In today’s hectic lifestyle, infertility has become one of the most common health issues for both men and women. Increased stress and a sedentary lifestyle are two main reasons behind infertility. According to different studies, 40 to 50% of all infertility cases arise due to the problem in women while 20% of them occur due to the problem in men. When applied in conjunction with modern-day fertility treatments, acupuncture increases the conception rates by roughly 26% – a research conducted by Tel Aviv University reveals. Application of acupuncture helps to increase the blood flow to reproductive organs and maintains the balance of the endocrine system, which helps to cure infertility. The process includes gentle insertion of disposable, thin sterile needles into the acupuncture points of the human body. According to Chinese medicine, a flow of energy or qi runs between the internal organs and surface of the human body. It’s this qi that controls the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual balance of a human body. Any disruption of this energy triggers diseases and increases the chance of infertility.
Causes of infertility
Acupuncture greatly helps to lower stress, which is normally considered as one of the key contributors when it comes to infertility. Apart from stress, the other factors of infertility are:
- Ovulation disorder
- Inability to generate mature eggs
- Hormonal problems such as flaw in pituitary gland or hypothalamus
- Follicle dysfunction
- Physical damage to ovaries
- Premature menopause
- Past abdominal or pelvic surgeries
- Presence of chronic abdominal diseases
- Ectopic pregnancy
Apart from the reasons mentioned above, age can also contribute to infertility in women. As women grow older, their ability to conceive decreases.
How can acupuncture help?
Medical professionals across the globe have been using acupuncture to cure infertility from ancient times. Acupuncture therapy merged with herbal medicine and/or assisted reproductive technology can greatly help in infertility. In acupuncture, the ‘qi’ or the flow of energy gets re-balanced, which makes human body prime for fertility. According to acupuncturists, most of the patients look for acupuncture after they’ve tried every other available option. Though acupuncture and other herbs are unable to fully cure conditions like tubal adhesions that can be a result of endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease, it can still help in infertility as it helps to improve follicular and ovarian malfunctions. Also, acupuncture can improve blood flow to the endometrium, which helps to develop a thick, rich lining.
The way these ancient Chinese works is absolutely pain-free and quite simple – hair-fine needles are positioned across the meridians of the body that relates to body’s organs. These pressure points stimulate ‘qi’ to the brain through the meridian pathway. In response to this stimulation, human brain releases chemical like pain-relieving endorphins and calming neurotransmitters to the area of blockage or pain. The needles also work locally to lower inflammation and open up blood flow.
According to The British Acupuncture Council, acupuncture improves sperm motility (the speed of sperm swim), helps to increase the levels of testosterone (male sex hormone) and keeps the temperature of scrotum under control, thus helping in the development of a better environment to keep the sperms healthy. It’s important to mention that while the common fertility drugs for women can contribute to 20 to 60% pregnancy rate, they also trigger common side effects like abdominal tenderness, fluid retention, bloating, nausea, weight gain etc. According to some studies, they may enhance the possibility of breast cancer too. On the contrary, acupuncture treatment leaves the recipient with no or fewer side effects while providing the same benefits such as stimulating the hypothalamus to efficiently balance endocrine system together with its hormones, thus addressing the root cause of infertility.
When Should Acupuncture Treatment Begin?
The process-oriented therapy of acupuncture can be compared to physical therapies. The more it is performed, the more are the benefits. When it comes to curing infertility, patients are generally treated for 3 to 4 months before they progress to IVF (in vitro fertilization), donor-egg transfer or insemination. This pace of treatment leaves a therapeutic effect on the recipients. Researchers encourage women to receive acupuncture therapy before and after embryo transfer. According to Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness, acupuncture works most effectively to cure infertility when used in conjunction with traditional and herbal medicines.