Can Acupuncture Complement Fertility Treatments?
Acupuncture has been used for centuries to help address a variety of illnesses and other conditions. From pain relief to faster healing to treatment of various diseases, acupuncture is one of the most common forms of alternative medicine.
Many people turn to acupuncture not as a replacement for traditional medicine, but as a way to help what doctors and medical treatments are doing. One study on acupuncture suggests that it may, for example, help to increase the likelihood that a woman undergoing fertility treatments will be able to conceive.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture works with your body’s vital energies (known as “chi”) that flow along specific paths. Acupuncture stimulates various points in the body that contain these pathways by using needles.
This form of treatment has been around for more than five millennia, and in recent years it’s even become more and more accepted by the medical community in the West.
How can acupuncture help with fertility?
In one study, acupuncture was given to women who were already having in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments. Other women in the study were not given acupuncture treatments.
Of the women who received acupuncture, 42% became pregnant. Of the women who did not, only 26% became pregnant.
Those are quite convincing numbers. While more research is needed, researchers believe that the acupuncture helped to increase how blood flowed to the uterus and to help the uterine muscle tissue to relax, which would give the embryo a higher probability of implanting.
On top of that, acupuncture is known to relieve stress. Stress can, as we’ve talked about here many times before, affect your fertility in a number of ways. Reducing your stress can, therefore, help to increase the odds that you’ll get pregnant.
More research is needed
Still, researchers don’t believe they’ve fully explored the issue. More work needs to be done in this area, but if the early results are any indication acupuncture may represent a new way to enhance fertility treatments already in progress, allowing both alternative and traditional medicine to work together in harmony.