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How Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture) Enhances Fertility

By Robin Hays and Nancy Rakela

Robin Hays, L.Ac., O.M.D., China

TCM describes the female reproductive system as a network of energy systems. Each energy system has

complementary organs and hormonal responses. This network responds to stress, chemicals, lack of

exercise, poor diet and excess emotions all of which can put the body "out of balance". A TCM practitioner

will carefully determine the state of your imbalances and prescribe an individualized program of herbs,

acupuncture and diet to help you create the correct environment for fertility and pregnancy.

Stress Reduction

Psychological stress can have a negative effect on couples facing fertility problems. Stress

leads to the release of stress hormones and causes detrimental effects on mechanisms responsible

for a normal ovulatory menstrual cycle. The success of acupuncture for reducing stress and anxiety

is due to its beta-endorphin release and sympathetic calming effects.

Stress causes the sympathetic nervous system of be over stimulated. Thus, the blood flow

is diverted away from the ovaries and uterus to the adrenals (stress coping gland) instead. This

can cause irregular cycles, lack of ovulation, and infertility. Electro acupuncture and Femoral

Artery Massage redirect the blood flow back to the ovaries and uterus, enhancing fertility and

regulating your cycle.

Acupuncture Strengthens The Immune System

Many women with immunological factors hostile to pregnancy have been effectively treated with

TCM prescription of diet, herbs, and acupuncture. When an acupuncturist treats the root problem,

the immunological markers correct themselves.

Fertility Hormone Regulation

Acupuncture has been known to control pain through stimulating the release of beta-endorphin.

In addition, beta-endorphin works to influence the source of women's ovulatory and fertility

hormones (the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis) and control hormones that regulate a women's

ovulation and fertility that includes gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), follicle stimulating

hormone (F.S.H.), luteinizing hormone (L.H.) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).

Regulates Hormones Creating Better Egg Quality

Acupuncture normalizes the dysfunction of the Hypothalamus- Pituitary - Ovarian Axis.

This improves ovarian function creating more follicles, and better egg production. It

has also been suggested that the concentrations of central opioids may regulate the

function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis via the central sympathetic system,

and that a hyperactive sympathetic system in anovulatory patients could be normalized by

ElectroAcupuncture (Chen and Yin, 1991). It has been assumed that various disorders in

the autonomic nervous system, such as hormonal disturbances, may be normalized during

auricular acupuncture (Gerhard and Postneck, 1992).

Acupuncture Lessens Side Effects From Clomid

Clomid often causes the uterine lining to thin, which is detrimental to becoming pregnant.

Acupuncture causes the uterine lining to thicken and become more uniform. This is a result

of increased blood flow to the uterine arteries, as proven in the article referenced just


I.V.F. Assistance With Acupuncture Treatment

This study shows that acupuncture increases blood flow to the uterine arteries, creating a thicker

and more regular lining, allowing for IVF to be more successful. Acupuncture also improves ovarian

blood flow to increase ovarian response.

Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with

Electro Acupuncture Stener-Victirin,et al., Human Reproduction, Vol 11, no6. pp. 1311-17, 1996.

Decreases Uterine Contractility at Implantation

Study: Influence of Acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo ART.

Fertility a& Sterility Vol77 April 2002

"Acupuncture May Improve Success Rate Of IVF Pregnancies:

Patients in the acupuncture group received two acupuncture sessions - the first treatment

25 minutes before embryo transfer, the second treatment 25 minutes after. In the acupuncture

group, the pregnancy rate was "considerably higher" - 34 women (42.5%) were carrying a fetal

sac at the time of examination."

"Relaxing the uterus with Acupuncture treatment allows for more successful IVF."

Acupuncture Decreases The Chance Of Miscarriage

Acupuncture relaxes the uterus, increases blood flow to the uterus, warms the uterus, increases

the immune system, regulates the hormones and decreases stress, all creating less of a chance

of miscarriage.

Study: Acupuncture Improves Fertility In Men, Too

According to statistics from the National Infertility Association (an organization also known as RESOLVE),

between 35 percent and 40 percent of infertility problems among couples are actually caused by male

conditions. A recent trial published in Fertility and Sterility has shown just how effective

acupuncture can be in the treatment of this condition, leading to significant increases in the number

of normal sperm and equally significant reductions in structural defects. Thus, Acupuncture improves

sperm count, motility, and morphology.

About The Author
Robin Hays, L.Ac., O.M.D., China is a Licensed Acupuncturist,

Herbalist, and a Diplomate of National Board of Acupuncture

Orthopedics with a speciality in fertility and pregnancy

complications. She practices in Los Angeles, CA. Nancy Rakela, L.Ac.,

O.M.D., China is a Licensed Acupuncturist, with certification

Acupuncture Orthopedics, with a speciality in acute and chronic pain.

She practices in Berkeley, CA.

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