Will Acupuncture Improve Fertility?

In New York, New York and in other areas of the country, couples experiencing infertility have found success through acupuncture. While not a traditional approach to improving one's fertility, acupuncture has helped many patients and couples improve their fertility and conceive. Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles in specific areas on the body so that when stimulated they open pathways to regulate the body's functions. It may be used in conjunction with herbal medicine or other alternative fertility treatments.

In many cases, patients may combine acupuncture with more traditional Western approaches to fertility treatment including in vitro fertilization and other assisted reproductive technologies. Before combining any treatment, however, interested individuals should speak with a trained professional to ensure their safety.

Acupuncture may be used to help patients overcome a variety of conditions or find relief from various symptoms. Those with endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), low sperm count, poor egg quality, low ovarian reserve, advanced maternal age, sperm DNA fragmentation and implantation failure may find success through acupuncture. Other causes of infertility such as immunological causes of infertility, recurrent miscarriage and unexplained infertility may also be treated with acupuncture. To determine one's candidacy for acupuncture, interested individuals should consult a licensed acupuncturist.

To become certified to perform acupuncture, doctors or aspiring acupuncturists must meet certain training requirements. It's worth mentioning that roughly half of a certification exam involves knowledge of western medicine.

Practitioners of acupuncture believe that a life force known as Qi flows through the body and protects it from ailments and symptoms such as pain, illness or disease. Practitioners believe that this energy may become blocked by stress, poor diet, trauma and a lack of physical activity or exercise. This may manifest itself as infertility. The internal reproduction organs may be better able to function properly once this energy is unblocked through acupuncture.

Placing needles in specific parts of the body helps to release Qi. The specific points and depths at which to place the needles are determined following a personal assessment by the practitioner. The release of positive energy is thought to push out negative energy. Most acupuncture sessions take between 20 and 30 minutes to perform. Patients must lie still while the needles are manually stimulated by the practitioner. New, sterile needles are used for each patient.

The treatment may help to reduce stress, correct hormonal imbalances, strengthen the woman's immune system, increase blood flow to the uterus, increase the thickness of the uterine lining and to reduce any negative side effects of fertility drugs. The exact reasons for acupuncture's success are not fully understood, but the treatment helps to improve blood flow to reproductive organs, reduces stress inhibiting infertility and helps to improve the quality of eggs produced.

Most practitioners recommend acupuncture three to six months prior to beginning a fertility treatment. Some choose to undergo a session right before or after treatment. As most miscarriages occur in the first trimester, many experts recommend continuing treatment until week thirteen to help prevent miscarriage.

Patients should seek treatment from a professional who is thoroughly trained in performing acupuncture. While risks associated with this treatment are low, it is nonetheless important to receive treatment from a talented individual to help ensure results. The cost of acupuncture varies from about $60 to $120 per session depending on the clinic. The overall cost of the treatment will obviously depend on the number of treatments required. For optimal results, many recommend undergoing 12 sessions of acupuncture, although the practitioner will make an assessment on an individual basis.

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