Acupuncture reduces the stress hormone cortisone that imbalances fertility hormones
Cortisone as well as cortisol are stress hormones that can impact many aspects of fertility.
Both of these hormones are released by the adrenals located on top of the kidneys. If you find your lower back is tense on top of your kidneys, it may indicate excessive adrenal activity and stress.
The adrenals make up the hypothalamus-pituitary gland system, which can also impact the hypothalamus-pituitary ovary system, thereby affecting fertility.
Once these powerful hormones have been released into the body, they affect the pituitary gland and it's release of hormones, including FSH, LH and oxytocin. If the production of FSH is reduced by the pituitary gland then ovulation is less likely to occur as FSH stimulates the ovaries to grow eggs.
Cortisone can also affect labour. It's common for women who are in labour to stop having contractions once they are admitted to hospital. This is because the sight of the hospital and the fact its really happening can make many women stressed. This stress causes the adrenals to release cortisone which stops the pituitary gland producing oxytocin and the contractions stop.
Acupuncture has been found to reduce levels of these stress hormones, thereby regulating other hormones such as FSH, LH and oxytocin. Acupuncture is therefore a beneficial tool to women trying to conceive who are stressed with their fertility and to women entering labour who are worried about the process, especially if it's their first one.References
Asadi, et al. (2015) Effects of LI-4 and SP-6 Acupuncture on Labor Pain, Cortisol Level and Duration of Labor. J Acupunct Meridian Stud; 8(5):249-54.
Magarelli, et al. (2008) Changes in serum cortisol and prolactin associated with acupuncture during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in women undergoing in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer treatment. Fertil Steril; 92(6).
Magarelli et al. (2009) Changes in serum cortisol and prolactin associated with acupuncture during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in women undergoing in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer treatment. Fertil Steril; 92:1870–9.
Sun, et al. (2007) Influence of Acupuncture on HPA Axis in a Rat Model of Chronic Stress-induced Depression. Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science, Volume 5, Issue 4, 205–208.