fertility acupuncture

Many couples face a journey once they decide to conceive. Even if you don’t have reason to suspect that you may have problems conceiving, many individuals start to make healthier choices that support greater chances of successful conception. But for some couples, this may be their first time experiencing acupuncture. An overview of how acupuncture works and what acupuncture points come into play is provided below.

How Does Acupuncture for Fertility Work?

Acupuncture is an effective way to help women conceive. Some conditions, such as pelvic inflammatory disease and endometriosis, might not solve fertility challenges with acupuncture alone. In these instances, the couple may work with their OB/GYN or general practitioner to identify other strategies to overcome their unique challenges.

Some of the physical benefits when acupuncture is performed to increase fertility include:

  • Reducing depression, which can disproportionately impact women struggling to conceive.
  • Addressing issues with an over- or under-active thyroid.
  • Decrease stress and anxiety that can contribute to fertility problems and the risk of miscarriage after conception.
  • Improving egg quality, which occurs when stress is reduced, and blood flow to the ovaries is increased.
  • Balancing hormones throughout the monthly cycle so that the body has the right combination during conception.
  • Improving the womb lining to increase the chance for successful implantation.
  • Increasing the chances for successful IVF therapy and reducing the risk of miscarriage after the embryo has been transferred.

While there may be some benefit to only pursuing fertility acupuncture treatment, it tends to work best when combined with herbal medicine and lifestyle changes that also optimize the body’s performance for conception.

Preparing the Body

When planning to integrate fertility acupuncture into your planning, it works best when incorporating a diet that will encourage fertility. The best time to begin fertility acupuncture is 3 to 4 months prior to attempting to conceive. Diet plays an important role in preparing the body.

According to herbal medicine research, the following foods are listed as the best fertility-enhancing foods:

Flax seeds
Flax seeds are high in Omega 3 and Omega 6, B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese, and essential fatty acids that help keep your hormones balanced.

Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds contain as much calcium as a cup of milk, and are a good alternative to dairy. They are high in iron and contain the highest levels of protein when compared to other seeds and nuts.

Nuts are a good source of fat, protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. Nuts are gametes and are very effective in fertility boosting because they are considered offspring (like seeds and eggs.)

Goji berries
Goji beries are packed full of antioxidants and have been shown to increase sperm count and promote follicle growth.

Brown rice
Brown rice contains contain fertilized germ cells and a wide variety of B vitamins, is mineral-rich, and is high in fiber. Brown rice also keeps blood sugar balanced.

Beans and lentils are good sources of plant protein and fiber and are high in important minerals and vitamins like folate, manganese, thiamin, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and iron, all essential for boosting fertility.

According to Chinese medicine, one of the best types of seaweed to eat is called Nori, and Nori is an excellent source of Vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, and zinc, all necessary for creating a healthy fertile environment in your body.

Artichoke hearts are packed with vitamins and minerals like iron, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese, as well as protein, fiber, and digestive soothing enzymes.

Sprouts contain the energy and nutrients of the fully formed plan and are valued by Chinese medicine for increasing fertility. Sprouts can help to create a more alkaline environment in the body. This is critical as cervical fluid must be alkaline for sperm to survive

Eggs can help with achieving optimal hormone balance for conceiving. Eggs contain cholesterol which is one of the essential building blocks of every cell and sex hormone in the body. They contain the antioxidant lutein and choline.

What to Expect at My Acupuncture Appointment?

An initial consultation with an acupuncturist will include an in-depth interview to understand your challenges, concerns, and any relevant medical information. If it has been determined that you can benefit from acupuncture, the doctor will insert needles into a variety of acupuncture points related to fertility, including:

  • Yin-Tang: This point is often called the ‘third eye,’ as it is located between the eyebrows. It can reduce stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
  • Liver 3: This point is located on the top side of the foot, between the first and second toe. It can regulate the Yin and Yang balance of Qi circulation and helps to regulate the menstrual cycle, facilitate blood circulation, and reduce headaches, stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
  • Kidney 9/Beautiful Baby Point: Located between your ankle and knee on the inner portion of your leg, this point is believed to help make a beautiful baby by calming the mind and facilitate blood circulation.
  • Zi Gong/Palace of the Child: This point can regulate the menstrual cycle and provides benefits to the uterus and ovaries. It is located in the lower abdomen, below the belly button on either side of the stomach. Deep stimulation should be avoided if pregnant or actively trying to conceive.
  • Ren 3, 4, 6 & 12: These points all occur on the abdomen midline, either below or above the belly button. This area is called the Ren channel, or Conception channel, and it is important for both male and female fertility. It can regulate the Qi and benefit the reproductive organs of both genders. Ren 6 can also help to regulate hormones and help with a variety of gynecological disorders.
  • Spleen 6: Also on your lower inner leg, this point is located just above the ankle. It can calm the mind, helps with anxiety, stress, and insomnia, regulates the menstrual cycle, and benefits the ovaries and uterus.
  • Stomach 36: This point is below the kneecap, slightly lateral to the tibia. It can build your Qi and blood. It also helps to calm the spirit and balance emotions.

There are minimal risks when seeking acupuncture for fertility support, which is why you should ensure that you consult with a knowledgeable, experienced acupuncturist that specializes in treating fertility problems.

It’s also crucial to understand that acupuncture can impact different patients with varying degrees of success. Improved fertility related to acupuncture can range from around 1 percent to 50 percent. And while the rates of success vary wildly, it is widely accepted that it usually does not have a negative impact on fertility.

Deciding to pursue acupuncture treatment before or during pregnancy is a very personal decision. It can provide many benefits that increase the body’s performance by helping it to achieve ideal conditions for conception. After conception, it can also help with morning sickness, fatigue, aches and pains, and depression. If you are considering acupuncture for enhancing fertility, there is no harm in discussing it with your doctor or a licensed acupuncturist to find out more information – it might be the right course of action to address your fertility challenges.