How does Acupuncture Work for Infertility?
Posted by Dr. Alda Ngo
What does Acupuncture do to help or improve Fertility?
Acupuncture improves fertility by increasing blood flow. Doppler studies show that stimulation of specific acupuncture points increases circulation in blood vessels.
Treatments also stimulate angiogenesis – which means that they actually encourage new blood vessels to grow.
Acupuncture also helps fertility by regulating inflammation, balancing hormones and decreasing stress.
Studies show that certain acupuncture points decrease stress hormones and block chronic stress neurological pathways.
Where do the needles go?
Are you considering acupuncture for fertility and wondering where the needles go when you receive the treatment?
The needles can be placed in the abdomen, chest, back, arms, legs, hands, feet, head or ears.
Needles are ultra-fine and hair-thin. Upon insertion, they feel like a mosquito bite at most.
Here are 3 most commonly used acupuncture points located on the leg, abdomen and head (Translation of point names and meanings from ‘Characters of Wisdom by Debra Kaatz):
1. ST36 Zusanli (To Walk in the Great Strength of Stillness)
This point is located just below the knee and is a storehouse for putting things into action, it gives us extra strength when things are not easy and strengthens vitality.
2. DU20 Baihui (The Meeting in Grand Unity)
This point is located on the top of the head and is where chaos can be restored to unity, bringing tranquillity and calm.
3. CV4 Guanyuan (Gateway of Origin)
This point is located on the lower abdomen and opens our inner fertile gardens; it is where the goodness and vitality is allowed in, opening our life to warmth and harmony.
Studies have shown that this point helps with pelvic pain, endometriosis, primary dysmenorrhea, depression and anxiety.
How often do I need to have acupuncture done to improve my fertility?
The effects of acupuncture treatments are cumulative and treatment plans differ depending on each case.
The frequency of acupuncture treatments varies from 1 to 3 times per week for 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the recommended protocol.
How many acupuncture sessions will it take to get pregnant? How long does it take?
The aim is a healthy pregnancy, so we want to create the healthiest embryo and uterine lining as possible. This means we need healthy egg, sperm and lining.
It takes about 4-6 weeks to effectively increase the blood flow of the lining.
It takes about 90-100 days for egg and sperm to ripen and mature in the body before they are released for conception. We know that if we optimize the environment that they develop in, we are supporting them to grow to their peak potential.
So ideally, we want to focus on this key 3-month preconception time-frame to optimize egg and sperm quality while also optimizing blood flow in the uterus. This minimum time frame gives you the best chance of success.
What kind of success rate does acupuncture for infertility have?
Success rates are dependent on so many factors, including age and the nature of the diagnosis.
Studies show that acupuncture support for IVF increases the chances of success by 15-30%.
How much does fertility acupuncture cost?
At Whole Family Health, an Initial Consult is 60-90 minutes long and costs $144. Follow-up treatments are 50-60 minutes long and cost $96 each.