The first half of the cycle from the start of the period to ovulation is largely ruled by yin, ovulation occurs as the switch from yin to yang takes place & the second half of the cycle is ruled by yang, with the start of the period occurring as yang switches back to yin, starting the cycle again.
The section from the top of the symbol clockwise is the yin stage of the cycle when the fresh lining of the womb is being built up under the influence of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) & Oestrogen, during this phase blood building & an emphasis on yin is the main acupuncture treatment principle.
At the bottom there is a switch from yin to yang just after ovulation when the body temperature should increase by a few tenth’s of a degree making the womb warmer & more welcoming to a fertilised egg. Yang has a quality of movement as well as a warming function, this ensures that the fertilised embryo is moved out of the fallopian tube & implants safely in the uterus.
This switch from yin to yang sometimes needs a bit of extra stimulation which is an area where acupuncture can help.
The yang stage of the cycle is ruled by Luteinising Hormone (LH) & Progesterone. If there is no embryo to nurture, then the lining of the womb needs to be cleared away & refreshed, difficulties leading up to this switch from yang to yin often show up with premenstrual symptoms (PMS). Acupuncture can be very useful to resolve the stasis that this implies.
What can you do to help me help yourself?
One of the key things that helps me in your diagnosis is if you keep a Basal Body Temperature (BBT) chart, this involves taking your temperature with a special thermometer first thing every morning. The information gathered can help you determine when ovulation is occurring & so let you know when the best times to have sex are. It helps me to have a clearer understanding of which phases of the cycle aren’t quite working right & what my treatment principle should be. This might also affect just when during your cycle acupuncture treatment might be most appropriate.
Male sub-fertility does not have this useful tool of temperature charting. However sperm tests can give some good extra clues as to where the balance of yin & yang is disturbed & so guide the treatment principle. Poor motility points to deficiency of yang, poor morphology indicate there is more likely a problem with yin. Testing after 2-3 days of abstinence gives the clearest indication of the actual sperm parameters. Sperm takes 10-12 weeks of development before it is ready to be ejaculated, this is why it should be re-tested after that period of regular treatment.
(I treated one man for the 9 weeks before his next test, the tester was ‘astounded’ at the difference in the quality of the sample. The motility, morphology & count were all much improved.)