acupuncture and pregnancy

Acupuncture and Pregnancy – A Brief overview with Dr. Kurt Beil, ND, LAc, MPH

Recently there has been a movement towards a more holistic approach to pregnancy and healthcare in general. Traditional medicine approaches, such as acupuncture and Chinese medicine, are becoming more mainstream and integrating with aspects of Western medicine.

acupuncture mount kisco

Dr. Kurt Beil, ND, LAc, MPH

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Kurt Beil, a naturopathic physician, licensed acupuncturist, and Chinese medicine practitioner practicing at the Center for Health and Healing in Mount Kisco, NY and Danbury, CT. As a naturopathic practitioner, he works with his patient’s natural healing capacity, removing barriers to healthy function and uncovering the root cause of their ailments. Dr. Beil took the time to answer some questions about acupuncture and how it can be beneficial during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

What is acupuncture and who can benefit from it?

Acupuncture is a 4,000 year old system of health and healing based on the philosophy and theories of Chinese Medicine. It helps to regulate the flow of energy called “qi” (chee), which circulates in channels (meridians) throughout the body. Qi’s natural state is to flow. When qi gets stuck imbalance and disharmony occur, ultimately leading to health problems. Acupuncture needles are used to find the places where the qi is stagnant and remove the blockage. This restores flow and promotes a return to a healthy state. Anyone that feels stuck or blocked in part of their life could benefit from acupuncture.

When is acupuncture contraindicated?

If someone has a sensory nerve disorder, such as numbness or diabetic neuropathy, there are some acupuncture techniques that should not be used or used very cautiously. Some acupuncture points are not used at various points in pregnancy as they may trigger labor prematurely or potentially impact the fetus. All acupuncturists are trained in knowing when and where to insert (or not insert) the acupuncture needles.

Tell me about your educational background and practice

I studied biology and psychology at Northwestern University in Chicago for my undergrad degrees. During that time, I became very interested in Chinese philosophy and began studying Daoism, Buddhism and taking Tai Chi classes. That lead me to pursue a Master’s degree in Classical Chinese Medicine and a Doctoral degree in Naturopathic Medicine. I completed my studies at the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) in Portland, Oregon. After graduation, I stayed in Portland and practiced for 10 years before recently returning back to Westchester.

My practice is based on the fundamental ideas of balance, wholeness, and “Vis Medicatrix Naturae.” (Vis Medicatrix Naturae is the inherent healing power of Nature.) Life has the instinctual capacity and drive to WANT to be healthy. If we give it what it needs to do that and remove any barriers, that life will thrive naturally on its own.

What pregnancy and postpartum complaints may be addressed with acupuncture?

Acupuncture can be very helpful for all phases of pregnancy, from the initial fatigue and nausea that might occur in the beginning, to addressing muscle/joint pain later on, to inducing labor or turning a baby that is breech before delivery. And of course, it is helpful for relieving stress at any point for anyone! Acupuncture can also be used, in conjunction with diet changes, herbal therapies and other natural medicine approaches, to help balance hormones and assist with conception if that is proving difficult for a couple.

What would you like people to know about your profession?

My goal is to help everyone, including pregnant mothers, achieve the optimal level of well-being in the gentlest, healthiest, most natural ways possible. In my practice I strive for balance for my patients. Health occurs naturally when things are in balance.

Additional Reading

5 Natural Ways to Induce Labor

I is for Induction

Floating During Pregnancy

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