What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an alternative medical practice that revolves around inserting thin needles into the body. The theory behind it is that there is a vital energy (“qi”, or “chi”) that flows through the body along certain pathways. Practitioners of acupuncture believe that this energy can be manipulated, and the body healed, by the insertion of needles at specific points along the body.
The therapy has been around a long time. It can be reliably dated back to ancient China around 2,000 years ago. Although, some believe that its origins lie much further back, maybe even 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. Due to its long history, there can be quite a variation in the type of needles as the practice evolved differently as it spread. However, the traditional Chinese style is most commonly practiced today in the United States.
What is acupuncture used for?
Acupuncture has been recommended for a range of conditions relating to fertility. Including fibroids, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and issues with sperm quality or ovarian reserve. It has been shown to help with relaxation and may also help relieve some of the side effects of fertility drugs.
Does acupuncture increase my chances of becoming pregnant?
There have been studies showing the acupuncture can help treat some of the conditions listed above. There have also been studies claiming it can increase the success rates of treatments such as IVF. However, there have also been studies showing no benefits from acupuncture. The literature remains inconclusive and more research will be needed to thoroughly answer the question of whether acupuncture can help you conceive.
Some women find acupuncture very helpful in coping with the stresses of infertility treatment. We believe that anything that can help reduce stress and/or helps give back some control to our patients undergoing fertility treatments is a good thing. Excess stress has been shown to reduce a women’s fertility so any practice or treatment that reduces stress could theoretically improve your odds of conceiving.
When should you start treatment?
Women are generally advised to start acupuncture several months before their elected course of treatment (IVF or IUI). Although, starting acupuncture at the same time as more traditional fertility treatments may also be beneficial.
How frequently should I undergo acupuncture therapy?
This will be tailed depending on your condition and specific case, but 1-3 times a week during your main course of treatment is typical. Each session lasts between 30-60 minutes.
Will the needles hurt?
Most patients report little to no pain with their treatment. Although, some patients may occasionally experience a mild, dull ache, or pinch when the needle is inserted. The overall experience is generally reported to be very relaxing. To minimize the risk of infection sterile disposable needles are used.
Are there any activities I should avoid before/after my session?
Generally no, although depending on your condition the doctor may have suggestions specific to only you. As with all other patients, we recommend that you follow a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Will my insurance cover acupuncture?
Some insurance plans may cover your acupuncture sessions. Benefits do vary so we suggest we contact your insurance plan directly for more details.