How does acupuncture help in treating infertility? It improves blood flow to the uterus and the reproductive system. This has been shown to help primarily with the implantation of embryos, especially during in vitro fertilization (IVF). It also raises levels of stress-coping hormones such as cortisol and prolactin when it is applied just before ovulation. By decreasing the body's stress response, we increase the chance of fertilization and implantation.
But the number-one goal of acupuncture in fertility treatments is the regulation of menstruation and ovulation. That includes beginning and ending your period in a timely and correct manner and making sure your flow is smooth and unhindered, without large clots and without excessive cramps. Acupuncture also helps to strengthen your ovulatory functions and is very good in improving blood flow and building uterine lining quality. And, as previously noted, we have found that acupuncture treatments can be helpful in encouraging implantation of the embryo, which is especially important for women using assisted reproductive techniques.
In the last few years, published research studies have shown significant increases in IVF pregnancy rates with the use of acupuncture treatments conjunctively. In fact, I have designed a protocol for the use of acupuncture during IVF that has yielded a significantly better pregnancy rate in a pilot study.
Benefits of Acupuncture
In summary, acupuncture is very good for fertility and for your general health. It resets your circadian clock, reduces stress, helps you release endorphins, and adjusts your endocrine system. It also gets rid of underlying inflammation and solicits immunological balance. Best of all, acupuncture has minimal side effects, and in a skilled hand, is virtually pain-free.
Our science is still too primitive to fully understand how acupuncture works. In a future century, people will look back at today's science and see that what we know is not that far removed from the early knowledge of the tribesmen. You could say that we are only now just beginning to understand how the human body works.
This excerpt from The Tao of Fertility used by permission. Copyright 2008, HarperCollins Publishers.