Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs in Richmond, VA
Wang, Xiaoyan , L. Ac., MD (China)
Phone: (804) 301-1784
Email: ,

Infertility is a big problem for many couples these days. Up to 15% of American couples are considered to be infertile. Once a couple decides to embark on fertility therapy with conventional Western medicine, they often face years of expensive, time-consuming and frustrating treatments. The introduction and popularization of traditional Chinese medicine in this country, however, provides new options for infertile couples. Traditional Chinese Medicine for the treatment of infertility can be found in early Chinese medical literature dating back to 11 A.D. These techniques assist in regulating the menstrual cycle and invigorating the sperm, but they also serve to enhance the function of the whole body. This "whole body" health approach, in turn, provides a key to unlocking unlimited potential in healing.

How Does Acupuncture Affect Infertility?

Many studies have shown that acupuncture affects the menstrual cycle by having a neuroendocrine affect on the body. This means that the different combinations of acupuncture points play a role in the release of the hormones responsible for regulating our cycle. Specifically the research has shown that different protocols of acupuncture treatment can:

1. Balance reproductive hormones by increasing the body’s endorphin levels, which eliminates the interference of stress hormones such as cortisol

One of the obvious ways acupuncture treats infertility is by reducing stress. When we are under intense, long-term stressful situations, the human body produces a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is released in the brain altering the brain’s neurochemical balance, which disrupts the pituitary gland and thereby changes the level of sex hormones in the body. Because of the delicate balance between the hypothalamus, pituitary and reproductive organs/glands, this is why stress is able to prevent a woman from ovulating entirely. Stress can also cause spasms in the fallopian tubes and the uterus, which can disrupt implantation. Acupuncture counters the effects of stress and cortisol by causing the brain to release endorphins. Endorphins exert a powerful calming effect on the entire body and this also explains why acupuncture is so relaxing.

2. Strengthen the immune system to prevent immunological complications and decrease inflammation

Strengthening the immune system can play a very important role in conception. The endorphins that are released by the brain during acupuncture can raise the amount of white blood cells, T-cells and antibodies in the body thereby increasing the body’s level of immunity. This becomes important when there are immunological causes for fertility or failed implantation issues. An overactive immune system can also cause unwanted inflammation in the reproductive organs. This is particularly true for women with
endometriosis. Acupuncture can effectively reduce an inflammatory immune response.

3. Increase blood flow to the reproductive organs to promote follicle production & egg and endometrial health

Special acupuncture point combinations and techniques have been shown to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs. Healthy blood that is supported by a healthy diet will provide the ovaries and uterus with more nourishment. The increase in healthy blood flow can increase follicle and egg health and also encourage the lining of the uterus to make a more hospitable environment for an embryo to implant and grow. Using specific acupuncture treatments to increase blood flow to the ovaries in addition to gonadotropin therapy is thought to be responsible for an increase in number of follicles and more importantly the quality of the eggs and subsequent embryos. This is especially true for women who have a poor prognosis either because of age or previously failed cycles. The biggest benefit of acupuncture for
polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) patients is helping to regulate and manage menstrual periods.

4. Enhance the effectiveness of IVF medications and reduce side effects

When couples begin with good quality eggs, sperm and endometrial lining – the chances of an assisted reproductive therapy working are increased dramatically. Aside from how age affects egg quality, there is a lot to be said for how diet, lifestyle factors and overall health play an important role in the body’s ability to conceive and maintain a healthy pregnancy. When a couple prepares ahead of time by maximizing on their inherent fertility, they can proceed with assisted reproductive therapies with the assurance that they have the best chances to succeed. IVF medications can do much more with eggs that are already being nourished with nutrient-rich blood in a hormonally balanced environment and lead you toward healthy embryos. Acupuncture can also help reduce the side effects some women experience from the medications and the stress of the IVF experience. By promoting balance, women tend not to feel such dramatic emotional swings when doing acupuncture. It also addresses the feelings of discomfort in the abdomen, constipation, hot flashes and headaches women can get during the cycle.

5. Improve sperm count, motility and morphology as well as other sexual health problems such as impotence.

In men, the effects of acupuncture on infertility symptoms may be part of a systemic affect on the whole body. As the acupuncture promotes positive health, a significant improvement in the number and quality of sperm is a natural part of this positive health change. Medical studies showed a significant improvement in total functional sperm, the percentage of sperm viability, and the total motile spermatozoa per ejaculate. These results were obtained by taking sperm samples from the men before and after one month of acupuncture treatment.

In addition to the use of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine also can strengthen your entire system, correct your particular imbalances and improve your reproductive function. Wang, Xiaoyan is a National Board Certified and Licensed Acupuncturist (USA) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Doctor (China).  In China, she studied and practiced Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine since 1983. If you would like to pursue this form of treatment or information, please contact Xiaoyan.
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Wang, Xiaoyan
Phone: (804) 301-1784