Interview With Aimee Raupp

September Burton:  00:14  I’m here today with Amy Raupp. Amy is an acupuncturist and she specializes in fertility acupuncture. So I’m really excited to have her on the show and be talking to her, hi Amy. How are you? I’m great, thank you. How are you? Doing well. So first off, tell me a little bit about who you are and how did you get started in acupuncture?

Aimee Raupp:  00:37   Okay, so who am I? I am passionate about women’s health. How about that? I got started in acupuncture and I’ve been practicing for 15 years. So about 20 years ago I started studying traditional Chinese medicine out in San Diego. Prior to that I was a research scientist slash medical student to be out at UCSD. And you know, I uh, majored in biology and in chemistry. I always planned to go into the field of medicine and you know, just I suppose got a little sidetracked. I didn’t get accepted the first time I applied to medical school, which I think turned out to be one of the greatest blessings of my life. And then went on to graduate level work, in the bio sciences and the neuroscience department and through that, which introduced just kind of randomly, if you will. And I say that in quotations because I don’t think there’s anything, random about life but that, you know, I was introduced to Chinese medicine and acupuncture and kind of took a leap of faith, you know, around the age of 25 and decided to enroll in Pacific College of Oriental medicine out in San Diego. And I did their four year masters of science program. And so that left me with a masters in traditional Chinese medicine and went off to practice acupuncture and herbal medicine. I moved back to the east coast, which is where I’m from originally. And I’ve been practicing for the last 15 years. I have two clinics and lots of clients and I now have associates. And have since written three books, you know, and my, my mission is to empower, not just women, all people, but to really empower us all to take back the control over our health and our livelihood and, and even, as far as saying like our genetics and just the presentation of our health and how we show up in the world and how we show up for ourselves. It’s a real, real mission of mine.

September Burton:  02:45  I love that you said that because that’s one of my big goals too is take back control of your fertility. And it belongs in your hands. So I love that. We definitely agree on that. So tell me a little bit about acupuncture itself and what are, you know, I remember reading a few years ago that one of the theories of acupuncture, and maybe you can clear this up for me, but one of the theories of acupuncture and like the Meridians on the body are that when an egg is first fertilized and it first starts to split, it splits on very, very specific ways. Um, meaning like is let’s you know, directly in half first and then into quarters and then like there are very specific lines and that’s what turns into the Meridians that the acupuncture points are on. Is that true?

Aimee Raupp:  03:32 Yeah, I’ve heard that as well. I mean, I don’t know if we’d ever have a way to 100% know that that’s true or not, but that to me does make up where the foundational energy comes from and everything. It says something in the, the Tao of, from one into the thousands, you know, from one becomes many basically. And so it is from that one whole egg and then the division begins and you know, our Meridian, the, the Energy Meridians that run up the body are basically seen as the reservoirs, right, of energy for each of those organ systems and very closely related or linked to our, our template, if you will. So we would say genetic foundation in Western medicine and in Chinese medicine we would say our jing or our essence. And so, yes, I mean, that makes sense to me. It’s, you know, they don’t, they don’t come into play after they come into play at conception. In acupuncture, I mean then, then from that, same on that same train of thought, the acupuncture is, is meant to bring the body back into homeostasis, right? Balance Out, enter any energies that are stuck. We say, you know, um, all diseases. So disease just means dysfunction disharmony, you know, discomfort, dis ease. That’s the way it breaks up the word into two parts is just energy stuck somewhere. And, and the job of the acupuncture is to open up the flow of the energy through those Meridians to, to resolve the, the stuckness, if you will. And that in turn will prevent the disease or help heal the disease if it’s already manifested.

September Burton:   05:31 So can you explain to somebody who, you know is not very familiar with acupuncture at all and maybe hasn’t tried it? What is the purpose of the needles themselves and is it painful? Like what would you expect if you decided to give acupuncture a try?

Aimee Raupp:    05:46 Mostly it’s a very relaxing experience, typically not painful. Sometimes it hurts a little at the insertion, like you’ll feel a little pinch a occasionally it can be sharp, but the needles are as thin as a piece of hair. Literally, I mean, they’re extremely thin. And if you want to think about like a needle that you would get an injection without a doctors around, you know, and nine millimeters. And then the, the needles, we use are in the 30s, you know, so the higher the number, the center, the needle. So it’s extremely thin needles. And you know, typically when you come in for acupuncture session, I mean, at least I’ll explain what happens in my office is, you know, I do a very detailed health history intake that’s, you know, upwards of an hour to an hour and a half long and talking about every, everything you can imagine from your poop to your sleep, to your skin, to your emotions, to your diet, to your supplements. To your health history to your labs. You know, I go over all of that stuff. And then I, I feel your tongue. I’m feel your pulses. And I look at your tongue and the tongue and the pulse give us confirmation if you will, of our diagnosis. But through the intake, I’ve kind of formed my diagnosis, what organs I think maybe are out of whack or have those imbalances. I was talking about it, those blockages that I’m going to try to help, bring back into balance. And then the pulses and the tongue confirm that. And I always say there’s, there’s about 28 different pulse qualities is that, that we can feel as, as pulse takers. And some very traditional doctors don’t even really do an intake. They’ll just feel the pulse and look at the tongue. But many believe now that we could miss a lot doing just that because in our modern world, you know, maybe we’re on certain medications or maybe we just had caffeine, or maybe we haven’t eaten or maybe we took something last night that is impacting the pulses. So, it’s also better to do the intake to really understand everything that’s going on in the person’s body. Then you look to the tongue and the pulse for confirmation and then you needle based on what you’ve decided is a diagnosis of the patient and what Meridians need, need attention if you will. And typically, I mean I’m a less is more kind of acupuncturists, so maybe I’m putting in 10 Max, 15 needles, 16 needles and um, and they typically don’t hurt. They cause an endorphin release in your body. So that means basically I’m sticking a foreign object in your body and your body recognizes that as something foreign. And so it just starts to dump the body’s natural painkillers. So that actually causes you to feel very relaxed. Many of my clients fall asleep, you know, I’ve put a nice little heat lamp over your tummy or your feet feet depending and put on some nice relaxing music, sometimes I have, I stay with the patient and, and converse with them if that’s what’s most comfortable for them. But typically I leave them to be, and it’s almost like a forced meditation. So people love it. You know, my clients really look forward to their treatments. I always say I have such a great job. You know, people come in excited to be there and they leave feeling very relaxed and nurtured. And so it’s, it’s lovely. I feel very blessed to do what I do.

September Burton:  09:09  That’s awesome. I can attest to that. In the times when I’ve done acupuncture, I think that, well I remember the very first time I did acupuncture, I really didn’t know what to expect. And so they came in and they put the needles in me and then, they put the heat lamps over me and they said they turned off the lights and said, okay, go to sleep. And I was like, are you serious? This is amazing!

Aimee Raupp:    09:28  It is, it’s a really good nap too. And if you never had acupuncture, you know, I always say it’s like I’m like half in, half out. Like I know where I am, but I’m so relaxed that like nothing matters. And I think there’s several pieces that I do think the, the needles themselves play a role in that. But I also think knowing that someone’s going to come back for you, you know what I mean, that this is just your time to just sit there and chill. And My, my patients just love it. I always joke that before a woman gets pregnant, you know that she’s got a lot of questions and we’re talking a lot about our fertility and really dissecting a lot of things. And um, almost doesn’t want me to leave because she just wants to fill the time with all her questions and, and, and then once a woman has her child, it’s like she can’t wait for me to leave the room. She’s like, I just want to sleep. Talking yet. I need my sleep.

September Burton: 10:26  I love it. I can totally attest to that. So tell me a little bit about, are there like specific points on the body that improve fertility. How does that work? Do you, I know when I work with people I like to focus on the liver and the kidneys and the heart. And like very specific organs. So do you kind of take that into account when you’re doing acupuncture?

Aimee Raupp:  10:48  I hope you’ll like what I’m about to say, but some people don’t. When I say I don’t believe there is such a thing as fertility, acupuncture, and I get, I get kind of a, you know, it, it stirs me a bit when I hear people say that because there, there is no such thing. Acupuncture, it’s just one acupuncture. That’s it. You get the diagnosis, right? You treat the patient right. The fertility will thrive as an extension of house. Right? So to me it’s, it’s that simple. When I used to, early on in my practice, you know, I took those courses and I read those books, the fertility acupuncture ones, you know, and I just followed the protocols and I, what I found, what I was doing was I was actually missing the right diagnosis because I was so focused on what the book said about where they should be in ovulation and what organs should be opened or not. Do you know? Um, and when I am, what, what helped me realize this was then I had, I had this, you know, half of my practice was fertility, the other half was just women coming for like GI issues or anxiety or you know, skin issues. Um, and I noticed that when they tried to get pregnant, they got pregnant right away and they made me step back and I said, okay, what am I doing differently with the fertility girls versus these regular girls that just get pregnant so quickly? And I’ve been working with them for a while, right? So I was basically balancing their body and then it hit me, you know, um, you know, it’s probably like five years into practice where I was like, oh, because I’m just in those cases, I’m actually properly diagnosing, I’m treating what I see and I’m getting the results.

Aimee Raupp:  12:18  And so their health is, is in total check and their fertility drives as an extension of health. But when I’m hyperfocused on just treating fertility in these women that also have, you know, I mean, you know, the diagnoses in Chinese medicine, whether it’s like kidney, but like it’s almost like the fertility acupuncture and the way it’s positioned these days is like everybody’s got a kidney deficiency and everybody needs jing and you know, and that’s not really true. You have to properly diagnose and then you treat what you see. So yes, I do tend to see a lot of spleen and liver and heart, you know, some kidney, not nearly as much kidney as I think the textbooks will talk about, like those more modern ones that talk about the fertility acupuncture. Um, for me, I tend to see a lot of disconnect, I think between the heart and the uterus, right? So the bawma needs to be opened up. I’ll see, um, a lot of emotional constraints. I’ll see very poor nourishment. So the spleen is usually very weak and we need to work on the spleen to then build the qi in the blood. Right? Um, you know, maybe there’s trauma, you know, that needs to be worked through. And of course then you’re working with the kidney energy. So it really just depends on the case. But I, I do my best 100% and never compartmentalize just because a girl’s western diagnosis is endometriosis. I might have 18 different diagnoses though for 18 different endo patients. Right? Because not every endometriosis case is going to look the same. And not every PCOS case is going to look the same. At least that’s, that to me is the beauty of our medicine and when we’re just treating from this perspective of, you know, oh, she’s over the age of 40, she must have jing deficiency. We’re doing the same thing western docs do. And so I really like to differentiate when I’m working with my clients.

September Burton:  14:08  You know, I liked that you said that because, I was just about to ask that. Do you do specific treatment protocols for PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, things like that? But I guess you already answered that. Is there, I know that egg health and sperm health are huge factors in being able to get pregnant. Can you use acupuncture to actually improve egg quality and sperm quality?

Aimee Raupp:  14:31  100% Um, absolutely you improve, you improve stuff. Like even if we were just doing straight up acupuncture just in the lower abdomen and not really understanding Meridians or the flow or the diagnosis of the patient, we would improve the quality of eggs and of spring because by improving blood flow and circulation to the reproductive organs, you’re going to improve their function and you’re going to improve what they’re putting out. So 100% I think, you know, I think things like castor oil packs and mayan abdominal massage, those all help with egg and sperm quality as well because you’re just improving the function of those organs. Um, so in that regard, yes, acupuncture is wonderful for helping with that. And then couple that with diet and the right herbs and the right supplements and I think you can, you can majorly impact egg and sperm health.

September Burton:  15:24  Can you talk a little bit about castor oil packs? Because I know a lot of people have heard of that, but there’s a lot of misconceptions out there and misunderstandings about how to use it.

Aimee Raupp:   15:32  Yeah, I have a video, I usually direct people to. It’s on my youtube channel that I made just to kind of give. It’s actually what’s so interesting is I and I, thousands of video on my youtube channel. Um, the castor oil pack video is the most viewed video. Any video I’ve ever put out in my, I think it’s at like a couple of thousand views. It’s insane to me. But I think you’ve helped me understand that because I do think there’s a lot of misconceptions. So I only recommend them in the follicular phase, typically starting, you know, unless you have a very painful period or I know there’s fibroids, I don’t usually do them during the flow, but you know, it depends on the case. And on the clients, um, I think anywhere from like three to five times a week, um, I’m pretty general where you’re just putting castor oil over your stomach and then the flannel on top of that and then a hot water bottle sitting for 20 to 30 minutes. Um, and, and the, the point is, the idea is that it really helps a breakup. Any stagnation that could be in there. And that could be in the form of actual physical manifested stagnation like a fibroid or a cyst, um, or cysts, endometriosis. Um, but it could also just be, you know, more energetic stagnation. And where what we’re doing is just helping get healthy again, healthy blood flow, um, and kind of dissolving that stagnant energy. And so, you know, the way we see Chinese medicine wise, you know, stagnation can be qi stagnation, it can be blood stagnation, you know, and so there’s like a spectrum. And as in order to, as we resolve stagnation, you know, my teacher Sharon Weizenbaum would say, you know, the blood is, the quality of the blood is, is crappy. And as we improve and resolve the stagnation and the improve, the blood flow is just going to healthier blood to the tissues. And so that’s how I see castor oil packs working. Is it, I’m just helping facilitate healthier blood flow to the tissues down there and two. So again, those organs are going to function better and that means like your Amh will improve because that’s secreted by the ovaries and you improve ovarian blood flow, you’re going to your Amh, you’re going to improve. Um, you know how those follicles develop the health and the quality of those follicles. I think you can improve uterine lining. I, you know, you can obviously break up fibroids in masses and system, any kind. Um, and you see it because you see the changes in the menstrual cycle to, I mean usually I’m doing acupuncture plus herbs plus Diet plus supplements. So you know, I’m seeing those changes. I think there’s many variables at play, but um, you know, I like to use castor oil packs. I just think also women love the self care tools and I think it’s a really nice self care tool and you’re also bringing attention to that area. What I see when women are going through fertility challenges is they kind of start to hate that area or be mad at it or feel like it’s failing them and there’s a disconnect that happens. And so doing, I think the self care helps bring your attention and you’re starting to nurture yourself again, which is a really big piece to this puzzle in my clinical experience.

September Burton:  18:55  Yeah, I completely agree with that. Um, one of the things that I like to say is that the nurturers need to be nurtured and we are not or each other enough. Um, as far as women nurturing other women. Um, so yeah, I think that the self care is, is huge and a wonderful point to be brought up. Can you talk a little bit about herbs and how you can use herbs to prepare your body?

Aimee Raupp:  19:19  I guess it’s all in the same vein. You know, we’re using the herbs to support, um, the treatments, you know, in our diagnoses, right? So I’m always thinking about the quality of the blood because if it’s not good quality blood, then the tissues aren’t going to get, um, the, the nourishment that they need. And you know, as, as practitioners, Chinese medicine, blood is just so vital to anything. I mean, obviously bloods vital to us in the western world too, but it’s so vital and it’s not just how much, it’s how it’s flowing. It’s, you know, the, the thickness or the thinness of it, the quality of it. Um, and that you really want good quality blood because that’s what’s bathing the tissues so that in the organs that they can do their jobs as efficiently as possible. And so, uh, you know, I tend to usually there’s always a strong focus on blood, um, in my herbs, you know, but then of course, depending on the case and what I’m trying to treat am I tonifying or moving more. Um, but, you know, I, I use herbs. I’d say probably in like 70% of my practice if I’m dealing with women who were going through fertility treatments, um, you know, with Western docs and on a good amount of fertility medications, I’m not going to use Chinese herbs. I just tend to hold that for another time. But I love herbs just as you know, I look at it as, it’s just another form of food as medicine. So, you know, I mean I always do diet first. Um, so what I shift their diet, they’re eating the way, you know, we would advise from Chinese medicine perspective, um, you know, really good quality food and food is close to nature as possible and nutrient dense foods, animal proteins, blood building foods. And then I see how their picture changes with the food and the acupuncture. And then I tend to layer in the supplements and the herbs. Um, you know, based on almost what I see as the true picture because I always say, you can’t, I can give you herbs and do acupuncture on you, but if you’re not going to follow the Diet and lifestyle recommendations I make is going to be harder for you to a absorb, um, the treatments and then be for me to make the difference I want to make. So it’s almost like they have their homework to do. And then I see as the body starts to change. And then I introduced the herbs where I still see the kinks in the system.

September Burton:  21:42  Yeah. So you’ve been talking a lot about blood quality and the importance of that. And then at the beginning of the interview you mentioned that a lot of women’s spleens needs some nourishment. So can you speak directly to that and like how the, how does this spleen actually affect blood quality? And, um, what can you do to improve that?

Aimee Raupp:   22:00   We see the spleen in Chinese medicine, as you know, we say the spleen makes the blood, the liver stores the blood, right? So, um, what does that mean in, in common language or layman’s terms? The spleen and the stomach are the main digestive organs in Chinese medicine. And what they have to do is take in the nourishment the food. There’s the food we eat, but that I think the air we breathe, the relationships we surround ourselves with, and they have to utilize that information and we say to transform and transport it. So take the good, make that into the blood, which will help with the qi. So it’s blood and qi are engendered, if you will, from our foods and from our, what we take into our body. And I also think that extends to what we put on our body. And, um, and the relationships we keep and the lifestyle we lead and then get rid of the waste, you know, other organs get involved at that point, but get rid of the waste and then keep, keep the nutrition to then manufacture the blood and the qi and without blood. And qi, um, nothing works in the body. So, so the spleen is really important in that. Um, and also from there too, we can, we nourish what we call our Jing or our essence, which, you know, nourishes the kidney energy and we have the prenatal Jing and the, and the postnatal. So the prenatal is kind of what we were, what we were given from our parents or the environment that mom had when she was growing us in her womb. And then postnatal is what we can build or, or, um, breakdown at the, depending on how we live our life. And so, you know, I mean, I’m of the school of thought and this is how I was trained, that food is, food is the primary way to build that and tonify and nourish that spleen energy. And then the spleen takes what it needs. And gives it to all the other organs. Right. And then that’s, you know, that’s really the foundation there.

September Burton:  24:05  Okay. Well thank you for that. Um, so one last question. We are this fertility conference is of course, the Colorado fertility conference in your out in Connecticut. How can you work with couples here in Colorado?

Aimee Raupp:   24:19 I have quite a few ways. I do, I do coaching. So, um, I have an online coaching practice where, you know, obviously I’m not going to do acupuncture via zoom or any video conferencing, but I’m going to work with you on diet exactly. Like, um, but now I work a lot with diet and lifestyle and supplements and herbs. Although if you’re seeing an acupuncturist, I usually prefer your acupuncturist to do your herbs because they’re seeing you in the flesh. I think that’s a better choice to go with. And I will work with your acupuncturist. You know I love to converse with other, other clinicians on what I see in the case and what we can do together. What My, my coaching tends to revolve around as, of course, I set people up on the Diet and the supplements. And you know, I think one thing to add to that fertility conversation is like what I think makes us fertility acupuncturist is that we understand the western world of fertility really well and we understand hormones and we understand the physiology in the body and how it works from a Western and an eastern perspective. That’s where I think I become the quote unquote fertility experts, right? But not about the actual specific needles on putting in somebody’s body. Um, and so that’s, I really help people come up with their game plan. And I think a lot of the work that I tend to do as the emotional, spiritual work as well, just helping women work through, you know, the, the trauma and the disappointments, you know, as far as what their fertility journey has, has, you know, what they’ve experienced thus far. Um, I have online programs that, you know, I have a very strong community with my, yes, you can get pregnant ecourse and I have a lot of women in that Facebook community. I do office hours every week in that community and I support these women and cheer them on. I have books, you know, I wrote a book called Yes you can get pregnant and you know, gives, gives a lot of tips and tools and strategies on, on ways to optimize your fertility. So there’s, there’s many things I do. And I’ll also, if you don’t have an acupuncturist, you know, I help you find somebody wherever you are because obviously to me what should say obviously, but to me having acupuncture as part of your protocol is, is it very important?

September Burton:  26:42  Yeah, definitely. Can you tell me just a little bit, I learned, I’m in my last pregnancy about the beautiful baby point. I love that when I learned about that, I just fell in love with the concept. And so since we’re talking about fertility and talking to women who will soon be pregnant can you just tell people that do it justice.

Aimee Raupp:   27:03  But I mean I just know it as the beautiful baby point and your, your men to need to lit after the second trimester or I guess once you’re in the second trimester and, and the same goes to the, to use the tiny little gold needles. And it basically just ensures that you’re going to have a beautiful baby. So it accesses, um, you know, the kidney Meridian, which is like our foundation, you know, if you wanted to say like our genetics, if you will, our template. That’s kind of, I think the word I would use from a TCM perspective. And so needling this point, you know, once the pregnancy is, is, you know, more than I guess almost halfway through, um, just ensures a really good quality child. You know, I mean the Chinese medicine principles and theories, you know, we’re very protective of women in their pregnancies so much as we don’t even want you watching scary movies or being like any fright or any stress cause the so protective of that child’s energy and basically how your energy really impacts their The rest of their lives and their template and, and needling this point is another insurance policy, if you will, to, um, to bring a healthy, beautiful baby into the world.

September Burton:  28:24 Wow. I love it. That’s awesome. Um, well thank you for sharing that and thank you for listening.

Aimee Raupp:    28:29  I know everything about me and my website. and you can also follow me on Instagram or on Facebook at the same name.

September Burton: 28:42  Awesome. Thank you so much. Um, so this is September Burton from the Colorado fertility conference. They get fertility conferences, may 26 2019 from nine 30 in the morning to three in the afternoon. We’ll be giving away the ultimate fertility package, which includes a free cycle of IVF. It includes acupuncture, treatments, nutrition, all sorts of stuff. So come to Colorado fertility to learn more about that. Amy, thank you again so much for being with us today. This is a fantastic.

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