Acupuncture

Acupuncture and the ART of Conception

In furtherance of our quest to truly master the Art of Conception, PFC has teamed with Integrative Fertility, a group of qualified practitioners who specialize in treating fertility with Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The simple aim of our acupuncture team is to support your fertility treatments and improve your success.

Pacific Fertility Center hopes you take advantage of these new treatment options and enjoy getting to know our acupuncturists. If you wish to make an appointment to speak with an acupuncturist regarding treatment or any questions you may have, they are available to speak with you at no charge. Contact Integrative Fertility @ 1-800-995-2065 or via their website, www.integrativefertility.com.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?

Traditional Chinese Medicine is the formal term for the combined therapies of Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, Moxibustion and other healing modalities. TCM theory achieves good health by balancing energies in the body using these several methods. The theory has evolved over thousands of years and is safe and highly effective. TCM uses a "holistic" approach, meaning it treats any individual problem by treating the whole body at the same time. A patient can expect TCM to provide benefits for virtually any illness, and fertility is no exception.

Acupuncture. Acupuncture is performed by inserting fine needles into carefully selected points which correspond to the TCM theories of energy meridians that run through the body. According to TCM theory, acupuncture needles correct unbalanced energy in the body when the needle is inserted in the proper location. With the needles in place, a patient may feel very little, or may feel a dull energy sensation flow briefly through the body.

How it Works. TCM theory explains that channels of energy run in regular patterns through meridians in the body like water flowing through an aqueduct. Any obstruction in the movement of these energy rivers is akin to a dam that backs up the regular flow, causing disease, pain and imbalance. Acupuncture and other TCM modalities can influence blocked energy in meridians, reestablish proper flow, and promote good health.

Acupuncture, TCM and Infertility. Acupuncture can be used to treat any type of fertility disorder including spasmed tubes. (Spasmed tubes are often de-spasmed with acupuncture, though blocked tubes will not respond to acupuncture). Acupuncture is often combined with herbs to treat elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), repeated pregnancy loss, unexplained (idiopathic) infertility, luteal phase defect, hyperprolactinemia (when not caused by a prolactinoma), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) with annovulatory cycles, and male factor including men affected with sperm-DNA-fragmentation.

Treatment

When Should Treatment Begin?

Patients are commonly treated for three to four months before an insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF), or donor-egg transfer.

The Pre- and Post- Embryo Transfer Treatments. One of the most important implementations of TCM during an IVF treatment is what is commonly referred to as Pre- and Post- Transfer Treatments. The chances of conception increase when reproductive-specific acupuncture is administered prior to and shortly after the embryo is transferred to the uterus during an IVF treatment. Recent scientific studies have demonstrated that acupuncture immediately prior to and after embryo transfer assists fertility outcomes by improving uterine artery blood flow, decreasing uterine contractions, supporting endometrial lining and implantation and increasing pregnancy rates.

Fertility & Sterility, Vol.77, No. 6, Human Reproduction, Vol. 22, No.4

Acupuncture in Pre-Ovulatory Phase. Reproductive acupuncture treatments do not consist only of pre- and post- embryo transfer treatments. Your pre-ovulatory phase acupuncture treatments work to bring your body back to its optimum balance and get ready for conception. Typical changes you may sense quickly include: reduction in the stresses that interfere with ovulation, regulation of menses, and a general feeling of good health. 

More subtle changes may eventually include a normalization of the hormones that regulate ovulation and allow an egg to be released, an increase in uterine blood flow improving chances of a fertilized egg implanting, or an improvement in ovulation cycles in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, to name a few. 

All together, TCM will work to get your body in a healthier and more balanced state which will better lend itself to conception in conjunction with your other assisted reproductive treatments..

 

Research & Recommended Reading

General Infertility Acupuncture Research

  • Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture - Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Urban Waldenstrom, Sven A. Andersson and Matts Wikland
  • Acupuncture Normalizes Dysfunction of Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian Axis - Bo-Ying Chen M.D., Professor of Neurobiology
  • Effects of Electro-Acupuncture on Nerve Growth Factor and Ovarian Morphology in Rats with Experimentally Induced Polycystic Ovaries - Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Thomas Lundeberg, Urban Waldenstrom, Luigi Manni, Luigi Aloe, Stefan Gunnarsson, and Per Olof Janson
  • Substitution of Acupuncture for HCG in Ovulation Induction - Cai Xuefen, Obstetrical & Gynecological Hospital, Zhejiang Medical University, Zhejiang Province
  • Relationship Between Blood Radioimmunoreactive Beta-Endorphin and Hand Skin Temperature During The Electro-Acupuncture Induction of Ovulation - Chen Bo Ying M.D. Lecturer of Neurobiology, Institute of Acupuncture Research, and Yu Jin, MD., Prof of Gynecology, Obstetricus and Gynecology Hospital Shanghai Medical University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
  • Role of acupucture in the treatment of female infertility - Raymond Chang, M.D., The Institute of East-West Medicine, The Department of Internal Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Pak H. Chung, M.D., The Department of Internal Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Zev Rosenwaks, M.D., The Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility

In Vitro Fertilization Acupuncture Research

  • Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy - Wolfgang E. Paulus, M.D., Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut. Mingmin Zhang, M.D., Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical University, Wuhan, People’s Republic of China. Erwin Strehler, M.D., Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut. Imam El-Danasouri, Ph.D., Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut. and Karl Sterzik, M.D. Department of Reproductive Medicine, Christian-Lauritzen-Institut
  • Acupuncture Treatment For Infertile Women Undergoing Intracytoplasmic Sperm injection - Sandra L. Emmons, MD, Phillip Patton, MD
  • Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial - Lars G. Westergaard, M.D., Ph.D., Qunhui Mao, M.D., Marianne Krogslund, Steen Sandrini, Suzan Lenz, M.D., Ph.D., and Jørgen Grinsted, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Influence of acupuncture stimulation on pregnancy rates for women undergoing embryo transfer - Caroline Smith, Ph.D., Meaghan Coyle, B.Hlth.Sc. (Acup.), and Robert J. Norman, M.D.
  • Effect of acupuncture on the outcome of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study - Stefan Dieterle, M.D., Gao Ying, M.D., Wolfgang Hatzmann, M.D., and Andreas Neuer, M.D.

Recommended Reading

  • The Infertility Cure by Randine Lewis, P.HD.
  • Inconceivable by Julia Indichova
  • Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford