At Park Avenue Fertility we recognize the importance of a holistic approach to infertility, and will be glad to assist our patients who want to explore additional adjuncts to their care. Our topic today is acupuncture, a traditional Chinese treatment which is now becoming increasingly popular in the Western society, thanks to its many touted benefits.
Medical studies suggest that acupuncture may be helpful in treating infertility. Some women who are undergoing infertility treatments may have a better chance of conceiving when they also receive acupuncture treatments. Some success stories are impressive, and acupuncture is getting a lot of press. So far sounds interesting, but what is acupuncture and how does it work?
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese holistic treatment that has been successfully practiced in China for over 2,000 years. The idea behind acupuncture treatments is to stimulate certain pressure points on the human body and to help regulate the flow of energy. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), human body maintains its health thanks to Qi (“chee”). Qi is believed to be a life-giving force that moves through our body. An unobstructed movement of qi helps support the mental, emotional and physical stability of an individual.
TCM recognizes two aspects of qi: yin and yang, which are believed to be contradicting yet inseparable forces. Yin symbolizes a slow, cool energy and feminine qualities, while yang represents a hot or a highly excitable nature and masculine qualities. TCM specialists believe that a healthy body maintains a natural balance in yin and yang energies. Therefore any energy imbalance creates diseases. When such an imbalance occurs, the qi cannot flow smoothly through the body due to blockages in its pathways, which usually triggers illnesses.
During an acupuncture treatment, fine, metallic needles are gently inserted into the surface of skin to stimulate some of 2,000 pressure points on the body and to eliminate the blockages. After having the natural flow of qi restored, the body returns to its healthy state. It is not completely clear how exactly acupuncture works to affect infertility, but there is increasing evidence that it may help. Studies have demonstrated that in some patients, acupuncture may improve the success rate of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). There is also some evidence that acupuncture may help conception and healthy pregnancy by improving circulation and blood flow to ovaries and uterus as well as other vital organs. Another, more obvious effect of acupuncture is relaxation, which can help all the systems of a woman’s body to function better. Thanks to all this recent data, some progressive infertility specialists, including Dr. Andrew Levi, are open to supplementing conventional infertility treatment with acupuncture.
The physical response to acupuncture varies from person to person; some patients may feel relaxed and calm while others feel invigorated and energetic. Acupuncture is not advisable for people with bleeding disorders or those who take blood thinning medications. Usually patients experience little or no pain during the treatment, and overall acupuncture is not meant to be painful. However, receiving acupuncture from an unqualified acupuncturist or making any sudden movements during the treatment may result in soreness or pain. The disposable needles used to perform the treatment are sterile, non-toxic and have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use exclusively by licensed acupuncturists. Needless to say (no pun intended), it is important to choose a qualified and experienced specialist in order to receive the most gain with least pain.
For those of you who are interested in acupuncture treatments, please contact Park Avenue Fertility so we can refer you to the appropriate acupuncture specialist.