Acupuncture for Fertility

Picture of Mind Body Baby
Mind Body Baby

Vikki Nestico, L.Ac
Grand Wellness Acupuncture

How Can Acupuncture Help Me Get Pregnant?

The quick answer is… Acupuncture helps deliver more nutrient rich blood to the ovaries to create healthier eggs as well as improving the quality and receptivity of the endometrium. (Whew!)

Sounds great, right? But exactly how our tiny needles influence female (and male) reproductive function is a little more complicated and not even completely understood by modern science. In other words, medical researchers see the positive fertility outcomes using acupuncture but can’t put a finger on the full and exact mechanisms of action, because one little poke engages so many functions in the body.

What is understood through the eyes of western medicine is that acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (CM) have a keen ability to affect the neuroendocrine system; increasing circulation to the reproductive organs, balancing hormones and reducing stress all of which are a big deal for enhancing fertility.

(flip to Chinese Medicine now!)

First, our treatments are about preparing the body like we would a garden, nourishing the soil for the seed to grow. Which makes diet and digestion very important. They are the root of the energy and blood production necessary for conception. Many clients come in cleansing their body with salads and smoothies. Through our eyes in CM this is not a time to cleanse, but a time to build. We recommend foods that are warm, nutrient rich and easy to digest like eggs, soups and steamed or roasted vegetables so we have more absorbable nutrients for our eggs and sperm to bathe in. The warmth of the food we recommend also keeps our belly warm. A warm uterus builds a receptive endometrium. The goal is a bun in the oven, right?

A second key for conception is a great sleep! Sleep is how we rejuvenate, and research shows that poor sleep interferes with hormones that regulate the reproductive system, both male and female, leading to irregular menstrual cycles and diminished egg and sperm quality. We also tend to make crappy decisions when we are not rested, drinking more caffeine, eating more snacks and our reactions to stressors can be quicker and a bit more prickly. This is where we pop in! If you have ever had acupuncture you know that a fabulous side effect to any treatment is better sleep quality!

… and then there is stress and anxiety. Find me a woman who has never had their cycle affected during a stressful time. Now add “trying to get pregnant” into the mix. In Chinese medicine (CM), stress is closely related to what we call Liver Qi stagnation. If you have had acupuncture before, you may already be acquainted with your “Chinese Liver,” which shows its imbalance through symptoms like irritability, depression, tightness in the chest or PMS… ultimately feeling stuck. Sound familiar? Our body and mind are one unified system so if we’re feeling stuck you can bet your system isn’t flowing freely. Acupuncture rocks at relaxing the body, releasing the Liver Qi, with effects that last for days. During this time our blood vessels dilate to increase nourishment to our organs… that’s why we feel so good… and with our tiny needles we can push the reproductive organs to the top of that list.

So when does the menstrual cycle conversation come into play? Now! In CM the cause of problems like menstrual irregularity, anovulation, diminished ovarian reserve and recurrent miscarriage (to name a few) connect with four main organs; our Kidneys, Heart, Liver and Spleen. These organs are far broader in function in CM than their western counterparts. When they are functioning well, a woman will have regular periods and should be ready to conceive. When they are not, the flow of Qi and Blood is affected and plentiful nourishment may not reach all the tissues of the body. Our body has a pecking order as to where to circulate Qi and Blood, first for survival, and unfortunately the reproductive organs are not at the top of the list. Oh, and do you know what travels in the blood and is a part of that nourishment? Hormones! This is why acupuncture is so great at supporting fertility. It’s about optimizing how your body builds blood and opens circulation to enhance that magic moment of conception … even if you are using fertility medications.

Lastly, at Grand Wellness we focus not only on effective acupuncture treatments, but education and lots of take home tools like acupressure, moxibustion, herbs, and diet and lifestyle recommendations. Fertility is about preparing the whole body, and Chinese medicine is a graceful and effective way to bring all the parts of our body back to one cohesive and functioning whole. A balanced body that is ready to flourish with life!

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