Acupuncture is a tried and tested system of Chinese Medicine, over 2,000 years old. It restores and promotes good health and wellbeing by inserting hair-thin needles into specific locations. Accupuncture aims to treat both the symptoms and the underlying causes, rather than suppress the symptoms. Acupuncture aims to stimulate the body’s own healing response, to accelerate healing and help to restore its natural balance.
Acupuncture and Fertility Acupuncture has been known to increase your chances of conception naturally or with IVF.
Acupuncturists aim to rebalance your energy flow and prime your body for fertility.
The British Acupuncture Council believes acupuncture may boost female fertility by doing the following:
- Regulating hormone function
- Increasing blood flow to the ovaries and uterus and helping to relax your muscles which can improve the chance of an embryo implanting.
- Tackling the causes of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – a common cause of infertility.
- Generally helping to relieve stress and make you feel more relaxed.
The acupuncturist will take a full medical history, including details of your menstrual cycle and the results of fertility tests you’ve had, with this information the acupuncturist will be able to tailor a plan of treatment to suit your needs. As well as the acupuncture treatment, appointments usually include advice on nutrition and lifestyle changes that can boost fertility. Development of the egg and sperm takes about three months, so this is a minimum preparation time during which you can influence egg and sperm quality. Nutrition changes can take longer to affect the body fully, so planning 4 to 6 months ahead is much better. Often making lifestyle changes is a gradual transition too, so give yourself this time.
There is evidence to show acupuncture increases sperm motility (how fast the sperm swim), as well as increasing levels of the male sex hormone testosterone and lowering the temperature of the scrotum (where sperm are stored), creating a better environment for keeping them healthy. So treatment for both partners can help increase your chances of conception.
Acupuncture and IVF
Research suggests that acupuncture may help in various areas relating to assisted conception, including during the lead-up to a cycle and immediately before and after embryo transfer. We suggest sessions at various key times during the IVF process:
- In the lead up to your cycle
- Pre- and post-embryo transfer
- The Two-Week Wait
During the 2 week wait we offer women a very gentle treatment for stress and relaxation between days 7 and 10. These are very comforting sessions which help to support your body and relieve tension and anxiety whilst you wait for your pregnancy result.
Acupuncture and Pregnancy
Acupuncture offers a safe, effective and drug-free option during pregnancy. It can be used to help a wide variety of pregnancy-related complaints. We also offer four weekly pre-birth sessions to prepare you and your baby for labour, including advice on techniques to use during labour to promote better baby positioning, cervix effacement and relieve pain. However, if you are overdue acupuncture can also be used to gently induce labour, usually an average of 3 or more sessions are required.
Will acupuncture hurt?
The needles used are very fine and are not usually painful. The sensation felt is often described as a tingling or dull ache around the area. Patients often report feeling relaxed or invigorated during and after treatment.
How long will it take?
The first treatment will normally be for around 90 minutes with a full medical history is taken. This includes all aspects of your health and family history. There will also be examination of the tongue and pulse, which give indications of how the energy is flowing internally. Subsequent sessions will be shorter, approximately 60 minutes.
Price : £75.00 for a 90 minutes first assesment and treatment, then £55 for 60 minute follow up treatments
Acupuncture and Endometriosis
If there is free flow, there is no pain: if there is pain, there is no free flow.
Endometriosis is an increasingly seen condition in the west and most probably caused bythe many stress factors in our modern lives. It has become the commonest cause of secondary dysmenorrhea (painful periods )and also a major factor in the cause of infertility.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that normally lines the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside the uterus and implants in adjacent pelvic organs such as ovaries, fallopian tubes, pelvic ligaments, bowels, rectum ureter or bladder.
This misplaced endometrial tissue behaves just like the uterine lining during the menstrual cycle, both being governed by hormones. Consequently each month during the period time tissue and blood are shed off the endometriosis similarly as the uterine lining sheds off each month and is discharged as a period. With the endometriosis this is shed off, but there is no means for it to be discharged so this then builds up to form masses and lesions within the pelvic cavity.
The symptoms of endometriosis can vary where some women are badly affected, whilst others might not have any noticeable symptoms. The most common symptom is period pain that is not relieved by pain killers, pelvic pain that occurs not only during the period time but at other times, irregular menstruation that can be extremely heavy, infertility and masses in the pelvic cavity.
How is Endometriosis caused according to the principles of Traditional Chinese medicine ?
Chinese medicine views endometriosis largely as stagnation of blood and Qi (energy ) that leads to the congealing and clotting of the blood in the uterus that then manifests as endometriosis. The liver, spleen, and kidney channels run through the pelvis and all can effect menstruation. If any of these channels is blocked, congested or deficient, this will usually manifest in women as some sort of menstrual problem. It is the liver’s job to maintain the free flow of Qi. Stagnant Qi is associated with liver stagnation. The liver is so closely associated with the menstrual cycle that liver Qi in women almost always manifests as some menstrual-related problem. The most common cause of Qi stagnation is stress, which often results in liver Qi ( energy) stagnation that leads to blood stagnation. Blood clots are common when one’s qi and blood is stagnant.
The Qi can become sluggish or stuck due to emotional stagnation or stress. We are now living in a world of high levels of stress, coming from so many different directions and that our bodies and mind have not yet accustomed to. This stress will eventually take its toll on the body. Cold can block the fastest flowing rivers so one can imagine then what cold can do to our bodies. It can cause the blood and Qi to stagnate just like the rivers. The cold can begenerated from eating to many cold foods, going out with cold damp hair, walking on cold floors with bare feet.
How Acupuncture is used to alleviate some of the symptoms of endometriosis:
Acupuncture may benefit those with endometriosis by stimulating the nerves and muscles, thus providing pain relief and reducing inflammation.Acupuncture treatments are administered according to the signs and symptoms prevailing using points located on pathways at which the energy, traveling through them can be manipulated and therapeutically adjusted. Acupuncture for endometriosis will aim to balance the body by using acupuncture points to move blood and Qi stagnation, eliminate cold and damp stagnation, nourish the blood and warm the interior.
Here are a few hints, tips for you to think about :
1. Avoid excessive emotions in general. Maintain an even, free flow of moderate emotions is the same as maintaining an even flow of Qi and blood. Try yoga, Tai Chi or meditation. Or if that’s not for you get out into nature and walk.
2. Just prior and during menstruation allow yourself to take adequate rest.
3. Stress reduction : Maybe its your job, relationship problems, changing residence, taking
more time off, striving for unrealistic goals and expectations and seeking them for the
wrong reasons. Maybe its a slower mindful pace of life that is needed. To be in the present.
4. Exercise can also speed up a sluggish metabolism and increase production of Qi and
blood. Exercise moves the Qi of the whole body thus moving both physical and emotional
blocks, making us feel more relaxed.
5. Chinese medicine places great importance on diet, especially on cooked as opposed to
raw food. Our diet should consist of warm foods. Not too many cold icy foods or cold
liquids that put cold in the interior that can create stagnation. Damp forming foods such as
dairy foods can produce damp/mucus in the body that can create a blockage.
As with most things its about getting a balance and for one person it can be slightly different to the next person.Find out the things that make you happy and relaxed and do them. Eat the foods that energise you, and do the exercises that suits you.