Acupuncture for Infertility Overview
Many people have used acupuncture
to successfully help with infertility.
In 1996 the FDA took Acupuncture off the list of “experimental treatments." Increasingly, Acupuncture—the ancient Eastern art of using thin needles to improve circulation and energy flow—is gaining acceptance in the West, partcularly in the area of treating infertility.
This guide will show you why. We will cover how acupuncture works, how it aids in the treatment of infertility, and whether acupuncture for infertility is right for you. We begin with a summary of the guide below. Feel free to read the guide straight through or jump to the section that interests you most.
|How does Acupuncture Work?
- Needles used to stimulate nervous system: In order to bring all aspects of the body into balance, acupuncture practitioners use needles to stimulate the nervous system and subsequently alter blood pressure, body temperature and chemicals flowing through the body
- Acupuncture prompts hormones and chemicals to release in body, bringing the body into equilibrium: By prompting the brain to release certain hormones, such as neurotransmitters and chemicals in the muscles and spinal cord, acupuncture can enable the body to heal itself. Despite the punch they pack, stainless steel acupuncture needles are no thicker than a strand of hair (about 01” to .02”).
- Pressure Points: Acupuncture pressure points cover the entire body, and each point corresponds to a specific body area to heal different illnesses.
- There are even points on your stomach that should be avoided if you want to get pregnant.
|How can Acupuncture Heal Infertility?
- Improves flow to organs involved in pregnancy: helps improve blood flow in the ovaries and the uterine arteries to build a stronger uterine lining in infertile women.
- Acupuncture changes endorphin, pituitary, and ovarian hormone levels: these hormones impact the menstrual cycle to help regulate ovulation.
- “Calming the Spirit”: In addition to the chemical effects of acupuncture, the process can also relax the abdominal muscles, which is sometimes a major cause of the inability to fertilize an egg. More subjectively, acupuncture patients often feel more relaxed and calmer after receiving the treatment, which by itself can increase the flow of energy through the body.
- Average Program Involves 12 Treatments: This treatment is often coupled with herbal remedies and even In Vitro Fertilization.
|Medical Research on Acupuncture for Infertility
- Acupuncture is a holistic approach to medicine: This means acupuncture treats illnesses by looking at many aspects of an individual’s life, and not only the illness in question. For example, an acupuncture practitioner will likely ask you about your environment, nutrition, emotional and psychological status, and medical history before determining the most appropriate treatment.
- High success in small number of studies: Most studies on acupuncture for infertility have been performed with groups of women who are simultaneously undergoing In Vitro fertilization and embryo transfer. This combination has shown to increase the success rate for pregnancy, with a 40-50% fertility rate compared with the 25-35% average success rate for patients who undergo In Vitro fertilization without acupuncture.
- Main benefit – relaxes uterine contractions: Studies have shown that acupuncture doesn’t seem to actually increase the quality or quantity of eggs; rather, the therapy’s primary advantage is that it can relax uterus contractions, thereby increasing blood flow and creating a more fertile environment.
- Reduces risk of miscarriage: Other studies show that acupuncture may also reduce the risk of miscarriage in women who undergo In Vitro with acupuncture by about half. A possible reason for this benefit is that by increasing the absorption of nutrients and hormones, acupuncture can help strengthen the lining of the uterus. In addition, acupuncture can strengthen the immune system, which also helps to prevent miscarriage.
- Side-effects: minimal; for complete list, please see page of guide for complete info.
- Regulation: most states have laws that govern the practice; please see page of guide.
|Is Acupuncture for Infertility Right For You?
- Have you been trying to become pregnant using Western medicine, and it still isn’t working?
- Are you currently trying In Vitro fertilization and embryo transfer?
- Is the cause of your infertility problems functional or structural?
- Are you afraid of needles?
- Are you on blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder?
- How comfortable are you with trying something “alternative”?
|Acupuncture for Male Infertility
- Infertility occurs in about 30% of men
- Before trying acupuncture – or any serious medical procedure – first try health and lifestyle changes that affect reproduction: For example, decreasing your alcohol intake, eating organic as opposed to processed foods, and taking vitamins may balance your hormones and increase your fertility. Specific vitamins that you may be deficient in include Vitamin C (which keeps sperm from sticking together) and zinc (increases sperm quality and motility). Also, try to lower stress through lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques, exercise, or even meditation.
|Finding an Acupuncture for Infertility Clinic
- Two options: medical doctor (200-300 hours of training) or acupuncture specialist (2000-3000 hours). We suggest going to meet both practitioners and getting a feel for their style and behavior.
- Cost: The cost of acupuncture treatments is about $50-$100 per treatment, or about $1,000 for a 12-treatment program.
- Where to find practitioner: American Academy of Medical Acupuncture can provide information about physicians in your area who use acupuncture in their medical practice. Their number is 800-521-2262.
- See guide page for a list of some popular clinics including Acupuncture for Infertility Clinic located in Atlanta, Georgia. Their phone number is (404) 255-8388 and here’s their Web Site.
Read on to learn more about how acupuncture can help with infertility.