Acupuncture and fertility
Unfortunately, infertility is on the rise and modern day living may be contributing to this. With many couples facing constant stress from work, finances or other obstacles in life, health is usually compromised. Often sleeping patterns alter, dietary and lifestyle choices are affected and stimulants are consumed in order to enhance work productivity.
Although used for thousands of years, Acupuncture is relatively new to western society. Recent years has seen an explosion of interest among westerners to address their health concerns through acupuncture. This has led to more interest amongst health care providers and researchers hence providing information of its effectiveness for various health concerns.
How does acupuncture work?
Fine sterile needles are used to stimulate specific acu-points on the body’s surface. These acu-points are located on meridians that innervate certain organ systems, such as The Reproductive System.
When the needles stimulate these acu-points, the energy (Qi – pronounced Chi) and blood located at the acu-points are stimulated to start circulating throughout the body into these organs systems improving efficiency. By doing this poor health is able to be rectified.
How can acupuncture improve fertility?
With regards to fertility, acupuncture aims to regulate the following:
- Regulates the menstrual cycle via correcting any hormonal imbalances
- Enhances follicular development in order to improve egg quality
- Thickens the lining so when fertilisation of an egg has occurred the uterus is ready to assist in implantation of the embryo
- Helps to regulate the effects of stress on the body – stress can effect the regulation of ovulation and menstruation, therefore is detrimental to conception
- It’s also very important to improve the general health of a woman as possible inflammation caused by other illnesses can also contribute to infertility
- In relation to IVF, modern day research has found acupuncture improves success of fertility by 40 – 60 per cent when administered before and after embryo transfer.
- Sperm quality can be enhanced by improving sperm count, motility and abnormality – many factors can contribute to poor quality sperm. Acupuncture addresses these health concerns and assists with improving general health leading to improved sperm quality.
- Stress is also dealt with in men as this too can negatively affect sperm which may promote infertility in men.
It is important to understand that while participating in a treatment regimen of acupuncture, dietary and lifestyle choices are effectively addressed to enhance results gained from the acupuncture.
Do both partners need acupuncture?
It is best that both you and your husband attend the first consultation. This allows specific concerns to be discussed with your acupuncturist to determine the most effective strategy to improve your chances of success. Acupuncture has been found to improve sperm quality momentarily for 3 days so some men opt to have acupuncture around the time of their partner’s ovulation.
It must be remembered that it takes two to conceive a baby therefore the health of both parents is paramount to success.
How long before you can conceive?
The answer to this question is determined by variations that exist among each person. Age, current health status, dietary and lifestyle choices all contribute to the duration of treatment and the number of treatment cycles required. Generally, one cycle of treatment is 12 acupuncture sessions.
Accurate information can be provided by your acupuncturist after 4 – 5 sessions as this allows enough time for your body to demonstrate how it responds to the treatment. Your acupuncturist will be able to discuss this at length based on individual circumstances.
Is acupuncture safe and are the needles re-used?
Acupuncture needles are sterile surgical stainless steel and are sold as single use needles. This means acupuncturists must safely discard the needles after use into a sharps container. In addition, acupuncturists are educated on anatomy as well as techniques on maximising the effects achieved through acupuncture. It is important to discuss such concerns when scheduling an appointment so that you feel comfortable with the practitioner’s qualifications and skill.
More information: Find a qualified acupuncturist at www.acupuncture.org.au.
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