M suffered from ME when she was 15 years old. At 28, she was still feeling tired all the time and was always very cold, but tests that her GP had carried out did not reveal anything to explain it. She was also suffering from very painful periods and was waiting for exploratory surgery to find out if it was Endometriosis.
When her friend recommended Naava Carman, she and her husband had been trying for a baby for a year, with no success. A miscarriage, seven months previously, had been emotionally difficult and added to the stress that they were experiencing. “We were both really concerned and just wondered what was wrong,” she explains. “I was feeling really unwell and we were having no success conceiving, despite tracking my cycles and doing everything we were supposed to do. We felt it was worth speaking to someone new.”
M saw Naava in Spring 2010. Naava examined temperature charts that she had kept for the previous six weeks and immediately identified a trend in her daily temperature readings which is classified in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) terms as a classic Endometriosis pattern: “It was very jagged,” explains Naava. “There was no particular discernible ovulation, the overall temperature was low and the temperature at the beginning of the cycle didn’t fall as it is supposed to – so in TCM terms she wasn’t switching from one part of her cycle to another due to a blockage of Qi (energy) in her body which we call ‘Blood Stasis’.”
M had also been suffering from an upset stomach for about a year. Naava decided that it was important to work on the stomach problems and tiredness first: “It was vital that M was healthy before conceiving again,” she explains. “There was no point in over-loading her with herbs to move the Qi until she actually had enough Qi to move! We also wanted to make as sure as we could that her body was strong enough to carry a baby to term this time too.”
“After a treatment, I would feel great for a few days and it was a real eye-opener,” says M. “I realised just how tired I had been all these years. It was like a grey cloud had been lifted. It had been so long, I actually didn’t know what it felt like to not feel exhausted and it was such an amazing feeling.”
Unfortunately, the feeling would wear off after a few days and whilst the first few treatments worked well, she wasn’t improving past a certain point and each time Naava tried to clear the Stasis, it set M back again with her tiredness. “I think any good therapist has to know the limits of their competence, so although I planned to treat her to clear the signs of Stasis in order to help her to conceive; there were other issues that needed to be addressed first,” explains Naava. “I referred her to a specialist I work with to check for underlying nutritional and possibly immunological deficiencies in the form of food allergies. I also wanted him to check her thyroid as I believed it could be under-active. At the same time, I switched my treatment back to a purely strengthening one, and gave her some strong tonics to help maintain her energy levels.”
By this time, the acupuncture treatments and herbs that Naava had prescribed had begun to help and shortly afterward the specialist diagnosed an under-active thyroid. However, it was not under-active enough for Thyroxin (which is why M’s GP had not picked it up) and so he prescribed iodine and a range of natural remedies, vitamins and mineral supplements to help alleviate the symptoms. He also referred M for allergy testing, which showed her to be allergic to eggs, beans and bananas. As soon as these foods were cut out of M’s diet her stomach problems stopped. In addition, M who had been a vegetarian for years, was advised by the specialist to reintroduce meat and fish back into her diet.
Naava says: “Finally, M was well enough for us to treat the Stasis properly so I switched her herbs, and asked her to take a pregnancy test before she came in for her session on day 28 of her cycle. I felt that using these Stasis-clearing herbs was the final piece of the puzzle, and I was confident therefore that that month she would conceive.” Sure enough, M fell pregnant after just one month of Naava’s clearing treatment and had a healthy baby girl in February 2011. “My pregnancy was good,” says M. “I felt better than I had done for years and although I had morning sickness and tiredness, it was a different kind of tiredness. I also didn’t feel cold anymore.” Naava continued treatment during the first trimester to ensure the health of the pregnancy.
“I would definitely go back and see Naava if we had problems again,” continues M. “What happened to us is amazing. It’s not only the fact that we have been able to have a baby; but it’s also that through her help and advice my entire life has been transformed. I was so tired all of the time that our quality of life wasn’t what it could have been. After the miscarriage I was in a particularly bad way as it had sucked even more energy from me.
“Since seeing Naava and the specialist, everything has changed and I often wonder now if I would have been able to cope with a newborn baby if I hadn’t had treatment to resolve my other health issues prior to falling pregnant. So it all worked out for the best in the end.”
M’s husband has also seen the difference it has made to her and is thrilled to have a new baby in the house. “He has really noticed the transformation in me, it has changed everything really,” she continues. “Previously, I was too tired when I got home from work to go upstairs and get myself ready for bed. He used to come home to find me shivering on the sofa.”
M was particularly impressed with Naava’s holistic approach: “It was really refreshing being talked to as a whole person. NHS doctors only look at specific issues, they rarely look at the whole person. Naava wanted to know all of my symptoms and a complete history over many years so that she could decide how to treat me.”
“When I treat a patient with TCM, I have a responsibility to ensure that I don’t miss any obvious signs of illness from a conventional medicine perspective,” explains Naava. “In caring for women who are struggling to conceive, it is important not to focus solely on the absence of pregnancy as the core issue; often there are underlying conditions which led to the situation arising in the first place. I believe that with a healthy mother comes an easy pregnancy and a healthy child, and it’s something that has been proven over the years considering how rarely I have to help my patients to conceive a second time.”
“Seeing Naava was an entirely positive experience and we are both very appreciative of what she did. We would have no hesitation in recommending her,” comments M. “Having a baby has been really wonderful and being a mother is nicer than anything I could have imagined!”