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Exploring the Science: Acupuncture and Its Benefits for Fertility
Miracles & Evidence
By Jane Gregorie - September 17, 2023
Acupuncture as a part of traditional Chinese medicine has been used for thousands of years to treat infertility, and recent biomedical research has shown promising results regarding its role in enhancing fertility as well. As a practitioner with over twenty years of clinical experience in this space, I’ve had the privilege of working with some clients whose success stories feel miraculous. And while I always seek to connect to the spirit of this ancient healing modality, I also keep an eye on the research and integrate Western medical science into our clinical approach. Patients appreciate that we have an intimate understanding of both TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine) and Western Medicine diagnosis when it comes to their fertility care.
The Evidence-Based Benefits of Acupuncture for Fertility
1. Regulation of Hormones
One of the key factors affecting fertility is hormonal balance. Acupuncture has been shown to regulate various hormones that play a crucial role in the reproductive system. Research published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism (2008) found that acupuncture can help regulate the menstrual cycle and improve ovulation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that often leads to infertility.
2. Increased Blood Flow to the Reproductive Organs
Acupuncture has been found to increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. Improved blood circulation to these areas can enhance the quality of the uterine lining and increase the chances of successful implantation. A study in the journal Human Reproduction (2008) reported that acupuncture led to a reduction in blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women.
Reference: Stener-Victorin, E., Waldenström, U., Andersson, S. A., & Wikland, M. (2008). Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture. Human Reproduction, 23( 2), 587–593.
3. Stress Reduction
Stress can have a significant impact on fertility. High stress levels can disrupt hormonal balance and interfere with reproductive function. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce stress and improve emotional well-being. A study published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation (2011) reported that acupuncture decreased anxiety levels in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments.
Reference: Magarelli, P. C., Cridennda, D. K., Cohen, M., & Kinsler, S. (2011). Changes in serum cortisol and prolactin associated with acupuncture during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in women undergoing in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer treatment. Fertility and Sterility, 92(6), 1870–1879.
4. Improved Sperm Quality
Acupuncture isn't just beneficial for women; it can also have positive effects on male fertility. A study published in Fertility and Sterility (2005) found that acupuncture can improve sperm quality, including sperm count, motility, and morphology in men with infertility issues.
Reference: Siterman, S., Eltes, F., Wolfson, V., Zabludovsky, N., Bartoov, B. (2009). Effect of acupuncture on sperm parameters of males suffering from subfertility related to low sperm quality. Archives of Andrology, 41(3), 203–205.
While I’ve seen the miracles happen firsthand for more than twenty years now, the accumulating evidence suggests that acupuncture works. By regulating hormones, improving blood flow to reproductive organs, reducing stress, and enhancing sperm quality, acupuncture offers a holistic approach to fertility support. If you're considering acupuncture as part of your fertility journey, consult with a qualified acupuncture practitioner who specializes in fertility issues. While many acupuncturists will claim to be “fertility specialists” without any advanced training or certification, ABORM-certified providers have advanced training, sit for a rigorous exam, and maintain continuing education to stay up-to-date in the field. Here at Acupuncture Denver, all of our providers are ABORM-certified and Jane Gregorie was among the very first cohort of practitioners to sit for the exam in its inaugural year.
And if you need a reminder that you're not alone on your fertility journey, we're bringing back the women's infertility monthly support group starting Wednesday, September 20th from 6:00-7:30 PM. The support group will meet in the basement conference room of The Logan Building at 899 Logan Street (below our offices) in Denver. Come connect with others, share your story, and find community!