Acupuncture is a medical practice that has originated from China over 2,000 years ago and is traditionally aimed at restoring the energy flow to the body. This is done by inserting sterile, ultra-thin needles into specific points on the body, which can regulate its functions. In doing this, acupuncture causes the body to relax and subsequently heal. Acupuncture is the most commonly used complementary therapy in conjunction with fertility treatment, especially by patients undergoing IVF. Research published worldwide has shown how this ancient practice has improved pregnancy rates for a number of reasons:
- Regulating fertility hormones – Stress, as well as other factors, can cause an imbalance in hormones which may negatively impact on fertility. Acupuncture promotes follicle stimulating hormones and the release of oestrogen and progesterone.
- Increasing the blood flow to reproductive organs – this improves the environment for follicle development and embryo implantation. It also allows antibodies to attack viruses and infections within the body.
- Counteracting the effects of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which is common in women and can lead to infertility. Acupuncture can also help decrease the effects of other fertility issues such as endometriosis, ovulation issues, menstrual cycle irregularities and recurrent miscarriages.
- Improvement of sperm quality, count and motility.
- Reducing stress.