Ep 51: Chinese Medicines and Fertility, with Dr. Daryl Thuroff from the Yinova Center
Fertility Forward Epsiode 51:
For thousands of years, Chinese Medicine has been used to enhance fertility, improve sexual health, balance hormones, and regulate the menstrual cycle. Today’s guest is Dr. Daryl Thuroff from the Yinova Center to the Fertility Forward Podcast, who has spent the last 13 years honing her skills as a health care facilitator and educator. She has a Doctorate of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Massage Therapist, and is nationally certified as a Diplomat of Chinese Medicine by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. Dr. Thuroff’s goal is to facilitate healing based on individualized treatment for physical conditions along with emotional stressors. Treatments often include acupuncture, massage therapy, and herbal medicine combinations to ensure optimal results. The focus of her work has evolved into the emotional origins of pain, stress management, women’s health, fertility, and pediatrics. Dr. Thuroff developed Yinova’s Reproductive Health Bodywork Program, alongside Yinova founder, Jill Blakeway. This comprehensive approach to bodywork was designed to help our patients build a good reproductive foundation that can improve fertility and treat conditions such as irregular cycles, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, PCOS, endometriosis, and more. Tune in today to hear all about Dr. Thuroff’s journey through different fields of practice, how she found Chinese Medicine, how she’s using it in fertility processes, and so much more!
Rena: Hi everyone. And welcome to Fertility Forward. We are part of the wellness team at RMA of New York, a fertility clinic affiliated with Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Our fertility forward podcast brings together advice from medical professionals, mental health specialists, wellness experts, and patients, because knowledge is power and you are your own best advocate.
Rena: We are so excited to welcome to Fertility Forward today, Dr. Daryl Thuroff from the Yinova Center. She has spent the last 16 years honing her skills as a health care facilitator and educator. She has a doctorate of acupuncture in Chinese Medicine, is a licensed acupuncturist, massage therapist, and is nationally certified as a diplomat of Chinese medicine by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. Daryl's goal is to facilitate healing based on individualized treatment for physical conditions along with emotional stressors. Treatments often include acupuncture, massage therapy and herbal medicine combinations to ensure optimal results. The focus of her work has evolved into the emotional origins of pain, stress management, women's health, fertility, and pediatrics. Daryl developed Yinova’s reproductive health body work program alongside Yinova founder, Jill Blakeway. This comprehensive approach to body work was designed to help patients build a good reproductive foundation, which can improve fertility and treat conditions such as irregular cycles, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, PCOS, endometriosis, and more. Before moving to Yinova, Daryl was a clinic director, clinic, supervisor, and associate level professor at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Manhattan, and has also participated in various clinical settings, such as national Institute of Health research study for chronic pain management and UC San Diego’s RIMAC center for student athletes and seniors clinic. I am so excited to have you on today, Daryl, and to introduce our listeners to you. Big, big fan. So thank you so much for being here.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: Thank you. That's such a great intro. I appreciate it. And glad to see you again and meet you, Dara. I look forward to talking with you guys.
Dara: You're a pretty impressive, I feel like you've accomplished quite a lot over the years, and I love to see that you've really built upon your foundation, the acupuncture foundation, and have really included so many different modalities together. How did that all come about?
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: So it's actually interesting. I started out in massage way back, even before that I was an English major undergrad, went and worked in advertising for about eight years and a bunch of big things happened. 9/11 happened. I lost a job because the industry changed and I had a bunch of friends, family who had been ill and I felt like I neededTt do something to help people a little bit more. I know a lot of people who get into this kind of healthcare field often feel that way that just like I have to do something. And after 9/11 I'd been doing a lot of volunteer work. And I thought when I first graduated undergrad, I wanted to look into massage therapy, but I never followed up with it. And so I revisited that. My first class was anatomy and physiology and I was like, this could go really well or it could go really bad. And my teacher, thankfully I have to say her name, Mary Richter, was one of the best teachers at the Swedish Institute. And so she just broke it down for us, really easy, knowing that a lot of us were coming into a second career as it were, and I just fell in love with it. And so when I was in massage school, we learned a lot about Eastern medicine as well. And when I was done with massage school, I started working at Equinox. I worked at a bunch of other places, East side massage therapy, all these great, wonderful places that I was able to really get my hands literally and figuratively on people. And then I just really wanted to continue on that journey and incorporate Eastern medicine. So I wound up going back to school, in fact, with my brother at the same time to Pacific College. At the time it was Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. Now it's Pacific College of Health Sciences, and we just, you know, really embraced Eastern medicine and did herbs, acupuncture, and everything else that comes in between with that. And then I wound up staying at the school teaching, supervising, what have you. Then met Jill and loved her work and pretty much asked her for a job. And it took a while for that to come to fruition. And now I've been with Yinova for about a little over four years.
Dara: Wow. So did you initially want to work in women's health and reproductive health or is this kind of just, you met Jill and it kind of fell into your lap?
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: So I did a lot of volunteer work in Guatemala and in Ecuador a bunch of times. And one of the times that I went there and now a dear friend of mine, like the medicine woman, one of the medicine women of one of the places that we were at my friend Flor, she did a Mayan cosmology reading for me when we were there. And she said, you're going to do stuff in women's medicine. Like she was speaking all in Spanish and it was translated and I don't really speak very much Spanish, but she was like, you're like a bird you're going to make all these great things happen in women's medicine. And I, at the time was working mostly in stress and pain management, orthopedics, you know, which makes sense when you're coming from a massage background. You're going to do a lot of hands-on work in those two things, stress management, pain management. I just looked at her and I was like, really? I don't. And shortly thereafter it wound up tidal waving into where I am now, which is a lot of women's health and pediatrics as well because kids are awesome and their so much fun. And if we're helping people make more kids, like let's work on both those things.
Rena: I love that. I feel like that's a story really of the universe guiding you and everything aligning. And I think, you know, that probably makes, that's why people are so drawn to you because you truly, truly love your job into that comes across.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: Oh my God, I love it so much. It's crazy. I mean, it's one of those things where I go in and I'll treat people and I just, and I don't mean this out loud because it's not, I should, you know, everybody deserves to be paid for the work they do, but it's payment enough sometimes when someone comes back and says, Oh my gosh, I felt great. Oh my gosh, I got pregnant. Oh my gosh, my kids stopped crying and screaming at night. I, you know, all of these different things and it drives me to do better.
Rena: Well, I think that's so obvious in your work. And I think, you know, your patients love you and it comes across and I'm fascinated by this pediatric realm. But I know for the purpose of this podcast since we’re fertility focused, let's talk about acupuncture and massage and herbs for fertility. We haven't really touched on herbs on the podcast before. So I'm super fascinated in that and would love to share with our listeners what kind of herbs and how you incorporate that into treatment as well.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: So herbal medicine and acupuncture go very well hand in hand, especially if you're coming to TTC or trying to conceive from a very basic perspective. We'll have a lot of women who will come in, patients in general, women and men actually, because partners are also important, obviously in the grand scheme of things. So when you're coming at it before you get into the realm of ART, assisted reproductive technology, before we get into that, even a lot of times as is presented in Jill's book, Making Babies, my boss, Jill Blakeway, her book, Making Babies, really helpful for helping people figure out what they might be doing or what might be going on. There might be a small tweaks. Maybe there's a lot of stress going on. Maybe your cycle is just not regulated. And so herbs and acupuncture will help with that from a very basic perspective. Additionally, we'll add on sometimes there will be a particular condition such as endometriosis or PCOS, or even a secondary amenorrhea, you know, you're not getting your period for whatever reason, again comes back to potentially stress or maybe you're not sleeping enough. And so we're able to help kind of allow the body to be regulated in order to work optimally, pretty much, basic gist of it. So we look at the, the reproductive cycle. So the menstrual cycle, let's say in four different parts and in each of those parts different things are happening. And while those things are happening, we want to make sure that they're going on appropriately. So for example, when there's menstruation, you're bleeding. Let's say you're only bleeding for two days and it's considered a short cycle or it's really light. And we want to kind of nourish the blood and make it more abundant, not overtly so, but you know, just enough so that you're having a good bleed in order to clear everything out from the previous cycle to make way for follicles to grow and then ovulation to happen and then progesterone levels to come up at the end of a cycle in order for your body to accept a pregnancy and hold on to a pregnancy. So there are a variety of things that can be going on. If you have a short luteal phase or a long follicular phase or short follicular phase, whatever is going on out of sequence, we want to help encourage it to be better regulated so that the body knows what to do when to do it and assist in getting pregnant. When we're looking at it from a Chinese medicine perspective, there are different things that come into play at different times of the cycle. For example, we want blood to be circulating appropriately throughout, obviously, but when you're bleeding, we want it to keep going. We don't want it to be stuck. We don't want it to be too light when you're in the follicular phase, we want yin and blood to be nourished. We want a catalyst of sorts. I always say this to patients when they're on my table, we're at the point where we want this crescendo, you know, we want the egg to be released. We want the sperm to get to the egg and we want it to have this big crescendo like if we're in an opera or classical music, what have you. And then on the latter portion, in the luteal phase, within the first seven days, we want that implantation to happen. And then as we go through the late luteal phase, we want progesterone and temperature to rise and hold so that we can sustain the pregnancy. So acupuncture and Chinese herbs are going to be helpful for that. There are hundreds and hundreds of Chinese herbs, a lot of them, interestingly enough are food grade, you know, ginger for one is warming. You know, we have astragalus which is good for tonifying chi or very, very basic way to explain it as energy or that life force that is within. We want to make sure that all of these different things are really working in concert so that your body is ready to accept and sustain a pregnancy through labor and delivery.
Dara: Daryl, I find it so fascinating, especially as a dietician, you know, I work with food, but I find it so interesting that there are these so many wide variety of herbs that really can play a role. And, you know, I learned a much more of a Western medicine and I've become over the last number of years so fascinated with Eastern medicine, because I feel like the combination can really be so powerful. I've heard a philosophy of the warming foods, which I have not been taught that in school, but it really does make so much sense. I know in terms of like the Eastern philosophy, but even for me, warming foods are easier to digest.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: Yes.
Dara: But is there any other reason behind that? I'm just really still fascinated by it.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: Absolutely. And I love that you bring that up because a lot of the work that I do in particular is very much, I'm very much steeped in the Eastern and Western because of my massage background it included it with my acupuncture background. So from a very basic standpoint, the spleen and the stomach in Chinese medicine are considered the element of earth. There are five elements overall, but earth, spleen and stomach, are transforming and transporting everything that we put into our body. So it's literally, and I often tell patients this, we look at it from a Chinese medicine perspective. All five of the elements are very important because again, when everything is working in concert, there is no room for disease in the body.
Kidney, kidney is where we come from. Kidney is about birth growth, development, what have you. And so I look at kidney as our savings account and your spleen as your checking account. Wwe go through our checking, you know, pretty easily you get your check in and you're going out and I'm eating pizzas, not sleeping enough and going out with my friends and dancing and this, these are all great things in moderation. At the same time and so even in a Western dietetic sort of way, smoothies, things like that, they're all good yet at the same time, this spleen doesn't like things to be too cold because it's almost like I can't do it. I can't process it. Right? So we want to make sure that everything is able to process. So a lot of times, if I have patients who come in and are like, Oh, I'm eating so healthy, I drink smoothies. I eat sushi. I eat salad every day. I say, that's wonderful. How's your digestion? They're like, Oh, I'm very gassy and bloated a lot.
Dara: Daryl: It's so funny. That's exactly how I feel.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: So easy fix ready. One thing you're going to do is you're going to add a warming herbs, spice what have you to your smoothie. You're also not going to drink it super cold. Don't add ice to it. You know, let it sit on the counter for a minute or two and make sure that when you're drinking it, you're not gulping it back. Oh, it tastes delicious. I'm done with it in a second. You want to really enjoy it, savor it, kind of let it sit in your mouth for a sec, warm it up. And then your body is able to process it a little bit better. Additionally, when you're eating salad, I'm okay with, you know, especially if you're living in a warmer climate or if it's summertime and it's warm out and you're like, I'm hot. I need something cooling. It makes sense. Because again, balance is key. So in the middle of winter, like today in the blizzard that we have right now, I'm not about to go have a big, huge salad. If I am someone who is on the warmer side in general internally, I may have a salad, but I will add something warming to it like a ginger dressing or perhaps an animal protein, because animal protein in Chinese medicine is, the temperature is generally warmer. Again, it comes back to how we're balancing it so that the spleen and the stomach can really utilize the nutrients from that and then send that out to all the other organ systems in the body so that everybody is working appropriately.
Dara: Daryl, I'd love that you said to drink your smoothie slowly, because I often caution my patients to have smoothies more for the reason that once you blend up any type of carbohydrate, it gets digested much faster. And also when something's liquid, you typically consume it much faster and carbohydrates are great, but if they're consumed too quickly, those blood sugars can rise and that may not be so great for your hormone profile, your blood sugar, your insulin. But it's interesting to see that you say it for another reason, but I feel like there are many reasons why it could be beneficial, but it's so super fascinating to hear more of the Eastern philosophy and how it can be valid in itself. I find the combination really interesting.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: Yeah. It's definitely important to recognize from all ends. There's never, I'm very big, again, very big on integrated medicine because when we utilize things from every aspect, we're getting our best chances for any goal. It could be just regulating the cycle, reducing painful Menzies and, or trying to conceive.
Rena: I love that you talk about balance and integrative medicine. I think I mentioned on the podcast, I've just started at Institute for Integrative Medicine this year to get my health coach degree. And so they talk so much about food as medicine and so much about, you know, food is medicine and it's not about supplements and really understanding foods and these herbs and spices. And there's so much value in there. And knowing that, you know, it's really small changes to add to your food, your drink, what have you to really add these medicinal properties.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: Absolutely. And I will say also though, while it is good to ensure that you get a lot of your nutrients from food, sometimes the body is not able to process those foods and get the nutritious value from it. There are malabsorption issues, certain conditions that can cause that and so supplementation is sometimes important on top of that. Though, I often caution, patients will come to me sometimes and say, Oh, what should I, what supplements should I add? And I'm taking these 10 supplements. What other ones should I add in? I'm like, hold the brakes for a sec. Let's find out how your, your digestion's doing. What are you eating specifically? And let's kind of look at it in a way that we want to add in the supplements that we know that are important. So if a patient is on the older side to get pregnant, whether it be for their first child or second, third, what have you, and they have any sort of issues with air quality, I will certainly direct them to additional supplements that are helpful for egg quality. I will, you know, do things like that. But at the, at the basic level also ensuring that they're eating foods that are high in those supplemental qualities as well, like food first, supplements additional and then we tweak it and see what happens and then add on herbs as needed as well. Again, I love adding in herbal medicine, especially to regulate a cycle so that they have the best chance to conceive naturally. And then sometimes it's just necessary to go the ART route or IVF, IUI, whatever it is. And when we start incorporating Western medicine, stimulating medicines, we need to be careful. You can incorporate herbal medicine. We tend not to, for the basic reason of, we want to, you know, support the process that you're going through if you're doing IVF and we don't want to have any kind of concern over it. So it just in certain circumstance, in most circumstances, it's better to just leave the herbs for when we are trying to conceive naturally rather than during an IVF cycle.
Dara: That's what I was actually going to ask Daryl so I'm happy that you answer that. I love that you're open to all modalities and, you know, food first, seeing how things absorb then going to the supplements and potentially the herbs. And that was my question because I get that question often, but I'm not an expert in Eastern medicine in the herbs. And so a lot of people come to me and say, Dara, I'm taking all of this. Can I take this during the treatment? And I think, I, I'm not sure if you're familiar with this, but my biggest frustration is I wish there was research, a combination research, and I guess no one really wants to be the guinea pig, but of how the herbs, how the supplements, how that affects ART. And I know in terms of caution, a lot of, I think we're suggesting now to maybe stop it when they're starting treatment, but I would love to see if these things can be taken in addition. I wonder.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: So they can, and there is some limited research. There are books that are written. We have a lot of books out in Chinese medicine that show using Chinese herbal medicine during IVF. So we can be absolutely. For us, I mean, I personally look at it as use the herbs before along with acupuncture, when they're going through IVF. See how IVF goes. You know, if they're on their 10th round of IVF and they're still either poor response to medications, anything like that, then we may say, all right, let's, you know, this is a goal that we really want to have them reach. This is not working the way that they thought it would. Now we can consider adding it in based on the information that we've had previously. Right? So first round of IVF, second round of IVF, no. 10th round, 11th round, something's not happening. Something's not working. Then we looked further to see how we can incorporate the herbs at that point, because we're at the point where, you know, if something is not working now we need to try something else. So it's just a matter of really remembering what we have learned throughout our schooling and then also looking at the research that has come out and that we are privy to and then also the person on our table/ Because I can have 10 women coming in trying to conceive and there might be eight to 10 different reasons why they are having trouble conceiving. Some women come in and it's just that they've never really paid attention to their cycle, you know? And so we say, Hey, let's look at OPK tests. Let's look at your basal body temperature. Let's look at what your cervical mucus, I don't know what you're talking about. Cervical mucus? We don't know anything about that. So here's how you check your cervical mucus. Here's, you know, like if you're not sure of these things, because most women, it's not something that they've learned about growing up or whatnot, you know, it's just like, I get my period. Yeah. I get my, sometimes women come in who are trying to conceive and I asked them what cycle date they're like, I don't know. I think around, I should ovulate soon, you know? So we want to get everybody on track for what it is they're looking to achieve. Yeah. So if you're not sure of any of these things, and then we get you understanding your cycle and understanding, you know, Oh, PMS, Oh, I have clotting like this. It gives us information from a Western and an Eastern perspective. We have, there are a lot of clots. We think there's something stuck. So we want to move things. If there's not a lot of blood, we think there's a deficiency. So we want to nourish things and boost it up. If something is really tired, we want to give more energy, you know? So it's just a matter again, it goes back to that balance. And so the more we know the better that we can assess what's going on and then create these treatment plans for various different reasons and conditions and situations. And then sometimes they wound up getting pregnant, you know, without assisted reproductive technology. And I've had women who've tried ART failed at it miserably and then wound up getting pregnant naturally thereafter. Someone recently actually. I mean, so cool. I got a message yesterday. Oh my God. I was a few days late and guess what? I'm pregnant. So, you know, all the information gives us the best way to create plans for each of our patients from a protocol-driven perspective, but also from an individualized perspective as well.
Rena: I think that's fascinating. And I, I think as you touched upon, you know, a lot of it is education. You know, I think most people until they actually try and conceive, they have no idea that there's four different phases in a menstrual cycle or that clots means something, you know, or that a different bleed, you know, how it looks means different things. And I had a patient a few weeks ago who just came to do ART, but she told me that her whole life she's had horrible, horrible mood swings with her cycle and this real up and down thing, she has PCOS. And it makes me so sad because, you know, because until I really got into the field, I didn't know that you don't have to live like that. You know, you don't have to live with these mood swings, especially that come with PCOS or a lot of PCOS really is managed by understanding which phase you're in and how to manage your exercise during those phases. And so I think that, you know, what you do, as you said, is so important, it can be used for ART or even just sort of female management in general, to establish a better baseline and to just feel better. You know, you don't have to suffer with painful periods or mood swings. There are things you can do to manage it.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: Absolutely. One of the big things also lately that I've started recommending a lot, depending on what's going on. So again, we look at things from a temperature perspective, so hot and cold. So if we're feeling a lot of cold around the abdomen, one of the things that I like to recommend a lot lately is moxibustion. So moxibustion, moxa is a moxa for short, moxibustion is an herb Artemisia annua mugwort also called, and it is very warming and moving. And so we often will use it during the entire phase, fertility-wise, we'll use it on different points, acupressure.
Dara: It is that where you burn it? Is that where you burn it around the foot?
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: So there's different kinds. So there's direct, Moxa and indirect moxa. Direct moxa, you can have loose moxa so that you make into these little, you fashion these little cones and you put it on the skin and you burn it down to the skin. There are also ones that are pre-made like that, that have a sticker on it. So it is direct because it has a little like vent through it that will go on the skin as well. And then we also have indirect moxa, which is what I like to send my patients home with because less chance of them to burn themselves, although some come back and they're like, Oh, it was watching a show and I was laughing and all of a sudden I burnt myself. So we want to make sure that everybody is careful when they're using it. Indirect moxa or a moxa stick, a moxa pole, it's considered, there are smokeless and smoke filled kinds. The, I usually send patients home with the smokeless one so that they will use it because for me, herbs, moxa, castor oil packs, which is another thing that I like to offer women during their cycle to help regulate cycle and whatnot. These are all things that women will come in and say to me, or my patients in general will come in and say, well, what are the best herbs for me to take? And I said, the ones that you take with regularity as directed, and they laugh. And I'm like, I'm not, I'm not kidding. Like I'm not going to make you a big, crazy, wonderful, fabulous formula. And then it's going to sit on your shelf because it could be the best formula for you. But if you're not taking it regularly, it's not doing anything for you. So, you know, it's just about being real. If I have patients who come in and they're like, I will not drink the tincture. It tastes awful. Give me tablets. Okay. We have a bunch of lines of Chinese herbs that I love to work with that are incredibly helpful because they take them regularly. So, you know, that's a big part of it. So the moxibustion, there are different points at different points of your cycle that you would use the moxibustion over. And you're literally taking like here I’ll pretend with a pen. This is my moxa stick. You know, I might use it over a point. You want to feel the warmth. You do it for five minutes, each side, because most points are on each side. Yeah? And over the abdomen, just a big area. You're going around the abdomen to keep it warm. There are a variety of different things. We have handouts that we give our patients to take home so they know exactly what they're doing, why they're doing it and how to do it. And every time patients do these things with regularity, we see results.
Dara: Yeah. Very fascinating. And the fact that I didn't realize that patients can do it themselves. And I feel like, especially in this day and age where some people may not be, you know, feel comfortable or want to be able to do things at home on their own, the fact that you have the support, the fact that you have like the written instructions and you can guide them that they can do it on their own.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: Would never do it without, I would never, I would never, and I often will show it, like, I'll do a tutorial when patients are on site. So I'll say, here's how you use this. Here's how, you know, when you put it out and make sure you're putting it out in rice or dirt in a plant, whatever, don't use water to put it out because then it doesn't work anymore. You know? So like a bunch of different things. I give them all the soup to nuts. We give them the information and then we're always available if you have questions. Call the center, ask us what you need to ask us, email us if you need to email us. You know, we try and make it, not just us working on you, but we are working as a team for your health.
Rena: Well I know you guys are open now and have been, you know, since the government, you know, allowed you to reopen, but that actually, you know, makes me so curious. How did you guys adapt during COVID? What kind of treatment were you doing? What was that like? You know, cause I know that you kept treating people.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: So while there were a few months that we were unable to actually be in the office because acupuncture was deemed essential mid to end of may. And prior to that, when we had to close our doors, we wanted to make sure we were able to follow up with patients who were in the middle of care. And if anyone needed to reach out to us for help, we wanted to be available. We had already had a lot of these handouts and information pieces and whatnot, and we tweaked it a bit and we started doing virtual consultations as well. And one of the things about that as well that I worked with to create was a virtual reproductive bodywork program as well, which, you know, people are like, Oh, I want massage. And how can you do a virtual massage? Well, it is absolutely easy and informative. Granted, it's not me actually massaging you, which might be a bummer for some people when they have to do it themselves. But it's also something that they can do with their partner. And it makes you all, this is what I loved about doing the virtual work and I still have a virtual shift, a couple of shifts that I work on as well, even though I'm mostly in Center now, but it is a way for us to keep that continuity of care going. And that for us was the most important thing. We wanted to make sure that we were able to connect with our patients if they had any questions, problems, also to be able to evaluate them and offer herbal medicine or moxibustion and things like that. And then part way through it, we had already created the reproductive bodywork program, but then we added a virtual component to it. And so basically what's happening is you're telling me where you are in your cycle. I'm showing you acupressure and massage techniques that you can do to yourself during that particular phase of your cycle. Certain aspects of the cycle we're not doing deep work, especially if you're doing ART. So we manage where you are, help you to continue the care. And then when we finally opened back up, we were able to still use it because again, continuity of care is really important, but then it's more of just a complement, not just a complementary, because there are people who just don't feel comfortable coming on site yet. Even, you know, even now there are...They're not able to, they're not as close, right? They're not as close to right. Even if they've moved out, we had a lot of patients who'd moved out to let's say, Long Island or Westchester, what have you, but they love working with us. This is a way for them to still be able to do that. So again, I'll sit on a call and if somebody has got we'll just for fun. If you have a headache, there's a point in the hand, large intestine four, the great eliminator. And so I'll show them how to rub that point and how I'm holding it to give a nice firm grip on it without hurting yourself. But round rubbing this point for, you know, couple of minutes, other sides, same thing, what are other things where you're having tension headaches? What have you, things that we can do massage wise, you know, neck and shoulder tension, stress. These are all things that have been happening a lot for people, even if they did not have anxiety, stress tension prior to the pandemic, a lot of folks have noticed that as a new thing, cropping up, especially trying to conceive during that time.
Dara: I think it's great that you guys have taken this opportunity during COVID to really find a way to adapt to really still continue care. Yes, this care may look a little bit different, but still being able to support. And I think sometimes it takes these opportunities to really make people think outside the box and how you can still help people out even when you're not seeing them in person.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: Yeah.
Dara: That's wonderful.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: Part of that, that we do have is a fertility educational support.
Rena: I was just going to say, tell us about that.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: It's an eight week program that we have, we've run, I think, two or three so far, we're on our third, I think right now that starts literally Wednesday this week. And then there's another one coming up in March. I'm not sure of the exact date, but it's a great program. I've had patients of mine go through it and friends of mine go through it. And it has been exceptionally helpful. I do a cameo one of the weeks on the reproductive body work, the virtual reproductive body work and regular onsite reproductive body work because we are ramping that up as well now. It's a support group in the fact that there are a handful, I think the cap is 8 or 10 women in the group, and the first couple were led by Anne Brun and Mary Hamawy and they're both amazing practitioners and is now going on this one. And it's basically doing all of the things that we mentioned, you know, how to check your basal body temperature. What is your cervical mucus look like? Are you having libido issues? How do you manage that while you're going through ART? Or even if you're not, you're just trying and you, and you're unable to conceive. How frustrations come up. What type you are based on a Chinese medicine perspective from Jill's book, Making Babies. You know, we came up with a bunch of different types that might be dealing with issues during fertility and figuring out what your type is. Not just one - spoiler alert. Generally, there's usually more than one happening and how to acknowledge what the best course of action is for each of those types. And so Anne goes through an eight week course with that. One of the weeks, as I said, is, is me jumping on there and being a funny little, Hey, look, do this, do this, do this. Did you know that if you touch here, that's absolutely helping, you know, whatever different thing you're dealing with, but it has been really helpful. A lot of the groups, some of the patients have come in to see me and said, you know, I still talk to the women that I was in my group with and I was able to figure out how to regulate my period and, Oh, I've had three periods that weren't so painful. I changed my diet around and now I sleep better and now I'm feeling better. I got pregnant. I, you know, all the different things that they're looking to do, they're able to do it in a, an environment where someone is leading them, helping them to understand what could potentially be going on with them and how to move through it in order to achieve their results.
Dara: That's wonderful. I love that you...
Rena: Where can people find information about the group?
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: So if you go onto our website, you can get everything. There's a little search function. You can look at blogs, we have blogs on all the different things that could be going on. Like, if you're someone who has PCOS, you can just type in PCOS and there are a ton of blogs that each of our practitioners have written. And it also gives you an informational point of view on the team and all the different things that each of the team likes to work on. We all work on women's health and fertility and then each of us has additional things that we like to do as well.
Dara: Is that yinovacenter.com?
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: Yes, it is: www.yinovacenter.com. And you look on that. You can search through everything, find all the information you might want to know, and also how to book appointments with us, whether it be virtually or in center. We do have very strict COVID guidelines. So anybody who's thinking of coming in, they should know that since the beginning, since we've been back, we've been very on point with that. Everybody is temperature taken, pulse-ox taken, masks on, gloves for practitioners, even if, you know, we want to make sure everybody feels safe.
Rena: You guys are awesome. I'm so happy to have you as a resource. I feel like we could definitely do a part two, because I want to do another one to talk about stress and Chinese medicine. And so let's do that because I think that would be a whole other episode.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: Absolutely. There is a lot to be done for that, for sure.
Rena: Yeah. Thank you so much for coming on today.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: Thank you so much. It was a pleasure. I really appreciate it. I love talking about this stuff cause I love helping people.
Dara: We see your passion. And so how we end our podcast is we like to talk about gratitude and what we're grateful for today. So Daryl, what are you grateful for at this very moment?
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: At this very moment I am grateful for this podcast because I inherently am a teacher and I love being able to impart the wisdom of this medicine that I have spent the better part of 16, 17 ish, years learning. And so I feel really grateful to be able to have a voice and just allow people to know that we're here to help.
Rena: I love that. Dara?
Dara: Rena? I’ll go. I am so fascinated by you, Daryl, and so fascinated by all that you've accomplished and I'm grateful for speaking to you today because I really do feel like it sparked something in me in terms of my interest in learning more about herbs. It's something that's kind of been in the back of my mind, but never really did anything about it. And I feel like you've sparked my interest in doing more research and learning more about it because I'm still more on that Western side. I'm easing a little bit more into the Eastern and I kind of want to see what it's all about. So thank you.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: Absolutely.
Rena: Well, I’m going to piggyback on both of yours and say, I'm grateful for learning. I think, you know, I was actually, Daryl, knowing you had a teaching background, it was really excited for you to come on because I knew I wanted to just watch you kind of take it away. And I'm so grateful for learning. I think similar to you, I started my current career after being in something totally different. I was a textiles and apparel major in undergrad and then that financial crisis, you know, lay off. So I had to pivot. And so I'm so grateful to have found my passion. And then this year, you know, at 35, I decided to just take the plunge and enroll in Institute for Integrative Nutrition. And I just, I love learning. So I'm really grateful. And to be surrounded, I learned so much from you today. Daryl, I always learned from Dara. So really grateful.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: Amazing. It's funny you say that about 35. When I went back to school for massage, I was, I want to say 31. I graduated from massage school and then I went on to acupuncture school. I graduated from that at 38 and I've been practicing. I'm going to be 49 in four months.
Rena: Okay. Well, I'm going to tell our listeners that looking at Daryl, I don't know what you're doing, but it is working. So, you look amazing!
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: I love what I do. You know, when you have that and listen, life is not a picnic always at all times for anybody, for anybody. But when we look at it and we kind of try and move through it and figure out, you know, what means the most to us and what really drives us to always find our smile, find that joy, you can't go wrong. I mean, again, not every day is perfect, but every day has potential. So we can keep looking for that, you know? Yeah. I love to really help people figure that out. So when that happens, I like feed off of it. It really it's.
Rena: It's never too late.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: It never, ever, ever, never. I had people in my class when I was in my thirties that were in their fifties and sixties. I had one of my, one of the friends in the program was blind. Actually, he's a blind acupuncturist. And he was amazing because if you really want to do something, you'll find a way.
Dara: How beautiful and how inspiring.
Rena: Sometimes you have to break down to break through.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: Absolutely agreed.
Rena: We'll definitely have you back for a part two or we can discuss stress and this was awesome. So thank you so much.
Dr. Daryl Thuroff: It is my pleasure. Thank you both for having me. It's so great. And I look forward to part two.
Dara: Thank you so much for listening today and always remember: practice gratitude, give a little love to someone else and yourself and remember you are not alone. Find us on Instagram @fertility_forward. And if you're looking for more support, visit us at www.rmany.com and tune in next week for more Fertility Forward.