If you’re trying to conceive – could acupuncture help?
If you’re trying to conceive, it’s good to be proactive in your efforts to conceive. Sometimes the artificial insemination process has to be supported with all possible means. One of these is acupuncture, which strengthens the immunity, improves blood flow, regulates the hormones, and reduces stress, which can have a highly negative impact on women when they are preparing for artificial insemination.
MUDr. Lucie Zahradníková performs acupuncture at the Gynem clinic. She graduated from ProMedico in Mannheim, Germany in the subject of Acupuncture for Gynaecology and Obstetrics.
For women, preparation for artificial insemination means not only cleansing the body, but also achieving your “ideal inner peace” – a state of equilibrium, without stress. “Before starting artificial insemination treatment, it is essential for the client to be mentally at ease and feel that she is ready - that she has done everything she considered necessary to give maximum support to the result of treatment," emphasises MUDr. Zahradníková.
“The most common reason for undergoing acupuncture is the client’s effort to find a feeling of inner peace, to be in harmonz with her situation, to have the feeling that she has cleansed her body, from a healthy diet to regular sport. Only then can she be truly ready for everything that artificial insemination entails ‘at her inner core’,” says MUDr. Zahradníková.
What is acupuncture? What does it involve?
Acupuncture is a component of Chinese medicine, with a history stretching back 4,000 years. It was developed on the basis of many years of observation of nature and people. It uses needles to influence people’s energy pathways, with the aim of inducing a state of equilibrium. Needles pierce the body along what are known as energy pathways, which run throughout the entire body at a depth of 3-5 mm beneath the skin, with meridians touching the surface at what are known as acupuncture points.
Twelve primary pathways are considered to be the basis of the energy complex. A person’s energy flows along these pathways. This network of pathways connects the individual organs of our bodies, and their harmonic flow is the foundation for our health.
Is acupuncture painful?
Acupuncture is traditionally applied to alleviate pain. “Clients are generally most scared of pain. This is only due to lack of knowledge and distrust in the method,” says Dr. Zahradníková. Acupuncture is not painful. When needles are properly applied, the client feels no pain. Points that have been “weakened” may hurt more – but that’s a good sign, isn’t it?
As the size of acupuncture points varies – from 0.2 to 5 mm - acupuncture utilises several sizes of needles. Thinner needles are used for points on the ear. Thicker needles are used for other points, but even then they are very small. Dr. Zahradníková uses 3 mm needles in varying numbers depending on the client’s needs and current problems. Mostly she uses 6-8 needles.
Why is acupuncture an excellent auxiliary method if I want to conceive?
Acupuncture can be used as an auxiliary treatment if you are having difficulty conceiving. Many experts state that it helps to treat female infertility. If there is a disharmony in your body, which can result in the blocking and inhibition of bodily processes, this could even have an effect on the functionality of the reproductive organs. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the most frequent causes of infertility in women are inadequate blood supply to the reproductive organs, exhaustion of the kidneys and blocked coldness in the uterus.
Did you know that acupuncture can help not only women, but also men, prepare for IVF?
Dr. Zahradníková highlights the following benefits of acupuncture for women:
- improves ovary function, supporting better-quality eggs and embryo
- improves blood supply to the uterus and subsequent implantation of the embryo
- regulates oestrogen and progesterone levels, improving growth of the lining of the uterus
- improves responses to stimulation during treatment and mitigates side-effects
- strengthens the immune system
- reduces stress (relaxation of the client reduces tension in the uterus, helping the embryo to settle)
- resolves psychiatric issues such as long-term stress, uncertainty, bad experiences and memories, subconscious fears, etc.
- helps to resolve painful menstruation
- helps to even out the course of menstruation
She also points out that acupuncture can also help the father-to-be, as it improves the sperm count. Dietary adjustments and regular sporting activity, as well as acupuncture, help to achieve faster and better-quality sperm.
When is the right time to start acupuncture?
You can start at any time. The ideal time is three months before that start of IVF treatment in order to regulate bodily functions and increase the success rate for artificial insemination.
How often, and for how long, should I undergo acupuncture in order to achieve results?
We recommend acupuncture once per week for a period of three months (not during menstruation).
When should a client undergoing an IVF / ED cycle go for acupuncture in order to increase the success rate of insemination?
We recommend booking appointments for acupuncture both before and after the embryo transfer (ET).
In conclusion, even though many studies have been carried out to assess the clinical effectiveness of acupuncture, the treatment does not successfully resolve the problems faced by every couple or individual. It always depends on the type of problem that you are trying to resolve. Every individual is unique and acupuncture takes effect with different success rates and at a different pace for everyone.
Acupuncture can therefore help to reduce pain in the client and make then calm and balanced, which is the ideal state for women undergoing artificial insemination. Naturally, both partners make a large contribution to IVF treatment through their activity, responsibility and rest. The pregnancy of the women is then a wish granted, and a success story for both partners..
It’s up to every one of us as to whether we accept acupuncture or not. It’s worth a try.
- Interview with Mudr. Lucie Zahradníková at the Gynem clinic
*The article was translated from the Czech original into English by a translation agency MARVEL, s. r. o.