Where East Meets West
Infertility has increased significantly in the past decade due to modern day living. Many couples are now conceiving in later years, after they have established a comfortable home to bring a family into. Constant stresses from work, finances, poor lifestyle choices, lack of sleep, enhancement of stimulants and lack of self nourishment has led us to compromise our health.
The increase of female condition such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, fibroids, an-ovulation and poor egg quality has seen a rise in the last decade. Its not only the females, males are experiencing having low sperm count and poor motility. This has lead more couples to seek assisted reproductive technologies (ART) to help achieve conception. Often with such conditions, natural conception is still possible but can come with a much-needed time and patients. Many years can pass without any success. Acupuncture, herbal medicine and nutritional medicine have all been shown to help for natural conception in those wanting to conceive without Western interventions.
ART increases chances of conception where there are impediments to this happening naturally. For couples that are infertile, ART offers couples their only chance for achieving a family (Huang, Huang et al. 2011).
Research has now shown the impact that acupuncture can have when assisting couples for ART. Combining Western and Chinese medicine either in the preparing months of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) cycles, or combining therapies during IVF has been shown successful and is commonly used in the West (Cheong, Nardo et al. 2010).
In Chinese medicine, your kidney energy is strongly associated with your reproduction. Kidney Yin and Kidney Yang both need to be in a harmonious balance to achieve conception. A deficiency in kidney energy can lead to fertility disorders. Other conditions such as a blood deficiency, cold uterus, shen (spirit) disharmonies and qi stagnation can all cause fertility disorders. Herbal medicine can provide nutrients, have an emphasis on the menstrual cycle, balancing hormones and providing nourishment to the organs. Acupuncture works by unblocking stagnation, balancing hormones, increasing blood flow and sedating an overactive nervous system. With these modalities the body has a chance to enter a Western medical treatment with evidence to support a greater chance of success.
Written by Sandi Louise Ross
Naturopath, Nutrition, Acupuncture
Niraamaya Centre Thailand
Cheong, Y., L. G. Nardo, et al. (2010). "Acupuncture and herbal medicine in in vitro fertilisation: a review of the evidence for clinical practice." Human fertility (Cambridge, England)
Huang, D.-m., G.-y. Huang, et al. (2011). "Acupuncture for infertility: is it an effective therapy?" Chinese journal of integrative medicine 17(5): 386-395.
Lyttleton, J. (2004). Treatment of infertility: (First Edition). Churchill Livingstone