Acupuncture for Fertility
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM) have many fertility and pregnancy benefits both for increasing the chances of getting pregnant and to ensure a healthy pregnancy. These are time-tested treatments and techniques that improve fertility rates and provide holistic health benefits that promote healing, health, and wellness.
There are many factors to consider for fertility–both natural pregnancies and IVF procedures–treatments and Shelby VanCleve and Common Ground Wellness are uniquely positioned to provide expert care and guidance in navigating these conditions and their treatments. As a Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (aborm.org), VanCleve is one of only two acupuncturists in Kentucky with such a role and has specialized training in the treatment of fertility issues and women’s health.
Acupuncture for Fertility
Along with the traditional benefits of acupuncture treatment, acupuncture is also beneficial for treating infertility. Coping with infertility issues can be a painful and stressful ordeal, both of which are directly detrimental to pregnancies and the success of IVF procedures. Acupuncture, however, is a powerful medicine that reduces anxiety and stress while promoting the body’s natural healing processes and activating its potential both for fertility and general wellness.
Because a direct byproduct of infertility is a substantial increase in stress and anxiety, the body also increases its production of hormones secreted in response. These specific hormones secreted in response have a negative effect on fertility by creating a hostile environment for positive fertility and conditions for other fertility treatments. By treating the anxiety and stress with acupuncture, the body instead regulates hormonal balances promoting a greater sense of ease and well-being, vital components for fertility and healthy pregnancies.
Improved Circulation and Egg Health
One of the primary physical benefits of acupuncture for fertility is the increase of blood flow and circulation in the body and, therefore, the uterus and ovaries. By increasing the circulation in these areas, acupuncture has direct benefits for fertility by increasing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the reproductive organs increasing egg quality and chances for successful fertilization. Increasing the blood flow to these areas also increases the flow of fluid nourishment to the ovarian follicles that support egg development.
Another benefit of this increased circulation from acupuncture is the effect this will have on the epigenetics of the egg; when treating a patient with acupuncture for fertility for three to six months, the improved circulation over such a period of time will yield better results in other fertility treatments and procedures. Lastly, the increased blood flow improves the health of the uterine wall and the chances of a successful implantation of an embryo.
Reduce Inflammation and Balance the Hormones
Another primary benefit of acupuncture for fertility is the reduction of inflammation and a balancing of the endocrine system. The body’s natural response to many of the illnesses and stresses of our daily lives includes an inflammatory response in the organs and muscles. This inflammation can lead to counterproductive environments in the body for conception and healthy pregnancies. Lastly, acupuncture helps to balance the endocrine system, the body’s natural mechanism for releasing and balancing hormones. Helping to balance these hormones will help to regulate ovulation (especially for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome) increasing the likelihood of conception.
Holistic Wellness Treatments
Common Ground Wellness also provides diet and lifestyle consultations to ensure that we are providing whole-body care to help with natural conception and IVF treatments. Nutrition is a cornerstone of Traditional Chinese Medicine and our nutritional and Chinese herb treatments will ensure a healthy lifestyle and wellness program that will support your fertility efforts. These holistic treatments supplement the acupuncture treatments in stress and anxiety reduction ensuring a calm, reassuring and drug-free process that support the healing, health, and wellness necessary for healthy conception and pregnancies.
Studies on Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for Fertility
- Reduced Infertility Stress: Acupuncture may be a useful intervention to assist with the reduction of infertility-related stress. At the end of the 8-week intervention, women in the acupuncture group reported significant changes on two domains on the Fertility Problem Inventory with less social concern and less relationship concern. There were also trends toward a reduction of infertility with improved self-efficacy and less anxiety than the women tested in the control groups. — Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2011 Oct;17(10):923-30. Epub 2011 Oct 6.
- Regulating fertility hormones: stress and other factors can disrupt the function of the hypothalamic pituitary-ovarian axis (HPOA), causing hormonal imbalances that can negatively impact fertility. Acupuncture has been shown to affect hormone levels by promoting the release of beta-endorphin in the brain, which affects the release of gonadotrophin releasing hormone by the hypothalamus, follicle stimulating hormone from the pituitary gland, and oestrogen and progesterone levels from the ovary (Ng EH, So WS, Gao J, Wong YY, Ho PC. The role of acupuncture in the management of subfertility. Fertil Steril. 2008 Jul;90(1):1-13., Huang ST, Chen AP. Traditional Chinese medicine and infertility. Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Jun;20(3):211-5.
- Increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs: stress also stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which causes constriction of ovarian arteries. Acupuncture inhibits this sympathetic activity, improving blood flow to the ovaries (Stener-Victorin E, Humaidan P. Use of acupuncture in female infertility and a summary of recent acupuncture studies related to embryo transfer. Acupunct Med. 2006 Dec;24(4):157-63., Lim CE, Wong WS. Current evidence of acupuncture on polycystic ovarian syndrome.Gynecol Endocrinol. 2010 Mar 16. [Epub ahead of print]), enhancing the environment in which ovarian follicles develop. It also increases blood flow to the uterus (Stener-Victorin E, Waldenström U, Andersson SA, Wikland M. Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture. Hum Reprod. 1996 Jun;11(6):1314-7., Huang ST, Chen AP.
Questions about the Benefits of Acupuncture Treatment for Fertility
If you still have questions about the benefits of acupuncture for fertility, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to schedule a consultation and discuss your individual needs and develop a treatment and wellness plan.