I started coming to see Dr. Patricia Gilmartin after we had unsuccessfully trying to conceive for about a year. I had seen my gynecologist, had the work up, and was told that our infertility was likely due to the fact that I wasn’t ovulating. I agreed to try Clomid, and after the first unsuccessful month – feeling emotionally devastated- I decided I needed to do something to feel better mentally and emotionally.
I had had acupuncture once before, in medical school, and remember feeling “good” afterward. This was the original reason I went to see Patricia – to feel better. However, what I ended up receiving from her was so much more.
Just before my first appointment with her, I had started my second round of Clomid. After she met me, reviewed my history, and did an exam – she concluded that Clomid would not likely work for me. She explained that my “eggs weren’t coming out for a reason – they are not ready, and if you force them out, they’re not likely to be good candidates for conception.” I must admit that I left her office feeling a bit confused over what she was talking about. But, after we failed the second round of Clomid, I began to list a bit more.
I was put on a regimen of weekly acupuncture treatments and personalized herbs. She reviewed with me certain dietary suggestions that would help my cause – no alcohol, no caffeine, “yin-friendly” foods, organic foods, hormone-free, etc. She made suggestions over which types of exercise would be most beneficial for me – yoga, swimming. She also “assigned” me to seek daily time for myself – down time for my brain. I had never honestly meditated before, but soon began to look forward to my daily ritual.
Some of these things were easy to change, and some not so – but, as the weeks went by, I began to feel better. I noticed that I was not “obsessing” so much about how I wasn’t pregnant, how everyone else seemed to be pregnant, etc. I began sleeping better. Further, my husband, friends, and family began commenting on how much happier and more calm I seemed. I really felt so much better and only in a few short weeks.
And after that, my cycle began to regulate a bit more, too. I began getting my period, again, and then shortly after, started ovulating. This was really hard for me to believe. Having a background in western medicine, I did not understand how needles and herbs could physically change the chemistry of my body. But, as the months went by, it was obvious that it indeed was changing the chemistry, and regulating my cycle.
My first appointment with Patricia was on December 5. I had a positive pregnancy test on May 3.
It was hard to believe how far we’d come in 5 short months. I walked into her office feeling devastated by the diagnosis of infertility, and all that comes with it. I was tired of people asking “when are you going to have children?” and hear how friends got pregnant “right away.” I wondered “what was wrong with me?” and “will this ever happen?”
I wish more people knew about Chinese medicine for infertility, and Patricia Gilmartin in particular. I cannot express how much she has helped me during this very difficult time. I had lost confidence in my body, and she helped me regain that. She held my hand during some hard times, and I will always be grateful to how “available” she was to me.
If you are struggling with infertility, please consider meeting with her. I understand that the concept of treating infertility with Chinese medicine is not exactly main stream in our culture. However, if you are willing to make the changes that are necessary to let your body heal itself, you will be amazed by what it can do for you.
-Christine Tompkins, MD
The Center of Balance has provided me with a wonderful and successful experience. I am a 37 year old woman who had experienced two years of infertility. I had gone through the traditional “western medicine” approach to infertility and it left me feeling sick, bloated, and of course disappointed, until one day when one of my friends mentioned the use of acupuncture for infertility. I figured I had to try it before going any further with the IVF procedures that were to be planned by my doctor.
At first I had been skeptical about acupuncture; its methods, its techniques, and its success rate. How could this work? How effective was it? Did I need to change my life as much as western medicine had caused me to? I was weary about how effective putting tiny needles into my body could be. I did not know that acupuncture treatments would cause a change in my spirit (my chi) along with a change in my physical being. That change came through not only the physical application of needles, but also through the use of specialized Chinese herbs and through the better understanding of my fertility cycle. Patricia Gilmartin was able to provide me with the techniques, support, and advice that I needed.
I had read about some of her successes and I knew that she claimed a very high success rate with her acupuncture program.
But after going through four months of the acupuncture and herbal programs created by Patricia Gilmartin, I am extremely happy to say that I am now 10 weeks pregnant!
-Sincerely, Donna Almeida
After meeting the women of Center of Balance and achieving a successful pregnancy, I feel compelled to share my story. After 6 months of trying unsuccessfully to conceive a child, my mother suggested that I try acupuncture. Frustrated with western medicine, I welcomed a new perspective. Rather than push unnecessary interventions (such as the Clomid my ob-gyn wanted to prescribe to me), Patricia empowered me to listen to my body, and trust myself. She helped me connect mind, body and spirit. She assisted my body in recovering from old emotional wounds and years of malnourishment, which were all connected to my inability to conceive at the time. Within six months of treatment with acupuncture, herbs and nutritional counseling, I became pregnant. I am grateful to Patricia and the other women of Center of Balance who have taught me lifelong lessons in my journey to conceive. I am now 14 weeks and counting!
For many women, we spend a majority of our fertile years postponing pregnancy. When we feel we are at the right place in our lives to conceive a child we assume or expect that our bodies will instinctively do what they’re designed to do; conceive and carry a child. I know I certainly did! After 2 years of marriage and around age 34, we began to try to conceive our first child. I had been taking oral contraceptives for almost 17 years which I started due to painful periods. When I discontinued them, the painful periods returned with a disabling mad vengeance. They were so painful; I had to be prescribed narcotics just to get through the first couple of days of my period. Still, I figured this would be one of many sacrifices I would need to make and certainly the sooner I got pregnant the better. So, I became proficient at calendar counting and each month waited to see if that would be the month that my body stepped up to the plate and hit a home run. Month after month, it didn’t. I wasn’t overly worried and knew that at my age this could take some time. But, after an unsuccessful year and menstrual pain that began inciting doubts that I wanted to even continue trying, I sought out the advice of my Gyn., and eventually proceeded to see a Gyn. specialist who had advanced surgical experience in treating endometriosis. This was a new diagnosis for me, but I was assured that although it may pose a problem conceiving, it wasn’t entirely a death sentence. In fact, his position was that endometriosis didn’t play as huge of a role in infertility as is often believed. And, besides that, my husband and I had no other issues that would’ve prevented our chance of conceiving.
So, off we went with a renewed hope and the prognosis that since the laparoscopy was successful, we may be able to conceive within the next three months, which we didn’t. Still, I remained relatively calm and felt that there were many medical options that would help us to reach our ultimate goal. I still had hope! Next, was the Clomid challenge test followed by IUI’s. Looking back over the process, I cannot believe how much of a role my health insurance played in dictating the process of my infertility treatment rather than my own doctor being allowed to take the lead. At this point, I realized everyone else was in charge except for me. My job was to hop around, skip around and poke myself with needles; I almost began to feel like a robot . . . blood work this day, ultrasound that day, etc. Three IUI’s later, we still remained childless.
Next, we began the journey of IVF and boy was I naive. Because I had felt the IUI’s weren’t very invasive physically or emotionally, I just assumed the IVF process would go equally as smooth. For me, it was a bit stressful, not knowing what to expect, feeling uncomfortable during the stimulation, etc. When I got that phone call telling me that I wasn’t pregnant I hit the wall. I not only hit the wall, but I found myself lying flat on my back, emotionally robbed of all the strength of my character that I had built over the last 35 years of my life. My false sense of “having options” was no longer my reality and just maybe, I was going to be one of the statistics of women who just couldn’t conceive.
We discussed my unsuccessful IVF cycle with our reproductive endocrinologist, again heard the statistics and were reminded of the diagnosis “unexplained infertility.” He encouraged us to try another cycle but never gave us any false hope. It was at that point that hope was just what I needed and if I didn’t have it, where was I to go to find it? How could I be motivated to do another cycle? Its 2009, and we cannot even clinically tell a couple why they cannot conceive, yet we’re so advanced medically in so many other areas. During that appointment, he did mention considering acupuncture treatments and made a recommendation to call the Center of Balance.
During the next couple of days, I wallowed in my decision to try a 2nd IVF attempt. I spent countless hours on the internet just searching for hope, searching for that one woman’s story that was identical to mine and had turned out with a happy ending. I began to find some motivation and inspiration when I researched the Center of Balance, and Patricia Gilmartin. I was impressed with the testimonials I had read. Simultaneously, I began to find my authentic self again. . . someone who had always been positive and strong-willed. I immediately stopped referring to myself as being “infertile.” “I wasn’t infertile!” In fact, no one could even tell me why I wasn’t conceiving!
I made an appointment with Dr. Gilmartin. She thoroughly reviewed my history and was happy to hear that I was now beginning to fight back against all the uncertainty and self-doubt that had built up over the past two years. I relinquished my fear that had been placed upon me for being a 35-year-old who wanted to conceive, but couldn’t. Maybe I wasn’t young according to the medical community’s standards. But, I wasn’t old, my husband and I were both healthy. I explained to her that I was going to try a 2nd IVF cycle, she supported my decision to do so, despite feeling that I truly wasn’t a candidate for IVF and just needed to restore some balance to my reproductive system, make some dietary changes, have some patience and let my body do what it was meant to do. I promised her that if this cycle didn’t work, I would take a sabbatical from the world of reproductive endocrinology and concentrate solely on acupuncture and continuing to live a healthy lifestyle. I followed her recommendations as best I could. I gave up alcohol, ate organically, etc. I explained to her that I had to be careful not to place too much stress on perfecting her recommendations, because I could easily find myself back in the mind set of placing blame on myself as to why I wasn’t able to conceive. She was very supportive and always encouraged me that even the smallest changes would make a huge improvement.
My IVF cycle was an absolute breeze! I had no anxiety, no hot flashes, no mood swings, a ton of energy and no discomfort from the stimulation phase at all. The day before my retrieval, I rode my race bike 20 miles with ease. Not only that, but my cycle was even more productive than the first cycle had been, a few of my eggs were able to be frozen and most importantly, we became pregnant!
Although the IVF had worked, I feel that I would have been just as successful with the acupuncture treatments alone, Patricia agreed. By having had one cycle without acupuncture and having one with, I witnessed first-hand how much of an improvement the acupuncture made. Intuitively, I knew the acupuncture was having a greater impact on me than any regimen of shots could have. Patricia taught me that women need to reclaim their fertility by educating themselves as to what’s in the foods we eat, or the medications we’re given or the procedures that are recommended to us. Patricia is an excellent resources for women’s health and reproductive issues.
I continued going to The Center of Balance throughout my first trimester and receiving treatments to help encourage a healthy pregnancy. I’ve had little to no pregnancy symptoms to speak of, which is certainly rewarding after all I’ve done to get to this point. I’m due late April, and will return to the Center of Balance at 36 weeks to prepare for my labor.
If you are struggling with infertility, consider acupuncture. It is a method of treatment that should be taken more seriously by our medical community. Patricia is not only experienced but she can provide you with the hope that you need to endure what for some can be a long road.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you too will be blessed with a positive experience at the Center of Balance.
-Melissa C. Seekonk, Ma
At 31 years old, and my husband being 40, we tried for over a year and a half to get pregnant. We were told that I had an elevated FSH level but that shouldn’t make any difference. We were also told that despite the elevated FSH level, nothing was wrong-we had a case of unexplained infertility-and not to worry because we had plenty of time. After going through 4 failed IUI’s we decided to take a few months off from fertility treatments and turned to the Center of Balance to give acupuncture a try. I was then told by my RE not to wait too long because I didn’t have much time. He went on to say that because of the elevated FSH level he wasn’t sure if I had many eggs left. I’m so glad we didn’t let him convince us to take the next step in fertility treatments, which would have been IVF. One month after the last IUI I became pregnant with help through acupuncture treatments and herbs! This was completely unexpected as I thought it would take a few months of treatments. I am so glad we decided to conceive the natural way and we are so grateful to Patricia at the Center of Balance. I would recommend it to anyone who is trying to conceive.
I am a 36 year old female who has been enjoying the experience of working with Patricia at the Center of Balance. I am a PCOS patient who began to see Patricia in hopes that we would be able to kick start ovulation in my body. I have seen Patricia for 9 months weekly and I am thrilled to say that I am currently 10 1/2 weeks pregnant!! During all my treatments at the Center of Balance, I was comforted by Patricia’s gentle and knowledgeable nature. She was truly a bright spot in my week. She was able to help me overcome my concerns, answer my questions, and jump start my positive energy. We not only relied on treating acupuncture points but we worked together on my diet and mental health to improve my PCOS issues. While I was receiving my acupuncture treatments, I was also seeing a reproductive endocrinologist. I believe that it was the combination of both eastern and western medicine that has brought me to such a blessing. Patricia has a certain presence about her that lets you know she is being honest, hopeful and an active participant in helping her patients achieve the goal or inner peace they are looking for. I will recommend the Center of Balance and Patricia Gilmartin to anyone who wants, needs or is willing to let eastern medicine into their life. It has been a wonderful, cultured and eye opening experience.
-TF from Rhode Island
My Fertility Journey
My husband and I were both 31 when we married and began trying to conceive right away. After almost a year of trying I was referred to Patricia by a friend. I had been a regular patron of community-based acupuncture over the previous year, but decided I needed a more focused approach to my challenged fertility. Like other couples who struggle with getting pregnant, my husband and I went through all the medical tests to discover what our “problem” might be. I discovered that I had a mild thyroid issue that could be contributing to our difficulties. We became pregnant soon after that discovery, during my fourth cycle of working with Patricia. Her guidance, advice, concern and instruction have not only led us through a healthy first trimester, but have given me a healthy respect for the wonders of my body and its own process.