Stick To The Stats: Acupuncture & Ancient Chinese Medicine Herbs
Centuries old medical miracle that can cure anything from high blood pressure to allergies? Um, yes, please. And yes again. I've seen it treat lupus. I've seen it treat chronic migraines. I've seen it treat depression and anxiety...And if you're TTC this may be some extra poking to add to your regime as well.
Does Acupuncture Treat Infertility?
Acupuncture combined with ancient Chinese medicinal herbs has been used to treat infertility for hundreds of years. The stats supporting this stick it to man (literally). Research has shown that IVF patients undergoing the ancient Chinese treatment increase their chances of pregnancy from 1 in 5 to 1 in 3.*
In 2002 Fertility and Sterility published a study that showed a 42.5% higher pregnancy rate for IVF patients undergoing acupuncture therapy.** Since then acupuncture therapy for infertility patients has become widespread and publicized as a treatment to improve ovulation, increase ovarian blood flow, modulating neuroendocrine and endocrine systems, and regulating metabolism.*** A 2011 article in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine pronounced the benefits of acupuncture to the infertile male, although more research needs to be done on this exact mechanism.
Phenomenal also is the stress decreasing benefits from these treatments, a fact which should convert any fertility-focused individual.* TTC dudes, women trying naturally, women who are pregnant, and new parents can all benefit.
At The Bird & The Bee, we're lucky enough to have our co-founder Jeiran as our Eastern Medicine resident Doctor and advisor. To see her recommendations for fertility-bosting herbs to incorporate into your therapy, reference here.
Consider starting acupuncture therapy 3-4 months before progressing to insemination, or if trying naturally, start anytime to get your body balanced for conception. Make sure to choose an acupuncturist who specializes in treating fertility disorders. Acupuncturists should not place needles in certain points after insemination or transfer, and additional areas are to be avoided in pregnancy.***
THE NITTY GRITTY
*Manheimer, Eric, et al. "Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis." Bmj 336.7643 (2008): 545-549.
**Paulus, Wolfgang E., et al. "Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy." Fertility and sterility 77.4 (2002): 721-724.
(No conflicts of interest stated in the above sources)
Photo Credit: Ilona Szwarc for The New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/20/magazine/letter-of-recommendation-acupuncture.html?_r=0