Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Nutrition, Integrative Bodywork

Women's Health, fertility, pregnancy,
body alignment and emotional

Addressing Stress with Acupuncture

A common thread amongst many of the patients that we’ve seen recently is STRESS! At this moment in time, we are, as a community, facing a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, political turmoil, and the return of fire season. Sigh.

How Stress Impacts the Body

These stressors throw our nervous system into fight flight or freeze response, which can lead to a variety of physical and emotional imbalances that affect everyone in unique ways. For some patients, stress can lead to insomnia and restlessness; for others, anxiety might flare up or their digestion might be on the fritz.

These imbalances are frustrating in the moment. Over time, they can turn into more serious issues – such as high blood pressure, oxidative stress, decreased immune response, and general inflammation – and can wreak havoc on all of the body’s systems.

How Acupuncture Can Help with Stress

One of the things that we love about acupuncture is the significant impact that it can have on a patient’s stress levels.

You may have already experienced the deep sense of relaxation that can come with a few needles, but did you know that research has measured the physiological effects of acupuncture on stress markers? It has been shown to increase heart rate variability, inhibit inflammation, and reduce the hormonal stress response of the HPA axis, to name a few. In fact, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) recommends acupuncture as a complementary treatment for anxiety and depression, citing growing evidence of its efficacy.

From a more holistic perspective, acupuncture gives our patients an opportunity to rest and relax, helps to pull the body back into balance, and allows our patients to be present with their body and their emotions. And Chinese medicine treatment doesn’t end when we remove your needles! We ensure that our patients have tools that they can use to address stress in their everyday lives – including qigong exercises, mindfulness-meditation, breathing exercises, acupressure points, and herbal or supplemental remedies.

Feeling Stressed? Come See Us!       

Click here to contact us with any questions you might have about how Chinese medicine can help you address stress, or to schedule an appointment for acupuncture today.

Our Team’s Tips for Staying Healthy & Sane and Our Virtual Offerings

Coronavirus: Avoid Anxiety, Keep Yourself Healthy, and How Flourish Can Help! 

It’s been all over the news. Lots of you have been asking questions. So let’s dive into the coronavirus. In this post, we’ll look at the facts to help you avoid unnecessary fear, we’ll make suggestions for keeping your immune system strong, and we’ll share some ways that we at Flourish are preparing to keep you (and ourselves!) healthy and safe in the coming months.

Don’t Panic! Learn the Facts

Let us start this conversation by acknowledging that COVID-19 is a new virus, so lots of new info is being released literally everyday. Here are some basic pieces of information about the virus:

  • The virus is gaining so much attention and concern because it is highly contagious. For those individuals below the age of 60 with a normal immune system, rates of severe illness or death are very low.
  • As of March 3, only one Sonoma County resident has tested positive for COVID-19. The only people currently at risk of infection are those who have recently travelled to countries of concern (China, S Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran), or individuals that have had close contact with someone clinically diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • The county has declared a “state of emergency”. This does not mean that things are dire! It is simply a status that enables the county to act more quickly in taking certain actions than it might otherwise be able to, and to receive funding from the state or federal governments for efforts related to the virus.
  • From early numbers reported on COVID-19, pregnant women don’t seem to be more vulnerable than others. However, public health officials are encouraging pregnant women to practice an abundance of caution, because not enough data has been collected to draw a solid conclusion.
  • Children seem to be avoiding severe illness from COVID-19 (also yay!). No deaths have been reported for infected children ages 0-9 years old.

Keeping Yourself and Your Community Safe

In order to keep yourself, your loved ones, and the vulnerable individuals in your community safe, the most important thing is to implement common sense public health practices. Even though the virus is not yet present in our community, we want to get ahead of it with prevention:

  • If you think you may be sick with the early symptoms of a respiratory disease, stay home! This includes avoiding coming in to the Flourish clinic when you’re sick. While we sometimes encourage patients to come in for care even when under the weather, this illness presents a different situation. We will waive the late cancellation fee for those patients cancelling due to illness.
  • Wash! Your! Hands! Just do it! Many times a day, especially after you’ve been out of the house, or before eating. Soap, warm water, for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have access to soap and water, alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60-90% alcohol has been proven effective against COVID-19.
  • If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose entirely with a tissue (that immediately goes into the trash can), with your upper arm, or with the crook of your elbow. Wash / sanitize your hands immediately afterwards.
  • Avoid unnecessary close contact with any sick individuals.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Use your elbow or shoulder to open doors when possible. If using a shared touch screen or keypad, use the back of the knuckle on one of your fingers rather than your fingertip.
  • Please don’t buy disposable face masks – they are becoming a hot commodity, and aren’t a great solution for protecting yourself against this virus. Leave the face masks for the health professionals working with tuberculosis patients and kids with leukemia!!!

Optimizing Your Immune System and Lung Health

Another great way to keep yourself and your community safe is by getting your immune system ready to fight any incoming pathogens. Below are some ideas for how you can do just that:
  • Get your lungs in tip-top shape! This is a respiratory illness… so turn on your air filters, do your breathing exercises, and definitely put down the smokes or vape pen.
  • Let go of things! In Chinese medicine, the Lung is associated with material possessions as well as grief. So now is a great time to let go of anything that you’ve been holding on to that is cluttering your physical space, or that is bringing you sadness. Make some space for yourself to breathe, and your lungs will be stronger for it.
  • Take your vitamins and herbs! Vitamins D and C, and zinc are important components of a healthy immune system. A few of our favorite general immune boosting herbs include elderberry, astragalus, cordyceps and reishi. Come in to chat with one of our acupuncturists or Dr. Jen, ND, to see if there’s a formula or dosage that would be best for you.
  • Eat well! Avoid stressing your body with inflammatory foods like alcohol, white flour, sugar, and dairy, or any food that you might be sensitive to. Our favorite foods to boost your immune system are garlic and mushrooms (shiitake & reishi). Eat a colorful variety of nutrient-rich produce.
  • Stay hydrated! Your mucus membranes (nose, eyes, mouth) are your first line of defense, and it’s critical that they have the moisture they need to do their job. You can also consider nasal irrigation.
  • Get lots of sleep! Sleep helps stave off inflammation and keeps your white blood cells ready to fight any pathogens.
  • Manage your stress! Stress shunts resources away from your immune system. Do yoga, come in for acupuncture, get a coloring book – whatever works for you.
  • Spend time outside! Outside time is great for vitamin D production as well as managing stress.
  • Get exercise! Moderate exercise can boost immune function. But don’t overdo it – excessive exercise may actually temporarily suppress your immune function.
  • Connect with your loved ones! If you’re feeling overwhelmed by news stories and threats of pandemic, remember to keep yourself feeling grounded by reaching out to your friends and family.


How Flourish Can Help

Here at Flourish, we have come up with a few ways to support the community in preventing the spread of COVID-19:

  • Increasing health and safety precautions: We are always committed to maintaining a clean and safe space at the Flourish clinic. In an effort to keep any potential contagions at bay, we will be implementing increased safety measures in the way we maintain our space and work with patients. In addition, we are asking any patients potentially exposed to COVID-19 or showing signs of respiratory illness to stay home – and we will be waiving the late cancellation fees (of course!).
  • Offering reduced rate Immune Boost appointments: For the month of March, we will be offering 45-minute, $75 acupuncture appointments for acupuncture and herbs / supplements that focus solely on optimizing your immune system and lung health. The Immune Boost appointment will only be offered to patients that have previously received acupuncture at Flourish and, unfortunately, can not be offset by insurance. To book an Immune Boost appointment, use our online booking system, or email us.  **Please note, these appointments are intended to work on optimizing immunity, but are not intended to treat you if you are already feeling sick. Given the threat of COVID-19, please stay home if you feel like you’re getting sick or if you have been exposed to the virus! Thank you!
  • Providing massage for immune support: Our wonderful masseuse, Rose DeNicola, will be offering immune support with aroma-acupressure and manual lymphatic drainage. Click here to book with Rose.
  • Upcoming Presentation on the Novel Coronavirus: Flourish’s Dr. Jen Riegle, ND, would like to invite you to join the Wild Oak Medicine team for an update on the novel coronavirus and how you can protect yourself and your family naturally. Drs Jen Riegle, Chris Holder, and Thea Rabb, as well as Nutrition Consultant Mia Martinek will be providing information about avoidance, prevention, and emerging possible treatments. They look forward to seeing you to offer information and empower you with ways you can actively care for your family during this time.
    Date: 3/11/2020
    Time: 12-1:30
    Location: Airport Health Club, Santa Rosa, CA
    Please call 707-528-2582 to RSVP

We at Flourish wish you all health and happiness in the coming months – whatever those months may bring. We are always stronger in unity, so remember to support and love yourself and those around you in what may be trying times.







Discover the Medicine of the Forest

“Every tree, plant, hill, mountain, rock, and each thing that was here before us emanates or vibrates at a subtle that has healing power whether we know it or not. So if something in us must change, spending time in nature provides a good beginning” – Malidoma Somé

As an Integrative Health and Wellness Coach, I talk to many women about their emotional and physical states, which are often (if not always) connected to one another. Situations that I seem to hear time and time again are:

I feel tired and overwhelmed.

I wish I had more time to do the things that I love to do.

There feels like there is just something missing in my life.

Burnout. Stress. Overwhelm. Numbness. This cycle has become all too common in our culture. Demanding work environments, raising a family, being constantly barraged by the notifications from emails, texts, social media – it’s easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed by everyday life. To add more fuel to the fire, we are spending more time indoors, away from the natural environment, than ever before in human history. The average American is spending less than 5% of their day outdoors, which is a dramatic shift from even just a few decades ago. What is all this time indoors, glued to technology, doing to our health and wellbeing? Countless research shows that our highly industrialized environment, full of artificial lights, loud noises, poor indoor air quality, chemicals, and electromagnetic pollution, is harmful to human health and is directly linked to chronic stress and disease.

Chronic stress can dramatically affect a person’s health. The American Psychology Association (APA) shares that “it can make existing health problems worse, and even cause disease, either because of changes in the body or bad habits people develop to cope with stress. The bottom line is that stress can lead to real physical and emotional health consequences”. 

Revelatory research conducted over the last 30 years demonstrates a variety of ways that spending time in nature reduces stress and significantly promotes overall health and wellbeing. Through government funding and support, Japan and South Korea have created forest therapy programs that guide individuals to be in nature in a safe, intentional way to promote healing. Here in the United States, such funding and support are more limited but there are a handful of programs that train individuals to guide others to be in the forest in a way that embraces mindfulness and expanded awareness in order to promote the physiological, psychological, and spiritual healing benefits nature provides.

After completing my Master’s Degree in Integrative Health Studies and my six-month training to become a certified Forest Therapy Guide, I am delighted to be offering a four-walk series called “Women’s Wellness Forest Therapy Walks”.  By combining the standard sequence of the mindfulness-oriented Forest Therapy walks with the powerful tools of cultivating self-compassion, vulnerability, and resiliency inspired by leaders in the fields of neuroscience and behavior change such as Brené Brown, Kristin Neff, and Kelly McGonigal, I will bring groups of ten women or less into the forests of Sonoma County to learn ways to not only manage stress and practice self-care but to feel more resilient and empowered to handle the fast-paced reality of living in 2018.

Sometimes life throws us curveballs. And like a forest, we as individuals have a web of interconnected pillars of support and strength. Lean into the shadows. Find gold out of the darkness. And breathe in the fresh and vibrantly alive forest of life that surrounds you.

Forest Therapy Walk Schedule:

April 21 – Cultivating Your Intuition

May 5 – Self-Compassion & Self-Care

May 19 – Tapping Into Vulnerability

June 2 – Community Building & Resiliency

Space is limited to 10 self-identified women per walk. The themes and practices of each walk are designed for this to be a cohesive experience from start to finish, but attendees who are unable to commit to the entire series are welcome to join for individual walks as well. There is a 25% discount if you purchase all four walks in advance. Please secure your space by purchasing your ticket here by April 13th. As a patient of Flourish Integrative Health, I invite you to use promo code FLOURISH to receive an exclusive 15% off this offering. With any questions, please email me at


Jenny Harrow, MA has a Master’s Degree in Integrative Health Studies and is certified as an Integrative Health & Wellness Coach, Guided Imagery Practitioner, and Forest Therapy Guide. A Sonoma County native, Jenny is deeply passionate about leading individuals and groups on a journey of self-exploration and healing. In addition to being the Operations Manager at Flourish Integrative Health, she has several nature-oriented offerings through her practice EcoWisdom and is co-founder of the nonprofit Integrative Healers Action Network, which emerged from the recent Sonoma County wildfires and aims to bring integrative healing services to emergency response situations. 

Tools to Release Trauma

Three weeks have passed since the fires started. During this time, our community has experienced the full range of human emotion. Some of us were evacuated. Some of us lost our homes. As a community, we have experienced both individual and collective trauma. Here at Flourish Integrative Health, we would like to share the tools and resources we have from not only our respective medical educations and training but also what we are implementing for ourselves as we move into this next stage of recovery and healing.



5 Steps to Release Trauma

“The lotus flower blooms most beautifully from the deepest and thickest mud”

Like a lotus, we too can re-emerge and bloom in the most unlikely conditions. From the ash and destruction, we humans can tap into both ancient and modern techniques to help release trauma and truly begin the healing process. These five steps are tools that have been effective for us during this traumatic time.
  1. Shake your body and sigh.
  2. 4/7/8 breath from Dr. Andrew Weil, leader in Integrative Medicine. Click here to view the health benefits and demonstration. 
  3. Release Technique as taught in “Love Yourself and Let the Other Person have it your way”. Click here for a demonstration.
  4. Acupuncture: We have a few protocols that are helpful post-trauma. Expect 3-6 sessions to start. Click here to schedule an appointment or a complimentary 15-minute consult.
  5. Medical Qigong: Deeper support during this transition. Do you feel shaken from this experience whether or not you lost your home? Are you experiencing a sense of feeling lost or unable to find yourself, or wanting a new direction and just not sure how to find it? Expect to start with 3 sessions. Click here to schedule an appointment or a complimentary 15-minute consult.


Dr. Jen Riegle, ND, is offering B12 and B5 shots for fire recovery


Benefits include:

  • Increased Energy
  • Detox
  • Elevated Mood
  • Increased Cognitive Function and Memory
  • Supports Adrenal Function
  • Support Immune System

These shots are $20 each or pay what you can during these times. Available to everyone.

To schedule:



Community is an integral piece to healing trauma and wounds. If you ever want someone to talk to, to share a cup of tea, or spend time in community, please always feel free to reach out. We are all in this together.

Introducing Zhouie Lee, our new Acupuncturist

“It is with great pleasure that I introduce our new acupuncturist, Zhouie Lee. I am so honored that she has said yes to joining the Flourish team! Like myself, Zhouie comes from a lineage of women healers and has been in the healing field since she was a kid at her mom’s side, assisting births. Please take a moment to read her story below. We are so happy that you are on board, Zhouie, and can’t wait to introduce you to the Flourish community.” –Vladi

Schedule: Zhouie will be there to support you on Mondays and when Vladi is out of town.


In Zhouie’s own words:

My name is Zhouie, and I’m so excited to be joining the team at Flourish Integrative Health as a licensed acupuncturist. My journey to becoming an acupuncturist began while growing up in Bali, Indonesia and assisting my mom, a midwife at home births. While midwifery was not my calling, my love for working with pregnant and birthing women has continued to grow. My goal as a healthcare provider is to empower my patients into building positive and sustainable changes in their own lives. I look forward to meeting each of you soon!”


Full Bio

Zhouie Lee, Licensed Acupuncturist, DACM

Zhouie is a California Licensed Acupuncturist and holds a Doctorate in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco. As a 10 year old, Zhouie began accompanying her mother, a midwife, to home births, and continued to work with her mom as she built Bumi Sehat Foundation in Bali, Indonesia. While Zhouie never developed a calling for midwifery, her many hours sitting with laboring women cultivated a love for the strength of women and the desire to be a part of women’s health care. Over the years, Zhouie continued to work with her mom as she built Bumi Sehat Foundation in Bali, and found herself spending more and more time at Bumi Sehat’s community-style acupuncture clinic.

Thomas Edison once said: “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” While Traditional Chinese Medicine existed long before Edison spoke these words, acupuncture often heals by focusing on rebalancing the body and resolving the root of the issue, rather than treating the superficial symptoms. Zhouie believes that true healing comes from a whole-
body approach that often includes lifestyle modifications and dietary changes, as well as acupuncture and herbal medicine; and a partnership between provider and patient to work together in building positive and sustainable changes in their lives.

As a health care provider, Zhouie is committed to empowering her patients through knowledge about their bodies, and a belief that women’s health should reach far beyond just reproductive and physical health. Zhouie is especially passionate about treating women during pregnancy. Acupuncture is so effective in helping to alleviate morning sickness, physical discomfort, the emotional upheavals that pregnancy hormones and the pressures of carrying new life can bring, and help new moms to rebuild energy and strength after childbirth. Zhouie has also had the privilege of studying closely with Dr. Johnson Chiu, who specializes in the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and pain.

When not treating patients, you will usually find Zhouie reading in the garden, practicing yoga,
or cooking for her family.

Nurturing the Garden: How Chinese Medicine Can Support Fertility, Pregnancy and Beyond

By Vladi Starkov LAc, DMQ

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda have longstanding traditions of supporting women in all stages of motherhood: pre-conception care, every phase of pregnancy, and post-partum care. I’d like to share some insights from my clinical practice as well as some time-tested wisdom, to explain how these ancient modalities can supplement and enhance the care provided by an MD or a Licensed Midwife.

Preparing the Garden: Pre-Conception Care

Having worked in the field of fertility for over 6 years, I’ve seen hundreds of couples go through this journey. Some already had exhausted trying naturally and were considering or already in the midst of receiving care from ART (Artificial Reproductive Technologies, such as IVF). While most couples don’t think about getting care until they’ve already been trying, the period of 3-6 months before attempting to get pregnant provides an opportunity to greatly strengthen the odds. That time frame allows the mother to prepare the soil, just like you would tend to a garden bed. Much like you would uproot old weeds growing in a garden, we seek to remove that which might prevent life from coming in: fibroids, cysts, hormone imbalances, endometriosis, PCOS, infections, and anovulation are some of the physical symptoms that can be healed.

To improve the odds of a healthy and successful pregnancy, it’s also essential to look at what’s happening emotionally and energetically: TCM sees the uterus as the second heart, where unresolved emotions and grievances go for long-term storage and can impede pregnancy. This can include unresolved old trauma, previous abortions and miscarriages. The process of clearing out the uterus, or what TCM calls the “Baby Palace” is highly personalized. Depending on a client’s needs, it may include a cleanse, herbs, Medical Qigong (TCM’s energetic system), massage, and acupuncture. However, sometimes we do not have the luxury of spending these months in preparation for conception, so some of these techniques may be used alongside trying naturally or ART methods. It’s important to meet the patient exactly where she is and work with her timeline.

Cultivating the Garden: Support During Pregnancy

TCM and Ayurveda provide specific guidelines for each stage of pregnancy, indicating what herbs and foods to consume or avoid. While I customize this for each patient depending on her constitution as well as what symptoms she might be having, one example is breast-milk composition, baby’s perfect food: it is composed of more fat, then protein, then sugar. This means that it is important to consume foods rich in fat and protein during pregnancy and go with less sugar. This also helps to curb nausea, stabilize blood sugar levels, and prevent pregnancy-diabetes and weight gain.

TCM can be helpful throughout the pregnancy, addressing symptoms like morning sickness and fatigue, hemorrhoids, growing pains, low back pain and high blood pressure. A specific acupuncture point will help turn a breech baby, and others help prepare the body for labor and shorten labor time. This wise and knowledgeable medicine supports the body to heal and create optimal conditions for a growing fetus.

Postpartum Care: Restoring Balance

The first 12 months after childbirth may bring an even more challenging time than pregnancy itself, as the new mom shifts from the experience of pregnancy to the highs of oxytocin bonding with the baby and breastfeeding, as well as the lows of not enough sleep and hormones crashing. This is an especially important time to support the mom with simple self-care practices, acupuncture and herbs. I highly recommend that new moms get 3 weekly treatments, starting at 2 weeks after birth, to improve recovery and bring back energy. Then, monthly treatments for a full year ensure that mama will make time for herself. While sometimes a challenge for new mommies to juggle how to come in after baby arrives, it’s incredibly beneficial: we address issues such as breastfeeding problems, baby blues, balancing self-care, scars from a C-section, recovery from any tearing, issues with hemorrhoids, sexual vitality, fatigue and much more.

As you can see, TCM contains numerous treasures for supporting mamas. Rather than attempting to become an expert yourself while going through the powerful journey of becoming a mother, get in touch with me or find another experienced practitioner who can support you every step of the way. Give yourself the gift of being nurtured as you become a healthy and happy mama!

Vladi Starkov is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Herbalist, and natural health practitioner in Sonoma County who comes from a lineage of women healers in Bulgaria. She holds extensive training in the areas of pain, women’s health, fertility, Ayurveda and psycho-spiritual emotional balance. To learn more about how Flourish Integrative Health can assist you in your journey with IVF and fertility, visit, email or call 707-205-1224.


Open House Celebration! Thursday, October 20th: 5:00pm to 7:00pm


We are delighted to celebrate our new office space with an open house celebration!

~ Meet the new members of our holistic team: Vladi Starkov, Jen Riegle and Rose Deni specializing in women’s health.

~ Taste local wines poured by the winemaker of Gregory James Wines. Enjoy small, seasonally inspired bites.

~ Win great prizes of services and items donated by our wonderful community in an interactive raffle (proceeds will be donated to The Living Room). Prizes include 1-hour luxurious Massages, Acupuncture Treatments, Chiropractic, and wine!

~ Learn more about the current and future offerings at Flourish Integrative Health. We hope that you can join us in blessing our beautiful new space!



One Size Does Not Fit All Nutrition: A Book Review on The Paleovedic Diet

Paleovedic Diet

Here at Flourish Integrative Health, we do not take a “one size fits all approach” to healing but really view each person as a unique ecosystem. This is a big reason why we resonated so deeply with the recently released book, The Palovedic Diet by Akil Palanisamy, M.D., a Harvard trained physician who practices integrative medicine. Dr. Palanisamy’s approach to nutrition arose from his personal experience with healing through a pragmatic, personalized approach to wellness. The Paleovedic Diet combines the ancient Indian system of medicine, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems, and another ancient form of nutrition, the Paleolithic diet. The Paleo diet has resurfaced as a more recent diet fad, and Dr. Palanisamy’s interpretation demystifies the modern iteration and shows how the Paleo diet should be combined with your own body’s innate constitution, which is explained through Ayurvedic philosophies and practices.

Dr. Palanisamy does an incredible job writing about these ancient medical and nutrition principles in a very comfortable, conversational tone. Even if you are new to learning about Ayurveda and Paleo, Dr. Palanisamy’s writing style is approachable and enjoyable. After he shares his astounding story of healing through a personalized integrative nutrition based approach, Dr. Palanisamy continues by clarifying the Paleo diet and sharing what our ancestors actually ate (it’s not as meat focused as the modern day trend would have your believe!). After discussing how the Paleo diet should be individualized, highlighting the reasons behind grain and gluten sensitivity, distinguishing between good and harmful fats, Dr. Palanisamy then shares how you can discover your Ayurvedic type and tailor your diet accordingly. Additionally, he does not forget about emphasizing the importance of exercise, sleep, and the mind-body-spirit balance in the wellness journey.


For those looking for specific answers on what to actually eat and what to avoid, Dr. Palanisamy does a very thorough job of highlighting specific foods to include in your diet, both daily and seasonally, as well as foods to avoid. Even better, the end of the book is rich with delicious recipes to aid in the detoxifying process!

There is no one “prescription” for everyone; our journey to health and vitality is a unique as our own fingerprints. At Flourish Integrative Health, we utilize the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, and other Eastern Medicine practices to help you discover what your body and spirit needs to fully flourish!


Vladi Starkov is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Herbalist, and natural health practitioner in Sonoma County who comes from a lineage of women healers in Bulgaria. She holds extensive training in the areas of pain, women’s health, fertility, Ayurveda and psycho-spiritual emotional balance. To learn more about how Flourish Integrative Health can assist you in your journey with IVF and fertility, visit or call 707-205-1224.



Research Shows How Acupuncture Doubles Chance of Having a Baby with IVF

Close up of a cute pregnant belly

One of our specialties at Flourish Integrative Health is fertility. A new study from the UK shows that rates of success with IVF were twice as high among women who worked with acupuncture. Last week The Telegraph shared a “study by Homerton University Hospital in London, involved 160 couples suffering from fertility problems. Half were assigned to have four sessions of acupuncture during their IVF cycle. One year on, those who underwent the ancient practice, involving fine needles, had achieved pregnancy rates of 46.2 per cent. Among those who had not, pregnancy rates were just 21.7 per cent.”

At Flourish Integrative Health, we see great success with a patient’s IVF when combined with Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. I recommend that patients who are considering IVF come in for the three months prior to prepare their bodies. Then during the stimulation phase of the cycle, patients would ideally come in twice per week prior to the transfer. Around IVF transfer time, it is recommended to do treatments before (usually the night before or when possible, the day of) and after (on the same day as close to the procedure as possible.). It is also recommended to come in for Acupuncture treatments for the “waiting time” as it can help with blood flow to the uterus as well as holding the embryo.

The greatest support, in my opinion is helping the woman so that she feels supported during this time. Stuart Lavery, consultant gynecologist at Hammersmith Hospital, said “it was not clear whether acupuncture had a physiological effect on the body, or whether who underwent the sessions became more relaxed because therapists spent time listening to their problems. There is no doubt that when people are given acupuncture it can feel like an extra dimension of support. Fertility treatment is stressful and it can be quite helpful to have a therapy which relaxes them.” Of course, increasing blood flow to the uterus is wonderful, and harmonizing the body’s imbalances is important. However, helping the woman feel comfortable, peaceful and happy during such a stressful time can be just as useful. There is more and more research helping us understand the role of stress and therefore anti-stress has on fertility, conception and healthy pregnancy. So no matter where you are on your fertility journey, let us be your support towards greater success!


Vladi Starkov is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Herbalist, and natural health practitioner in Sonoma County who comes from a lineage of women healers in Bulgaria. She holds extensive training in the areas of pain, women’s health, fertility, Ayurveda and psycho-spiritual emotional balance. To learn more about how Flourish Integrative Health can assist you in your journey with IVF and fertility, visit or call 707-205-1224.