- Fertility & Reproductive Systems
Acupuncture and Fertility
Acupuncture and Fertility
Acupuncture, combined with herbal remedies, is sometimes used as an alternative method of fertility treatments. Whether and how it actually works is debatable, but more and more women turn to acupuncturists for help when experiencing difficulties conceiving a baby.
The Practice of Acupuncture
Acupuncture originated in China over 3000 years ago and is based on the premise that in order to maintain a good health, the energy that flows though our body (qi or chi) needs to be balanced. Energy flows through pathways, called channels or meridians. If there is an obstruction or a blockage in that flow or an imbalance, it will have a negative impact on one's health.
Such problems with the flow may be resolved by the use of the acupuncture needle. During the acupuncture treatment, many ultra-thin needles are inserted into specific "acupuncture points" on the entire body. There about 2000 different acupuncture points along energy channels.
Depending on the problem the patient is experiencing, various combinations of points are stimulated using the needles. The needles have different lengths, depending on which point it is to be inserted into. When the points are stimulated, energy flow returns to normal and body's healing ability can do its work.
Acupuncture for Infertility
The use of acupuncture for fertility is not a new concept. For centuries, women turned to acupuncture to increase their chances of conceiving a baby.
Acupuncture is supposed to improve fertility by helping regulate your body’s systems, increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs, and re-balancing hormone levels. All these are said to have a beneficial effect on ovarian and follicular function, assisting in the maturation of eggs, and helping to facilitate a thick, rich lining. In men acupuncture treatment is said to improve sperm production.
Acupuncture for infertility is sometimes performed as a complementary treatment to other mainstream assisted reproductive procedures. For example, women may be encouraged to undergo acupuncture before and after embryo transfer during IVF (in vitro fertilization) treatment.
Many believe that acupuncture works simply because it reduces women's anxiety and stress during fertility procedures.
Acupuncture Treatments and Costs
The practice of acupuncture is somewhat controversial, and many people are skeptical about its benefits. While it does seem to have a beneficial therapeutic effects in some cases, there are also some risks. Improperly performed acupuncture can cause fainting, bleeding, an infection, or nerve damage. Another problem is that herbs used by acupuncture practitioners are not regulated for safety or effectiveness.
To minimize those risks, always choose a licensed professional who received certification and training according to your state's guidelines.
If you are trying to get pregnant, but have trouble conceiving, you should consult an infertility specialist first. He or she will try do determine what are the reasons that may be causing the problem and may recommend a course of treatment.
Acupuncture will NOT be effective for fertility treatment if you or your partner have any structural problems, like a blockage in the sperm ducts, or tubal blockage caused, for example, by tubal adhesions, which can occur as a result of pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis.
Acupuncture is not a one-time treatment. Many sessions are be needed over weeks or months. A series of 8-12 treatments is usually recommended. Fees for an initial visit range from $75 to $95 for an acupuncture session and medical consultation. Routine visits cost $50 to $90.
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