Making Babies……How can Acupuncture help me?
Infertility impacts more than one in every six Australian couples, or over three million Australians, and this trend is increasing. So much so, that within the next ten years, it is predicted to affect one in three couples. It can be a harrowing ordeal for those couples that find themselves in this predicament, and people often spend thousands of dollars looking for solutions to overcome this problem. Not only does it cost them financially, but also the emotional burden is even larger.
It is a shared challenge with male infertility accounting for about half of all infertility problems. Some 40% of infertility treatments provided in Australia are targeted at male factors.
Every challenge comes with its fair share of solutions and infertility is no exception. Among many natural therapies that assist numerous couples in their wish to start a family, Traditional Chinese Medicine ranks among the top. Many research studies have shown that when used either alone or integrated with IVF regimes, it is proven to dramatically improve a couples chances of a successful outcome in their attempts to conceive.
Traditional Chinese medicine dates back over 2,000 years. It attempts to treat illness within the context of an individual’s total physical and psychological being, and environment, with the remedies balanced to a patient’s entire state of being. Acupuncture is one of the two major strands of Traditional Chinese medicine with the other being herbal medicine. They can be used alone or together.
So how can the insertions of acupuncture needles assist in conception?
Some will say by regulating the flow of energy in the meridians, which are like rivers where obstructions impede the free flow bringing ill health. Like taking out logs from a river, helps it to flow better, similarly, acupuncture aims to create a free flow of energy in the meridians.
Others will say needling acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulatory system. In this sense, acupuncture is like awakening the body’s inner pharmacy – just alerting the body to dispense the correct medicine.
Whichever way you look at it, the effect is enough for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to recognise the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating, among other ailments, menstrual and infertility challenges.
How does this assist Fertility?
In women, acupuncture is able to improve fertility by:
• Regulating the menstrual cycle via correcting hormonal imbalances
• Enhancing follicular development in order to improve egg quality
• Thickening the lining of the uterus so when fertilisation of an egg has occurred the uterus is ready to assist in implantation of the embryo.
It is interesting to note the Chinese character for the word uterus translates roughly to foetal palace or house, so in essence we aim to get the house in order for the guest.
Acupuncture treatments also help to regulate the effects of stress on the body. Stress can effect the regulation of ovulation and menstruation, and consequently it is detrimental to conception. It’s also very important to improve the general health of a woman as possible inflammation or impediment caused by other illnesses can also contribute to infertility.
In relation to IVF, modern day research has found acupuncture improves success of fertility by 40 – 60 per cent when administered before and after embryo transfer.
Acupuncture is also able to help men overcome infertility issues. Approximately 1 in 20 Australian men are affected by infertility. This figure is slowly increasing and is thought to be a result of changing environmental conditions, and increasing age of men who are trying to conceive. Male fertility also decreases with age. A man aged 35 years has only half the chance of conceiving compared to a 25-year-old man.
Specifically, acupuncture is able to address these health concerns as well as improving sperm count, motility and abnormality, leading to an enhanced quality of sperm.
Just as in women, stress also plays a large part in the health of men and contributes to any infertility conditions they may have. It is now well documented that stress can impact negatively on health, in turn negatively affecting sperm, which may promote infertility in men.
It is important to understand your contribution is vital. While participating in a treatment regimen of acupuncture or using TCM, dietary and lifestyle choices are effectively addressed to enhance results gained from treatment.