This is often the most significant question asked, as people want to know what is happening to make 'something happen'. And the answer can be made from both a scientific angle as well as the Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) view, of which acupuncture is of course, based upon.
Scientifically speaking, acupuncture has been shown to improve circulation in your pelvic region as well as improving your uterine function in terms of relaxing muscle tissue, thus enabling your embryo a better chance at implanting. Acupuncture is also believed to help stimulate follicle production, improve the quality of your eggs, and enhance the thickening of your uterine wall to help prevent miscarriage (most likely through the stimulation of progesterone and other hormone production).
What does TCM say about fertility?
In terms of Chinese Medical theory, there are again a couple of different ways to explain how acupuncture can help with fertility. Firstly, acupuncture helps by unblocking energy pathways (meridians) that run through your body. By either boosting your energy (Qi) to help move things along, or by removing excess stagnation, you can help your energy flow better, and thus make you more fertile, i.e. more receptive to accepting the energy flow of another – essentially the energetic requirement to making a baby!
Another way you can understand how acupuncture helps with fertility is to look at the Theory of Five Elements, which basically says that there are five main elements in the universe, and that each of these elements corresponds to five main organs in your body: your Lungs, Heart, Kidneys, Liver, and Spleen (capitalized to differentiate from the scientific definitions of these organs). Your Kidneys are responsible for storing your life essence, which is responsible for reproduction, growth and ageing. When your Kidneys are deficient, often due to lifestyle factors such as stress or diet, fertility may become an issue. Other patterns of fertility issues include Liver Qi stagnation, which involves the blockage of Qi at various points in your reproductive channels, and Spleen Qi and Blood deficiency, which can lead to a lack of energy required to either move out blockage or can make fertility an issue because an appropriate amount of Qi and Blood are required for you to reproduce.
Is it a lengthy process to conceive with acupuncture?
It would be great to say that there is the right tonic or pill available for you at your local health food store, but the truth is that our patterns vary from day to day, and so regular visits to your acupuncturist are advisable, especially when seeking out help with fertility issues. A decent fertility program (like the one available at Yellow Gazebo) more than likely requires treatment weekly for a twelve week period. This length of time (which may also require some lifestyle changes) is necessary to help balance your menstrual flow and make you more fertile. Acupuncture is a great adjunct, therefore, to in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other scientifically-based therapies, as it does not interfere but rather enhance them.
For more information, and to obtain your own free TCM diagnosis, contact us.
By Richard Lobbenberg, Acupuncturist and TCM Practitioner
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