🎉 Celebrating 10 years of service, First Fertility proudly announces our NASDAQ listing in 2024. 🎉

Treating Infertility with Acupuncture

Introduction: Treating infertility can be challenging, and many couples explore a variety of traditional and alternative methods to increase their chances of conceiving. One popular holistic approach is Chinese acupuncture, which aims to harmonize the body’s energy points and potentially aid in fertility. In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of acupuncture, its potential impact on infertility, and the considerations to keep in mind when considering this ancient Chinese practice as part of a treatment plan for conception.

Close-up therapist doing acupuncture

Close-up therapist doing acupuncture

Understanding Infertility

Infertility affects about 12% of American women between 15 and 44 years of age, with 35% of cases involving both male and female factors. Couples unable to conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse fall into this category, often seeking a mix of traditional and alternative treatments.

Exploring Alternative Treatments: Acupuncture

Chinese acupuncture, a popular holistic method, has been used for centuries and is gaining attention as an infertility treatment. While viewed with skepticism in the West, understanding this practice and its potential benefits for conception is crucial.

Acupuncture involves inserting ultra-thin needles into specific points on the body to direct pressure towards energy points. With 350 acupuncture points in the body, acupuncturists aim to balance life energies, including yin and yang forces. When these are out of harmony, it’s believed to lead to illnesses.

Proponents of acupuncture believe it can enhance blood flow and circulation to the reproductive system, harmonize hormones, and alleviate stress, all potential factors in infertility. However, studies have yielded mixed results. A 2017 study on polycystic ovary syndrome and a 2018 study on in-vitro fertilization (IVF) showed little evidence supporting acupuncture’s effectiveness in aiding fertility treatments.

While there’s no inherent harm in trying acupuncture, selecting a qualified practitioner and ensuring the use of sterile, single-use needles is crucial.

Choosing the Right Acupuncturist

When choosing an acupuncturist, it’s crucial to be cautious and discerning. Many individuals claim expertise in this field, and they might even offer additional services such as herbal remedies. However, it’s essential for potential clients, especially women undergoing IVF treatments, to prioritize practitioners who hold valid training certifications and licenses.

Acupuncture licenses vary by state, making it challenging to identify true professionals. Investing time in thorough research is invaluable when selecting an acupuncturist.

Potential Drawbacks of Acupuncture

While there are potential disadvantages to undergoing acupuncture, any negative effects are typically mild. Some individuals may experience minor swelling or bruising at the needle insertion points, along with temporary redness, tenderness, or discoloration. There’s a slight risk of increased susceptibility to bleeding, although the needles are not inserted deeply into the body, usually penetrating only one-quarter to one inch into the skin. This reinforces the importance of seeking treatment from a qualified professional.

Seeking treatment from a qualified professional can significantly reduce the risk of any negative effects. Another risk to consider is the use of unsterilized needles. Best practices involve unwrapping the needles in the client’s presence, ensuring they have never been used before. Although each session is unique, the overall process remains consistent. The acupuncturist assesses the client and reviews any pre-session information about their specific ailments. The client then lies down on their back, stomach, or side, and the needles are inserted one by one. Sensations of dull tingling may be felt by some, while others may not feel the needles at all. The needles typically remain in place for five to 30 minutes.

Acupuncture as Part of a Holistic Treatment Approach

Most individuals pursuing acupuncture also explore other methods to address infertility issues, rarely relying solely on acupuncture. In tandem with alternative therapies, some couples explore hypnotherapy, mind/body visualizations, herbal treatments, or specific yoga poses. While these techniques may seem unconventional to western couples, they have been practiced in the Far East for centuries.

Conclusion: For more conventional approaches, couples often explore eligibility for IVF treatments, hormone therapies, medications, or surgeries based on their physical health. Consulting a doctor to discuss potential approaches is the best course of action. Infertility can stem from the woman, the man, or both, making each case unique and deserving of an individualized approach.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Is Acupuncture and How Does It Relate to Fertility?

Acupuncture involves the insertion of ultra-thin needles into specific points on the body to balance energy. Proponents believe it can increase blood flow, harmonize hormones, and reduce stress, potentially impacting fertility.

2. Is There Scientific Evidence Supporting Acupuncture for Fertility Treatment?

Studies have yielded mixed results. While some suggest benefits such as increased live births, others found minimal impact, attributing changes to psychological factors rather than the treatment itself.

3. Are There Risks Associated with Acupuncture?

Minor effects like swelling, bruising, tenderness, or redness at the needle sites may occur. There’s a minimal risk of unsterilized needles, emphasizing the importance of seeking a qualified acupuncturist using sterile equipment.

4. Should Acupuncture Be Considered as a Standalone Treatment for Infertility?

Acupuncture is often part of a holistic approach, and few rely solely on it for infertility. Couples typically explore a range of conventional and alternative methods, seeking individualized advice from healthcare providers.

5. How Can I Identify a Qualified Acupuncturist?

When choosing an acupuncturist, it’s crucial to verify their training certifications, licenses, and the use of sterile, single-use needles. Researching state-specific requirements and taking the time to find a professional is highly recommended.

  • Published on : Friday April 19, 2019
  • Last updated : Saturday June 29, 2024
Avatar photo

About the author

Michelle Tan is an IVF Consultant with 12 years of experience in fertility consulting. Having personally undergone IVF and surrogacy, she brings firsthand insight and empathy to her work. Based in Singapore, Michelle frequently travels to clinics in Bangkok, Phnom Penh, and Bishkek, sharing her expertise and supporting patients on their fertility journeys.