Guest Blog by Aradhna Behl, L.Ac., Founder of Hoboken Acupuncture, based in Hoboken, N.J., is dedicated to providing customized treatments that include Chinese medicine practices such as acupuncture and herbology to promote overall wellness, as well as treat infertility and other conditions.
Although couples often are consumed with high-tech reproductive technology, there is an alternative and practical—yet powerful—method to enhance fertility. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), i.e. acupuncture and herbal medicine, has been used to assist fertility for centuries throughout China and Asia. Today, this medical system is becoming an integral part of treatment here in the U.S. for a growing number of patients.
The Chinese Physiology of Infertility
Studies have shown that Chinese medicine has several positive effects on stress and hormonal imbalance:
- Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can regulate the hormonal system in the body, for example the levels of estrogen and progesterone. It can help lower FSH levels, indicators of declining reproductive health, thereby improving egg quality. TCM can treat ovulation difficulties and other disorders that could be implicated in the causes of infertility, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, fibroids, endometriosis, etc.
- Studies show that acupuncture improves the blood flow to the pelvic area, which also improves the blood flow to the uterus, ovaries and the endometrial lining. One study demonstrates that blood flow to the pelvic area reduces as we age and can cause egg quality to rapidly decline. If a woman’s hormonal health is improved and her ovarian response heightened by increased blood flow to the ovaries, providing better nourishment and a better environment to the follicles, some of the concerns that women in their late 30’s and early 40’s have regarding aging eggs can be offset.
- Increasing blood flow to the region also means a more hospitable environment for the fertilized egg to implant. Improved blood flow to the endometrial lining enhances its quality and thickness. Acupuncture also raises chances of implantation by having a sympatho-inhibitory effect on the uterus (i.e., it reduces uterine contractions). Also, optimal levels of progesterone are produced by the body due to the regulatory effect medicine has on the hormonal system. Therefore, the womb is able to provide the ideal environment for the fetus so that not only can implantation occur, but also the chances of miscarriage are reduced.
- It’s important to note that acupuncture can also enhance male fertility by improving sperm count motility and morphology.
Western Medical Approaches
Acupuncture can also be used to heighten the effect of IVF and IUI treatments. Studies show that acupuncture along with IVF treatments can increase pregnancy success rates by 50%. Stress reduction, improved blood flow to the endometrium and reduced contractility to the uterus assist with implantation when acupuncture is performed at the time of IUI, or in the case of IVF, when the transfer of fertilized eggs is complete. In addition, acupuncture helps to reduce the side effects experienced with fertility drugs.
An Integrated Solution
A multi-pronged approach is a sensible method where one can use both Western and Eastern medical systems to dramatically increase the odds of conception. Today’s acupuncturist uses Western diagnostics, such as blood tests to determine hormone levels, to ascertain and confirm their Chinese medical diagnosis. At Hoboken Acupuncture, we have had great success integrating Eastern and Western medicine and have been able to help our clients achieve optimal health – resulting in successful pregnancies in many cases where Western methodology, alone, was not enough. We use blood tests and Basal Body Temperature Charts to monitor hormones during menstrual cycles so that acupuncture and herbal medicine protocols can be customized to the individual’s response. We give direction in terms of lifestyle, exercise and nutrition and require that the patient understands achieving balance or good health is not a passive, but a dynamic process that requires the participation of both the patient and the practitioner.
About Aradhna Behl & Hoboken Acupuncture
Aradhna Behl, L.Ac., is a national board certified acupuncturist and founder of Hoboken Acupuncture. She holds a Master of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine from Pacific Institute of Oriental Medicine in New York. Hoboken Acupuncture, based in Hoboken, N.J., is dedicated to providing customized treatments that include Chinese medicine practices such as acupuncture and herbology to promote overall wellness, as well as treat infertility and other conditions.