Written by Eduardo Velasco Valido, AP, LAc, EAMP
Chinese medical acupuncture has been treating ailments for thousands of years. However, due to the recent volume of scientifically supportive research, these eastern treatment methods are gaining immense popularity in modern times! One area of treatment demonstrating enormous promise is the use of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to enhance and support fertility and facilitate success in IVF procedures.
How does Acupuncture Help Fertility?
Chinese have been using acupuncture to treat reproductive disorders for centuries. Clinical studies show acupuncture's effects on the peripheral and central nervous systems.
A precise needle trigger releases endorphins primarily responsible for controlling stress responses and balancing body hormones.
Researchers have found that acupuncture can improve fertility and the overall health of pregnant women with fewer side effects than other therapies. Because of its individualized treatment approach, Chinese Medicine can benefit women with lower fertility markers or who have had issues with IVF success.
Every acupuncture point has its unique function.
Some will reduce the sympathetic response (which will help considerably to reduce stress); some will produce changes within the cells; others will change the brain's chemicals; others will change chemical interchanges within the Uterus; some will improve the blood flow, etc.
Fertility acupuncture, like any other acupuncture treatment, works by creating feedback in the nerve system; one needle stimulates a nerve, which produces different changes in the brain that activates a neurochemical change that modifies the hormone production that stimulates the function of an organ, etc.
For example, when you puncture the point Sp 10, it will invigorate the blood flow producing a blood-thinning chemical reaction in the whole body.
When an acupuncturist activates a combination of different points will create even more significant results helping the patients resolve their infertility issues, get pregnant, or achieve any other health goal.
The art of acupuncture
Every acupuncture point or meridian has different functions, and the acupuncturist's skills or art are to orchestrate a combination that achieves the desired health effect with needle insertion.
Nowadays, acupuncture treatments are an essential part of fertility treatments in western medicine fertility clinics, improve the overall women's health, and increase the chances of pregnancy for patients following western treatments like embryo transfer or Vitro fertilization IVF.
Seek out someone trained in both Acupuncture and Chinese herbs
Everybody knows acupuncture helps achieve pregnancy, but not everybody knows that herbs are the most exciting part of traditional Chinese medicine.
Chinese medicine uses acupuncture and herbal medicine to stimulate the reproductive organs and improve fertility.
The efficacy of herbal medicine
Many studies prove that Chinese Herbal Medicine can regulate the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) to induce ovulation and improve the uterus blood flow and menstrual endometrium changes.
Meta-analysis for fertility
Here is the link to a medically reviewed study that suggests a "1.74 higher probability of success in achieving a pregnancy with Chinese herbs therapy than with Western medicine therapy alone (risk ratio 1.74, 95%CI: 1.56-1.94; p<0.0001; odds ratio 3.14; 95%CI: 2.72-3.62; p<0.0001) in women with infertility".
In this study, after reviewing 40 trials involving 4247 women trying to get pregnant with PCOS, endometriosis, anovulation, fallopian tube blockage, or unexplained infertility, got the conclusion that Chinese herbals can improve pregnancy rates 2-fold within a 3-6 month period compared with Western medical fertility drug therapy.
Using Traditional Chinese Medicine increases the chances of success of Western fertility treatments like vitro fertilization.
This is why more and more couples looking for fertility are trying first this traditional medical journey than the Western approach; because it works naturally with fewer side effects, lower economic cost, and in addition to fertility, it improves overall women's health.
History of Gynecology in Chinese Medicine
The earliest records of gynecological medical writings are from the Shang dynasty (1500 BC).
The Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen ( written between 475-221 BC) already references women's health, physiology, anatomy and diagnosis, and treatments to improve fertility.
During the Song dynasty (960-1279), the imperial medical college was created with 300 doctors and nine different departments; one of them was obstetrics and gynecology. This is probably the first medical school department focused on gynecology in world history.
Modern vs. Traditional Reproductive Medicine
Modern reproductive medicine seeks to increase fertility by treating reproductive organs with drugs and surgical procedures. In contrast, Traditional medicine uses acupuncture treatments and herbs to balance the whole body bringing a holistic improvement of health that indirectly significantly improves the patient's fertility.
Let's understand the correlations between traditional and modern fertility medicine:
Which are the effect of acupuncture treatment and herbal medicine on our body from a Modern Medicine point of view?
Blood, Essence, and Yin tonics :
Stimulate estrogen production
Increase cervical mucus
Build uterine lining
Strengthen reproductive organs
Blood and Qi tonics:
Increase sperm count
Increases sperm count and mobility
Increases hormone production: progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid.
Treatment of endometriosis
Reduces or eliminates fibroids
Reduce inflammatory reactions
Harmonizes hormone production.
Acupuncture and Fertility Treatment:
When to Do it & Treatment Protocols
Regularly speaking, you should look for fertility treatments if:
You're younger than 35 and have been trying to get pregnant for at least a year.
You're 35 or older and have been trying to get pregnant for at least six months.
You're trying to get pregnant but have irregular, painful, or no periods.
The treatment protocols will vary depending on your particular situation:
You should expect a 3-month treatment plan, including fertility acupuncture and herbal treatments. Usually, the protocols are focused first on solving health problems and then on strengthening the body's constitution to increase the chances of getting pregnant.
It is not a long process, but you can not expect results overnight.
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."
Does acupuncture help male infertility?
"It takes two to make a baby" to get pregnant, it is fundamental that both woman and man be in good health, and infertility is often due to the man.
Male fertility depends on the quantity and quality of production of spermatozoa, having no obstructions on the seminal tract and adequately delivered to the ovum.
Unhealthy modern lifestyles are reducing the fertility capacity of most men.
Fortunately, traditional Chinese medicine has excellent tools to improve fertility in men.
Acupuncture and herbal formulas focusing on strengthening usually achieve good results. Ancient Taoists considered virility to be an indication of solid vitality, so they developed a lot of great formulas to increase male reproductive functionality.
How much does acupuncture cost? Does insurance cover it?
Initial visits vary according to each clinic. However, expect a cost of around $100-$150. Follow-up visits cost anywhere from $75 - $175.
If you purchase treatment packages, treatments can be less expensive.
Most insurance in the USA covers acupuncture treatments. You need to check with your insurance company to find out how many sessions are covered.
Find a Fertility Acupuncturist Near Me
"Acupuncture near me fertility" is a trendy search on Google.
Look for a clinic with licensed acupuncturists and board-certified herbalists who have expertise in working with fertility cases!
At Soul Acupuncture & Herbal, we have lots of experience helping women to get pregnant! We typically suggest pulse diagnosis and treatment for both the woman and her partner: this optimizes fertility and clears any potential barriers to pregnancy.
Our fertility treatment approach focuses on improving our patients' overall health: fertility acupuncture, herbal treatments, and nutritional advice.
Success comes when the couple is healthy. Pregnancy comes naturally when women have regular periods without cramps, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or other gynecological issues.
In addition to getting pregnant through Chinese medicine, most couples enjoy the happy side benefits of heightened libido, better sleep, more energy, better digestion, and increased general health. When your body is healthy, everything is easier; the dream of having your own family can also come true through this kind of physical balancing!
We are specialists in helping patients on their journey to optimum vitality and achieving pregnancy naturally.