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Body basal temperature charting (BBT) & Chinese medicine

a thermometer on a calendar next to some white flowers

BBT stands for Basal Body Temperature.

It measures your oral temperature in the morning, before you start your daily routine.

We use this as part of fertility tracking to help couples in the natural process of conception.

This article will help you understand what is BBT, the limitations of using BBT for fertility prediction, how TCM interprets your BBT.

How to chart?

  • Use a digital oral (for the mouth) thermometer that reads in Fahrenheit up to the 10th degree (example 98.6*F).

  • Download an app such as Fertility Friend (it’s free!) that will produce a chart from your inputted data.

  • Keep the thermometer & your phone on the bedside table by the thermometer.

The Limitations of BBT Your BBT can be influenced by many factors that could make one or two readings inaccurate. Some of these factors are: Sudden illness or fever, Stress, Alcohol, or evenTime zone differences due to traveling

Due to these factors, the use of BBT charting would be more accurate for women who could maintain a steady daily routine.

BBT in the TCM Lenses

The core principle of TCM for fertility is to restore the balance of Qi energy in your body. The fertility acupuncturists at Taproot will often ask patients to track their BBT using a fertility app or on paper. This allows the TCM physician to identify specific imbalances at different stages of your menstrual cycle.

Here are some key indicators of each phase of a 28 days menstrual cycle that you should know about BBT charts.

Follicular Phase (Day 1 to 13): the Yin Phase

The first phase begins on the first day of your period and is when your follicles develop.

In this phase, your BBT should hover at its base level of between 97.1 (36.2) & 97.7 (36.5) degrees.

Estrogen, nourishing Yin and Blood

The follicular phase is governed by estrogen, which Chinese medicine views as a Yin hormone. We therefore recommends eating yin and blood nourishing foods, getting enough rest, and taking your herbs will help to set up a healthier and warmer second half of your cycle.

Conditions that might be detected in the follicular phase

  • If your follicular phase temperature is too low, this may be a sign of Kidney Yang deficiency.

  • Whereas temperature that is too high may indicate internal heat that needs to be cleared. This may be present in cases of endometriosis.

  • your follicular phase is too long or short, this may be due to Kidney Yin deficiency.

Ovulation (Day 14): when Yin turns into Yang

At ovulation, you should expect an increase in temperature of approximately 0.6 degree Fahrenheit.

a wooden spoon with an egg inside, on a white and pink background

Ovulation is when the Yin turns to Yang.

  • Without sufficient Yang energy, the egg might not be able to come out of its follicle. This can lead to anovulatory cycles, or delayed ovulation.

  • When there is not enough Yin, the fertile stretchy cervical mucus might not appear (read here)

Luteal Phase (Day 15 to 28): the Yang phase

The second half of the cycle is when the recently ovulated egg travels down the fallopian tube, and the process of fertilization may occur. Ideally, the BBT is higher and steady. Progesterone is the dominant hormone in preparation for potential implantation

The standard temperature for luteal phase is between 97.7° and 98.3°F (or 36.50° and 36.83°C) throughout.

view from above, two hands cup a bird's nest that contains six small eggs

Luteal phase defects

  • low temperature or short luteal phase can be a sign of Kidney and Spleen Yang deficiency. This is what TCM refers to as a Cold Womb or Cold Uterus. Often there are other constitutional symptoms such as sensitivity to cold, tiredness, sore back and knees, or water retention.

  • If your temperature stays up beyond 16 days, then it is a sign that you are probably pregnant!

Warming the womb

For an embryo to embed and thrive, the lining of the uterus needs sufficient blood supply from all the capillaries that feed into it. A woman who has a warm womb has great blood flow compared to a cold one that constricts the capillaries that could nurture a rich blood supply to optimize fertility.

Chinese herbs and acupuncture are fantastic at regularizing blood flow to the reproductive organs, so they can improve uterine lining.

Further reading about regulating cycles:

No matter where you are in your

woman's health, fertility, pregnancy & mothering journey,

if you need support, we can help.

In addition to our own team of fertility & women's health acupuncturists, we are well-connected within the Los Angeles- Pasadena area community to help you find the right integrative and holistic care for you.

On our website, you can learn more about our services, and book an appointment.

If you have more questions please call our front desk, at 626-841-2991, or email us.


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