INFERTILITY & EASTERN MEDICINE
Acupuncture & Other Treatments
If you’ve been struggling with infertility, you’re not alone. In fact, infertility is a common issue affecting around 15% of couples trying to conceive during their reproductive years. Infertility can be a sensitive subject for those who are dealing with it, and most of the societal pressure falls on women. If Western medicine tactics haven’t helped, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) may have a solution for you. Let’s dive into how TCM can assist with infertility issues.
How Does TCM Look at Infertility?
To start, infertility is the inability to get pregnant even when you’re trying to. According to TCM, infertility can occur due to a disruption in balance or blockages in the Qi energy. It may also be caused by a blockage in blood circulation flow or specific organ system or connections like the Heart & Uterus.. Everything in the body is connected in TCM, so when your energy is blocked, it may cause problems in other areas such as infertility.
The organs that are important for fertility in TCM are the kidney, liver and spleen. These organs should be balanced and have the proper energy flow for optimum fertility. Your TCM practitioner will examine these organs for a diagnosis.
What Causes Infertility in TCM?
Infertility issues have been treated by TCM for thousands of years. It’s used all over the world as an alternative and supplemental remedy to Western medicine practices. In fact, TCM has proved to help people get pregnant even when Western medicine failed them. Most of the top Fertility clinics offer Acupuncture as part of Integrative care and are even used prior to IVF and post IVF. TCM is also a great alternative for those who want to focus on all natural fertility treatments instead of Western medicine.
There’s no question that life is stressful for everyone. If you’re trying to get pregnant and can’t, it can make your stress even worse according to research. One thing TCM looks at during an infertility diagnosis are your stress levels. In TCM, stress is connected to Liver Qi stagnation. Symptoms of this include PMS and being irritable.
Your diet can affect ovulation and cause infertility issues. Irregular ovulation is one of the most common causes of infertility. If you’re dealing with irregular ovulation, your TCM practitioner may look at a nutrition plan to improve your diet and see if you can make improvements in fertility. Diet can support each phase of the menstrual cycle and pre and post ovulation recipes are part of any natural fertility plan.There are several other factors your TCM practitioner will look at regarding fertility such as organ balance, lifestyle, and your environment. Once they’ve come to a diagnosis, they’ll create a game plan of TCM methods to help you with your infertility.
TCM Treatments for Infertility
Acupuncture is a common TCM method used to treat infertility. Research has shown that acupuncture can treat a variety of medical conditions that may affect fertility, such as:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Sperm quality
If you are using TCM along with Western medicine such as fertility drugs, acupuncture can also relieve symptoms such as nausea. Think of acupuncture as a type of physical therapy that can improve your infertility issues.
Acupuncture may improve fertility by encouraging blood flow to the organs within the reproductive system. It can also help release toxins, remove pelvic congestion and reduce inflammation within the body.
Typically, acupuncture is the first line of treatment before moving on to other options such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Acupuncture can also help those working through infertility with stress levels and improve their mental health.
In addition to traditional acupuncture needles, your provider may also incorporate Eletcro Acupuncture protocols and Moxibustion heat therapy.
Acupressure Points for Infertility
There are several acupoints that have been known to improve infertility issues and can be used at home. You may find incorporation of essential oils are a great addition to traditional acupressure.
This acupuncture point is also known as ‘Palace of the Child’ and commonly associated with fertility. Located in the lower abdomen, Zi Gong is below the belly button on either side of the stomach. It’s known to regulate the menstrual cycle and improve the overall female reproductive system.
As we mentioned prior, the spleen is an essential organ for fertility in TCM. This acupoint is located on the inner part of your lower leg. Think a few inches above your ankle. Spleen 6 is commonly used for regulating the menstrual cycle and a fertility boost. It’s also great for the rest of the female reproductive system, including the uterus.
Kidney 9 is often referred to as the ‘beautiful baby’ acupoint. The thought is that using this point in acupuncture will help you produce a beautiful baby. It can also encourage blood flow which may increase fertility.
Located on the top side of your foot is the Liver 3 acupuncture point. This is another point that will regulate the menstrual cycle and overall health of the female reproductive system.
TCM Herbal Remedies for Infertility
Another way TCM treats infertility is with herbal remedies. If you’re familiar with TCM, you know that herbal remedies have been used for thousands of years and can treat many ailments when Western medicine fails. TCM herbs can also be used alongside other treatments, such as in this study where a woman successfully became pregnant at 43 using Chinese Herbal Medicine. It’s always important to consult with a practitioner before adding something new to your diet, especially if you have underlying health conditions. Herbal Remedies can be especially helpful for recurrent miscarriage.
Maca is an herb well known in the TCM community for its fertility enhancement. It has even been scientifically studied, confirming that this herb has fertility-enhancing properties. Maca is also an adaptogen, so it can help relieve stress and calm your mind when dealing with infertility issues.
Other TCM herbs that can be used with infertility treatment include:
- Tribulus Terrestris
- Chaste Tree Berry
- Chinese Yam
- Angelica Root
Again, there are many formulas used for centuries so consult your provider for recommendations for the best herbal formula for you. Studies show that taking a Chinese herbal formula can improve pregnancy rates twofold and should be part of any natural treatment plan. If you are undergoing IVF, always speak to your Doctor first.
Infertility issues are a sensitive subject and should be treated with care. If you’re currently experiencing infertility, TCM methods can help improve your success rate at having a child.