Acupuncture for Fertility
Making Room for an Ancient Practice
Over several centuries of "medicine" a single lens has become the way most people learn about the body. In doing so, the ancient methods of knowing the body through means outside of medicine ends up being labeled as folk art, illegitimate, or just not valid. Using language that isn't commensurate with medical science - words like channels, chakras, pathways, energies and breath - can bring out the worst in a conventional medicine advocate.
However, recent years have seen a decided change in the way some of the conventional medical community view alternative methods of healing and some of these methods are finding their way into the medical culture, being integrated as a part of the healing process. Acupuncture is one such discipline, and its effectiveness is hard to argue with as proof of its efficacy shows up over and over again.
Treating Fertility Holistically
Acupuncture is an ancient practice that, when treating infertility, attempts to find the cause of the specific symptoms by seeing the organism, mind, and spirit holistically and integrally. It focuses on unique symptoms and particular needs as opposed to creating a diagnostic label for the problem. By inserting very thin, sterile needles into acupuncture points (of which there are 2,000, each associated with different pathways where the body's natural life energy, known as Chi, flows), energy that has been blocked can be released. This restores the natural balance and flow of chi that helps to regulate and improve functions of the body, mind and emotions.
How Acupuncture Can Be Used
When used in connection with female fertility (or infertility) acupuncture can help regulate reproductive hormones and assist in the maturation of eggs. The brain, hypothalamus and pituitary gland regulate the flow and balance of important hormones like follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen. The acupuncture needles are inserted very far away from these organs, instead being placed in the pathways associated with them.
When coupled with Chinese herbal medicines or medicinal pharmaceuticals, infertility symptoms associated with hormonal imbalances are particularly treatable. Monthly cycles that have been irregular can be brought into regularity with acupuncture. It has also been proven to be very effective in the treatment of PCOS and anovulation (no ovulation). Problems with ovulation connected with FSH imbalances that may indicate low ovarian reserve, can be treated, as well as disorders like luteal phase defect and early-term miscarriage.
Useful for Both Men and Women
Acupuncture may be used to stimulate egg production and regular ovulation during the ovulatory phase of menses as well as create balance during the luteal phase. PMS symptoms, regulation of irregular periods, and frustrations associated with trying-to-conceive can all be effectively addressed with the use of acupuncture.
By increasing the flow of blood to the uterus, the endometrium (uterine lining) is built up providing adequate lining for implantation of the fertilized egg. Acupuncture can also be used to decrease the odds of miscarriage by helping the uterine lining sustain pregnancy if there are insufficient progesterone levels during the luteal phase.
Women aren't the only ones to benefit from acupuncture when it comes to fertility issues. It can be used in some cases of male infertility when symptoms relate to sperm production and wellness. Acupuncture can help in both strengthening the sperm and increasing sperm count.
Acupuncture and ART
Should there be a need to use assisted reproduction therapies, acupuncture can be of good use as an effective support in these types of procedures. Acupuncture can be used to facilitate hormonal balance, ovulation, or egg maturation. It can also be used indirectly to reduce anxiety and stress, restore balance to the body, and support physical and emotional balance and wellness. Side effects of fertility drugs can be minimized with the use of acupuncture, as can the negative effect on the blood through the use of drugs. All of this balancing and support helps to improve conditions for successful fertilization.