For many couples, trying to fall pregnant can be a time full of joy & excitement, anticipating the arrival of their bundle of joy. Unfortunately for many others it can become a stressful & frustrating experience,with many couples left feeling defeated & confused. If this is you, you are absolutely not alone, in fact, around 1 in 6 couples experience difficulty with fertility. It’s important to not give up hope & always seek support.
Acupuncture has been successfully utilized in both China & the West for many, many decades to improve fertility outcomes & has been clinically shown to have a positive influence over reproductive health, conception & pregnancy. Acupuncture improves fertility by assisting with a number of factors which greatly impact conception including regulation of hormones, stress reduction & nervous system support, as well as improved blood flow to the uterus.
Here are some ways in which Acupuncture may assist with fertility & conception:
1. Helps Balance Hormones
Regulation of the menstrual cycle & related hormones is essential for improving chances for conception. Pre-conception acupuncture treatment has been shown to have multiple beneficial effects on the menstrual cycle & fertility due to the regulatory & balancing effect it has on female (& male) hormones. Balancing hormones will not only help optimize ovulation but also have positive effects over other areas of reproductive health including:
- follicle & egg quality
- regulation of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
- luteal phase quality > improve progesterone production & implantation chances
- balance of oestrogen & progesterone
- improve sperm count, motility & morphology, in males
2. Helps to Reset the Nervous System & Reduce Stress
Stress has become a relentless & common part of many peoples everyday lives. What most people, especially couples trying to conceive, don’t fully recognize is just how much stress they are experiencing & the impact is can have over reproductive health & fertility.
Studies have shown that acupuncture both directly & indirectly activates the nervous system, helping to restore healthy function. Acupuncture achieves this by re-balancing the parasympathetic (rest-&-digest) & sympathetic (fight-or-flight) arms of the nervous system by decreasing cortisol (stress hormone) & modulating β-endorphins (stress redu9310275261527
cing hormone). Acupuncture also has positive influence on regulation of regulation of neurotransmitters, chemical messengers which allow the nervous system to communicate efficiently. Examples include:
- GABA (responsible for helping calm & relax)
- Glutamate (excitatory neurotransmitter responsible for cell signalling)
- Dopamine (important for emotional function/control, movement, pleasure & reward)
- Serotonin (mood, sleep, appetite)
- Melatonin (sleep, circadian rhythm)
- Epinephrine/Norepinephrine (essential in engaging the fight-flight response)
3. Increases Blood Flow to the Uterus
Research has suggested that insufficient blood flow to the uterus may explain infertility in some cases. Acupuncture has been clinically shown to improve vasodilation (blood flow) to the uterus & create a healthy endometrial environment, therefore improving the chances of successful implantation & pregnancy.
Bob Wong is an AHPRA licensed, sixth generation acupuncturist from the USA. He currently works from his acupuncture Brisbane clinic. He has experience working in China, USA, and Australia with a special focus in chronic pain, Women’s Health, Fertility, Pregnancy Care, Stroke Recovery, Neurological Disorders, Back Pain,Sciatica,Frozen Shoulder,Arthritis, Bell’s palsy, and other musculoskeletal ailments.
References (Wanna Learn More…Have a read!!!)
(1) Westergaard, L, Qunhui, M, Krogslund, M, Sandrini, S, Lenz, S & Grinsted, J 2006, Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial, Fertility & Sterility, Vol. 85, No. 5
(2) Chang, R, Chang, P & Rosenwaks, Z 2002, Role of acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility, Fertility & Sterility, Vol. 78, No. 6
(3) Stener-Victorin, E & Humaidan, P 2006, Use of acupuncture in female infertility and a summary of recent acupuncture studies related to embryo transfer, British Medical Journal, Vol. 24, No. 4
(4) Ding, S, Hong, S, Wang, C, Guo, Y, Wang, Z & Xu, Y 2013, Acupuncture modulates the neuro-endocrine-immune network, QJM An International Journal of Medicine, Vol. 107, No. 5
(5) Li, Q, Shi, G, Xu, Q, Wang, J, Liu, C & Wang, L 2013, Acupuncture Effect and Central Autonomic Regulation, Evidence Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine
(6) Uchida, S & Hotta, H 2008, Acupuncture Affects Regional Blood Flow in Various Organs, Evidence Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, Vol 5, No. 2
(7) Razik, M, Farag, M & Sheta, M 2015, Uterine and ovarian arteries blood flow during the mid luteal phase in women with unexplained infertility, Middle East Fertility Society Journal, Vol. 20, No. 3