For centuries, practitioners of Chinese Medicine have been able to help many who were unable to conceive or carry a child to term. Of all the natural therapies, acupuncture appears to have the highest rates of success for fertility issues. Acupuncture is the treatment that shows increased pregnancy rates when combined with IVF.
The perspective taken by a practitioner of acupuncture is that infertility does not exist if a couple’s reproductive organs are intact and functioning. Instead, the difficulty of becoming pregnant is considered a problem with balance. In fact, in the whole of Chinese medicine, restoring balance is key to treatment. The idea here is that being out of balance energetically will create subtle changes in our fertility that do not show up in standard medical tests. The majority of my patients are told that there is nothing wrong with them, and their problem is labeled as “unexplained infertility”. Yet with acupuncture, much can be explained when uncovering the energetic imbalances that are preventing conception.
Besides medically unexplained infertility, acupuncture is able to address endometriosis, uterine fibroids, PCOS, recurrent miscarriage, annovulation, luteal phase defect, and increasing success rates with ARTs. It is also very successful with treating male factor fertility problems such as oligospermia, azoospermia, and motility issues.
With acupuncture care, problems with kidney energy is considered the primary cause of fertility difficulties. When a child is conceived, it is important that the kidney energy of both parents be healthy, because it is this energy or kidney-essence that is passed on and must sustain that child throughout his or her life. Think of kidney-essence as a gift of our procreative energies that is passed on to our children. Therefore, if kidney-essence is deficient in either the man or woman or both, then it will be very difficult for a couple to conceive.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles into various points of the body: usually in the abdomen, legs, feet, arms, hands, back, forehead, head and ears. The actual insertion of these needles is virtually pain-free. There can be a variety of sensations experienced: tingling, heat, pressure, pulling or tension, stinging, electrical-like currents moving up and down an area of the body, or soreness. Acupuncture serves to re-connect and open channels of energy in the body, allowing for the proper flow of energy and a general sense of relaxation and well-being.
Acupuncture works because when it is applied correctly it will restore and maintain the balance of yin and yang. We know that ultrasound images before and after acupuncture specific to fertility show a significant increase of blood flow to the ovaries and uterus. We also know that acupuncture will stimulate nerve fibres, increasing endorphin concentrations in the brain. This in turn stimulates the pituitary, the gland which produces FSH and LH and controls the ovaries and testes. This means that hormone activity is influenced by acupuncture and therefore a couple’s chances of conception is improved.
For anyone who is considering acupuncture as a stand-alone therapy or to support medical fertility interventions, we have an ancient yet still relevant treatment that has been shown to help increase chances of success with achieving pregnancy.