What is Acupuncture for fertility?
Acupuncture is a very old art of healing, which has been given renewed attention taking into consideration recent scientific research and its combination with modern medical practice in the treatment of a wide range of diseases, including Infertility.
In Latin, Acus means needle or point and puncture means to prick. It is also often seen as a complementary therapy to modern fertility treatments.
How does Electro acupuncture for fertility work?
Does acupuncture for fertility hurt?
If you’ve never had acupuncture this is an obvious question to ask.
However in Acuslim wellness clinic, acupuncture needles are extremely fine hair like silver needles and usually you will just feel a sensation like a mosquito bite as the needle is inserted.
The sensation does vary depending on where the needles are inserted but very few people say acupuncture hurts and it’s described as a sweet pain.
They are usually more concerned about whether acupuncture will work for them and whether the needles are clean (acupuncture needles are single-use disposables).
The current which is used is 9 volts, which is absolutely harmless.
How is the acupuncture treatment given?
Initially the acupuncturist will spend up to 30 minutes asking about:
Your complaint, such as how long you’ve had the problem,
- Current symptoms
- Health history
- Sleeping habits
- Bowel movements and other information that may seem irrelevant to you.
- Usually from 4-12 acupuncture points are selected.
Most common points are:
- Below elbows
- Legs below your knees
- Either side of your spine from neck to sacrum.
- Each point is swabbed with alcohol before the needle is inserted.
The acupuncturist may ask you to report any sensations of tingling or warmth around the site of the needles. These sensations indicate that the point has been correctly located.
Generally, the needles are left in place for about 20 minutes, but painful conditions may need longer treatment time.
A common acupuncture benefit is that it’s usually very relaxing – all you have to do is lie still and it’s quite common for people to fall asleep during their treatment.
How often will I need acupuncture for fertility?
Course of acupuncture for fertility ,10 to 15 sessions before fertility treatments, then another 10 sessions course along with fertility stimulations, and so on until the problem is cured.
This kind of treatment schedule is usually not convenient or practical for Western people though. Usually Western acupuncturists advise 1-3 treatments a week, which is still usually effective but overall treatment time is longer.
Generally total 20 sessions are advised in Acuslim wellness Clinic before the fertility treatment and continued along with it.
Acupuncture increases chance of pregnancy by 45 %, also one modified protocol is done before and after’ Embryo Transfer’ , on the same day of procedure.
Overall treatment time is dependent on many factors :
- Nature and severity of your complaint, how long you’ve had it
- General health
- How much you are willing to do to assist the healing process.
Also as TCM views each of us as a unique individual, people with the same complaint will most likely receive entirely different treatment and will respond to it differently.
Your acupuncturist will best be able to tell you how many treatments you need after he/she has diagnosed your particular problem according to TCM principles.
How much does the treatment cost?
The treatment is non-expensive and can be taken as an adjunction to the medical treatment.
Are the needles used in acupuncture for fertility sterilized?
The most common practice among acupuncturists in the U. S. today is to disposable, individually packaged, stainless steel needles.
Needles are not saved and reused for other treatments. This eliminates all risk of contamination.
In Acuslim wellness clinic, we are using fine disposable silver needles which are autoclaved after every use of electroacupuncture.
What is the depth of needle insertion?
- Depending upon:
- Specific health condition
- Acupuncture point location
- Patient’s size, age, constitution
- Acupuncturist’s methodology
The needles are typically inserted about a quarter of an inch but could be as deep as one inch.
Does it bleed after inserting needles?
You may notice a small drop of blood at one or more of the needle sites and a small bruise could develop. These should not be harmful, but please talk to your acupuncturist if you are concerned.
What is the role of acupuncture in Infertility?
Acupuncture treatment can be an effective means to aid conception (pregnancy) in many cases of infertility-
Female factors –
- Ovulation problems – problems of egg releasing from ovary
- Poor ovarian reserve – presence of few eggs in the ovary
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) – hormonal condition where male hormone increases in female
- Poor egg quality – egg formed is not of good quality
- Chronic miscarriage – repeated miscarriage
- Endometriosis – presence and growth of the tissue lining the uterus in places other than the uterus, e.g., in ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestine
- Irregular periods
- Amenorrhea – stopping of periods
- Luteal phase defects – hormonal problem where there is lack of hormone called progesterone
- Thin endometrium – thin inner lining of uterus
- Unexplained infertility – where cause of infertility is not known
Male factors –
Cause of infertility lies in male partner
Role of acupuncture in Male Infertility
In cases of Male factor Infertility, acupuncture can improve sperm quality which will dramatically improve the chance of a natural pregnancy or increasing the success rate with intrauterine insemination (IUI) or In-vitro fertilization (IVF) by improving the quality of the fertilized egg (embryo) and decreasing the chance of miscarriage.
What is the role of acupuncture in treating gynaecological problems?
Acupuncture has proved to be successful in treating many gynecological disorders that accompany or contribute to Infertility like;
- Irregular menstruation – not having regular periods
- Metrorrhagia (bleeding not related to menses at irregular intervals) due to anovulation (egg not released from uterus)
- Unexplained Infertility
Acupuncture has the following potential fertility boosting benefits:
- Increase blood flow to uterus to promote attachment of fertilized egg to inner lining of uterus (implantation of the embryo)
- Increases endorphin production, which in turn promotes the release of hormones like GnRh which are important to regulate reproduction
- Lower stress hormones responsible for infertility
- Causes the levels of fertility hormones like FSH, LH, E2, and progesterone to reach normal levels which thickens the uterine lining
- Normalizes the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis (the hormone path is required to be functioning normally for pregnancy to occur) to produce more follicles (eggs).
- Helps in treatment of PCOS.
- For males, to improve sperm quality
- Improve the quality of an embryo and decreasing a chance of miscarriage
As patients receive a series of acupuncture treatments, many of them experience enhanced feelings of well-being such as more restful sleep, better digestion, decreased anxiety, increase of energy, etc. These physical and emotional shifts can only positively influence the chance of conceiving regardless of whether one is trying naturally or undergoing medical reproductive treatment.
Scientific data: A recent study published in Fertility and Sterility found that using acupuncture with IVF achieved a 42% clinical pregnancy rate when compared to 26 % in the control group that didn’t receive Acupuncture.
- When acupuncture was done before (3 months prior to cycle) in women, it improved the egg quality and regulated hormones
- When acupuncture was done before (3 months prior to cycle) in men, improves semen quality and quantity
- When acupuncture was done during the fertility treatment it increased the number of follicles and improved the quality of the uterine environment by relaxing uterine muscles and thickening uterine lining
- When acupuncture was done after pregnancy was established it prevented miscarriage and minimized symptoms of pregnancy
What is the period of the treatment in female partner ?
Most of the patients need minimum of 3 months of time, but regularity is important to heal a particular segment of the four – phase menstrual cycle which are:-
- Menstruation – when period occur
- Follicular phase – eggs are formed
- Ovulation – egg is released
- Luteal phase – hormone progesterone is released
A minimum of three consecutive cycles (12 treatments) begins to regulate a women’s system regardless of her age.
If using acupuncture with Assisted Reproductive technique (ART), the treatment period will vary depending on the success of the procedure. If the procedure is unsuccessful, most continue Acupuncture, for as long as they want to try to conceive.
Because of the collective healing effect of acupuncture and its ability to increase one’s fertility quotient, most of patients continue taking sittings of acupuncture.
Of all the available treatments for infertility, acupuncture isn’t one that people usually think of first. But as you’ll see here, it’s actually one of the safest and most effective treatments for infertility known to modern science.
What is the period of the treatment in male partner ?
Acupuncture can improve semen abnormalities in concentration, motility and /or morphology. If the only reason a couple can’t conceive is due to male factor infertility, then acupuncture should be considered as a primary approach.
Males should start the treatment two months prior to the fertility treatment and throughout the treatment to achieve better results. Many conditions can be alleviated very rapidly with acupuncture. Acute problems responds much faster as in any form of medical care, the patient’s attitude, diet, determination, and lifestyle will affect the outcome and course of treatment.
Are there any other complimentary actions of Acupuncture?
- Various factors which block the flow of energy like cold, cloudy weather; trauma can be removed with needling to enable the Qi & blood to flow smoothly.
- It maintains balance between Yin & Yang –
(Imbalance between Yin & Yang causes disease). The theory of Yin-Yang was used for observing and analysing the material world in ancient China. The term Yin-Yang first appeared in the book, “Book of changes” states that “Yin and Yang reflect all the forms and characteristics existing in the universe.” The ancient Chinese people found that all the aspects in nature
have something opposite to them, for example, day and night, hot and cold, brightness and dimness, etc. The term Yin-Yang are applied to express these dual and opposite qualities. “Water and fire are symbols of Yin-Yang.”
- It enhances body resistance– (Du 14 is the best resistance increasing point)
- Maintenance of homeostasis– (inner environment of the body – Li 11 is the best homeostatic point)
- Tonification– Acupuncture can be used as a tonic- (Ren 6 is the best tonic point)
- Sedation and Tranquility– it has effects to calm down in hyperactive personality
- Analgesic point– can cause a local analgesic (pain relieving) effect.
- Motor recovery– useful in paralytic diseases.
In Acupuncture, in addition to correct diagnosis, selection of proper points, accurate location, required depth of needle, proper type of stimulation are also equally important, thereby making acupuncture a highly skilled art.
Acupuncture is the safest, simplest and the most economical and very effective system of medicine.
Auricular acupuncture is, quite simply, acupuncture done on the ear. It has become a very important branch of traditional acupuncture practice and has been used to treat a wide range of health conditions successfully.
It is based on the theory that the outer ear is a holographic system which reflects the entire human body in an inverted fetus form. It is a type of acupuncture that involves sticking needles at specific points in the outer ear in order to manage certain physical, mental or emotional conditions. It’s believed that there are over 200 acupuncture points on the outer ear, with each named after a particular area of the human anatomy. By stimulating these points, called acupoints for short, the acupuncture needle sends electrical impulse messages to the brain, which are then thought to excite other areas of the body. It was observed that stimulating the ear acupuncture points alone was enough to help patients relax and can help overcome general anxiety disorders and minor depression.
Auricular acupuncture can relieve pain in the joints and muscles, stimulate the organs and the brain itself, and achieve a number of other therapeutic effects for the patient. The outer ear is thought to be a particularly rich source of these points, which may explain the need for specialization in auricular acupuncture.
Does Acupuncture reverse Ageing process which affects Infertility?
There is correlation between Aging and fertility.there are two types of Aging:
Biological and Chronological.While everyone ages at the same speed chronologically, biological aging depends on every individual lifestyle.That is the reason why every woman goes in menopause at her different age of life.
It is not possible to stop chronological aging, however, we can definitely influence the progress of biological aging. Abusive lifestyle factors such as poor diet, smoking, stress, and insufficient sleep all accelerate the cell oxidation and the biological aging process. Practicing a healthy lifestyle in addition to regular acupuncture treatments will have a positive impact in slowing down the aging process.
Does acupuncture correct hormonal imbalance?
Regular acupuncture treatments can be very helpful in regulating hormonal imbalances, although it should be noted that acupuncture does not directly alter the female hormones. Rather, acupuncture is considered to influence the hormonal regulation centers in the brain and autonomic nervous system as a result, improvement in hormonal status can occur over time.
During acupuncture for fertility treatments, the blood flow to the reproductive organs increases and ovarian function improves greatly leading to healthy ovulation and conception.
Benefits Of Fertility Acupuncture:
- Regulating the menstrual cycle
- Thickening the endometrial lining
- Enhancing cervical mucus
- Encouraging ovulation
- Reducing stress level
- Enhancing libido
- Preventing miscarriages
- Strengthening of the immune system
- Decreasing elevated levels of FSH
- Improving mobility, quality and quantity of sperm
- Correction of hormonal imbalance
Practicing a healthy lifestyle in addition to regular acupuncture treatments can have a positive impact on slowing down the natural aging process and keep your eggs healthy.
Acupuncture influences the hormonal regulation centres in the brain, the autonomic nervous system, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis.
This is done over a period of months and with regular treatments. Acupuncture can help decrease high levels of FSH, which is related to the number of quality eggs a woman produces.
High FSH is connected with poor quality of eggs. This value can fluctuate and can be brought down to acceptable levels when too high in order to help a woman who has to undergo IVf treatments.
Protocols for acupuncture treatments
Acupuncture treatments should be done on a regular basis throughout your cycle. You can expect a limited effect by receiving acupuncture only around ovulation time.
It is best to receive acupuncture through out the entire menstrual cycle to obtain the most benefit.