~You must cultivate the soil before you plant the seed~
It is said in order to grow a healthy crop one must prepare the soil before planting. Such is the case with a pregnancy. It is critical that one focus on the health of their body and make changes that will prepare their body to create a strong and healthy pregnancy. Chinese Medicine is not a therapy that can be rushed. Using Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine we expect three months to make a significant change in the body. It has also been shown that it takes an ovarian follicle approximately 90 days to fully develop. During that time the follicle quality (and eventually egg quality) can be influenced by the environment of the body.
Therefore the ideal situation would be to prepare your body for approximately three months before trying to conceive or do a cycle. That should include looking into dietary and lifestyle changes to support the goal of pregnancy. In addition to acupuncture another very powerful modality is the use of Chinese Herbs, which are optional.
TCM describes the female reproductive system as a network of energy systems. Each energy system has complementary organs and hormonal responses. This network is sensitive to stress, chemicals, lack of exercise, poor diet and excess emotions all of which can put the body ‘out of balance’. A TCM practitioner will carefully determine the state of your imbalance(s) and prescribe an individualized program of herbs, acupuncture and diet to help you create the correct biological and emotional environment for increased success with fertility and pregnancy. Because Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture care is holistic – treating mind, body and spirit – it can often solve gynecological, obstetric and fertility challenges where other forms of medicine have little to offer.
Clinical trials have shown that Acupuncture treatment before and during IVF, and other fertility treatments, increases blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. In addition, Acupuncture appears to regulate fertility hormones which may contribute to follicle development and increased implantation.
Key points from recent studies of acupuncture for infertility:
- Acupuncture before IVF increases chances of conception by 65%
- A randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study showed that the pregnancy rates more than doubled (15.6% to 33.6%) for IVF/ICSI treatment when acupuncture was given.
- A randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study showed that miscarriage rates decreased (15.4% to 11.8%) for IVF/ICSI treatment when acupuncture was given.
- A randomized, prospective trial showed that a single session of acupuncture can increase the chances of pregnancy in infertile women.
- A randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study showed that implantation rates almost tripled (5.9% to 14.2%) for IVF/ICSI treatment when acupuncture was given.
- Using doppler ultrasonography, it was observed that acupuncture can lower arterial uterine blood flow impedance, a key to optimal endometrial receptivity.
- Clinical and experimental evidence shows that acupuncture has long-lasting benefits for women who suffer from polycystic ovaries syndrom (PCOS) andanovlulation.
- Acupuncture can benefit men who have abnormal sperm.
Stress Reduction with Acupuncture
Psychological stress can have a negative effect on couples facing fertility problems. Stress leads to the release of stress hormones and causes detrimental effects on mechanisms responsible for a normal ovulatory menstrual cycle.
The success of acupuncture for reducing stress and anxiety is due to its beta-endorphin releasing and sympathetic calming effects.
Stress causes the sympathetic nervous system to be over stimulated causing blood flow to be diverted away from the ovaries and uterus to the adrenals (stress coping gland). This can cause irregular cycles, lack of ovulation, and may lead to infertility.
Research has shown that the stress associated with fertility treatment can be at a level comparable to the stress associated with serious illness. Patients who seek emotional support early in treatment are often better prepared for their experiences and find it significantly less stressful than patients who do not.
Fertility Hormone Regulation with Acupuncture
Acupuncture has been known to control pain through stimulating the release of beta-endorphin. In addition, beta-endorphin works to influence the source of women’s ovulatory and fertility hormones (the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis) and control hormones that regulate a women’s ovulation and fertility that includes gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), follicle stimulating hormone (F.S.H.), luteinizing hormone (L.H.) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).
It is used as an analgesic in the body to numb or dull pains. That is the reason why humans start to feel better immediately after an acute physical trauma even though the symptoms are still present. The reason the pain dulls is because it binds to and activates opioid receptors.beta-endorphin has approximately 80 times the analgesic potency of morphine. Beta-endorphin is believed to have a number of other benefits, including:
Promotes feelings of well-being
Boosts the immune system
Slows the growth of cancer cells
Acupuncture improves sperm count, motility, and morphology
According to statistics from the National Infertility Association (an organization also known as RESOLVE), between 35% and 40% of infertility problems among couples are actually caused by male conditions. A recent trial published in Fertility and Sterility has shown just how effective acupuncture can be in the treatment of this condition, leading to significant increases in the number of normal sperm and equally significant reductions in structural defects.(www.acupuncturetoday.com/archives2005/oct/10infertility.html)
Acupuncture Decreases the Chance of Miscarriage
Acupuncture relaxes the uterus, increases blood flow to the uterus, warms the uterus, increases the immune system, regulates the hormones and decreases stress, all increasing the chance for a sustained pregnancy.