The treatment of infertility with acupuncture and Chinese medicine dates back 2,000 years. These time tested techniques improve fertility rates and support a woman’s whole body, unlocking unlimited potential for health, healing and childbearing. Whether you are looking for help with your western medical procedures like IVF or you want to conceive a child naturally, we are here to help.
For couples who are trying naturally, acupuncture can help:
· Regulate the menses – this enables a couple to better predict ovulation, and it ensures that the woman ovulates at the optimal time.
· Increase the blood flow to the uterus and increase the thickness of the endometrial lining – this allows for a more hospitable environment for implantation.
· Normalizes hormone and endocrine systems that regulate ovulation.
· Balances the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis.
· Help relieve stress – A study done at the University of California in San Diego showed that high levels of stress can impair a woman’s fertility by as much as 93%
We can help significantly increase your chances of conception if your infertility is due to:
Irregular and Anovulatory Menstrual Cycles
Luteal Phase Defect LPD
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease PID
Premature Ovarian Failure POF
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome PCOS
Poor Egg Quality
Thin and Unresponsive Endometrium
Advanced Maternal Age
If you have any questions about fertility, don’t hesitate to call. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Male factors account for approximately 40% of all fertility problems. One reason for this is that the average male sperm count has dropped significantly over the past few generations. For example, the average sperm count dropped 30% since 1980.
Semen volume has also dropped, reducing the total number of sperm by 50%. The number of men with low sperm counts has tripled, while the number with high sperm counts has decreased.
In a 2005 study published in Fertility and Sterility, acupuncture was shown to significantly improve several aspects of male fertility. The group that received acupuncture had a 50% improvement in sperm motility. The number and percentage of healthy sperm also increased dramatically in the acupuncture group, increasing more than four-fold after 10 sessions of acupuncture. In addition, significant changes in sperm structure and quality were seen in the acupuncture group, with an increase from 22.5% normal shapes to 38.5% normal shapes.
Since new sperm generally take 70 to 90 days to form, treatment for male fertility is usually recommended for a minimum of three months.
Acupuncture can help male infertility due to:
Low sperm count
Acupuncture with IVF & ART for Increased Fertility
Recent studies demonstrated that acupuncture before and after embryo transfer results in much higher pregnancy rates and lower miscarriage rates. A study done in Germany showed that the addition of two acupuncture treatments increased the success rate of IVF from 26% to 43%. (This was done with two standardized treatments done on the day of transfer. Some experts assert that a more thorough course of customized treatments could increase the chances of success by up to 60%).
This is incredibly exciting news for both first time IVF/ART patients and patients who have tried IVF/ART without success in the past.
Researchers have concluded that acupuncture:
· Increases blood flow to the uterus, thus thickening the uterine lining, which improves the chances of an ovum implanting on the uterine wall
· Increases progesterone levels in women receiving acupuncture and herbal treatments before ART treatments.
· Stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which increases blood flow (vasodilatation) and also allows the patient to become incredibly relaxed. During implantation sometimes the uterus “flutters” and has small contractions. It has been suggested that acupuncture allows for such deep relaxation that this no longer occurs.
· Normalizes hormone and endocrine systems that regulate ovulation.
· Balances the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis which plays a key role in fertility, especially with regard to enhancing the development and release of mature and healthy eggs.
Recommended Protocol of Treatment for IVF & ART Patients:
The beauty of Chinese Medicine is that it treats each patient individually, thus each patient’s protocol is tailored to their specific needs. In general, coming for regular treatments for two months before ART is recommended, especially if the patient has tried ART/IVF in the past without success. This allows the herbs and acupuncture to really take hold and bring about a strong mind and body for implantation and future pregnancy. A minimal protocol for acupuncture assisted IVF would be two treatments a week leading up to IVF, two treatments as close to or on the day of IVF, and two treatments a week after IVF until fetal heartbeat is detected.
It is ideal for acupuncture to be given as close to transfer as possible. If transfer is early in the morning we suggest acupuncture the night before and then again the morning after transfer.
Pregnancy is an exciting and wonderful time. However, with the many physical and hormonal changes that occur, it can also be a time of discomfort. Many pregnant women suffer from fatigue, nausea, backache and other conditions that are considered a “normal” part of pregnancy. Frequently women just “live with it” rather then face the unknown of a drug or treatment that may impact the health of her baby. Acupuncture is a safe, gentle and effective way to address these complaints, especially since many Western medications can’t be used during this time.
Some of the conditions that acupuncture can treat are:
·morning sickness, nausea, and hyperemesis gravidarum
·back pain and sciatica
·symphysis pubis pain
·carpal tunnel syndrome
·high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia)
·certain types of threatened miscarriage
Is Acupuncture Safe during Pregnancy?
Yes. Prenatal acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to help patients support a healthy pregnancy and uncomplicated delivery. An Australian study conducted by Adelaide University in 2002 found that acupuncture during pregnancy had no adverse effects and was completely safe when done by a trained acupuncturist. You may have heard that some acupuncture points are forbidden during pregnancy. This is true – certain points are to be avoided during pregnancy as they may stimulate uterine contractions. However, a practitioner trained in prenatal acupuncture will know which points can safely be used and which should be avoided. Also, all pregnant patients are seen regularly throughout their pregnancy by an OB/Gyn or midwife, which allows us to be well informed of any complications or health issues.
Are Chinese Herbs Safe during Pregnancy?
Many Chinese herbs are safe to use during pregnancy. In fact, some herbs are very beneficial, such as herbs used to prevent a threatened miscarriage or herbs used to calm uterine contractions during pre-term labor. Some herbs, however, are not safe during pregnancy. These herbs can initiate uterine contractions or may be toxic to the fetus. A practitioner trained in prenatal acupuncture will know which herbs are safe to use and which are to be avoided. The need for Chinese herbs during pregnancy is evaluated on an individual basis. Herbs are usually prescribed only when absolutely necessary.
General Treatment Plan for Pregnancy
Acupuncture during the first trimester focuses on setting the foundation for a healthy pregnancy. Treatments are given to prevent miscarriage and to address any early pregnancy symptoms, such as nausea and fatigue.
Acupuncture during the second trimester aims to maintain balance and offer relief from many of the common complaints of pregnancy. The recommended frequency of treatments for the second trimester is evaluated for each individual. Patients may come one or possibly two times per month if the pregnancy is uncomplicated and there are no complaints. If addressing a certain issue, patients may need to come more frequently.
Acupuncture during the third trimester prepares the body for labor and delivery. Treatment is given for breech presentation between weeks 32-36. Treatments for labor induction begin at week 40 if there are no complications with the pregnancy.
Studies show that women who receive regular acupuncture during the third trimester typically have shorter and more productive labor.
In China, the first few weeks after childbirth are called “chan ru.” Chan means childbirth, and Ru means mattress. In traditional Chinese culture, women were prescribed bed rest for one month after childbirth. Female relatives would take care of both the new mother and the baby, allowing the new mother to restore her strength and energy. Specific herbal prescriptions were given to help shrink the uterus, stop bleeding, encourage lactation, and return vitality. In today’s fast-paced society, few new mothers have the luxury of resting for a month after childbirth. Most women need to return to taking care of family or work before their bodies have had a chance to fully recover from the birth experience. This can lead to further health issues down the road, and is why acupuncture during the postpartum period is so important.
In addition to returning the body to a state of balance and optimal reproductive health, some of the postpartum conditions that acupuncture can treat are:
-postpartum depression and “baby blues”
-decreased energy and vitality