If you’ve heard that acupuncture can help to boost your fertility, but wondered how it actually works, we’ve got your answers here!
A lot of people think acupuncture is a ‘woo-energy thing’ but the way it works to improve your fertility is actually all about blood flow.
Here’s how we affect your fertility with acupuncture and herbs:
1) Acupuncture helps the brain to open up blood flow along lines of fascia (connective tissue) in the body. Everybody has heard of the IT band, right? (It’s that thick band that gets tight on the outside of your thigh.)
Well, just like your IT band connects to your hip & side body, you also have fascia that connects to the pelvic muscles and organs. Relaxing this fascia and bringing the body’s attention there improves blood flow, especially on the microcirculation level (like all the little capillaries that go to your ovaries). Better blood flow = better function.
2) Herbs and dietary changes improve your blood quality. Herbs help to build blood, improve the flow of blood and lymph, and boost digestive function. Dietary changes like drinking bone broth and eating more warm, cooked foods are aimed at improving your nutrient absorption. Better blood quality and flow improve organ function (like liver function, ovulatory function etc).
3) Acupuncture helps to reduce inflammation. If you have PCOS, painful periods, endometriosis or other inflammatory conditions, acupuncture and herbs can help the body to reduce inflammation and shift these patterns. Addressing these underlying patterns to improve your periods now may help you have a healthier pregnancy once you do get pregnant.
4) Acupuncture helps you relax which lowers cortisol. Lowering cortisol allows other hormones to normalize. In our busy world, we hardly ever slow down, even our resting time is often spent on a screen. Add that blue light stimulation to the stress of experiencing infertility and the never-ending news cycle – we are often in a mini-fight-or-flight state on a regular basis. This is one reason why acupuncture and Circle + Bloom guided meditations are so powerful for your fertility.
5) We treat the whole body. If you have other issues, like constipation, digestive bloating or insomnia for instance, those are also likely affecting your fertility. We work on these conditions too! Improving digestion and sleep affects nutrient intake, hormone levels and organ function, which improves your blood quality. Our holistic view of the body looks at the big picture.
“You say acupuncture isn’t woo, but what about this Qi thing?”
Another question people often ask about acupuncture is about “Qi”, which often gets translated as ‘energy’. “Qi” is a holistic term for all of the processes in the body that modern medicine now calls by other names.
We now know that the body communicates and functions with a series of electrical and chemical reactions. Gaso-transmitters like nitric oxide regulate action in the ovaries, for instance. A calcium pump transports ATP (cellular energy) across cell membranes.
Qi is really a metaphor for these various functions in the body.
If you want to keep thinking of Qi as magic energy, go right ahead. It can feel that way sometimes 😉✨💫
Can any acupuncturist treat fertility?
No. Because of the way our medicine looks at the body, acupuncturists often treat a wide range of conditions with good results. When it comes to fertility, however, it’s really important to find an acupuncturist who specializes in treating fertility. There is a lot of specialized training and research to keep up with in the reproductive acupuncture world. If you can’t find a board-certified reproductive acupuncturist near you (through aborm.org), you should ask what percentage of an acupuncturist’s practice consists of fertility patients to make sure that they really have the experience to be able to help you effectively.
Ok so the final question we get all. the. time is “When should I start acupuncture to help with infertility?”
The answer is NOW! Research shows the best outcomes with holistic treatment for at least 3 months. If you have menstrual cycle issues like irregular, heavy or painful periods, starting acupuncture even earlier is a great idea to address the underlying condition before you get pregnant. If you’re working on a shorter timeline because of an upcoming procedure, acupuncture can still help, we try to get you in for at least 8 treatments beforehand. Just know we usually can’t give you herbs while you’re on a stim cycle, so starting treatment before you get into your IVF cycle is a good idea.
What questions do you have about improving your fertility, or about acupuncture for fertility? We want to know! Leave your questions in the comments or send us a message through the contact page.