There are many reasons why acupuncture helps to reduce pain. The general theory in Traditional Chinese Medicine is that there are meridians, or channels, where the energy flows. When these meridians are blocked then pain exists. If the blockages are removed then the pain will stop. The needles help remove the blockages.
Scientists are always looking for an answer. Recently it was discovered that a chemical called adenosine is elevated when a needle is inserted into an acupuncture point. Adenosine is known for regulating sleep, inhibiting nerve signals and decreasing inflammation. Everyone has heard of endorphins, but did you know that they are released into the bloodstream when needles are inserted into the body? For many people it doesn’t matter how acupuncture works, what matters is that they get fast pain relief. Acupuncture does just that!
About 40% of my practice is Women’s Health. Being a woman, I can really relate to female issues. I have helped young women with painful cramps, menopausal women adjusting to a lower level of hormones, and everything in between. Would you like to be free of your PMS or have your anxiety under better control? I can help you. It’s amazing how quickly women respond to acupuncture and herbs for PMS, insomnia, and anxiety. Other problems like endometriosis and fibroids do take more time and dedication, but results are still possible even for those tough issues.
Recently I have seen a lot more women with menopause symptoms. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the decline in estrogen is considered to be a loss of Jing, or essence. When essence is plentiful, our ability to adapt to disease and change is optimal. With age our Jing decreases. There are specific herbs and acupuncture points that can help slow down the loss of Jing.
About 20% of the patients I treat have infertility related problems. I have treated every condition that causes infertility, from fibroids to early menopause. I treat about 40 new infertility patients each year. My success rate for IVF is 65%. For IUI it is about 25%-30%, and for natural conception it is about 40%. I believe that part of my high success rate is because most of my patients receive a series of treatments. They don’t come in and expect to get pregnant with the first treatment, although that did happen twice. Most fertility acupuncture specialists say that patients need a minimum of six months of treatment, on an average of once a week, to have a reasonable chance of conceiving. This type of preconception health care is very important. It involves integrating both Eastern and Western paradigms of diagnosis. It consists of nutritional and herbal supplementation, along with a series of acupuncture treatment that addresses each individual’s imbalances. Unfortunately many men also have poor motility, morphology or low sperm counts. Their sperm can also be improved with acupuncture and herbs.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are very effective for all forms of infertility, from the frustrating diagnosis of “etiology unknown” to IVF. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can raise the fertility quotient for women by improving the quality and quantity of Qi and blood. By placing the needles in strategic places a patient’s Qi can be augmented and balanced. If Qi is flowing properly in all the meridians then the blood will also flow properly.
Not only do the needles support the body’s own Qi and blood, they also open up certain specific meridians that help with fertility. The two main meridians that are involved with conception are the Ren and the Chong meridians. The Ren meridian is also known as the Conception meridian.
In a landmark study published in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility it was found that acupuncture dramatically improves the chances of becoming pregnant when used in conjunction with other assisted reproductive techniques. Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York reviewed studies and concluded that acupuncture helps to:
- Increase blood flow to the uterus, which improves the chances of an ovum implanting on the uterine wall
- Positively affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis which plays a key role in fertility
- Normalize hormone and endocrine systems that regulate ovulation, especially in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Regulate the menstrual cycle
Even though the study in Fertility and Sterility was related to ART (assisted reproductive techniques), the findings can be extrapolated to any form of infertility.
Chinese herbs can also play a key role in fertility. In China herbs are used for all forms of infertility, even during IUI and IVF cycles. Here in the United States many ART doctors do not feel comfortable with herbs being taken during medicated cycles. I let the patient make their own informed decision. If a patient is not using ART, I strongly recommend herbs because they are a very powerful adjunct.
I am very dedicated to my infertility practice. I constantly go to classes and study this field. I often feel like I have a large extended family with all the new babies being born. Since I have been in practice so long, I am now having some of the babies come back to me as teenage patients!