Applying Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine to Fertility Issues [Interview][Transcript]

mary_wong_tcmp_fertility_issueGuest: Mary Wong, TCMP
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Mary Wong, B.Sc., R.TCMP, R.Ac, is the founder of ALIVE Holistic Health Clinic based in downtown Toronto, Canada. A TCM practitioner and Registered Massage therapist, Mary has been in practice for over 20 years and has treated thousands of people, the vast majority of whom struggle with gynecological disorders, fertility challenges, and pregnancy-related symptoms or issues. She treats each patient as an individual – not just their diagnosis where she has made it her life’s mission to bring about change and improve people’s health by bridging the gap between Eastern and Western medicine.

Segment overview: Mary Wong, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, founder of ALIVE Holistic Health Clinic in Toronto, Canada, and author of the new book “Pathways to Pregnancy: Personal Stories and Practical Advice for Your Fertility Journey,” discusses fertility myths, male infertility issues and how to integrate traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with natural and assisted reproduction.

Health Professional Radio – Applying Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you for joining us here on the program today. Our guest in studio insists that there’s an inward focus demanded by the drive to procreate that necessitates a holistic and intuitive combination of western and eastern medical traditions. Our guest is Mary Wong, traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, founder of ALIVE Holistic Health Clinic in Toronto, Canada and also the author of the brand new book, “Pathways to Pregnancy: Personal Stories and Practical Advice for your Fertility Journey.” She’s here in studio to discuss how to integrate traditional Chinese medicine with natural and assisted reproduction. Welcome to Health Professional Radio Mary.

Mary Wong: Thank you for having me Neal.

N: Thanks for coming back and giving us some more of your time. You’re the author of a brand new book, “Pathways to Pregnancy” and you’ve got well over 20 years dealing with couples who are having fertility issues. Being a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner talk about some of the response that you get when you’re talking with practitioners of western medicine.

M: That’s a really great question. So even at the first starting out, I had a little fear about speaking to western practitioners because it wasn’t that long ago where we’re kind of placed as a lower rank perhaps but what’s interesting is Chinese medicine has been around for oh well only 3000 years and it’s the longest ongoing experiential science. Meaning that through documentation of cases, of patients for thousands of years, meaning millions among millions of people we’ve documented points and strategies and all that goes with it and it’s got such a world of wisdom about it. And so you cannot deny that and in reproductive health now, they have done more and more testing with acupuncture, not Chinese herbal medicine, unfortunately but acupuncture which is also part of traditional Chinese medicine. So they see that there is a positive impact and one of which is recently in 2015 where Lee Hullender Rubin had found that women that do preconception treatment through acupuncture, through herbs, through meditation, relaxation those kinds of things help to conceive a baby, a healthy baby to term more so than not doing anything at all while they do IVF, in vitro fertilization.

N: So with numbers like that why didn’t you think that there’s, I mean acceptance is rising of course but what do you think is that thing that’s holding back from the mainstream?

M: Again, I did mention that I had my reservations and I think some practitioners are in that place when they’re feeling a little gun-shy about speaking to western medicine practitioners, so I say ‘You know what, we are on par with them, we have equal rights and we make a giant difference in the community and where we come from, we help the quality of eggs and the overall individual in their health and western medicine comes at it from a very different angle.’ So they can basically help each other and so we live in North America so why not take the best of both worlds to help our patients because at the end of the day, that’s what we’re doing. We’re trying to help others so we should all drop the ego behind it and just help.

N: Okay so you’ve got a colleague, a practitioner on the same page and it’s great that you and he or the western practitioner and the traditional Chinese practitioner, everything’s great. Now you’ve got the patient, the patient who’s stressed about the infertility, the patient who’s feeling stigmatized about the infertility. How do you join forces to get the patient on board because we’re inundated with western medicine even in our sleep, how do you navigate those waters?

M: Google. (Laughs) Google now is like a doctor Google and people are searching beyond western fertility clinics because they see that that’s not the end-all-be-all and unfortunately when people go for more invasive therapies, they start out trying on their own and then they go through western fertility clinic, gets psycho-monitoring and then that doesn’t work and then they do IUI insemination and then that doesn’t work and then there’s a belief that ‘The more I do, the fast I’ll get pregnant’ and yet when they go down that road and that’s not happening they start going ‘Oh wait, maybe there’s more to this’ and that’s when they search us out or they go through chat lines and someone say ‘Oh I’m doing Chinese medicine.’ So there is more of that and again as I say there’s more research about Chinese medicine so people are finding that online aside from strictly word of mouth from patient to patient.

N: Now at ALIVE Holistic Health in Toronto, how long is that practice been in operation?

M: That specific location has been there for 13 years.

N: Okay. Do you offer counseling to couples who may not necessarily be having infertility issues but they want to as you say encourage pregnancy? Do they have to be trying to get pregnant right now or having issues or do you offer counseling to anyone who wants to encourage pregnancy?

M: Absolutely, in fact I will say that would be the best goal ever because why wait until you’re having issues? You come now no matter what, in your twenties, I don’t care. Come however you come and let’s work on your overall health and wellbeing now because that will set you up for life when you want to conceive and I’m going to even say beyond that there are some women out there that say ‘Oh I don’t want to get pregnant. I don’t want to have children in the future.’ Yet very recently I went to a support group and 3 women out of 24 told me that they had no idea that they wanted to get pregnant and all of a sudden they’re in this journey and now they’re just devastated.

N: We talked about integrating western medicine with traditional Chinese medicine. I’m wondering if it’s addressed in your book, ‘Pathways to Pregnancy’ the issues of midwifery? Is there something that you can learn or teach those who are involved in that practice when it comes to fertility?

M: In midwifery they’re already seeing pregnant women and sometimes they’re dealing with women who are going through multiple miscarriages so absolutely, it is part of the whole fertility journey. And they should be educated and this is a book that will give light to all the things that can go wrong and yet simultaneously having ways to help encourage the creation of life and so it is all combined, yeah.

N: And where can our listeners get a copy of your brand new book, Pathways to Pregnancy: Personal Stories and Practical Advice for your Fertility Journey?

M: So they can get a copy at Chapters Indigo in Canada and Barnes and Noble in the US or any bookstore as well as, and you can get all the information that you need here or my Facebook page, MaryWongRTCMP.

N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard in studio with Mary Wong, traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, founder of ALIVE Holistic Health Clinic in Toronto and author of the brand new book, Pathways to Pregnancy: Personal Stories and Practical Advice for your Fertility Journey. It’s been great having you in studio with us Mary.

M: Thank you so much for having me Neal.

N: Thank you. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at and also at and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.

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