Pregnancy Vivian | 25 Jan 2011 07:39 pm

Acupuncture and Fertility Success Conceiving Naturally

Before you decide to use fertility drugs or assisted reproductive technologies, consider using acupuncture instead. Although it is not as popular as conventional fertility treatments, this approach has been gaining attention as more studies outline the relationship between acupuncture and fertility. What makes acupuncture different from medical treatments is that it is centered on the individual. Each individual faces unique difficulties conceiving, and no two women or two men face the exact same fertility issues. Acupuncture’s highly individualized holistic approach targets each symptom to increase your chances of getting pregnant naturally.

How acupuncture works

Acupuncture is a component of traditional Chinese medicine. The procedure involves the painless insertion of tiny needles into specific pressure points located in various parts of the body. Acupuncture improves fertility by restoring the balance in the body’s qi, or life energy, through the removal of blockages in the 12 main meridians (pathways) of the body. Think of meridians as blood vessels or arteries that carry blood, except they carry qi. A person is said to be healthy when the 12 meridians contain balanced amounts of smooth-flowing qi. However, blocked qi can cause chronic health problems or conditions like infertility.

Is there any wonder that the most infertile people tend to have stressful jobs, erratic diets, moderate to heavy coffee and alcohol consumption as well as late bedtimes? All of these habits affect the qi in the liver, spleen, and kidney meridians. Although our knowledge of the reproductive system does not include these organs, these three meridians are actually central to fertility. Using acupuncture, diet, and Chinese herbs can overcome the effects of stressful lifestyles and poor diets on infertility.

Acupuncture for female fertility

Many studies on acupuncture focus on its effects on female fertility. Acupuncture is known to increase and regulate the blood supply to the ovaries and uterus, which promotes regular ovulation. If a hormonal imbalance is the problem, acupuncture can treat this by stimulating the pituitary-hypothalamic-ovarian axis. This corrects infertility issues like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, high levels of follicle stimulating hormone, luteal phase defect, amenorrhea, and anovulation.

Before you begin your acupuncture treatment, it’s important that you provide your acupuncturist with information on your menstrual cycle and the symptoms you experience. Acupuncture treatments are timed according to the phases of your cycle, and your chance for a successful treatment increases if you can predict your ovulation or the start of your luteal phase. It takes approximately 120 days for an egg to mature before the ovary releases it during a cycle. This means that it may take up to six months of regular acupuncture treatments before your fertility improves.

Acupuncture for male fertility

Acupuncture can improve male fertility in just two or three months of regular sessions – the length of time it takes for a batch of new sperm to form. A recent study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility shows just how effective this procedure is for male factor infertility. Twenty eight men with unexplained infertility took acupuncture treatments twice a week for five weeks. After a three day period of abstinence, two semen samples were collected from the participant – one before regular treatments began, another after the last acupuncture session. These samples were then compared to 12 other samples from an untreated control group. The researchers discovered that those in the acupuncture group had 50% improved sperm motility, higher numbers of healthy sperm, and 38% improved sperm morphology (shape). Although it cannot treat all sperm abnormalities, the authors conclude that acupuncture can improve male fertility related to poor sperm quality and production.

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