About one in six couples in the US is struggling with infertility. Studies have shown that acupuncture can increase the chances of success of in vitro fertilization (IVF) by 50%. Here’s an interesting article from US News and World Report that talks about how treating infertility with acupuncture works.
“More doctors are open to referring patients to complementary medicine for their reproductive health as well as for their emotional well-being,” says Mimi Baker, a licensed acupuncturist in Princeton, New Jersey, who practices traditional Chinese medicine and works in conjunction with fertility experts.
Dr. Frederick L. Licciardi, a professor at the NYU Langone Fertility Center, where he directs the Fertility Wellness Program, says more women are seeking ancillary services while they pursue fertility treatments. The program offers acupuncture, yoga, psychological services, nutrition and mind-body classes.
“Women and couples face many pressures when they are undergoing fertility treatment. Anything we can do to promote their emotional well-being and make the process easier so they can continue with their treatment is beneficial,” says Licciardi, a reproductive endocrinologist and co-founder of the fertility center.
About 7.4 million women of childbearing age have used infertility services, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Assisted reproductive techniques include medication, artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, which involves the transfer of an embryo created in a laboratory dish to the uterus.
An ancient form of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture involves the painless placement of ultrathin needles into strategic points on the body to balance Qi (pronounced chee) – a form of “life energy” believed to flow throughout the body. A blocked Qi can lead to physical and emotional illness.
“Acupuncture helps to stimulate the body’s own healing mechanism,” says Baker, who is treating an increasing number of women in their mid-30s to early 40s.
Experts believe acupuncture can increase blood flow to the pelvic area (which could help with embryo implantation), regulate the menstrual cycle, trigger ovulation and reduce the side effects of medications associated with assisted reproductive technology. It also increases the release of endorphins, the body’s mood-enhancing hormone that reduces stress and relieves pain.
“A lot of good hormonal things happen when people are deeply relaxed,” says Steve Blumenthal, a licensed acupuncturist with the Green Hills Natural Health Clinic in Nashville, Tennessee, and a fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine. Women with fertility issues represent about 70 percent of his practice.
Treating infertility with acupuncture is one of our specialties at Inner Harmony Acupuncture. If you are struggling to have a child, please visit our website at www.myinnerharmony.com