by Anna Bartels, TCM Apprentice
It’s my pleasure to introduce Amy Theis, L.Ac, the owner and practitioner at Heal Oriental Medicine. Amy holds a Masters degree in Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture from Northwestern Health Sciences University and she is nationally board certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).
Around five years ago, Amy covered for the maternity leave of a practitioner who specialized in fertility, and fell in love with fertility care. Since then, she has developed a speciality in women’s health and fertility, and offers many unique services to women who are currently pregnant or who are planning pregnancies. For each client, Amy provides a unique Individual Report of Findings which outlines lifestyle and nutrition changes, as well as provides recommendations for oriental techniques focused on fertility, healthy pregnancy, and birth. Much of her work focuses on fertility issues and assists individuals and couples who want to add to their families, whether through surrogacy, assisted reproductive technology, or no-drug approaches. She has many clients who have struggled with getting pregnant, have had a history of loss or are going through IVF. They work with Amy to help prevent miscarriages or to optimize Western medical practices in fertility and conception.
Amy also focuses on following a client throughout the pregnancy process, providing therapies aimed at assisting with common complaints of pregnancy such as backache, spotting or nausea. She provides services to help babies achieve ideal positions for birth and she will even conduct home visits to help clients with pain management, to get labor started or to help get a stalled labor moving. Some of these services include acupuncture, moxibustion or acupressure. For most pregnant clients, Amy visits with them once a week for four weeks before the birth and she sees many benefits from these sessions that can help with shorter labors and faster recovery times. Amy can provide sessions for issues with lactation and breastfeeding, in the postpartum, as well.
Amy is huge supporter of home birth and works with many families considering home birth for themselves. She gave birth to her own daughter, Hattie, at home with the support of her partner, Cole, and her midwife. She credits use of acupuncture during her birth for help with pain management and transitioning through phases of labor.
What is the best part of your job?
“Babies! I get so excited when somebody says “I’m pregnant” and they have been trying for years. Helping families expand and start their families. I get excited to help with IVFs…going into a medical environment and bringing peace and “un-medical” stuff is good. I get really excited about birth, I think it’s a miracle, in whatever way a child comes into a family.”
How would you say that you are unique from other birth professionals in the community?
“I really take a lot of time with the education piece. One group that I think is underserved in the gay and lesbian and transgendered community. I have a lot of first-hand knowledge about conception for that group and that kind of sets me apart. A lot my classes are geared towards that group. Last spring, I taught a series of classes for the Family Equality Council. I do think that there is a lot of information floating around that isn’t always the best or healthy. One of the things I would like to see is more quality information for GLBT communities.”
Do you have any advice you’d like to share with our pregnant readers or our new parents?
”I repeat this to myself and my patients all the time: Listen to your body! My biggest thing is that you listen to your body and you honor and respect it. Rest and take it easy. It’s very hard for us to do, but there are a lot of lessons in that. Take however many weeks that you choose to take, and rest and relax and adjust to life with baby and new family dynamics. Allow your partner to make food, clean house, and get you water! You don’t have to do it! Honor the process and allow people to do for you. In Chinese medicine, you take thirty days and you don’t leave the house – you eat eggs and you stay in the house. This rest time is amazing! I love to see everyone honor their own cycles and bodies. Also, listen to your midwife!”
You can also learn more from Amy through the various classes she teaches at Heal Oriental Medicine. She offers classes for preconception and fertility and will be offering another round of classes in late spring. Class titles include: Fertile Signs and Environmental Factors and Lifestyle. You can also see Amy present on her work at the Midwest Family Equality Conference on April 20th in Minneapolis, MN.