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Mind Body

Last updated: June 12th, 2018 at 11:01 am

Mind Body

Are you feeling stressed?

THE BENEFITS OF INCORPORATING A STRESS REDUCING MIND/BODY APPROACH INTO INFERTILITY TREATMENT, Written by, Dr. Alice D. Domar, Ph.D, Director, Mind/Body Center for Women’s Health at Boston IVF Clinic

“What is important is learning how to reduce stress. Mind/body techniques can decrease physical symptoms of stress such as insomnia, headaches, abdominal pain and fatigue as well as psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety, hostility, and tearfulness. And recent research has shown that women who participate in mind/body programs in conjunction with treatment from their physician have significantly higher pregnancy rates than women who receive medical treatment only.

Infertility can be enormously stressful; research has shown that the stress levels of infertile women are equivalent to women with cancer, AIDS, or heart disease. Conversely, recent research from around the world has shown that the more distress a woman reports prior to infertility treatment, the less likely she is to conceive. Thus, in order to both improve the quality of her life, as well as to optimize the chances of treatment success, mind/body techniques are an excellent complement to standard infertility treatment.

I have had literally thousands of women attend our mind/body programs, either the ten session evening program or a weekend retreat, and the results never cease to amaze me. Women walk in and tell the group of night after night lying awake worrying about the chance of never having a baby, of crying for days after hearing of a friend’s pregnancy, of wondering about the ability of their marriage to withstand this crisis, and of second-guessing every step of their treatment. We tend to see women after they have hit bottom. We teach a buffet of skills, ranging from relaxation techniques for use during blood tests to how to handle the anger from the 10th insensitive comment of the day. We teach skills to get one’s life back, to learn how to rediscover the pre-infertility self. And they do. By the end of the program, the depressive symptoms, the anxiety, the insomnia, the crying, and the misery are all significantly better. Many of the women get pregnant but more importantly, all participants feel they have the skills and abilities to help their dreams come true, somehow, someway.”

Recommended reading:
Mind Body Baby, How to eat, think and exercise to give yourself the best chance at conceiving”, author Ann Bracken from Dublin, Ireland

Book description: “Hospital visits, calendar watching, disheartening test results and scheduled sex can make trying for a baby a stressful experience, and the strain it puts on couples and individuals struggling with infertility can impact hugely on the likelihood of successful conception.

With an approach that puts wellbeing at the heart of fertility, this easy-to-follow guide by top fertility specialist Ann Bracken offers a proven successful alternative to formal counselling. Her comprehensive and supportive book gives help and guidance on how to enhance and improve the outcome.

With a focus on mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques, which have been scientifically proven to help overcome the stress and anxiety associated with fertility problems, the author examines the emotional issues around fertility and conception and offers step-by-step exercises to help readers improve their chances of conceiving. With a whole chapter on nutrition by renowned nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville, the integrated mind/body approach in this book offers a plan for the best possible chance of getting pregnant.

Offering the perfect blend of emotional support and practical advice on lifestyle changes for infertility this is a must-have book for every couple hoping to get pregnant, written by an expert author with years of experience as a Fertility Counselor and Mindfulness-Based Therapist.” see the book here


There are plenty of things you can do on your own to help reduce stress. You can use our MARA Mind & Body Stress Reducing Mind Body Method: The Pre-Sleep Technique

MARA Mind & Body Stress Reducing Method: Pre-Sleep Technique

This exercise is a technique that utilises suggestion and repetition combined with the pre-sleep brain waves to effectively establish desired changes.

Begin the following tonight and continue for at least the next 7 consecutive nights:

  1. Just before you start to fall asleep, repeat the following to yourself 8 times in a row:

“Every day in every way I am better and better”

While you are repeating this statement, imagine yourself getting better and better in any way you can or want to.

  1. To easily keep count without distracting yourself from the words you are repeating, just press each finger, one at a time in succession, to your thumb.  Do this with each finger on both hands and that will be your eight repetitions.

In order to effectively establish changes, this habit of repetition needs to be implemented on a daily basis over an extended period of time.  If you do this exercise every night you should find yourself reacting positively to the suggestion.

You may change the wording of the exercise to help bring about a more specific desired result.  The “better and better” is a fantastic catchall for anything that needs improvement, but you may want to target something specific and tailor it more towards boosting your fertility.  It is important to keep the wording as simple as possible and to use as few words as possible.  Below are some example of more specific fertility related wording:

  • Every day in every way, my hormones regulate
  • Every day in every way, my menstrual cycle stabilises
  • Every day in every way, my lining thickens
  • Every day in every way, my eggs mature
  • Every day in every way, my embryos implant
  • Every day in every way, my embryos continue developing
  • Every day in every way, I am more fertile
  • Every day in every way, I am ready to be a mother
  • Every day in every way , I am open to IVF
  • Every day in every way, I am more relaxed and at ease
  • Every day in every way, I am more confident

Acupuncture is also good for relieving stress

As a bonus. Acupuncture is drug free, which is great when you are trying to be healthy and boost your fertility.

  1. Researchers at Georgetown University used lab studies to demonstrate that acupuncture slows the body’s production of stress hormones. Their findings were published in the April 2013 issue of The Journal of Endocrinology.
  2. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce anxiety levels associated with infertility & IVF (Domar A Fertility & Sterility March 2008 Epub)

Research has shown that acupuncture treatment may specifically benefit anxiety disorders and symptoms of anxiety by:

  1. Acting on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the ‘analytical’ brain, which is responsible for anxiety and worry (Hui 2010; Hui 2009);
  2. Improving stress induced memory impairment and an increasing AchE reactivity in the hippocampus (Kim 2011);
  3. Reducing serum levels of corticosterone and the number of tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive cells (Park 2010);
  4. Regulating levels of neurotransmitters (or their modulators) and hormones such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, GABA, neuropeptide Y and ACTH; hence altering the brain’s mood chemistry to help to combat negative affective states (Lee 2009; Cheng 2009; Zhou 2008);
  5. Stimulating production of endogenous opioids that affect the autonomic nervous system (Arranz 2007). Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, while acupuncture can activate the opposing parasympathetic nervous system, which initiates the relaxation response;
  6. Reversing pathological changes in levels of inflammatory cytokines that are associated with stress reactions (Arranz 2007);
  7. Reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003);
  8. Reversing stress-induced changes in behaviour and biochemistry (Kim 2009).


The MARA Mind/Body Programme can help:

Our MARA Mind/Body Programme is a unique solutionMind Body that uses techniques like Mindfulness and/or meditation. The programme is tailored to your specific needs and likes and dislikes.  So, you get to choose from mindfulness and meditation to add to your Fertility Upgrade treatments.  The Mind Body programme is tailored to suit all stages of your fertility journey whether you’re doing IVF or trying to conceive naturally.  Our 2 Week Wait Mind/Body Support Programme is a favourite with our patients. We also have many more specific areas such as follicular phase & stimulation, ovulation, pre & post embryo transfer & early days of positive pregnancy test.  And you get to take the hypnosis and/or mindfulness and/or meditation recordings home with you to use any time you need it.

“You played a huge part in helping me to relax & not worry & that made all the difference”- Rosie (PCOS)