Fertility and acupuncture

needles

Acupuncture may be helpful to couples undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF), but research is still unclear as to whether or not it helps with infertility in general. Acupuncture is based on a theory that energy or qi flows through the body along specific pathways. Acupuncturists try to balance this flow and restore health by stimulating certain points along the path with very thin needles. While acupuncture has been popular for over 5,000 years, western cultures have been slow to recognize its healthful benefits and has only gained acceptance in the American medical community in the last couple of decades.

Effective with IVF

The first favorable medical research report on acupuncture and its effect on fertility came in 2002 from a team of German scientists. They found that acupuncture significantly increased the odds of pregnancy among a group of 160 women undergoing IVF. Of the women who received acupuncture, 42% became pregnant compared to the 26% of women who did not take acupuncture. Researchers speculated that acupuncture increased blood flow to reproductive organs and help relax relevant muscles thus giving embryos a better chance to implant and thrive.

Helps to reduce stress

Acupuncture is known to reduce stress. Since stress can interfere with a regular cycle and cause hormonal imbalance, it may affect fertility. Reducing stress through acupuncture may help with conception. Ironically, trying to conceive can become stressful so even women who don’t feel ordinarily vulnerable to stress could experience it for the first time while trying to get pregnant. Acupuncture can help them.

Not just for women

A few studies have indicated that regular acupuncture treatments may improve sperm count and motility. The research does not indicate that it helps with quantity however. If you are experiencing infertility and are unclear about the cause, it makes sense for the men and women to try acupuncture.

The first step for infertility treatment is to talk to your doctor. Discuss acupuncture as a first step. Because of it relatively low cost and low intervention, it may be all you need before more invasive steps are taken.

Source: Baby Center


 
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