The Heart and Uterus Connection – The Bao Mai
Ever wondered why your menstrual cycle is impacted when you are stressed or anxious? We see regular examples of this in clinic – a classic is when someone who has always had regular periods is leading into an IVF cycle and that period comes either much earlier or later than expected.
Let us explain to you what this means from a Chinese Medicine perspective and then talk through a simple technique to help you manage it.
The first thing to understand is something called the Bao Mai. This is the name we use for the channel that connects the Heart and the Uterus. The translation for the name of the Uterus in Chinese is “child’s palace” which is also one of our favourite fertility acupuncture points – “zigong”.
In Chinese medicine, the Heart is said to govern Blood (very important for fertility) and house the mind (or what we often refer to as Shen). We believe that strengthening the Heart energy helps to balance the emotions, enhance clear thinking, memory and sleep. Specially for fertility, the Heart controls the two moments of transformation: ‘Yang to Yin’ – as the period arrives and ‘Yin to Yang’ – at ovulation. When the Heart is disrupted by anxiety or emotional stress, it can impact the receptivity of the Uterus, which can then impact menstrual health and fertility.
Trying to conceive can be stressful. One of the best ways to look after yourself during this time is to reduce stress and anxiety. We encourage you to think of the Bao Mai as an open channel directly linking the free flow of energy between the Heart and Uterus.
If you’re a regular client, you know we’ll suggest acupuncture to help with keeping this free flow and reducing your stress levels. Almost all of our patients notice a sense of relaxation during and after their treatments, and we have a couple of blogs relating to acupuncture, stress, fertility and supporting research which you can read up on here –
The other thing we recommend is a simple breathing technique that you can do easily at home. This Heart and Uterus visualisation is one of our favourite meditations for our fertility clients.
Bao Mai Breathing Technique:
– Bring your right hand over your lower abdomen (just below your belly button and above your uterus)
– Bring your left hand over your heart area
– Close your eyes, start to focus in on the breath – spend 2 minutes just noticing the breath without change
– When you are ready, bring your awareness to the two hands and where they are placed
– Pay attention to the changes in your body as you breathe (the rise of your lower abdomen and expansion of your chest).
– Without moving your hands, visualise the connection between your hands and your Heart and your Uterus.
– Visualize the connection, focus on your breath sending love and free flow through your Bao Mai channel.
– Do this for 5-15 minutes.
– Don’t worry if your mind wanders, come back to the breathing and visualisation and keep going.
– If you are doing this exercise within an acupuncture treatment you don’t need to worry about your hand position and if you slip into an acu-sleep, this only makes it better.
– At the end of the session, gently and slowly open your eyes and take your time getting up.
You may like to return to this exercise periodically throughout your day. Whenever you have a moment, take a few breaths along the Bao Mai channel to ensure the free flow of energy from your Heart to your Uterus.
We encourage you to practice this meditation anytime you feel anxious, stressed or overwhelmed on your fertility journey.
In addition to your acupuncture treatments, your Yin practitioner can also advise on other techniques to manage stress and improve sleep and anxiety – including lifestyle adaptations and tools such as the above breathing technique and other meditations.