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Acupuncture is an ancient form of healing that subscribes to a holistic approach to wellness. Its application is focused on improving or restoring the life force energy that governs the body and mind, also known as Qi (“chi”). By targeting and manipulating meridian points in the body that channel this force, the practitioner can influence the performance and functioning of various organs or body systems. Fertility acupuncture targets those points that are in sync with areas that may inhibit fertility, such as the thyroid. In fact, in many cases, the primary objective of fertility acupuncture is to correct any imbalances that may promote hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, either of which can affect fertility.
Fertility acupuncture is not a cure-all for every infertility problem, though, and its success can’t be guaranteed. For instance, fertility acupuncture can do little about certain issues related to endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease, such as scarring and adhesions of the fallopian tubes or the ovaries. However, is there is sufficient evidence to indicate that fertility acupuncture can help to improve blood flow to the uterine lining, as well as enhance functioning of the fallopian tubes and the ovaries.
Since acupuncture in general is considered to be a complementary therapy, fertility acupuncture is most often used in combination with conventional infertility treatments, in addition to botanical and nutritional therapy. The most successful candidates for this therapy include women with thyroid disorders, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), luteal phase defect (LPD), and those who have experienced unexplained miscarriage. However, treatment with fertility acupuncture is not limited to women. In fact, men with erectile dysfunction or who exhibit a low sperm count also appear to benefit from this therapy.
Treatment typically begins three to four months prior to attempting conception, whether naturally or via artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. However, treatments may continue even after pregnancy has been achieved. In fact, this is often the case for women who have experienced one or more miscarriages during the first trimester. So, in order to help prevent the possibility of miscarrying again, the acupuncturist may recommend continuing treatments up to 12 weeks after conception.
It is highly recommended that couples or individuals interested in exploring fertility acupuncture do so by consulting an acupuncturist that is specifically trained and experienced in fertility disorders. In addition, the practitioner should be licensed and board certified. It is also a good idea to get a general clearance from one’s regular health care practitioner before undergoing any fertility treatment.
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