the business and subsequent extreme financial pressures took their toll on me, not to mention a good dose of the blues, due to the weather and homesickness for my family and friends in Australia.
After 10 months of trying we went back to Australia for Christmas and I decided to take the opportunity to get the appropriate tests.
I saw a fertility specialist in Australia, and he did blood tests, a Laparoscopy and Hysteroscopy to have a general look around as well as to see if my tubes were blocked. He found nothing but a small amount of endometriosis, that he believed shouldn't have effected my fertility. In fact he told me after surgery that I was formula one, and ready to go!
Relieved that there was nothing wrong with either of us we started trying again - but to no avail. As the months went by I became more stressed and depressed, a vicious circle, stressed because I couldn't get pregnant, and being stressed was no doubt stopping me from getting pregnant.
It was at this point that I found Maeve. I had friends who previously had enlisted the help of an acupuncturist for unexplained infertility and had had success, so I felt I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. After my initial consultation we both agreed that I needed to calm down and Maeve concentrated on stress relief and relieving some chronic menstrual symptoms.
Maeve's pragmatic yet nurturing approach was just what I needed, and I soon felt a lot more relaxed. However I was 35, and felt the pressure to get pregnant soon and as it still wasn't happening I decided to try the fertility drug that my doctor in Australia prescribed for me - Clomid - for three months, but with no luck.
Then Maeve felt that we could remedy the situation with Chinese herbs as well as acupuncture. Maeve did a lot of research into creating a herbal prescription specifically for me. I was very pleased to have someone looking after me who took the process very seriously. By carefully charting my temperature and monitoring my symptoms it was clear within the first month of combined herbal and acupuncture treatment that my cycle was more balanced with a longer luteal phase.
Because we had intended to go back to Australia for Christmas 2005 my husband and I decided that we had a window of opportunity to do an IVF cycle. We booked in for the IVF, hoping we wouldn't need it, but it was good to have a back up plan, meanwhile we did a second month of combined treatment of acupuncture and herbs.
At the start of the third month of treatment we realized that I would have to start on the IVF hormone treatment in the next month, much sooner than we had hoped. This meant we couldn't give the herbal treatment the four months minimum Maeve had told us we would most likely need to see any positive results.
Proceeding with the IVF meant I would have only have one more chance to get pregnant with the aid of the Chinese herbs, it seemed impossible.
So you can imagine our shock and delight when we discovered 2 days before I would have had to start the IVF hormone treatment that I was pregnant. In fact we are still in shock as I write this at 7 weeks pregnant.
I still see Maeve for calming treatment, as I am now anxious for things to go well! She has also helped enormously with my stuffy nose - apparently a symptom of early pregnancy.
We really have come on a journey together Maeve and I, and it has definitely been a roller coaster ride. I'm very grateful for her wisdom, emotional support and empathy and I would recommend her to anyone who is having trouble getting pregnant.
I want to say that I come from a family of Physicians and Nurses, so I most definitely don't disregard Western Medicine, but I do think that Chinese Medicine has something unique to offer, at this point in time, especially in the area of infertility. It is very interesting to note that a number of very successful IVF clinics offer or encourage patients to have acupuncture during their IVF cycle, as it has been proven to increase the success rate. I'm personally very pleased to see Eastern and Western Medicine working together in this way, it can only benefit us all.'
Stress during IVF treatment due to infertility - Benefits of acupuncture written by a nurse
'The effects of acupuncture can be felt intensely, at the time of the session and immediately afterwards but also for several days following the session.
The acupuncture has a soothing and calming effect. This is much more noticeable and intense than merely lying still and relaxed for an hour.
In this calm state I find a ‘space’ to think with increased clarity, to focus and concentrate and a strength to resolve problems. This space enables me to rationalise and consolidate my thoughts. The acupuncture makes me feel restored, relaxed, enabled and nurtured.
Acupuncture shores up my coping mechanism which is important for dealing with the day to day stress and procedures involved in our treatment. The acupuncture experience can be revisited at times of acute stress and I am learning to do this which again improves my ability to cope.
The fertility treatment is physically exhausting but I feel I can summon energy after acupuncture that wouldn’t have otherwise been there. The sensations I feel during the session which I can ‘revisit’ later are of deep muscle relaxation, energy and strength.
The relaxation of body and mind I feel during acupuncture enables me to ‘find my spirit’. Often I feel my spirit is ‘low’ and ‘battered’. The session will enable me to restore and lift my spirit. I feel physically open and vulnerable when my spirit is low and the restoration that occurs enables me to rebuild a protective psychic barrier.'
Mother Care - Pregnancy Testimonials
Nausea during pregnancy
'I was desperate with nausea from five weeks pregnant with both my pregnancies. It was debilitating to feel so sick all the time. Maeve treated me both times and it helped keep me going as a lawyer with a heavy caseload. I appreciate her attention to safety during pregnancy.'
Back pain during pregnancy
'There was very little discomfort from treatment and an immediate improvement which continued steadily throughout the course of four treatments. It brought me immense relief from a back problem which other methods had failed to do. There were no side effects and no problems associated with treatment. As a midwife, I would highly recommend acupuncture. I felt it was a safe method of treatment for myself and my unborn baby.'
Post Natal Shock
'After the birth of my son I was in shock because of the rapidity of the birth. I telephoned Maeve, who although I had never met her, had a terrific empathy down the phone and spent a long time talking to me even though I was being treated by another acupuncturist at the time. Then I went to see Maeve and found it brilliant because she rebalanced my system physically and was a tremendous support mentally and emotionally and has remained so for all the years she has been treating my family.'
Babies And Children Testimonials
Newborn not opening her bowels
'At two weeks my baby was screaming after being fed, having been absolutely angelic prior to that and in between feeding sessions. The health professionals advised me to feed her more because she was so small. She had not opened her bowels for five days. I was very stressed because she was in great discomfort and I felt she didn’t need more food. So I rang Maeve who told me about pressure points to rub and came and performed one treatment that made my baby feel immediately relieved. Before Maeve had even got out the door the baby had filled her nappy and I was very happy. Maeve also showed me how to keep her unobstructed. From then on I was able to relieve any further discomfort by using what she had taught me.'
Relieving possible side effects of immunisation
'After immunisation I felt my son wasn’t the same, he was listless and lacking in energy. Treatment rebalanced him and brought his old self back.'
Baby suffers stroke in the womb (a rare condition - fortunately)
'J suffered a stroke pre-natally. I contacted the stroke association for some information that might help. In their info they made mention of the fact that in Eastern European countries, acupuncture is often used as a matter of course for stroke victims. I then contacted the British Acupuncture Council for a list of local practitioners. Maeve’s name was on there!
Initially we contacted Maeve regarding J’s severe lack of movement on the left side and her inability to stand. However, J also suffered severe gastric reflux and was about to have an operation for it. She was vomiting 4-5 times a day along with the associated changing of clothes. Maeve assured us she could help although we were not sure as J had been vomiting for all the 18 months of her life.
How wrong we were! Within 24 hours J had completely stopped vomiting. We were able to cancel the operation. Our lives and especially J’s changed overnight! J ‘came alive’ once her reflux was under control. She has come on leaps and bounds since starting her regular treatment.
J’s physical strength has also improved enormously down her left side. She can now move both arms and she can stand and walk with aid. From our personal viewpoint J’s physical difficulties were improved through acupuncture. We are incredibly grateful to Maeve for all her help and we wish we had found her sooner.'
Child with cystic fibrosis (a genetic disorder).
The centile scale mentioned is used to monitor average growth in children of the same age.
'I first met Maeve when I was about eight months pregnant and she gave me a general tonic treatment. After that I felt full of energy for about ten days. So when my three-month-old baby was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (a condition where an abundance of thick mucus compromises the lungs and the digestive tract) I decided to take him to Maeve. He was not thriving after many infections and had suffered huge weight loss. I figured that, at the least, it might make him feel a bit more energised and hopefully it would help his chronic condition. At that time he was so thin he wasn’t even on the centile scale. Now we are several years down the line and while he still has occasional digestive and respiratory problems he has been steadily thriving for most of that time. He has huge amounts of energy, he is up to the 75th centile for his weight and his height is almost there too.
By comparison with other children at the hospital with the same condition, who are very thin and pale, what is always striking to hospital staff, is that my boy is full of energy, boisterous and strong and growing like a rocket.
The treatment is very quick which minimises any distress and he’s built a strong relationship with Maeve and so forgives her.'
Women’s Testimonials - Gynaecological
Hysterectomy looming due to fibroids
'Three years ago I was told that I had heavy periods due to fibroids and that assorted medication could possibly resolve the situation. Failing this, there was the possibility of a hysterectomy. I was willing to give the tablets a go, but as the situation worsened the drastic solution sounded too horrific to contemplate! I researched into the subject and on many occasions acupuncture was suggested as an alternative to conventional medicine. I decided to give it a go. I reckoned that as it had been used in China for a very long time, there must be something to it. The concept of a holistic approach seemed to make a lot of sense, rather than treating just the symptom.
It was very encouraging on the very first session to be questioned about my health in general and have a practitioner who did not shroud the whole idea in some sort of mysticism, but who was very sane and down to earth. I also did not know what to expect first time and was pleasantly surprised that the needles were not at all invasive and uncomfortable. In fact it was very relaxing!
As the sessions have progressed I have felt a sense of well-being and things have eased considerably. What I have also really appreciated is a general consciousness raising the treatments have brought about. On a physical level I feel much more in touch with my body and I am aware of looking after my body.
Although the concepts of Chinese Medicine are quite new to me, Maeve has explained it in such a way that I get the gist of the ideas.
On a more philosophical level the sessions have a great impact on my life. Things I have vaguely been aware of such as the effect diet has on the body, the whole lifestyle and effects on the mind and consequent health, have all been brought together in a sane and rounded way.
One particular aspect that has impressed me is the way Maeve is always updating her knowledge, attending courses and keeping up with current research. She does not confine herself to the area of acupuncture alone but looks at the broader issues.
I am very grateful for the physical benefits the treatment has brought. As well as having the fibroids decrease dramatically and my periods being no longer a problem, more importantly my energy level is higher and so I am able to deal with things much better due to the overall general improvement in my health. This has been accompanied by monumental changes to my own life that the discussions in the sessions have brought about.'
'I was suffering terrible PMT and I thought I may be perimenopausal. Virtually two weeks of my life every month were wiped out by awful symptoms: depression, panic attacks, severe anxiety and mood swings, extreme fatigue, disturbed sleep, food cravings, abdominal cramps, headaches. The hospital recommended a course of natural progesterone pessaries but I did some research and decided to see Maeve Heavey first. Maeve had been recommended by my cousin who had sung her praises to the skies because she had supported her during pregnancy. I had heard that she was brilliant, caring, accessible and committed and as a specialist in women’s health I felt confident that she would have something to offer.
As I have a very complex psychological and emotional history I knew Maeve would have to approach my treatment on many different levels. Working with Maeve gave me great insight into my own feelings and processes. She encouraged me to have more confidence in my powerful feelings and not to be so fearful of what I was experiencing. She helped me to accept my ferocious anger and reassured me that it was OK to feel these overwhelmingly negative and powerful feelings. My previous psychotic and manic episodes seemed to be caused when I was unable to feel the feelings because they were so dangerous and negative. She encouraged me to keep a journal and helped me to do healing visualizations. She also recommended some very helpful reading.
On the positive side of my life Maeve reconnected me with all the good things in it - my creativity, love of self expression in art and music, family, friends, home, security, work, community etc. Since seeing Maeve I haven’t looked back. I no longer fear the approach of my period. I have hardly any symptoms at all and can function totally normally throughout my pre-period and during it. I have become more confident as a person and feel able to express my views without being frightened of retaliation or criticism.
Maeve has also been a positive role model. I see her as a brave and courageous practitioner, she ‘walks her talk’ and is not afraid to be honest and up-front about the difficulties of modern life and about the challenges for women particularly when faced with dramatic events in their lives. She confirms the reality of life’s harshness and unfairness but at the same time suggests that there is hope and a way through the darkness. This is all very reassuring and adds a quality to her treatment that has a truly human dimension. She also has a wonderful laugh and that has a strong healing effect.
To have known Maeve and to have been treated by her has been a great fortune and privilege. She has put a great deal of energy and commitment into the healing process and I feel that she really cares about the outcome. I have been able to turn to her again recently as my daughter has become very ill and I have needed support and treatment to get through the stress of being her carer.'
'I have come to Maeve for maintenance treatment for the past nine years on a monthly basis. Once my initial gynaecological problems were resolved very effectively and quickly I reassessed and realised that as a mother of three and a teacher, I needed to take time out to top up my own batteries in order to be able to function as a human being. I find the treatment restores my mind, body and spirit balance which for me is central to my life. Treatment with Maeve is an oasis of sanity and helps me rise above the chaos of everyday life.'
Diagnosed with a thyroid condition - now comes for maintenance.
'When I came to Maeve my anxiety levels were extremely high and my life was at a standstill, I was confused, alarmed and very desperate. By the third acupuncture treatment my whole outlook had been transformed into something much more constructive and stable. I realised that the initial diagnosis was not at the extreme end of the scale. Maeve’s non-judgemental listening skills and her positive approach to practical living, together with her healing techniques have made a big difference to my life in a short period. I have learned to accept my vulnerability and my intense emotional nature and not to be scared of my strong emotions but to manage them more effectively into an overall positive approach to life. I feel fantastic and energetic after acupuncture treatment, I am able to see things in a better light and feel very balanced. I miss my MOT if I don’t have it on a regular basis.'
'Maeve changed my life. I had always been quite a sickly child with a tendency to chest and throat infections and frequent tonsillitis. What Maeve discovered was that when I get very stressed and rundown my weak point is my chest. When I saw her regularly she built up my immune system by concentrating on my chest and at the same time did a de-stress treatment. I am now a different person. Now I’m surprised if I get a cold these days. If I get a chest infection it’s rare and overall I now feel I’m a very healthy person.'
'Acupuncture treatment has helped me keep going in very difficult circumstances over eight years. I have chosen Maeve as my practitioner because of her training, expertise and empathy. She is an excellent sounding board in times of distress.'
'Having had this treatment I have felt much more relaxed and calmer. My family have noticed a difference in my behaviour. Also since changing my eating habits my headaches have stopped, I sleep better, I'm not so quick tempered. All in all I feel ten times better. It has also given me more confidence in myself.'
'If I get to Maeve in time for the hay fever season I can more or less avoid it and if I don't I'm miserable. So acupuncture is effective in this area.'
'When I started my treatment I was experiencing pain in my neck, headaches and nausea which were unbearable without the help of strong painkillers. I needed only four treatments to be able to discontinue the tablets.'
'After a few sessions I felt much better as the frequency of my headaches decreased. I learnt to relax completely and was made aware of the harmful effects of an unhealthy diet which in turn led to my headaches. Apart from the diet I also became aware of trigger factors like stress which I learnt to control. There is a definite result which can be seen/felt over a relatively short period of time.'
'I have had no really severe headaches since the first acupuncture treatment. The treatment not only helped my complaint, but did so much good in a lot of other areas, such as diet, in managing stress and tension, in my attitude and lifestyle.'
'After eight weeks of treatment my severe headaches have improved 100% and my digestive problems are much better. Although I was not treated for Asthma I have found 50% improvement. I feel that the diet given is an important part of treatment.'
'My stomach is much better since having acupuncture. I have noticed a difference in other ways as well, much less stress and indigestion and a feeling of well-being in myself.'
'What blew me away was the power of acupuncture when I had a back problem which I had been going to an osteopath for, yet it hadn't shifted. One acupuncture treatment sorted it.'
'The impact of the treatment really hit home after a back problem occurred and within two sessions the pain had almost disappeared.'
'My shoulders and back pain have been cured. I have never had acupuncture treatment before and am amazed at the results. Trusting a person is very difficult, I came to Maeve by recommendation. I have heard that going to an unqualified acupuncturist can have a devastating result, so I was very reluctant at first but I can trust Maeve.'
'Acupuncture has given me back much of the freedom that I had lost through back pain. The relief was apparent straight from the first session and continued to improve throughout the six weeks of treatment.
Apart from the physical benefits of the acupuncture itself the psychological benefits were just as important. I had become resigned to the fact that I would have to suffer the rest of my life and no-one seemed able to help or even fully understand. However, after my first consultation it became obvious that not only was my problem understood but, for the first time, actually treated. As stress is so often a contributing factor to back pain I was already halfway to being cured. I realised that the whole body has to work together, and I have a far wider understanding of how to look after myself. Since beginning treatment I have taken up meditation.'
'I couldn’t walk upright and my back was twisted with sciatica. I can now walk normally.'
'I had terrible difficulty walking due to severe pain in my knee and ankle and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. After six treatments I have no pain.'
'I had terrible pain after an accident and operation two years ago. Now I have no pain after three treatments.'
'If it was not for acupuncture I would be in sheer agony and would not be able to walk. I had arthritis in my knees for two years and now I only get an occasional twinge.'
'The tinnitus sounds have reduced in volume considerably. I no longer feel that the condition needs to have such a devastating effect on my life as I previously felt it might.'
'It was good to speak to someone one to one who I feel has an understanding of what I was going through. The acupuncture enabled me to relax more than I used to therefore enabling me to cope better with things. These two things combined helped me enormously.'
I want to thank the many people who have so generously written of their very personal experiences of my treatment. To protect their privacy I have not used names.