Acupuncture is one part of a complete system of healing known as Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, that has its roots in China dating back several thousands of years. TCM also includes dietary therapy, herbal medicine, bodywork and other adjunctive techniques.
Acupuncture uses small, almost hair-thin, surgically sterilized and disposable needles that are placed in certain points on the body. These points are located on energetic channels. In TCM terms, it is the strategic use of these points that regulates and balances the flow of energy and blood in the body, thus allowing for symptom relief.
Improving Fertility and Treatment Success with Acupuncture
Laboratory and clinical studies have shown Acupuncture to have an effect on the central and peripheral nervous systems. It causes the brain to release opioids, the body’s natural painkillers, as well as other endorphins that moderate the stress response and help to balance hormone levels in the body.
Acupuncturists at CNY Healing Arts (our sister company for all things healing arts) are extensively trained in assisting those attempting to achieve pregnancy naturally and those who are undergoing fertility treatments. Each day, they work together with the staff at CNY Fertility to assist couples in achieving their dream of pregnancy. And, they continue to work with women, once pregnant, to moderate symptoms and help to prepare a woman’s body for labor and delivery.
Research has revealed that women doing in-vitro fertilization treatments were 65% more likely to conceive when they used acupuncture in conjunction with their western medical treatment. Additional studies support the significance of acupuncture for the outcome of assisted reproductive medicine, and that acupuncture administered on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome of IVF. Acupuncture is also associated with higher clinical pregnancy rates and live birth rates.
When is Acupuncture used in Fertility Treatments?
Acupuncture can be used at any time during your fertility treatment. However, it is most commonly used and highly recommended immediately before and after a treatment including an insemination for an IUI and an Egg Retrieval and Embryo Transfer for IVF.
What can I expect in my first acupuncture treatment?
During your first visit, your fertility acupuncture specialist will assess your areas of imbalance and create a specialized program using a combination of acupuncture, herbal remedies and lifestyle recommendations. Your first treatment will last approximately one hour and will include a full intake and acupuncture experience. If this is your first time receiving acupuncture, you may be surprised to learn that acupuncture is painless and deeply relaxing. Many people begin to notice the physical and emotional benefits of acupuncture after their very first session: from improved sleep patterns to reduced pain and increased energy.
How does acupuncture help fertility?
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine benefit fertility in the following ways:
- Regulate menstrual cycle
- Improve sperm count and motility
- Reduce stress and anxiety associated with infertility
- Normalize hormone and endocrine systems
- Improve blood flow in the uterus
- Decrease chance of miscarriage
- Increase the chance of pregnancy for women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF)
A recent study in the British Medical Journal revealed that women doing in-vitro fertilization treatments were 65 per cent more likely to conceive when they used acupuncture in conjunction with their western medical treatment. (2)
Additional studies support the significance of acupuncture for the outcome of assisted reproductive medicine. (3)
- Acupuncture administered on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome of IVF/ICSI (4)
- Acupuncture is associated with higher clinical pregnancy rates and live birth rates. (5)
- Joswick, Diana. “February Acupuncture Newsletter – Reproductive Health” www.acufinder.com. 10 Feb. 2009. <http://www.acufinder.com>.
- Manheimer, Eric, Grant Zhang, Laurence Udoff, Aviad Haramati, Patricia Langenberg, Brian M. Berman, and Lex M. Bouter. “Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis.” British Medical Journal (2008). BMJ medical publications of the year. 7 Feb. 2008. 9 Apr. 2009 <http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/bmj.39471.430451.BEv1>.
- Dieterle, Stefan, Gao Ying, Wolfgang Hatzmann, and Andreas Neuer. “Effect of acupuncture on the outcome of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study.” 7 Apr. 2006. 9 Apr. 2009 <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16616748/>.
- Westergaard, Lars G. M.D., Ph.D, Mao, Qunhui M.D, Krogslund, Marianne, Sadrini, Steen, Lenz, Suzan M.D., Ph.D, Grinsted, Jorgen M.D., Ph.D. Acupuncture Improves pregnancy rates in IVF treatments. 2006
- Udoff, L.C., G. Zhang, S. Patwardhan, Z. Wei, and H.D. McClamrock. “The effect of acupuncture on outcomes in in-vitro fertilization (IVF).” 20 Apr. 2006. 9 Apr. 2009 <http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00317317>.