Wunian Chen, MD, LAc, July 24, 2015
For any woman currently exploring fertility treatments, it’s easy to get caught up in the complicated options offered in modern infertility treatments: hormone injections, ovarian stimulation, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF). You may think that scientific breakthroughs are leading the charge. And while this may be true, there’s a way to increase your odds of getting pregnant that’s been around for almost 2,500 years: acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
If you’ve been unable to conceive within a reasonable length of time, have you considered consulting a TCM practitioner?
Using acupuncture for fertility issues
Acupuncture involves thin, disposable sterile needles gently inserted and stimulated at strategic points near the surface of the body. Over 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body connect with 14 major pathways, called meridians. Chinese medicine practitioners believe that these meridians conduct qi, or energy, between the surface of the body and internal organs.
It’s this qi that regulates spiritual, emotional, mental and physical balance. When the flow of qi is disrupted through poor health habits or other circumstances, acupuncture helps unblock the normal flow of this energy and increase a woman’s chances of conceiving.
By placing the needles at key energy meridians linked to the reproductive organs, acupuncture increases and (most importantly) moves the flow of qi from areas where it may be overly abundant to areas that are deficient, thereby encouraging fertility.
Acupuncture can reduce stress
Research suggests that acupuncture is effective in reducing stress. Since stress has been shown to interfere with getting pregnant, it makes perfect sense that reducing your stress through acupuncture could theoretically improve your odds of conceiving.
Many women use acupuncture treatments to help them handle the stress they feel about the fertility process. And many fertility physicians recommend acupuncture for their patients to help lower their general stress levels, knowing that stress hormones can reduce the levels of important fertility hormones like progesterone. “I’ve referred patients to acupuncturists to do acupuncture in conjunction with a number of fertility treatments,” says Kathleen M. Brennan, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist with the UCLA Fertility and Reproductive Health Center in Los Angeles.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help fertility issues
“The TCM diagnosis system is independent of the conventional medicine diagnosis of infertility,” says Dr. Wunian Chen, one of our Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners here at Acupuncture Balanced Health.
“Conventional medicine tries to find a reason for a woman’s infertility—for example, PCOS. If it can find no reason, yours is an ‘unexplained infertility.’ But based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, most women with ‘unexplained infertility’ usually fall into one of the categories listed below.
While TCM has a long history of use in aiding fertility, no individual herb is considered perfect for promoting fertility. Rather, more than 150 different herbs, given in complex formulas including 15 or more ingredients, are used in the treatment of infertility for the purpose of correcting the functional or organic problem that caused infertility.
Recent success stories at Acupuncture Balanced Health
Dr. Chen has treated four cases of ‘unexplained infertility’ in the last year. During the course of their TCM treatment, all four women became pregnant.
Two of the women had undergone intrauterine insemination treatment (IUI) before, without success. While being treated with acupuncture, they were both successful in becoming pregnant.
The third woman who became pregnant was treating her infertility issues with acupuncture and adhering to a structured diet in her course of TCM. The fourth woman was treating her infertility issues using acupuncture, TCM herbal and a structured diet.
Acupuncture is just one form of holistic, alternative medicine that deserves another look–especially when you’ve tried conventional fertility treatment methods without success. If you’d like to explore your options further, call (919) 929-7990 today for more information or to make an appointment.
Kidney yang deficiency – possible signs and symptoms
- Aversion to cold
- Pale complexion
- Weak lower back and knees
- Loose stools
- Frequent urination in large amounts
- Low sex drive
- Deep, weak pulse
Kidney yin deficiency – possible signs and symptoms
- Overheating, night sweats and/or aversion to heat
- Difficulty sleeping
- Thin and rapid pulse with possible palpitations
- Hyperactive sex drive
- Weakness in the lower back and knees
- Short menstrual cycles with light discharge
- Low ovarian reserve at a young age (under the age of 30)
Liver stagnation – possible signs and symptoms
- Emotional depression
- Irritability and a tendency to anger easily
- Distending pain or discomfort in the abdomen or ribcage
- Wiry pulse
- Irregular menstrual cycles with cramps
- Dark menstrual discharge with clots
- Symptoms of premenstrual tension
Phlegm retention – possible signs and symptoms
- Obesity and/or a sensation of bodily heaviness
- “Fuzzy” thoughts
- Expectoration of copious phlegm
- Dizziness or palpitation
- Slippery or wiry pulse
- Large amount of vaginal discharge with no menses
- Prolonged menstrual cycle
Blood stagnation – possible signs and symptoms
- Sharp and stabbing pain in the body
- Emotional disharmony
- Dark facial complexion
- Dry, rough skin
- Pulse may be choppy
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Clotty menstrual discharge
Blood deficiency – possible signs and symptoms
- Sallow or “dull white” complexion
- Poor memory
- Depression and lack of spirit
- Dizziness and Numbness
- Blurred vision
- Pale Lips
- Fine or Choppy Pulse
- Pale and possibly dry tongue
- Amenorrhea and scanty periods