There are many ways in which acupuncture can assist your natural fertility. Our aim is to support you in your fertility journey, to support your choices and wishes and where ever possible enhance your fertile capacities and to nurture your sense of well being throughout your experience.
We are here to help support the ways that you can improve your own fertility through adding in the wisdom of the Chinese diagnosis, and enhancing your health through improved diet and lifestyle.
The garden analogy is often used when discussing fertility, for germination depends on just the right balance of nutrients in the soil, a good balance of light and moisture, not too hot, not too cold... all the things we need for a good crop to grow. The quality of the seeds is just as important as the receptive nourishment of the soil. Healthy plants will grow from healthy seeds.
In Chinese medicine, we make our diagnosis in respect of the 'climate' and the internal condition. We call this the constitutional diagnosis. Our aim is to help clear stagnation and blockages, to supplement deficiencies, improving your nutritive uptake, and to balance the internal temperatures to create that nice incubatory climate to give the seeds a chance to germinate.
How does Fertility Acupuncture Work?
1. Regulating fertility hormones
Acupuncture can promote the release of key hormones, including follicle stimulating hormones, whilst affecting oestrogen and progesterone levels, helping to manage conditions such as endometriosis.
2. Increasing blood flow
Acupuncture can help improve blood flow to the ovaries for follicle development and also to the uterus, improving the thickness of the endometrial lining for embryo implantation.
3. Counteracting the effects of PCOS
By reducing sympathetic nerve activity and balancing hormone levels, acupuncture may help to reduce the number of ovarian cysts, stimulate ovulation, enhance blastocyst implantation and regulate the menstrual cycle in women with PCOS.
4. Reducing Stress
When we experience stress, our reproductive hormones, amongst other things, can shut down. Stress over a sustained period of time can have significant impact on our sexual function and our fertility.
Nutrition for Fertility
The links between diet and fertility can be traced back to Hippocrates who advocated special diets for both men and women in order to optimise fertility.
Our current evidence base recognises that each partner plays an equal role in conception and fertility, with male infertility affecting up to one-third of couples. It is important, therefore, that both partners optimise their nutritional status prior to conception.
The impact of diet on ovulation
The main way diet affects fertility is through ovulation and issues with ovulation contribute to one third of all infertility cases. Adequate hormonal function is essential for successful ovulation, however a poor diet can play havoc with our hormones, which in turn, can lead to ovulatory issues.
Food-led hormonal imbalances
Most women are familiar with hormones like oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone which are essential for fertility, but another often over looked hormone is insulin. Excess insulin in your body can interfere with ovulation by stopping eggs from maturing properly and increasing ovarian cyst formation. A woman will often have high insulin levels if she eats a carbohydrate-dominant diet with lots of sugar and starchy foods, e.g. white bread, white flour, white potatoes, white rice. This type of diet forces the pancreas to release a lot more insulin than usual to help the body metabolise the large amount of carbohydrates being consumed.
Over 40% of fertility issues are male factor. This is primarily due to the detrimental influences of modern lifestyle: the effects of sub-nutritional diet and/or poor eating habits, not to mention the culture of overwork, long commutes and the constant overexposure to electromagnetic influence - laptops over the groin, mobile phones in trouser pockets, long days spent in front of the computer, wifi everywhere. Then of course there may be issues around excess alcohol and smoking. For all these reasons, and more, we are seeing ever decreasing sperm parameters.
TCM can offer a great deal towards helping you improve your sperm parameters using the constitutional diagnosis to help guideline dietary and lifestyle advice to help countermand the detrimental influences of daily life.
In TCM we may use the Western sperm analysis to help determine the direction of the treatment. We look at the concentration (sperm count), the motility (how well they are moving), the morphology (how they are shaped), as well as the volume, pH and the viscosity, and in combination with the underlying constitutional diagnosis formulate a treatment plan to improve parameters.