Acupuncture does more than just relax people; it regulates the hypothalamus thereby regulating fertility hormones as well as regulating energy and blood flow within the body, regulating the fertility hormones contained within the blood again, which all help to regulate the menstrual cycle. It is the menstrual cycle that is the most important aspect of fertility treatment within Chinese medicine and yet is something greatly overlooked in western medicine.
Most women think that premenstrual symptoms such as sweating at night, abdominal cramps, pain, tender breasts, lower back pain, premenstrual stress (PMS/PMT) are normal but they are not. In Chinese medicine these are all abnormal and give insights into what internal imbalance a woman might have. Research has shown that having acupuncture weekly for 9 weeks reduced the time to conception by halve.
The principal aims of Chinese medicine are to regulate the menstrual cycle, reduce anxiety and stress and boost the digestive system to produce more energy and blood thereby improving fertility. All of these aspects can be greatly achieved using acupuncture. Together with dietary advice, which I give to all my patients, enhances deficiencies or reduces excesses to achieve a normal state where the body is more able to fall pregnant and carry a pregnancy.
How does acupuncture help with infertility?
Research has shown that having acupuncture treatment can benefit many aspects of fertility, for both men and women. In men, having acupuncture treatment can improve sperm quality and increase motility (the way sperm move). In women, acupuncture can regulate hormones, reduce FSH levels, increase AMH levels, improve ovulation, implantation and reduce the likelihood of having a miscarriage.
When should I have acupuncture in my menstrual cycle?
A lot of my patients ask me when is it beneficial to have acupuncture in their cycle. As acupuncture can tackle different aspects of fertility, it is beneficial to have it during most part of the cycle. Personally, I don't believe it's necessary to have acupuncture when you're bleeding heavily at the start of your menstrual cycle as your FSH levels are still low.
From around day 4-5 of your cycle, when FSH levels start to rise, having acupuncture can help with follicle growth and maturation. Once ovulation has occurred, acupuncture can help with implantation 5-7 days afterwards. The last week of the menstrual cycle, acupuncture can help with the anxiety and emotional stress of wondering if you are pregnant or not.
How often do I need to have acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a dose like every other treatment. It's affects last for around 3-4 days then need to be repeated. It is therefore ideal to have acupuncture twice a week. Due to financial constraints, some people will have acupuncture once a week. Having acupuncture less frequently than this is not advisable as it's effects will be minimal and lost as people's day-to-day life and work stresses soon build up again after acupuncture has reduced them.
How long does it take for acupuncture for fertility to work?
It's difficult to predict when acupuncture will work enough for a woman to fall pregnant. Generally, it takes around 3-4 months for health and fertility to improve enough for natural conception. The time it takes to conceive naturally can be reduced by optimising both lifestlye and diet and by taking Chinese herbs.
How long should I have acupuncture for?
You should continue having acupuncture from trying naturally and it becoming successful through into pregnancy. How long into the pregnancy depends upon the couple's fertility journey and financial constraints. Once pregnant, couples often think everything is ok and then look ahead to once the baby is born and their financial situation, which makes them cut back on private healthcare expenditure, such as acupuncture. This can often be a false economy. Fertility is three parts, getting pregnant, maintaining the pregnancy and breast-feeding.
If the couple fell pregnant naturally, they should have acupuncture until at least 12 weeks. Although some woman like to have acupuncture longer to help with anxiety and ensure the pregnancy carries on smoothly, which is good for the pregnancy as any problems can be picked up before they develop further.
If the pregnancy is via IVF or the couple have had repeated miscarriages after falling pregnant naturally, I recommend having acupuncture until at least 20 weeks. Again, this is the minimum length I would recommend. Having acupuncture throughout the whole pregnancy is ideal. Acupuncture can then be restarted at 35 weeks to help prepare the mother for labour.
Fertility Acupuncture in Wokingham, Berkshire
Dr (TCM) Attilio D'Alberto practices fertility acupuncture from his own private clinic in Wokingham. For those in London, Attilio also practices out of his Twickenham Acupuncture Clinic which might be more convenient. To make an appointment, please telephone the number above or send an email.