Share:

Conceiving Naturally: How Acupuncture Enhances Fertility

By Vikki Nestico

There is nothing more amazing than when a client tells you they’re pregnant!

…But that journey can be O V E R W H E L M I N G !

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have been used safely for centuries to improve a woman’s physical and emotional well-being with the understanding that a healthy body has a greater chance of conceiving naturally.

So, how do we help maximize your fertility?

Acupuncture reduces stress, increases blood flow to the reproductive organs and balances hormones. These changes not only increase your chances of a natural conception, they also improve your quality of life.

We recommend a course of treatments between 3-6 months. This number isn’t arbitrary! Remember it takes 90 days to develop and grow the perfect egg to ovulate. During those 90 days the egg is influenced by factors like stress, blood flow, hormonal balance, and nutrition. So that fabulous 90-day window allows us to positively impact your egg quality. That time also gives us the opportunity to regulate your menstrual cycle and prepare for successful conception.Treatment frequency and duration also depend on factors like: age, menstrual irregularities, previous pregnancy history, and any other general health concerns that may be affecting your fertility.

What do treatments look like?

During treatment we look at your doctor’s test results, follow your basal body temperature and use our traditional diagnostic techniques to help us assess where to focus treatment. We choose gentle acupoints to balance and regulate your reproductive function. In addition to acupuncture, all this information guides our plan for your diet, herbal recommendations, exercise and lifestyle changes that will best suit your individual needs. Think of it as stacking the deck in your favor!

Oh! … and if it’s applicable we also want to know if your partner has been tested. We women take the physical and emotional brunt of difficulties with conception but it is important to know that more than one-third of infertility is due to male infertility! (… and we can help with that too!)

Lastly, we take special care at Grand Wellness to not only boost reproductive function but to also support your heart, as the emotional aspects of infertility often go ignored and untreated… and we know that balanced emotions positively impact our ability to conceive. Our goal is to help you find peace and happiness on the journey!

Ready to get started?

Let’s get you scheduled and begin your journey! Wanna know more? Take a read below and check out what the western medical community is saying about traditional Chinese medicine and fertility.

  • Save

+

Digging a little deeper into the info:

A peek into the science behind how acupuncture works!

Reducing stress:

Most people don’t understand how stress affects fertility. I won’t go into all the biochemistry here… but let me explain it this way.  Our body has a lightning speed response to dangerous situations. It is a complex dance between the nervous and endocrine systems, specifically the HPA-Axis and sympathetic nervous system (aka our “fight or flight” reactions.)

For example, say we are walking to Starbucks and a giant mountain lion jumps in front of us. At that moment our body prepares us to either fight or run away. It shunts all our body’s energy into functions like pupil dilation, so we can see better,  and increased heart rate and blood pressure, to take in a greater amount of oxygen and send more blood to the arms and legs so we can either fight or get the heck out of there! During this time our body suspends functions of organ systems that aren’t necessary for survival… like…  the reproductive system.

Now let’s think of how this works in our current lives where we deal with chronic stress from: heavy workloads, financial burdens, traumatic events … or emotional stressors like dealing with change, fear about the future or unrealistic expectations we put on ourselves. (I’m talking to you FaceBook!) While these don’t sound as scary as a mountain lion they still keep the button pressed on our stress response which we know now inhibits our reproductive function.

Research has shown acupuncture blocks the stress-induced increases in the HPA- axis and the sympathetic nervous system. Acupuncture restores balance, allowing our body to return focus to normal body functions… including  reproduction! (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Which explains why we feel so relaxed, cozy and safe after treatment!

… and reducing your partner’s stress!

You’re probably not going through the emotional rollercoaster alone. We naturally absorb our partner’s stress, adding it to our own… but that isn’t the only result. Stress also increases your partner’s percentage of abnormal sperm morphology and motility which has a direct impact on successful conception. (6)

 

Acupuncture increases blood flow by reducing central inhibition of the sympathetic nervous system…

…which is a fancy way of saying it relaxes the blood vessel and creates increased blood flow to the regions we are focused on, in this case the reproductive organs. This increase boosts fertility in a couple different ways. First, fresh nutrient-rich blood helps to create a thick healthy uterine lining, necessary for implantation as well as giving you the best opportunity for a healthy full term pregnancy. If the blood flow is impeded, the lack of nourishment can create a thinner lining (< 8mm) making the environment difficult for a successful implantation. Fresh blood also provides the key nutrients to develop vibrant eggs, essential during our 90 day window! (7, 8)

Balancing hormones:

Believe it or not we have a huge amount of sway in our hormone balance, but where do we start? Acupuncture and herbal medicine directly impact which hormonal processes our body engages in. Beyond its ability to block the hormonal effects of chronic stress, research has shown it can also increase anti-Müllerian hormone, an indicator of your ovarian reserve, and balance FSH and LH levels to regulate ovulation, creating healthy eggs and a rich environment for implantation. (9, 10, 11, 12)

Male infertility:

We will go into this more in future blogs but here is a pretty direct statement by The US Department of Health and Human Services States: “About one-third of infertility cases are caused by fertility problems in women, and another one-third of fertility problems are due to fertility problems in men. The other cases are caused by a mixture of male and female problems or by problems that cannot be determined.” (13)

Last but very not least:

Acupuncture increases your quality of life. It helps you sustain ease and happiness and connect with your body to make healthy decisions.

 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Resources:

  1. Ferin, & Michel. (1999, June 1). Stress and the Reproductive Cycle. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/84/6/1768/2864142
  2. Joseph, D. N., & Whirledge, S. (2017). Stress and the HPA Axis: Balancing Homeostasis and Fertility. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(10), 2224. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18102224
  3. Balk, J., Catov, J., Horn, B., Gecsi, K., & Wakim, A. (2010). The relationship between perceived stress, acupuncture, and pregnancy rates among IVF patients: a pilot study. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 16(3), 154–157. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2009.11.004
  4. Eshkevari, L., Permaul, E., & Mulroney, S. E. (2013). Acupuncture blocks cold stress-induced increases in the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal axis in the rat. Journal of Endocrinology, 217(1), 95–104. doi: 10.1530/joe-12-0404
  5. Li, Qian-Qian, Shi, Xu, Qian, Wang, … Lin-Peng. (2013, May 26). Acupuncture Effect and Central Autonomic Regulation. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/267959
  6. Whiteman, H. (2014, May 30). Stress linked to male fertility. Retrieved June 15, 2020, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/277543
  7. Guo, J., Wang, L.-na, & Li, D. (2011, December). Exploring the effects of Chinese medicine in improving uterine endometrial blood flow for increasing the successful rate of in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22152767
  8. Stener-Victorin, E., Waldenström, U., Andersson, S. A., & Wikland, M. (1996, June). Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture. Retrieve from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8671446
  9. Dong, Y.-Z., Zhou, F.-J., & Sun, Y.-P. (2017). Psychological stress is related to a decrease of serum anti-müllerian hormone level in infertile women. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, 15(1). doi: 10.1186/s12958-017-0271-4
  10. Mo X1, Li D, Pu Y, Xi G, Le X, Fu Z. (1993). Clinical studies on the mechanism for acupuncture stimulation of ovulation. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1993 Jun;13(2):115-9.
  11. Cochrane, S., Smith, C. A., Possamai-Inesedy, A., & Bensoussan, A. (2016). Prior to Conception: The Role of an Acupuncture Protocol in Improving Women’s Reproductive Functioning Assessed by a Pilot Pragmatic Randomised Controlled Trial. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2016, 1–11. doi: 10.1155/2016/3587569
  12. Zheng, Y., Feng, X., Mi, H., Yao, Y., Zhao, Y., Li, J., … Deng, X. (2015). Effects of transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation on ovarian reserve of patients with diminished ovarian reserve in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer cycles. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research, 41(12), 1905–1911. doi: 10.1111/jog.12810
  13. Hhs.gov. (2019, March 21). Female Infertility. Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/opa/reproductive-health/fact-sheets/female-infertility/index.html
Copy link