Are you wanting to start a family but struggling to conceive a baby? There are a lot of things you can try that may help to improve your fertility, including taking herbs and supplements, adding more fertility-boosting foods to your diet, maintaining a healthy weight, cutting down on alcohol, quitting smoking and much more. However, one strategy to improve fertility that you might not have considered is acupuncture.
Acupuncture is one of the most well-known alternative therapies and it is thought to help improve fertility. It is a treatment that stems from Traditional Chinese Medicine which dates back 3,000 years. A series of very fine needles is inserted into key points around your body in order to correct an imbalance of “qi” (pronounced “chi”), which is the energy that flows around your body.
When the qi is flowing well around your body, you feel happy, healthy and energised. When the flow of qi is disrupted, this is when pain and disease can result. The flow can be disrupted by habits, poor health or other circumstances.
According to the theory, there are 500 different acupuncture points around the body and when you stimulate those with tiny needles you will encourage the energy to flow through those points. Acupuncture is a popular treatment and it is used to help with many different conditions, including nausea, back pain, anxiety and acne. The needles are so fine that when they are inserted into you it doesn’t even hurt. Also, acupuncture treatment produces few to no side effects.
It is important to note that you should avoid having acupuncture treatment if you are already pregnant. There is an increased danger of miscarriage if the therapist uses an incorrect point. However, this should not happen with an experienced professional. There are 6 specific acupuncture points that need to be avoided if you are pregnant or it is suspected that you are pregnant (fact: these points are sometimes known as the ‘abortion’ points)1.
Acupuncture and Fertility
So, how can this ancient Chinese treatment help you with fertility? An acupuncturist will be able to rebalance the flow of energy around your body, which will help to prime your system for fertility.
Acupuncture is thought to have several benefits for female fertility. It will help to regulate your hormone function and it will increase blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, as well as relaxing your pelvic muscles which will improve the chance of the embryo implanting. The acupuncture therapy will also stimulate the hypothalamus to effectively balance the endocrine system and all of its hormones.
Also, acupuncture can help to treat PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), which is a common cause of infertility. It is also a great way to relieve stress and it will leave you feeling much more relaxed, which is beneficial because stress has a very negative effect on fertility. Acupuncture can also help by assisting with problems such as an under or over functioning thyroid, which will affect fertility.
Acupuncture has also been found to be successful in treating any type of fertility disorder that involves spasmed tubes. The spasmed tubes can often be de-spasmed with acupuncture, although acupuncture is not successful in treating blocked tubes. Other fertility issues that can be treated with acupuncture include elevated follicle stimulating hormone, unexplained infertility, repeated pregnancy loss, luteal phase defect, hyperprolactinema and much more.
Acupuncture is also thought to be beneficial for male fertility as well. According to the British Acupuncture Council there has been evidence that reveals that acupuncture increases sperm motility as well as increasing the levels of the male sex hormone and lowering the temperature of the scrotum. This helps to create a better environment for keeping the sperm healthy.
Acupuncture has become such a popular treatment for those who are suffering from infertility that some IVF clinics have acupuncturists that are working within their clinics. Some doctors are sceptical about whether or not it is helpful for fertility. However, many doctor agree that it stimulates nerve and muscle tissue and helps you to relax, which is very important for boosting fertility2.
Tips for Trying Acupuncture
If you are considering trying acupuncture as a way to improve your fertility, here are some tips that you should keep in mind:
- Speak to your doctor first to find out if this is the right treatment for you. They will help you to weigh your options and consider if acupuncture will be worth your time and money. If you have a condition that is causing your infertility, such as endometriosis, you might be better off focusing on treating the condition.
- Do lots of research to make sure that you have found an acupuncturist with excellent references and up to date certifications.
- Keep in mind that many acupuncture certifications expire after 2-4 years, so make sure that your practitioner has up to date training.
- Find out what your acupuncture practitioner needs you to do for the treatment. For example, they might require you to check your cervical mucus or take your basal body temperature every morning. They might also encourage you to change your diet and take some herbs or supplements.
- If you take multiple acupuncture treatments, consider asking whether or not you can get a discount for booking a large amount of appointments.
- Make sure that you find an acupuncturist who specialises in treating fertility disorders so that they will be attuned to this specific goal and will have a better chance of success.
- If you have any questions about the treatment, don’t be afraid to ask your acupuncture practitioner. They will be happy to answer your questions and ensure that you understand the treatment.
Acupuncture has been an important part of Chinese traditional medicine for many centuries and this ancient art is thought to have a number of beneficial effects on the human body. If you are struggling to conceive and are looking for ways to improve your fertility, you might want to consider giving acupuncture a try. It is said that acupuncture can even help prevent miscarriage if done by a professional and certified acupuncturist. To find out more about this treatment and whether it is right for you, consult your doctor or gynaecologist first.