Gina Musetti

M.S., L.Ac., D.aC

Gina Musetti L.Ac. has been a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 20 years, specializing in fertility and reproductive health. Couples diagnosed by western medicine as being ‘infertile’ have been able to improve their conception rate up to 65%.

Many have been able to conceive and deliver healthy babies with quicker recovery times and fewer post-partum side effects by participating in her specialized Life Centered Acupuncture Care program.

This program blends Traditional Chinese Medicine with Soul Mind Body Medicine techniques and the most modern up to date technology specifically created for acupuncturists to achive opimal results. Her treatments include Acupuncture, Massage, Meditiation/Guided Visualization techniques as well as counseling in personalized nutrition for each individual based on their health history, current health and the local environment.

Celia E. Dominguez MD

Co-Director Pacific Invitro -Institute

Honolulu- Hawaii

Recently, there has been a growing interest by reproductive specialists to take a broader approach and combine the best of Western technology with the best of Oriental medicine, a concept called integrative medicine. I have been a long time-supporter of  the use of complementary and alternative medicine in Assisted Reproductive Care and have had the pleasure of working with Gina Musetti, director and founder of “Life Centered Acupuncture Care and Massage.”

Gina is much more than a licensed accupunturist; she is a divine healing hands, soul healer and a master of traditional herbal chinese medicine. Over the last 5 years, I have referred clients to Gina and she has offered each one of them exceptional fertility enhancement, playing a critical, supportive and healing role in their journey to fulfilling their family building dreams. Infertility is a trying road for most with many ups and downs and Gina, with her healing hands, has soothed not only tired muscles, rejuvenating them, but mended many hearts.  She is a gifted practitioner of alternative medicine and I recommend Gina, without reservation, to those seeking more than what those of us who practice Western treatment of infertility medicine can offer.

 

Celia Esther Dominguez M.D. FACOG

1319 Punahou St., Suite 980

Honolulu, Hawaii 96826

(808) 946-2221

M. & N.

Our Baby Journey

My husband and I were in our early 30s when we got married.  He is of mix ethnicity; Japanese, Chinese, Hawaiian and Portuguese, and is a devout Catholic.  I’m Chinese and grew up with Taoist belief and practices. We both come from close-knit families and after two years of marriage, decided to start expanding the family tree.

I thought we would get pregnant right away, but that did not happen.  After 2 years of trying, I tried my first IUI with my OB and went on Clomid. After a few months with no results, we took a break and continued to try on our own.

 When months turned into years, I knew my biological clock was ticking.   We see our friends getting pregnant with baby #1 then #2… When we go out to social events, sometimes we get asked, “When are you going to have kids?” Our family did not pressure us on the subject, but we knew they were silently wondering why we were taking so long.

 After trying for about 7 years, we finally decided to see a fertility specialist. My husband had to do a sperm analysis and he had some issues with low morphology.

I was diagnosed with pre-hypertension and the fertility doctors were concerned about my eggs quality, because of my age.  We felt like the odds were against us.

I was worried that western treatment would not work and wanted to look for an alternative.  That was when I read up on how acupuncture can help with fertility issues. After going through a painful HSG and another IUI, I was having doubts about continuing with fertility treatments and decided to give acupuncture a try.

We were lucky to have found Life Centered Acupuncture Care.

The first consultation with Gina was very informative and gave us hope.  Where western medicine uses medication and invasive procedures to try and correct the issues, Eastern medicine does a more holistic approach and uses different techniques to heal the body.  Improving our diet is also an important part of eastern fertility treatment.  We were given a list of what foods we should eat and what we should avoid.  I even learned to make a whole pot of black chicken broth.

She also treated my husband to help improve his sperm morphology.

We went through a year of acupuncture treatment, during which we had switched to another fertility doctor and had to have a hysteroscopy.  It turns out my cervix was tilted.  The doctor also explained that high blood pressure could also be the cause of infertility.  The new doctor and Gina worked together and focused to help me manage my blood pressure. As for my husband, with continued treatments by Gina, his morphology and sperm count got better and better with each IUI we did.  So we did not give up and continued with 4 more IUIs, but still nothing happened.

I started to get frustrated and depressed each month the IUI failed and was ready to give up.  Our doctor gave us some options:  IUI #7 with stronger medicine, IVF or do a laparoscopy.

I know I did not want to do a laparoscopy.  Although IVF is an option and our insurance will cover for one time, we decided not to do it.  It is a personal choice.  Since we can only do one IVF, what if there were extra embryos? What would we do with them? The decision that we might have to make about the extra embryos is what gave me pause.  It was a decision I did not want to face and since my husband is Catholic, I did not want to have him make that decision either.

By then I was emotionally and physically drained, and I was ready to give up. I was even thinking about adoption, but we knew going this route would not be easy.  My husband insisted we try one more time with IUI #7.  I was not sure if I could go through another disappointment, but he insisted that if it did not work, at least we would have a sense of closure in this whole journey of infertility.  We took a month break and did IUI #7 April 2012.  During the break, I continued to see Gina and decided to put my mind on other things.  I did not have much hope for IUI #7.  The day we went in for the procedure, I was lying there afterward, and my husband struck up a conversation about religion and faith with our doctor.  The day came for me to take the pregnancy blood test. After the test, I started to cramp.  So in my mind

I knew the journey was over because I was going to have my period.  I was feeling depressed, but was ready to be over with all the treatments.  That morning I received a call from the nurse. I thought she was going to say, “Sorry, but the test was negative” as she had done so many times before.  But the words I heard on the other end of the phone was, “Guess what, you are pregnant!”

Our daughter was born on 01-03-13.  Everyone asked if we wanted to have a New Year Baby.  My husband would not mind, but my answer was “No” (unless she decided on her own to come that day), because I wanted her to have her own special day to celebrate her birth. She is a dragon baby who loves exploring her environment with her big round eyes.  She loves to smile at anyone who will give her attention. She also has a feisty personality and a bit of a stubborn streak.

I continue to see Gina throughout my pregnancy my blood pressure remained steady and healthy, and I did not have any nausea or major pregnancy complications.  I did develop gestational diabetes, but was able to manage it through a low carbohydrate diet and treatment with acupuncture.  Even now, I continued to see Gina monthly.

I know if we had done treatments earlier, we could have had a baby a few years ago.  Yet, all things in life usually happen for a reason.  We were destined to be with our daughter and the challenges we faced in our lives these past 10 years only strengthened us to be better parents. She is full of energy and keeps us on our toes, but we are enjoying every minute of it!

Alyssa & Family

Dear Gina and staff,

We don’t know how to thank you for all your support and help on our trying journey.  Our happy ending couldn’t have been possible without all the help we received from everyone, most certainly you!  I can’t believe it was only a year and a half ago that I was in the worst physical state of my life.

Our joy of being pregnant quickly transitioned to a dire state when, at only two months, not only did my Lupus flare to affect my kidneys severely, but I was extremely anemic and left in limbo of a diagnosis between a relatively rare blood disorder called TTP (Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura) and preeclamsia.  After endless doctor visits, hospitalizations, blood transfusions and a daily regime of plasma exchanges we eventually made the very difficult decision to terminate the pregnancy.  Unfortunately the likelihood of the same conditions rearing its head if I became pregnant again was great, especially with now compromised kidneys.

So we sought another option, using a kind and loving surrogate to help us nurture our baby.  But by then, my body was in a struggling state trying to recover much less ready to retrieve eggs for a transfer.  Working with you helped my body to regain its health so rapidly!  The acupuncture, cupping, massages and herbal teas did wonders.  Not only did I get healthier – which I needed desperately, but we were also able to successfully get pregnant with our surrogate with TWINS!

Now our twins, a boy and girl, are three months old and thriving.  They’re a joy we can’t fully even express and we are so fortunate.  We can’t even count the blessings we have (there are so so so many).  Needless to say, you are a HUGE blessing to us.  Your sensitivity, understanding, expertise, skill, intuition and love have supported our whole family throughout.  Thank you so much.  I would and have already recommended others to you and I hope that even more seek you out.  You have touched our lives in ways we can never fully repay.

Lisa & Jeff Gillis – Davis

 My Husband and I began seeing Gina after 2 and a half years of trying to conceive. During that time we had two miscarriages, seven months of Clomid, and one round of IUI.  Our infertility specialist had run all the usual tests and did exploratory surgery.  His diagnosis was “unexplained infertility”.  Western Medicine was causing us stress and anxiety, and for me, depression.  After reading a couple books on the mind-body connection and infertility we decided to give Eastern Medicine a try.

We chose Gina over other practitioners because of her expertise in using acupuncture to treat infertility.  Gina put us at ease during our initial consultation.  Committing to treatments requires both time (Gina told us to give her treatments at least six months) and dedication (there were a LOT of dietary rules, herbs, and home procedures for us to follow).  Each week Gina’s acupuncture and massage treatments, plus her positive attitude, helped me feel peaceful and positive.  Whether I got pregnant or not, I knew I was improving the health of my body and I was happy to be trying a new avenue toward parenthood.

As it turns out, we became pregnant after seeing Gina for only about two weeks. I continued to see Gina until I delivered.  During each visit Gina would take my pulses, check my tongue, and do other diagnostics to reassure me that my baby was growing healthy.  Gina’s treatment plan was design not only to make help our baby grow healthy and strong inside me but also create a baby that would nurse and sleep well.  Our end result was a perfect baby boy born in November 2008.  We have heard comments from nearly every person we’ve met that he is a supremely calm, even-tempered, happy baby.  Our son has slept through the night since about four months old.  He has always nursed very well and never had colic.

We feel like we won the baby lottery with how easy it is to parent him.  We think all the moxibustion and acupuncture treatments while he was developing directly resulted in his calm demeanor.

If we decide to try for a second baby, our first visit will be to Gina before we even try to conceive.  We wish you luck on your journey, wherever it leads you.

Lisa & Vincent K.

I’ve been seeing Gina for about a year, and can’t recommend her any more highly. Having never had acupuncture before, I didn’t know what to expect or how much she could help, but I visited her on the enthusiastic recommendation of a friend and have transformed from hopeful skeptic to the ultimate believer. She specializes in infertility and pain management, and on both accounts, I can say that she absolutely knows her stuff.

After 2.5 years of trying to conceive, I finally successfully got pregnant after 3 months of seeing Gina. Anytime since then that I’ve had a touch of illness, or general aches and pregnancy pains, she fixes them for me in a snap. She also makes great recommendations in regard to diet and other environmental factors that you don’t get under the care of traditional Western medicine, so she complements my doctor very well. As a result, my husband is now seeing her too. She is incredibly insightful, compassionate and knowledgeable.

“Life Centered is truly the theme here, if you are looking for a proactive source to heal your body without the use of chemicals or drugs. Gina is awesome! I came to her to improve my general overall health and also to address some pain I’ve had in my neck for over a decade from sitting in front of the computer too long. She and her staff are extremely professional, so impressed with their bedside manner. Gina’s skill with acupuncture is spot on, pretty amazing how good I feel after a session of cupping and needles (btw – I HATE needles). She supplements your treatment with suggestions for improving your health in between sessions, and she gives you herbal supplements and minerals to help with the holistic healing. Her clinic is very clean and comfortable, I like that she has soothing music in every room and that the sheets are freshly washed and warm. Falling asleep during a treatment is pretty common and a nice cat nap in the middle of my day.

Sara P.

After many, many doctor’s visits and problems that continued to persist I decided to seek help from a more traditional viewpoint. I visited Gina at her practice in April of 2010.

My first appointment was unbelievable! She actually spent a very long time asking me questions about the health issues I was concerned with, branching from one question to another for over an hour. I’ve never met one single doctor who takes that kind of time with a patient. For the next year and two months I saw Gina 1-3 times a week. She gave me tips for things to do at home to help heal my body, taught me why certain foods were better than others and even included my husband in the journey.

She also helped guide me through meditations, which are now a large part of my daily health regimen. At every appointment I felt care and concern for my well-being. Gina always had a positive attitude and outlook which I feel helped me to achieve my healthy state of being. She never left a question I had unanswered or an ailment unfixed.The original reasons I went to Gina were for constant upset stomach and very irregular bleeding. After a short period of time the stomach upset was history! I was also sleeping better, waking more rested and generally more relaxed throughout my days. The irregular bleeding took more work and time to heal, but in the end it too subsided. The treatments that Gina lead me through are also ones that she uses for helping women with fertility problems. We were not trying to conceive while I was seeing her, but I feel very strongly that thanks to all of the healthy changes my entire body went through because of Gina we got pregnant in our first week of trying! My life took a turn for the better when I met Gina. I would recommend her skills as an acupuncturist and knowledge of herbs, foods and exercises to anyone seeking a healthier, happier life.

Article : Acupuncture, Fertility Research Delivers Healthy Results
By:
Jennifer Dubowsky, L.Ac. M.S.O.M., Dipl.Ac

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been practiced for thousands of years. Amazingly, the first written gynecological records date back to the Shang dynasty (1500 BC- 1000 BC), but here in the U.S. and other Western countries, people are just beginning to understand and appreciate the effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

It isn’t easy to compare Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western medicine because there are profound differences that underlie the basic notions of your health, body and treatment. Western medicine often takes a more mechanistic view of people – your body may be treated as if it is a collection of machine parts rather than one whole, integrated system. Alternatively, Traditional Chinese Medicine sees individuals as personal ecosystems, with each part depending on, and influencing, all the other parts. This “whole body” approach means that treatment addresses the complete systems of your body rather than just attending to your symptoms. As a result of such a treatment strategy, most patients experience an improvement in their specific condition and also a better overall sense of health and well being.

TCM and Fertility: The Research

Let’s define infertility. The American Fertility Society defines infertility as occurring when “a couple has 1 year of regular intercourse without contraception and has been unable to conceive.”

There are many factors that may make your conception difficult to achieve and, even after conception, you may face problems bringing your pregnancy to term, which causes frustration, upset and increased stress. However, research using acupuncture to enhance fertility is providing reason for new optimism in the struggle with this old problem.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can be used alone or in conjunction with Western medicine. A 2002 German study that received a lot of attention found significantly higher conception rates (42.5% vs. 26.3%) when acupuncture was used with IVF. More recently, two studies published in May 2006, showed that acupuncture can improve IVF success rates. First, in Germany, 225 women undergoing in vitro fertilization participated in a study.

Of these, 116 patients received luteal phase (the phase after ovulation) acupuncture according to the principles of TCM and 109 people received a standard protocol of acupuncture. The treatment group using TCM principles had a significantly higher clinical pregnancy rate than the placebo group (33.6% vs. 15.6% respectively). Second, a Denmark study published at the same time examined the effect of acupuncture received on the day of embryo transfer vs. no acupuncture, and they also found a significant increase in pregnancy rates (39% vs. 26%). The researchers concluded that acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer improved the outcome of IVF. A third study published at the same time found the results too small to be considered clinically significant but these researchers also concluded that acupuncture was safe for women undergoing IVF.

Other research is showing acupuncture’s effectiveness with men. A study published in 2005 demonstrated that sperm motility and quality improved after the men received treatment with acupuncture.

As further proof that TCM has gained acceptance and success, in September, 2005, the University of Maryland received $400,000 from The National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institute of Health, to research the benefits of Acupuncture combined with IVF.

In Vancouver on May 18, 2007, Dr. Paul Magarelli, an infertility physician at the Reproductive Medicine & Fertility Center, and Diane Cridennda, an acupuncturist at East Winds, both centers in Colorado Springs, Colorado, presented their research results which were published in Infertility and Sterility in April, 2007. This is one of several studies the two have completed. In the protocol, they used a minimum of 9 acupuncture treatments within 2 months before the embryo transfer. Since this was a research study, each patient received the same treatment. No modification in points was allowed. From a clinical TCM/acupuncture perspective, the treatment protocols were very limited compared to individualized treatment of each patient.

What were their results? Lorne Brown, Doctor of TCM, founder and clinical director of Acubalance Wellness Centre, the first TCM clinic in British Columbia dedicated to reproductive wellness, analyzed the data Dr. Magarelli presented and has posted the following conclusions on his website:

– Acupuncture does not cause harm to fertility or negatively interfere with an IVF outcome.
– Acupuncture can statistically improve the live birth rate from IVF to between 10-15%.
– Acupuncture reduces the number of ectopic pregnancies in an IVF setting.
– The acupuncture protocol (minimum of 9 treatments using set points) did not affect egg quality BUT it did improve the host. Therefore, it seemed to improve factors affecting implanation rather the egg quality itself.
– The mechanism by which acupuncture improves implantation and live birth rates results from acupuncture’s ability to regulate the body’s hormone levels (particularly prolactin and cortisol) to mimic these hormone levels in a natural cycle.

Why Does TCM Work?

Why? “Acupuncture provides better circulation and better blood flow to the womb,” said Dr. Raymond Chang, director of New York’s Meridian Medical Group, who has been incorporating acupuncture into fertility treatments for the past decade. “It will give a better chance for the eggs to be nourished and therefore carried.” Acupuncture seems to help some women because it improves circulation to your ovaries and to your uterus. It aids ovarian stimulation, improves the thickness of uterine lining, and therefore can help with implantation. Acupuncture is relaxing, which helps to lower your cortisol levels and increase progesterone output, important factors in decreasing your chance of having a miscarriage.

Western medicine works with an eye on the numbers. The main goal is to increase the quantity of eggs or sperm, thereby increasing your chances of a viable pregnancy. In contrast, Traditional Chinese Medicine is holistic and cumulative. It will likely include suggestions about diet and lifestyle as well as acupuncture. TCM is very personalized. Your practitioner will needle specific points and may suggest specific herbs, all depending on your body and your situation. When your body is healthy and balanced, you increase your chances of getting pregnant and producing a healthy child. The goal of acupuncture is to return your body to a state of health. The effects take time; the results get better over time. Even if your Western doctor does not understand the benefits of acupuncture, most physicians now agree that it does not cause harm.

Nourish the Soil before Planting the Seed

Plan ahead. The ideal time to begin preparing your body for a baby is three months before conception or an IVF cycle. This is the time to begin acupuncture treatments, but many couples wait until they are actively trying to conceive. In my practice, I recommend twice weekly treatments until we get a positive pregnancy test and once a week for the first trimester to reduce the risk of miscarriage.
Of course, making good nutritional choices is always important for both mother and child. Specific suggestions can be found in one of my previous articles, “The ABCs of Fertility: Acupuncture, Babies, Chinese Medicine” which can be read on Acufinder.com and on tcm007.com

You can also help your body’s readiness by attending to the following suggestions:

  • Caffeine: Reduce or cut out coffee from your diet. A joint US/Swedish study of 562 women found that 1-3 cups of coffee increased miscarriage rate by 30% and more than 5 cups increased it by 40%.  Also, in another study conducted during the first trimester of pregnancy, women who had a high caffeine intake showed an increased risk of repeated miscarriage.  
  • Stress: Stress has been linked to irregularieties in ovulation and abnormal sperm development. When you can lower your levels of physiological stress, you have increased your chances of conception.
  • Sleep: Treatment in Chinese medicine always aims to improve your sleeping pattern. Lack of sleep has long been recognized as influencing fertility. It leads to physiological disruptions including the inhibition of growth hormones.
  • Alcohol: Women who drink alcohol may delay conception because it is poorly metabolised and can lead to a disturbance of the estrogen/ progesterone balance. During IVF, men and women are both advised to avoid alcohol because, in women, it can lead to reduced egg production and, in men, it may reduce the number of healthy sperm.
  • Weight: Being too thin or too heavy can have an impact on how quickly you conceive. Excessive thinness is known to interfere with menstrual periods. Now, it is also believed that if both partners are overweight or obese, conception will take longer.
  • Smoking: Smokers have an increased rate of repeated miscarriage.  Women smokers have been shown to have lower levels of oestrogen which may delay conception. Smoking is also thought to influence tubal factor infertility, and can cause early menopause. In men, smoking may damage sperm. When men stop smoking, their sperm count increases quickly. 

By following the Chinese medicine approach to balancing your body, mind and spirit, you will not only boost your fertility but you will feel more energized, sleep better and experience a greater sense of wellbeing.

Summary

In summary, Acupuncture and Chinese herbs have a long history of benefiting fertility in many ways. Benefits of TCM include:

  1. Improvements in your uterine lining
  2. Increased blood flow to your uterus
  3. Regulation of your hormones
  4. Reduction of your stress associated with fertility problems
  5. Improved function of your ovaries
  6. Increased conception with or without ART
  7. Increased live birth rates
  8. Lower rates of ectopic pregnancies                              

And for men…

  • Improved semen quality and quantity
  • Reduce stress and improve well being 

About the Author

Jennifer earned her Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College, an accredited 4 year Master’s program in Boulder, Colorado. She received her Diplomate from the NCCAOM, the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and completed an internship at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital in Beijing, China. Jennifer has been in practice since 2001. She has a passion for her work and has researched and written articles on Chinese medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois. She can be reached at 312-399-5098 or through e-mail at TCM007@aol.com.