The Top 3 Questions I’m asked about Fertility Acupuncture

May
11
2017
Acupuncture treatments can help optimize your fertility, whether it be naturally or in conjunction with IVF/IUI. Simply stated acupuncture restores balance to the body. It has been shown to improve the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, which is the mechanism responsible for balancing reproductive hormones.

Like everyone these days I am short on time but I really wanted to write something for Canadian Infertility Awareness Week (CIAW) because this is an important public health issue that needs more light shone on it. The majority of my patients are women and men on their unique fertility journeys.

Everyday I am in awe at the level of commitment these people have. The time and money spent and the sheer emotional and physical toll while undergoing IVF treatments can be overwhelming and all consuming, to say the least.

I feel privileged that people allow me to support them on their quest for a family. Fertility acupuncture is a challenging area to focus on, as a practitioner you go through the ups and down with your patients. However, it’s extremely satisfying to witness people arriving for treatment anxious stressed-out and exhausted and then leaving their treatments calm, grounded and replenished. The transformation is incredible.

Here are the top three questions I am asked about fertility acupuncture:

1) How can Acupuncture help me with my fertility? 

Acupuncture treatments can help optimize your fertility, whether it be naturally or in conjunction with IVF/IUI. Simply stated acupuncture restores balance to the body. It has been shown to improve the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, which is the mechanism responsible for balancing reproductive hormones.

Potential Benefits of Fertility Acupuncture:

  • Enhances uterine blood flow to thicken the uterine lining
  • Improves ovarian function and number of follicles over time
  • Regulates hormonal imbalances 
  • Reduces the side effects of fertility medications
  • Increase sperm count and motility in men
  • Aids the uterus with embryo implantation 
  • Decreases chances of miscarriage
  • Relieves stress & calms the mind 

Lastly, managing stress and promoting relaxation is paramount when trying to conceive. Acupuncture treatments, which may include cupping or acupressure massage, are phenomenal for shifting the body into a deeply relaxing healing state.

2) Is there any research to back that up?

Yup. In 1996 the World Health Organization endorsed acupuncture treatment for reproductive problems such as impotence, infertility, menstrual cramps and morning sickness. That same year a Swedish study published in ‘Fertility & Sterility’ reported that acupuncture reduced constriction in uterine arteries, thereby increasing blood flow to the uterus and ovaries.  

Although TCM acupuncture has been used to treat infertility for thousands of years, the first western medical research was published in 2002. The study (Paulus W, et al) showed 42.5% of patients were successful in conceiving by incorporating acupuncture with IVF. This was compared to the 26.3% that used IVF by itself. Today complementing IVF medical protocols with acupuncture treatments is considered standard practice.

in 2015, Lee Hullender Rubin, DAOM, LAC, FABORM, published a study that makes a clear case for the benefits of adding regular acupuncture sessions leading up to the embryo transfer, and not just on the day of the transfer.

3) How would you describe the treatments?

Treatments are a rare and valuable opportunity to reconnect with your own authentic energy. It is YOUR time to forget about all of your responsibilities — the job, the partner, the kids, the parents etc. — and let the treatment table support you. Allow yourself to shift from our typical ‘fight-or-flight’ mode into the often elusive ‘rest-and-digest’ mode. The acupuncture needles are doing their work so no need to worry about that, just close your eyes and swim in your own spirit … remember her/him?

People who are hesitant about the needles are almost always converts after their first session, but Acupuncturists can also treat you with other non-needles techniques such as acupressure and cupping among others.

My “regulars” look forward to treatments and often bring their favourite sweat pants, music or listen to guided meditations or even white noise .. whatever relaxes them. The vast majority of people fall deeply asleep during treatment and often ask if they can just lay there until their next appointment!

Seya Moosai-Maharaj is a Registered Acupuncturist (R.Ac) and a member of the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners & Acupuncturists of Ontario (CTCMPAO). In addition to her private practice — Channel Health Acupuncture Studio— in Toronto, Seya Moosai-Maharaj is the Acupuncturist at Anova Fertility & Reproductive Health.

For more information about Seya Moosai-Maharaj click here.

Photo used from at home website

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