Acupuncture and Chiropractic: Holistic Remedies that Support Lactation

Acupuncture and chiropractic are two ways in which a breastfeeding mom can support her own health and encourage her milk supply. What's involved in each of these procedures? How quickly can it impact milk supply? And how can treatment improve other postpartum symptoms?

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Episode Transcript

The Boob Group
Holistic Remedies That Support Lactation

Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

Robin Kaplan: There are many ways that mothers with new babies can support their own health and encourage a healthy milk supply. Two of these ways can be Acupuncture and Chiropractic. Today we have Jamie Boyd, licensed Acupuncturist and the owner of Whole Family Acupuncture and Dr. Gina Caserma, Chiropractor and owner of World of Wellness Chiropractic. Today we will explore these two holistic practices and the ways in which they can support Lactation. This is the Boob Group.

[Theme Song/Intro]

Robin Kaplan: Welcome to The Boob Group broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. I am your host Robin Kaplan. I am also a certified lactation consultant and owner of the San Diego Breast Feeding Center. The Boob Group is your online support group for all things related to breastfeeding. Visit our website at for more information on how you can become a part of our show? You can join our conversation by following us on Facebook, twitter and Google plus. You can also send us comments or suggestions to the contact link on our website or call the Boob Group Hotline at 619-866-4775. Today I am joined by two fabulously breastfeeding moms in the studio. Ladies, would you like to introduce yourself!!

Norene Ybarra: I am Norene Ybarra. I am 36 years. I am an educator, I teach writing to university students. I have one child named Rex and he will be a year in a week. And I am very excited to be continuing to breastfeed him until further notice.

Erin Esteves: My name is Erin Esteves and I am an Operations Manager for an international business company. I have one son who is 5 months old and happily breastfeeding.
[Featured Segment: From Our Listeners]

Sidney: Hi, Boob Group I am Sidney from California. I am just listening to your episode about breastfeeding comfortably in public. I have been nervous ever since my baby was born about breastfeeding in public. I was so afraid that everyone would be looking at me, or that I would flash someone and totally embarrass myself. I love the idea of practicing at a breastfeeding support group and planned to go to one of my local hospitals this week. Maybe next week I will actually get to nurse my son while out to lunch with my girlfriends. Thanks for your great advice, Bye!!


Robin Kaplan: Today on the Boob Group we are discussing how different types of holistic practices can support a mom’s breastfeeding health and milk supply specifically Acupuncture and Chiropractic. We have to experts today. Jamie Boyd is a licensed Acupuncturist and owner of Whole Family Acupuncture. Dr. Gina Caserma is a Chiropractor and the owner of World of Wellness Chiropractic. Jamie and Dr. Gina, welcome to the show and thanks for joining us. So to start this up Jamie can you give us a brief over how Acupuncture works?

Jamie Boyd: Sure, well first Acupuncture is one of many mortalities used in traditional Chinese medicine. We are 2000-year-old medicine so there’s lot of different theories and lots of different ways of explaining how acupuncture works? But basically, our body is a network of energy and it’s sort of like a plumbing system or a water work system where there is dams, you know, there is drains and what we do is we use the Acupuncture needles almost like lightning rods in that we harvest the energy around metal needles to help get rid of obstructions in energy flow or encourage flow of energy to new places. So, it can do, it can resolve any disharmony in the body by using our body’s energy and our body’s willingness to heal itself. Our body wants to heal itself. So, we use the body’s willingness to heal itself by giving it almost plugging in a certain code so the body goes, “Oh! Yeah, I remember how to do this” and we reestablish the energy flow. We also use traditional Chinese herbs as well in our practice and I use that a lot in conjunction with Acupuncture actually help the subject change the substance of the body not just the energy of the body.

Robin Kaplan: Okay, great, thank you. Dr. Gina, can you give us a brief overview of how Chiropractic works?

Dr. Gina Caserma: Sure, along with what Jamie was showing at the body is, you know, self-healing and wants to heal. Chiropractic, its basis is the nervous system so we understand the body is self-healing, self-regulating and self-organizing and this is some of the body that controls this is actually your central nervous system your brain and spinal cord. And Chiropractic been very vitalistic, you know, the body does to itself self-healing and self-regulating. If there is obstruction in the nervous system or what we call a subluxation- where the bones in the spine can become saline or the bones in the cranium- then it will affect healing of functions and then that energies are flowing and the body can’t heal and regulate properly.

Robin Kaplan: Jamie, How have you see that Acupuncture supports a mother’s body and its ability to make milk?

Jamie Boyd: Well, there is two ways in my practice that I think of Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine is helping a mom’s body. The first step that is necessary in terms of establishing the milk supply for us is looking at the birth itself. Moms have just undergone, even if it’s their greatest birth involved trauma and their body is in recovery and we need to re-establish the body’s health and energy in order to help the body then make enough milk for the baby, so mom’s health is everything. In traditional Chinese medicine, we have 2000 years of postpartum support to pull from. So, a lot of it is logistically difficult at this point in western, you know, women’s life but we talk about nutrition as well and I talk about postpartum guidelines with my mom’s. The Acupuncture itself can help realign the energetics and help the mom heal from the birth experience especially if there has been a birth trauma like a cesarean birth or something like that, that’s inhibiting the flow of the body because of something very real incision. I also use traditional Chinese herbs and nutritional in order to help produce more milk in the body and help the moms recover from any kind of blood loss and help boost their blood to make the milk because in Chinese medicine the milk is seen as an extension of blood so if the mom is anemic and if the mom has lost a lot of blood we need to recover that blood as soon as possible in order to allow to milk flow.

Robin Kaplan: And Dr. Gina I have the same question for you how does, how have you seen Chiropractic attention support a mother’s body and the production of milk?

Dr. Gina Caserma: In Chiropractic, when I have a patient we look at the same way, when the mother comes in and we talk about the birth just as genuine sharing if there is, you know, a birth can be the most wonderful birth or either way it can be very traumatic and it’s the body snow going through the recovery process and it is having to heal. So, if the mother is having difficulty producing milk we have to look at the mother’s overall health and function. Is there a block in the nervous system? So, I am gonna be looking for subluxation and often times we can find that they may have been there prior to the birth, they have been resulting in the birth or maybe something that’s been happening after but also I need to look at nutritionally what’s going on? Because there are lot of that the mother needs to be doing to help produce the milk, you know, she’s got to not only heal herself but now she’s got to feed the baby. So Chiropractic, very similar to Acupuncture, we’re looking at the body as a whole not like the western medical model where body is in parts you can just say, “Oh! You can’t make milk then, here is the formula.” We are made to be able to feed our children so what’s going on? Is this person able to and how can we support them to the best of our ability and that person’s, you know, body’s function?

Robin Kaplan: Dr. Gina when there is a subluxation, what do you do?

Dr. Gina Caserma: So, when there is a subluxation in Chiropractic,we adjust it and there is many different ways to do that. It can be like, when I am working with an infant very light touched just using your fingertip, we could use an instrument. It really depends on the individual that’s in front of me. What, how their body’s best gonna respond? If I have somebody that you know has had so many traumas in the past, it may be a lighter touch that they need it’s just really as I get to know the patient we get to see what response, how they respond best.

Robin Kaplan : And do you find that when you are treating a patient that has just had a baby or you also working on possibly other traumas that this person is dealt with previous to having this baby and seeing that kind of might be the cause of also why the milk supply is not coming in and why she is not healing after the birth?

Dr. Gina Caserma: Yeah, sometimes such a challenge, you know, is educating the person on it’s not just this present moment that’s happening some things that could have lead up to this. And working it at the best that they can and that’s why each case is different. Some people go,“how long? How many times do I have to do get this? How long am I gonna be here?” You know, I tried to give them recommendations based on my best clinical expertise but, you know, I also tell them how to take it, you know, day by day and we are gonna be keep it each other informed how things are progressing and what else may be going on in life, what are the other stresses are affecting them.

Robin Kaplan: Jamie, do you see the same thing in Acupuncture?

Jamie Boyd: Well, actually Dr. Caserma just brought about stresses in life which is a major, you know, way of inhibiting milk supply because it's opposite of prolactin in the brain. So, like Dr. Caserma just said now, if we have a mom who is going back to work and her milk supply just stink then we are gonna be seeing her little bit more often. If we are talking about establishing the milk supply right away or something like that it, could look different.

Robin Kaplan: So, as a nabis, somebody who is completely unfamiliar with any type of previous Chiropractic or Acupuncture treatments, how can one, how does one identify? How do we know that we need this kind of treatment and what can we expect at these visits? The only experience we have had is with critical Western medicine.

Jamie Boyd: Well, most women come to me when they are unfortunately out of options. Very few come to me first. They usually come to me last. So, they have tried their medications. They have tried their nutritional supplements,let’s say, in specific, let’s say for increasing milk supply. I am usually the last, you know, in a series of other attempts because the other attempts are more supported by our culture and families, you know, families wonder why you are going with your baby to your Acupuncturist right away. But, basically anytime your body feels out of source anytime you know that your body is not functioning correctly, it’s time to check in with Dr. Caserma or myself.

Dr. Gina Caserma: Yeah, something Chiropractic often, same thing last resort or, you know, they’ve tried everything else, you know, still feel like there is another answer. So, If you haven’t had that experience and oftentimes, when you’re a new pairing your paradigm, may be shifting, you’re wanting to do, you are looking at your health and the health of your baby a little differently and now it’s like,“well, I don’t necessarily want to do any drugs because if I am gonna be breastfeeding I don’t want that to go to babies. So, what other options are out there?” Sometimes people would be like on the internet or they’ll ask friends and, you know, here in San Diego we are so blessed because we have such a great natural birth community and support system in that and there are often times people that you can ask I am having trouble and, you know, what is you do or what would you do? So, just being here now I am learning that Chiropractic and Acupuncture are a great option in that sense and it should be a first line of defense, not the last and just sharing that information now that you know with other people.

Jamie Boyd: And the one thing to about using my mortalities in the traditional Chinese approaches, first of all, it’s 2000-year-old medicines. So, it has addressed human beings issues that human beings have had for 2000 years. Now, obviously, not every single medical system works every single time. But you can basically if you are looking for a natural approach you can always contact a traditional Chinese medical practitioner and ask, you know, will this treatment work? What should I expect? And then, you know, what kind of other interventions? I like an interrogative medical approach so, I know that if after so many treatments, after so many things if I have sort of tapped out on what my knowledge is,I can get the blood and dig a little deeper and we talk to the doctors. And I think that’s a really important thing when looking for somebody, for anybody who is listening, is looking for traditional Chinese practitioners is I don’t believe in absolute disown in medicine. I think that there is a time and place for every mortality and if you want to start natural especially with breastfeeding Chiropractic and Acupuncture are the great first step. And then if you have an excellent practitioner who’ll say, “Hey, you know what? We’ve have done everything, I know how to do. Lets contact a lactation consultant and get a referral for our breastfeeding friendly could be and let’s talk here about how other things could be going on.”

Dr. Gina Caserma: That’s a good point Jamie because it definitely takes a team.

Robin Kaplan: Okay, when we come back, we will discuss how Acupuncture and Chiropractic can help increase a mother’s milk supply? We will be right back.

[Theme Song/Intro]
Erin Esteves: How do you assess and or treat differently pre needle versus postpartum causes of diseases? So, there a different approach when you realize like okay, some people understand that there are causes that are present and there might be you know something underlying or in the past, and is there a different approach or something that’s prenatal versus postpartum?

Dr. Gina Caserma: Definitely because you see something coming in prenatally, we’re addressing different issues than postpartum. The course to the body self-healing and self-regulating what is the inner feeling with the body’s ability to that. Is it the subluxation with the nervous system? Do we need nutrition? Do we need what other experts may be doing to get in a boat with us? So, there is a similarity because of the base with the body being self-healing and self-regulating but then if somebody is coming in postpartum we are not worried about how the birth is gonna progress. You know when somebody comes with me prenatally,I want to make sure the body is balanced so that the body can go into labor and delivery making sure that baby is in the best proper position for that. Somebody coming with postpartum, that’s not gonna be as much of an issue we may be balancing things after from the birth of their traumas but usually the issues that we are gonna working with are gonna be different being a new mom and new parent.

Jamie Boyd: For us one of the beauties of traditional Chinese medicine is we do something called pulse diagnosis and tongue diagnosis. We listen to the pulses and we look at the tongue. What we are trying to assess is the constitution of the person. So, you can imagine each person as a unique tree and then their illnesses are their branches. Their potential for illnesses are their branches. So, most of the time given a person’s constitution I can assess these are the areas that might be challenging postpartum. So, I actually really love it to see somebody from fertility to postpartum. If somebody in Chinese medicine is diagnosed for something called blood deficiency, there might be a tendency for anemia and anemia during pregnancy, oh! Well, if you are anemic during pregnancy that’s the blood, the blood supports the breast milk. Okay, with you we are not only gonna support your blood throughout pregnancy because that has complications on the health of baby blood loss during birth as well but then, it also talks about milk supply postpartum. And so with my mom’s, I can see something like that going on from fertility on, it really gives me a much better ability to have all their ducks in a row before baby comes. And we have already talked about where you know if you have a Raynaud's disease, so what is that going to look like in terms of lactation. You know, things like that I can really address the full picture of health. And then, I can also, sometimes determine or understand more who the baby is and that can help baby’s digestion and different things as well. If mom’s digestion is weak during pregnancy and the baby comes out with a constitution that suggests digestion as an issue. Oh! We know something. We can use a preventative means to never allow that branch to show up. So, it’s a really an awesome tool that when I am able to see moms long before postpartum.

Erin Esteves: This is for both of you as well, what symptoms do you treat most in postpartum women in your practice?

Dr. Gina Caserma: That’s a tough question for me I would say. Most, it’s wellness actually because women have been coming to me prior to delivery or even prior to conceptions. So, most of the postpartum on these women’s are not well around but after that, it’s breastfeeding difficulties and then neck and shoulder, and upper back- things that may develop from nursing and just being a new mom in general.

Jamie Boyd: We have a lot of different things that women come to me for. Usually breastfeeding is the major thing that brings women in, only because it’s the most timely and they want to start their milk supply- now or yesterday. But, mastitis, clogged ducts,that sort of thing definitely if there is any problems with the flow. I see a lot of women with postpartum depression, inability to sleep insomnia because of the nature of breastfeeding will be for every two hours it’s really hard to shut your brain off and go back to bed. As a lactating mom, I know that. And then as Dr. Caserma said is just balancing the role is, we all feel a little wonky after we give birth, that’s a big deal. So, sometimes people just come back in just to, kind of, reset or realign the hormones and make everything kind of even again. Acupuncture triggers a person’s nervous system which causes us to relax and the same with what Chiropractic does or sometimes we need that good or getting back into gear, getting back in balance.

Robin Kaplan: How soon after treatments do you see, do these mothers see an increase in their milk?

Jamie Boyd: It depends on which mortality I am relying on most heavily and what I think that’s going on with the women. If we have something like a significant blood loss or trauma, we need to build back up substance.So lot times we see nutritional and herbal medicines. With Acupuncture, it can be really a mediator. It’s something like energetic or the moms just too stressed out and frantic. We plug in the right points. We bring everything down and their milk supply can increase within you know prolactin phases after 72 hours. So, I usually wanna see something change radically in 72 hours. Most of the time we are talking about the substance of the body but in the following week I should see, you know, at least a little bit more with either pumping or with baby transferring.

Dr. Gina Caserma: Same thing, very similar with Chiropractic it all really depends on when something there is a new issue that is just recent or it’s been a long term trauma where the nervous system has been not functioning for a while and there may be other underlying issues. As I get into the history, may be this person had, you know, low energy prior, maybe there are fertility issues. So, may be they had other numbness and tingling in upper extremities that are gonna lead to different nerves and nerves that go to the chest and arms. I mean I have had even cases where it’s going to be for 24 hours, we will see the supply increase and sometimes it can be upto 3 or 4 days but usually within a week how Jamie was saying, I’m expecting something if not then, you know, something else may be going on and we need to make sure that there is some other support. And I think a lot of times I know we have many clients in common that’s because my feeling all the times we want more than just one mortality to help support that just depends on what clients are with me? What other mortality we might be working with?

Norene Ybarra: It’s really interesting to know that some of your clients see both of you to just remind us how much support we can get? How well all the different mortalities work together? My question is as you receive treatment, how often should a breastfeeding mother receive treatment? And how is that timeline determined?

Dr. Gina Caserma: So for me it’s really it’s individual. How the timeline is determined is really like when that patient comes in, I am doing an exam, consultation and really finding out what the underlying issues are? And what else may be going on? So, if somebody like were trying to get the milk supply going, this is in the beginning then they are probably gonna be coming in a little more frequently and that just may be a couple of weeks. But then a lot of times they want to continue realizing that there are other benefits in Chiropractic that just increases their milk supply. So, now you know it could be once a week so it’s really cased by case what that mom’s goals are? She has other goals than just increasing the milk supply for now.

Jamie Boyd : Well, mine is sort of similar to this by the symptoms but again there is sort of discrepancy. This difference in focus between something energetic or something substantial. So, for instance, if I had a mom who hemorrhaged and lost a lot of blood and were about three postpartum where, you know, this is where we really need to step up in order to get a full supply. And I might see them twice a week in order to do something called mock subluxation which we believe helps the body to make more blood and that’s something that we can do only with house with traditional Chinese herbs and Acupuncture. I usually see most of my mom’s once a week in my office and like Dr. Caserma’s office you can bring your babies we are super baby-friendly. There is nothing about not being able to bring your babies so we try to cater to moms to get them into our office. Even if I see them once a week I am always in dialogue either with them or with their lactation consultant throughout that week checking and depending on the severity of the insufficiency and what else is going on with the moms. In case of severe postpartum depression or something like that, I may even see them every day in my office until we just get really on stable ground.

Dr. Gina Caserma: If I could add up on to it sometimes with the new moms it’s finding the balance of this is really what they need from a clinical picture but now they have got this newborn, they have got a baby, you know,they’re stressed trying to get into the car and get everywhere. You know, it’s really, it’s a dance some times in finding what’s best for that individual kind of give you like a can, this is what it is exactly what it’s gonna be, it’s really challenging. And what are the supports systems that family has around them to help them.

Robin Kaplan: And how can a women find in her area an Acupuncturist or a Chiropractic that specializes in supporting lactation and postpartum health?

Dr. Gina Caserma: With Chiropractic there is an organization called International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. Their website is https://www.icpiforkids.organdyou can go on there and you can then look in your area for a Chiropractic doc who has taken continuing education courses in Pediatrics and Prenatal. But then also, I always tell people to call the doctor’s office like, if I am trying to find someone else who is not in my area or out of state call that doctor’s office, ask the staff they will be able to tell, how friendly? How many patients does this person see? How many moms, how often? You can kind of gauge and maybe asked and speak with the doctors on the phone, is the doctor be willing to call? We do that all the time but the websites are the best place to start if you don’t have a direct referral from somebody close to you.

Jamie Boyd: There are lot of Acupuncturists that specialized in women’s health at this point in most major cities in America. So, I would start with them. There is several different websites you can look out for Acupuncturists. But in terms of supporting postpartum and lactation actually we have very little class time about that in our practice at this point in America and most of the time the people who specialize in women’s health don’t necessarily do postpartum or lactation because they are thinking more fertility because that is really popular thing for people to see an Acupuncturist for? So, it is the same as Dr. Caserma said I would start with women’s health, contact the office, ask questions about breastfeeding and postpartum health. You can tell if, you know, if they have no idea and assess whether or not they are comfortable and then absolutely if you can reach that practitioner on the phone and they are willing to communicate with you, everything with postpartum wellness has to do a support. And you need the support of a practitioner first and foremost so you need to be able to make that connection. They are gonna be the ones who can help you the best.

Robin Kaplan: Thank you so much Jamie and Dr. Gina for offering your insight into how Acupuncture and Chiropractic can support lactation.
Robin Kaplan: Before we wrap things up here is Amber McCann talking about the best online breastfeeding resources.
[Featured Segment: The Best Online Breastfeeding Resources]

Amber McCann: Hello, Boob Group I am Amber McCann, an International Board Certified Lactation consultant and owner Nourish Breastfeeding Support just outside of Washington D.C. I am here to answer some of your most common questions when it comes to finding quality breastfeeding resources online such as, “are there other breastfeeding moms on twitter?” I got spotted on twitter about a year and a half ago and honestly didn’t expect with its 140 character women that much breastfeeding support could happen there. I can’t tell you how wrong I was.Today we are highlighting one of my favorite ways to connect with both breastfeeding professionals and other breastfeeding mothers on twitter, the twitter chat. If you are on twitter you might have noticed other people using what we used to call the pound sign or the number sign before a word. This is what we now call a Hash tag. By searching for and adding a designated Hashtag to your tweet within a designated hour, those on twitter can have a conversation in real time. My favorite breastfeeding Hashtag is BF CAFE being breastfeeding and having a little coffee, BF CAFE. My favorite way to follow these conversations is to use that’s This website searches twitter and displays the relevant hosts and automatically adds your Hashtag to the end which is my favorite feature considering I can barely remember where I left my key let alone how a hashtag is done. There are several great ways to find a breastfeeding-related chat that happens on tweeter weekly. So, jump in the party is where the Hashtag is at. Again check out https://www.tweetchat.comand log in to your favorite breastfeeding Hashtag. Thank you for listening, I am Amber McCann and I would love if you check out my website at For information on my business and a little bit more about where to get connected with great online breastfeeding support or join on my Facebook page. It’s And if you have a great online breastfeeding resource that you would like us to know about please send an e-mail to me at or share it on the Boob group face page. Make sure you listen to the Boob group each week for more fantastic conversations about breastfeeding and how to find great breastfeeding support.

Robin Kaplan : That wraps up our first episode of the Boob Group. Thank you to all of our listeners. I hope you’ll visit our website, and our Facebook page to offer your story describing your experience with Acupuncture and Chiropractic. If you have any questions about today’s show on the topics we discussed call our boob group hotline at 619-866-4775 and we’ll answer your questions on upcoming episode. Thanks for listening to the Boob Group because mothers know breast.

This is the New Mommy Media production. Information, material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Suggestions and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of new mommy and media and should not be considered facts. Well, such information that are released to be accurate. It is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical and care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating house care problem or disease or prescribing any medication. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby please get assistance from a qualified health care provider.

[00:29:27] [End of Audio]

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