How Acupuncture can improve fertility
3 May 2022
stress accupuncture fertility pcos

Traditional and alternative therapies are slowly making a comeback in mainstream discussion, as evidence of their effectiveness is increasing. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that is now practiced around the world. While it is most commonly used for pain management, research is showing that Acupuncture for fertility can be very beneficial too.

A systematic review found that acupuncture can improve menstrual cycles and ovulation for women with PCOS. Another small study showed that acupuncture can improve pregnancy rates in women undergoing assisted reproduction. On the other hand, a lot of research also shows that acupuncture leads to no major changes. But, for couples going for difficult fertility procedures can choose to try out this ancient form of healing, along with the necessary changes in diet and lifestyle.

How does acupuncture work?

According to Chinese medicine, this centuries-old ‘needle therapy’ stimulates your life- energy called ‘Qi’, to move freely in the energy channels or meridians of the body. Acupuncture stimulates and moves Qi by removing any blockages in the body which give rise to a disease or dysfunctions like infertility in the first place. By restoring the flow of Qi, an acupuncturist is able to balance the female hormones responsible for ovulation and conception in your body.

This therapy can be especially helpful in women with PCOS who suffer from a hormonal imbalance which prevents ovulation.

An acupuncturist moves the Qi from areas where it may be too abundant, to areas that are deficient, increasing fertility by placing the super-fine needles at key energy meridians linked to your reproductive organs.

The needles also work locally to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation.

Acupuncture boosts fertility specifically in women by:

1. Boosting blood flow to the uterus: This enriches the endometrial lining of the uterus. The rich endometrial lining helps to ensure the pregnancy will be held to term. Acupuncture also helps to relax the uterus and curb contractions, so blood flow increases and an embryo implants successfully.

2. Improving egg production and IVF success rates: If you’re having in vitro fertilization or any other type of assisted reproductive technology, your acupuncturist, and current physician should coordinate treatment. Acupuncture treatments are sometimes timed to coincide with embryo transfer during IVF.

3. Regulating the menstrual cycle: Acupuncture fertility treatment helps to regulate the menstrual cycle by regulating hormone levels at the right time.

4. Decreasing stress: Couples experiencing infertility are under immense psychological stress and acupuncture helps to reduce stress and promote relaxation as it helps in the release of endorphins, the body’s ‘feel-good’ chemicals. This relaxation response may continue for up to a week after just one acupuncture session.

What to expect during an acupuncture fertility treatment session?

When you visit an acupuncturist for the first time, she will ask you in-depth questions about your health, diet, emotional state, and your periods.

  • She will take your pulse, followed by a tongue exam as acupuncturists believe that the tongue can tell a lot about someone’s health and that each part of the tongue represents a different part of the body.
  • In the end, she will decide where an imbalance exists in your body that is causing infertility.
  • This will determine where she punctures your skin with her fine needles. Common acupuncture points include the ear, head, feet, hands, legs, and abdomen.
  • Acupuncture is entirely painless. Each session lasts typically for half an hour and most experts recommend weekly treatments, and twice a week if you are over age 40.
  • Do ask your reproductive endocrinologist to suggest a good fertility acupuncturist to avoid quacks.

All-in-all, acupuncture has gone mainstream, with more and more IVF doctors increasingly turning to acupuncture to help their patients have a baby. But it is important to remember that all fertility treatments work best when accompanied by diet and lifestyle changes.

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