When it comes to assisted reproductive technology (ART) doctors and researchers strive to come up with new, innovative and successful techniques to support treatment such as IVF. The goal is to improve your chances for a positive outcome and help you achieve your dream of growing your family.
Modern medicine is chock-full of treatments for conditions such as endometriosis, PCOS, diminished ovarian reserve and other conditions that complicate fertility. But there is one ancient healing technique that is a long way from 2022 ART that, when paired with modern medicine, shows amazing results. That treatment is the ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture.
Acupuncture has long been celebrated as a practice to relieve stress, treat pain, end migraines, relieve insomnia, anxiety and depression as well as assist in infertility. According to a 2018 study by the NIH, acupuncture helps improve sperm quality and ovarian function, balances hormones and the endocrine system. This is good news for both men and women dealing with compromised fertility.
What Exactly is Acupuncture?
When most people think of acupuncture, they think needles and may be a bit hesitant to pursue it. However, the majority of patients who undergo acupuncture say they didn’t feel anything painful or off-putting. The needles are disposable, mitigating the risk for infection. The real “magic” of acupuncture is how this seemingly simple art of inserting needles into the skin diminishes pain and treats so many conditions.
Considered an alternative medical treatment acupuncture has roots in Traditional Chinese medicine. The history of acupuncture for medicinal care dates back close to 4,000 years. The practitioner inserts the needles at precise “acu-points” throughout your body to improve your body’s functions and facilitate self-healing.
In Traditional Chinese medicine energy called “qi” (pronounced chee) flows along specific pathways in the body. Blocked qi from illness, stress or sleep deprivation, for instance, creates an imbalance in your body’s ability to function as it should. Acupuncture therapy releases your blocked qi and restores balance to your body. The restored energy balance promotes healing and reignites function. Modern medicine supports the success of acupuncture on many of the body’s systems.
How Acupuncture Aids in Fertility
Acupuncture helps in fertility treatment by restoring balance and function to the endocrine system (thyroid conditions) and balancing hormones. There are studies showing acupuncture aids in treatment for a variety of conditions that impact fertility such as PCOS, diminished ovarian reserve, fibroids, endometriosis, and low sperm quality.
When you undergo treatment for infertility, some of the medication comes with side effects that aren’t exactly pleasant. Acupuncture helps relieve these side effects like mood swings, nausea and bloating.
Infertility in and of itself is stressful but when you go through treatment such as IVF you have the added stress of medication, injections, scheduled office visits, procedures and the hope that treatment is successful. And like a vicious circle, the stress you experience causes a physiological response that can interfere with treatment. Acupuncture is highly successful in reducing your stress response and also promoting relaxation. Many fertility specialists recommend acupuncture to their patients for that reason.
What to Expect at An Acupuncture Treatment
At your first treatment your acupuncturist asks you about your health and lifestyle. You’ll discuss your diet, exercise habits, sleep habits, stress level and any concerns you have. Depending on your needs they may perform additional physical assessments. They then advise you of your treatment plan. Each session lasts about 30 minutes and the recommended visits vary but typically expect to undergo 1-3 sessions per week.
At your session you will lay comfortably on a treatment bed/table and your acupuncturist will stimulate precise pints on your body by inserting a very thin needle. The needles will stay inserted anywhere from five to 30 minutes. You may feel a slight prick but nothing painful. Within a few minutes of insertion of the needles, a warm and relaxing feeling will take over. Most individuals who experience acupuncture compare it to a deep tissue massage.
Acupuncture for Success with ART
When used along with ART acupuncture is very effective in supporting a successful outcome for IVF and other fertility treatments. Of course you should never engage in any additional treatment without your fertility physician’s consent. You are a team and you are both dedicated to the same thing; a successful pregnancy.
For more information on how the ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture complements modern ART procedures contact LA IVF. We offer various methods to ensure a safe and healthy experience as we partner with you to realize your dream of growing your family.