Acupuncture and Infertility
Recent medical studies show that traditional acupuncture points used for female infertility not only increase the blood flow to the uterus and as result increased the health of the lining in the uterus which is responsible for nourishing the fertilized egg. Also the stimulation of acupuncture points was shown to double the success rates for in vitro fertilization (IVF).
When used in conjunction with Western fertility treatments, acupuncture increases conception rates by 26%. A recent study from Tel Aviv University reports, ““When combining IUI with TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) treatments, 65.5 percent of the test group were able to conceive, compared with 39.4 percent of the control group, who received no herbal or acupuncture therapy.” For the 4.5 million couples experiencing infertility each year, acupuncture may be just what the doctor ordered.
Acupuncture can increase fertility by reducing stress, increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs and balancing the endocrine system, according to several studies and medical research. The goal of an infertility treatment from a Chinese Medicine perspective is not just to get pregnant, but to stay pregnant and to have a healthy baby. Among many other benefits, acupuncture can provide better blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, creating a stronger chance for an egg to be nourished and carried to term.
Acupuncture consists of the gentle insertion and stimulation of thin, disposable sterile needles at strategic points near the surface of the body. Over 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body connect with 14 major pathways, called meridians. Chinese medicine practitioners believe that these meridians conduct qi , or energy, between the surface of the body and internal organs. It is qi that regulates spiritual, emotional, mental and physical balance. When the flow of qi is disrupted through poor health habits or other circumstances, pain and/or disease can result. Acupuncture helps to keep the normal flow of this energy unblocked, thereby increasing a couple’s chances of conceiving.
Acupuncture infertility treatment can improve almost every cause of this obstacle. While 40 percent of infertility is caused by problems in the female, another 40 percent is caused by problems in the male, such as low sperm count or motility.
Studies confirm that male sperm counts are declining, and environmental factors, such as pesticides, exogenous estrogens, and heavy metals may negatively impact spermatogenesis. A number of nutritional therapies have been shown to improve sperm counts and sperm motility, including carnitine, arginine, zinc, selenium, and vitamin B-12. Numerous antioxidants have also proven beneficial in treating male infertility, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione, and coenzyme Q10. Acupuncture, as well as specific botanical medicines, have been documented in several studies as having a positive effect on sperm parameters. A multifaceted therapeutic approach to improving male fertility involves identifying harmful environmental and occupational risk factors, while correcting underlying nutritional imbalances to encourage optimal sperm production and function.
“Don’t be discouraged. It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.”