What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient technique practiced in Traditional Chinese medicine. According to the practice, there are over 2,000 acupuncture points each connected by different pathways or meridians. Energy, or qi, flows through the pathways promoting overall health, but when the paths become blocked, this can lead to poor health or disease.
Acupuncture seeks to reopen the pathways and stimulate the energy flow by inserting thin, metallic needles into the points and then stimulating them manually or electronically. The stimulation is sometimes augmented by heat, pressure, or friction. Chemicals from the body’s central nervous system are released into the bloodstream, muscles, spinal cord, and brain, triggering the body’s natural healing abilities.
Many diagnoses, including digestive, neurological, musculoskeletal, respiratory, emotional, and gynecological conditions, may benefit from acupuncture. Some studies have shown that acupuncture, when used in conjunction with other fertility treatments, may increase success.
Acupuncture and Infertility Treatments
Acupuncture may help with infertility treatments by increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs, balancing hormones, and reducing stress. It appears to be most beneficial when started in the three months before beginning other treatments, such as IUI or IVF, and while couples are undergoing supplemental care.
Acupuncture appears to support a variety of conditions that appear to play a role in infertility. These include hormone imbalance which affects the uterus and ovaries, thyroid issues, irregular menstruation, ovarian cysts, fibroids, blood stagnation, endometriosis, problems with the fallopian tubes, obesity, stress, and low sperm count and sperm motility.
Increased Blood Flow
For patients who may be preparing for in-vitro fertilization or embryo transfer, acupuncture can be used to increase endometrial blood flow. The additional blood flow to the uterus helps the lining develop and thicken, preparing it to receive the embryo and increasing the chances of a successful transfer.
Acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system and triggers the release of neurotransmitters, endorphins, and insulin sensitivity. This can help patients diagnosed with PCOS or who might need support in normalizing reproductive hormones and ovulation.
Patients who may have hypothyroidism or high FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) levels and receive acupuncture benefit from improved egg quality.
Acupuncture has also been found to be very useful in the treatment of insulin sensitivity. Patients who are insulin resistant and obese may experience difficulty with fertility due to irregular ovulation or no ovulation.
Acupuncture and Infertility in Men
Men may also play a role in the fertility success of a couple. If this is the case, acupuncture may support the sperm count, sperm motility, and sperm morphology. Improving blood flow and balancing hormones through acupuncture can positively affect these areas, increasing the likelihood of conception.
Stress and Anxiety Relief
For many couples trying to conceive and pregnancy can be a stressful time. This can be especially true of couples experiencing infertility. Stress has been found to contribute to additional difficulties in conception. Stress plays a role in lowered libido, a reduced immune system, decreased sperm quality, hormonal disruption, and disordered eating.
In the same way, acupuncture balances hormones through the release of endorphins, it also serves to reduce stress and anxiety. Endorphins act as natural pain killers within the body. They work with the body through the central nervous system to decrease reactions to stress and regulate body systems like the immune system, digestive system, emotions, moods, and sexuality.
We are now offering integrative fertility consultations at PRC. Our goal is to support you as a whole person focusing on your mind, body, and spirit throughout your fertility journey. Acupuncture may work best when used alongside our other modalities. Please contact us for a treatment plan designed especially for you.
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