Nov 16, 2020
The process of getting and being pregnant is both magical and exhilarating, yet many couples can experience frustration and disappointment. About 20% of couples worldwide struggle to conceive due to both male and female infertility issues.
Despite the vast options brought by advanced medical healthcare, pursuing assisted reproductive technologies can cost thousands of dollars, and for those lucky enough to have some insurance coverage, most limit the attempts at IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). Even with medical assistance, the rate of success can be discouraging.
That’s where acupuncture comes to the rescue. Acupuncture is more widely accepted as a complimentary procedure by most fertility professionals. The amazing thing about acupuncture is it brings down stress hormones like cortisol that helps to increase the probability of successful IVF or other fertility procedures, even in males.
The technique is said to balance the energy and blood circulation flow called Qi (pronounced as Chi), resulting in positive changes in mind, body, and spirit.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture uses hair-thin needles to increase the flow of life energy or Qi in the body. When your energy is out of balance, you’ll experience symptoms and illness, which can range from pain, poor sleep, or hot flashes, to infertility and more.
The practitioner will feel the patient’s pulses in the wrist area first. This will enable them to feel what is out of balance. From that information, the needles are placed in energy centers all over the body. Needles can be either retained or quickly inserted and removed. The pulses are checked several times throughout the treatment to guide the practitioner in the choice of points.
What does the medical research say about acupuncture for fertility?
Currently, there is no conclusive statistics and evidence that suggest acupuncture does or does not improve fertility. However, a study from the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation found that polycystic women, and infertile men have benefited from acupuncture. Another study conducted in 2008 showed that there is a significant improvement to the rate of pregnancy and live birth among women who are undergoing In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
Here are some additional results of small studies conducted concerning acupuncture fertility:
- Acupuncture reduces stress – a big factor when it comes to getting pregnant.
- Acupuncture helps the regulation of hormones including the gonadotropin – the hormone that improves ovulation rates.
- Acupuncture increases follicles count during IVF treatment.
- Acupuncture increases the production of the “feel good” hormone called endorphins. This chemical also plays a role in regulating menstrual cycles.
- Acupuncture strengthens the lining in the uterus, reducing the risk of recurring miscarriages.
- Even though the sample sizes of these studies are small, the results are very promising.
So does it hurt?
Let’s face it, we all have childhood memories of getting shots at the doctor’s office, but acupuncture is a whole different experience. The needles are super fine and, if you have a skilled practitioner, cause no pain on insertion. The only feeling you should have is a bit of warmth or energy movement once the needle is inserted. This is your Qi energy moving and that’s a good thing.
For infertility issues, the needles are placed in points that are linked to the reproductive organs. I use a lot of moxa, warming incense, on my female patients to help balance the female system.
The immediate results of treatment are subtle yet powerful. I tell patients they may feel tired, relaxed, and happy, which is exactly what you want from acupuncture.
How do you find a good practitioner?
I always tell people, if you don’t like your doctor or dentist, you would find a new one rather than thinking that all dentists are bad. The same thing goes for your acupuncturists. If you’ve tried it in the past and had a negative experience, then you need to find one that fits with you, one that listens and understands what you need.
Here’s what I suggest:
- Ask for recommendations. Do you know someone who is already seeing an acupuncturist they love? If you’re at a fertility clinic, they usually have a list of referrals that have worked with their other patients.
- Check for acupuncturists in your insurance network. If you don’t have insurance that covers acupuncture, you can inquire if your employer’s flexible spending plan or health savings account includes acupuncture sessions.
- Google or Yelp search 5 Element acupuncture + the name of your town or area where you live. I like 5 Element acupuncture because it truly addresses the mind, body, and spirit.
- Once you have found a potential acupuncturist, set up an interview with then. I offer a free 30-minute consultation to see if I’m a good fit and I’m always happy to answer questions about how I work and what my success rate is with a particular condition.
- Visit www.aborm.org
The Final Word
With the expanding support network available out there, it’s more important than ever to find the practitioner who will support your individual needs. Navigating the choices of support for your fertility journey can be overwhelming, so take it one step at a time.
Find others who have had similar experiences and use them as a resource. Acupuncture has been shown to improve fertility, as well as overall health and wellness so that is always a great place to start. At the very least, it will help you stay calm and relaxed through the process. Who knows, you might even love it so much, you’ll continue to use it throughout your life. I know I have.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. The content on our website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or therapy. You should NEVER disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment due to something you have read on our website and we will not be held responsible for any adverse health condition or injury that occurs as a result of doing so.
For more information please visit www.berkleycenter.com