Good health is critical to a woman’s chances to conceive a child. As the World Health Organization has pointed out, health is not just the absence of disease and infirmity in the body, but also the optimization of well-being of your body, mind and spirit. Traditional Chinese medicine (or TCM) has long used a holistic approach to create this perfect health balance; an approach Western medicine has only focused on for a century or so.
While you don’t need to be in perfect health to conceive, imperfect health always makes it harder to conceive and can make it impossible. Over 2000 years ago, TCM’s health-improving benefits were being successfully applied to treat infertility. Using acupuncture, Qi (pronounced chee) energy can be unblocked and allowed to flow freely throughout your body. This energy balance perfects your health, keeping your body safe from illness, pain and disease while healing your mind and spirit.
Every woman wants to bring her best self— her "Joie De Vivre,” so she can give it to the next generation. A trained acupuncturist can restore and maintain the free flow of Qi and blood necessary to sustain a normal menstrual cycle, allow the implantation of an embryo in the uterine lining, and ensure the support of a growing fetus.
How TCM Treatments Work
A professional acupuncturist designs a plan tailored to your unique needs, including a course of acupuncture to balance your Qi. At the same time, your practitioner will work with you to optimize fertility through gentle lifestyle alterations like diet, stress reduction, exercise and sleep improvement. The goal is to maximize your personal energy.
Often, TCM to treat infertility is used in conjunction with IUI and IVF treatments. Studies have indicated TCM significantly increases rates of conception, from 36% using IVF alone to 51% when using IVF in conjunction with acupuncture before and after treatment.
It is believed TCM treatments do this by:
- Regulating hormones
- Lowering elevated FSH levels
- Increasing ovarian function and egg quality
- Reducing hormone treatment side effects
- Increasing endometrial blood flow, which prepares the uterine lining for successful embryo implantation.
It also helps relax the uterus, improving the overall health of your reproductive system and normalizing your menstrual cycle. In a nice side effect, this normalization reduces the pain and discomfort of menstruation.
Scheduling Acupuncture for Fertility
For optimal effectiveness, you should have an acupuncture treatment at least:
- One or two weeks before any assisted reproductive technique to help develop healthy eggs
- One or two weeks AFTER any assistant reproductive technique to promote healthy implantation
- During your first trimester to ensure healthy development and prevent miscarriage
- During the third trimester to prepare for an easier labor and childbirth
These times target your most vulnerable times, ensuring your body is at its peak energy when it needs to be.
Patient Participation Helps
Acupuncture is not something that’s done to you; it is, rather, a team effort between you and your acupuncturist. She is able to target the places where your Qi needs some help, but your active engagement in recommended lifestyle changes and open communication maximizes the treatment’s effectiveness.
While good health in prospective mothers is key to the success of fertility treatments, men can also benefit from acupuncture treatments. Up to 40% of couples in the United States are affected by male infertility. A course of acupuncture and other TCM treatments can reduce a prospective father’s stress and increase his fertility. Over time, acupuncture and herbal therapy together can improve a man’s sperm quality, quantity and health, giving you an even stronger chance of conceiving.
Earley Wellness Group has fertility specialists and would be happy to speak to you about your specific situation. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can see results, so make an appointment today.