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Cathleen Vincent is board certified and licensed to practice acupuncture by the Massachusetts Board of Medicine. She lives and works on Martha’s Vineyard and offers individually tailored treatments for people seeking wellness and health. She works currently out of the Yoga Barn in West Tisbury and also offers house calls.
Here, Cathleen talks about the many benefits acupuncture can offer both women and men in the various stages of the pregnancy and postpartum periods.
How long have you been an acupuncturist?
I've been in practice for 10 years.
What is your training?
My education is an undergraduate degree in Mathematics major from Bates College in Maine and a graduate degree in Chinese and Japanese Acupuncture from the New England School of Acupuncture in Boston, MA.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a 3000-year-old tradition originating in China. It uses needles, herbs or probes to stimulate areas in the body called acupuncture points to promote healing, wellness and balance for physical, mental and emotional strength, relief and health.
Science is still trying to fully understand why acupuncture helps to heal the body. One theory is that acupuncture suppresses the body's adrenal stress response, allowing the body to engage its own healing mechanisms more efficiently. Chinese medical theory believes that a person is a unified energetic and physical body, and that health is achieved by allowing the body's natural energy to flow freely and unencumbered.
You often see people for issues related to fertility and pregnancy. Is this a big part of your practice?
I see people for many health and wellness issues, but I do have specific training in acupuncture during pregnancy and birth, and acupuncture to support fertility health.
I love the journey of fertility, pregnancy, birth and post partum. It is a very special time in life where any natural and non-invasive care to support a woman or man is so valuable. The lovely thing about acupuncture is that is can work well with many other forms of health care without interfering with other treatment protocols.
How can acupuncture help with during pregnancy?
Acupuncture offers such wonderful support throughout pregnancy. The one thing acupuncture almost always does is help to regulate and relax a person-- mood stabilization, stress relief, and mental support are important things to have during a pregnancy.
Acupuncture can also help with nausea, morning sickness, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea or irritable digestion. I have also seen patients get relief from aching muscles, leg cramps, hemorrhoids, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, discomfort from varicose veins, back pain and correcting a breech presentation during their pregnancies.
How can acupuncture help with fertility? Post-partum concerns?
Acupuncture can help to regulate some hormonal fluctuations and/or imbalances that are commonly experienced with fertility and the post-partum phase. While not the only causes, hormonal imbalances in sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone) or body function hormones like thyroid or adrenal hormones can cause fertility challenges. Any major disruption in these hormonal systems can cause problems conceiving or regulating a pregnancy or maintaining mood in the post partum phase.
Could you explain a bit about your holistic approach and what other disciplines you use to supplement your treatments?
Acupuncture is a holistic therapy. All body systems are taken into account, even if you are coming in for a specific complaint.
Besides acupuncture, I also offer cupping therapy, moxibustion, energy work, zero balancing, and a fully present composure.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Nah. Not really. You can certainly feel the needles sometimes, and there can be a sensation awareness. But in general, once the needles are in you no longer feel them, and they should not feel painful.
Can acupuncture help move things along during labor?
Acupuncture helps to promote a healthy labor, but it cannot make a woman begin labor before she is ready. I have seen acupuncture help many women ease into labor and continue with a healthy birth. Acupuncture can help strengthen and ease a woman's labor and birth process, but Mother Nature always has the last say!