Acupuncture, an ancient practice that first emerged in China over 3,000 years ago and was introduced to Europe and the Americas between the 16th and 19th centuries, most certainly falls under the general heading of alternative or complementary medicine. Unlike many forms of alternative medicine, however, a surprising amount of science backs up proponents’ claims that it is effective.
Can Acupuncture Cure Infertility?
Research has demonstrated that acupuncture can, in many cases, successfully help patients with neck and back pain, osteoarthritis, migraine and tension headaches, and the symptoms associated with cancer treatment, for instance. The fact that acupuncture straddles the line between alternative and modern medicine offers the added benefit that insurance plans sometimes cover acupuncture treatments.
Can acupuncture cure infertility, which impacts around one in every eight couples who are trying to have a baby, with its strategic needle placements? The answer may surprise you.
How Can Infertility Acupuncture Help Couples Who Are Trying to Conceive?
The short answer to the question of whether acupuncture can cure infertility is — sometimes. An impressive amount of research has been devoted to determining exactly what types of fertility problems acupuncture can help address, and they include:
- Improving the chance that a woman will ovulate successfully during any given cycle. Polycystic ovary syndrome, obesity, excessive prolactin levels, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism are among the most common culprits to cause a lack of ovulation. Infertility acupuncture helps to restore the proper hormonal balance in women with these conditions, increasing the odds of a successful conception.
- Increasing IVF success rates. Research into the topic has concluded that the reason acupuncture can boost the chances of an IVF round that results in pregnancy is twofold. First, acupuncture can improve blood flow within the uterus, making it easier for an embryo to implant. Second, IVF is extremely stressful for those going through it, and the resulting stress hormones significantly decrease the chance of success. Acupuncture can be relaxing, with some studies even showing that this Traditional Chinese Medicine technique can cure depression. Finally, there is evidence to suggest that acupuncture can improve the functioning of the immune system, which is also crucial during IVF treatment.
- Although it is not clear how or why at this stage, research has also shown that acupuncture can help improve fertility in men with low sperm counts.
While acupuncture will not cure clear-cut physical causes of infertility, such as blocked fallopian tubes or vasectomies, the fact remains that it can help numerous couples realize their dreams of becoming parents.
What Are the Risks of Infertility Acupuncture?
Part of the beauty of acupuncture as a fertility treatment, or one component of your fertility treatment plan, is that there are very few risks of side effects so long as the acupuncture is administrated by a qualified and licensed professional. You are, however, not advised to continue undergoing acupuncture if you get pregnant, and it is also important to choose an acupuncturist who specializes in infertility for your treatment. That will be easy because numerous IVF clinics are now offering acupuncture on site.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
No. Acupuncture performed by licensed professionals is not painful, and many patients report experiencing the experience of an acupuncture session as extremely relaxing — akin to a thorough sports massage. You will lie down the entire time, and can let go of all your stress. However, it is important to note that many people feel fatigued and even a little lightheaded following an acupuncture session. It is, therefore, ideal to plan to take the rest of the day off if that is possible.
In conclusion, acupuncture has the scientifically proven ability to treat certain causes of infertility, helping couples get pregnant. To find out whether acupuncture is right for you, consult a fertility acupuncturist.
Southlake Natural Family Wellness
Our mission is to support the health and well-being of our patients by offering individualized, comprehensive holistic care including acupuncture, herbal recommendations, customized nutritional counseling, allergy elimination (NAET), whole food supplements, lifestyle suggestions, moxibustion, and cupping, as well as helping couples get pregnant and STAY pregnant by supporting all the paths to conception.
About Farrah Hamraie
Farrah Hamraie, L.Ac, MOM, Dipl.OM (NCCAOM), is licensed and board-certified in Acupuncture and Herbal medicine in the State of Texas with a Masters of Oriental Medicine from the Dallas College of Oriental Medicine. She is also a Diplomat of NCCAOM (the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine), a Board Certified Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, and a member of the American Association of Oriental Medicine.