It's really amazing to live in such a cool time in the world of medicine, where the best of every culture is being mixed and matched. For every mainstream Western approach to a health issue, you are sure to find access to a homeopathic or Eastern approach, too, as the best of the modern and the ancient worlds come together for treatments and cures. For instance, practitioners of alternative medicine say acupuncture has invaluable health benefits. But can acupuncture help with infertility? Having options in your healthcare is only to your benefit, and perhaps no one knows this better than couples going through infertility. There are no guarantees, but evidence shows acupuncture may be worth a try.
Speaking with Romper in an exclusive interview, Licensed Acupuncturist Kristen Burris of Eagle Acupuncture says that acupuncture is incredibly effective in treating infertility in women and men (who too often get left out of conversations on infertility). Burris notes a study performed at Adelaide University that indicates women are twice as likely to get pregnant in one-third of the time frame when using acupuncture coupled with Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine, as compared to In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and fertility drugs over a 12-month period. Those are statistics worth taking a chance on.
So what specific conditions might benefit from this form of alternative medicine? Burris claims that she has seen acupuncture treat infertility in patients who suffer from unexplained male or female infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, anovulation, irregular cycles, habitual miscarriage, high FSH levels, low progesterone, hypothyroidism, amenorrhea, and advanced maternal age. Achieving a spectrum of healing as wide as that is no small feat, and the means of which is deserving of being weighed heavily in your medical options, even if the idea of being poked with needles does make you all:
Although most people bristle at the thought of needles coming into contact with their skin, the surprising truth is, according to Burris, with a skilled practitioner, acupuncture should not hurt. On the contrary, she says it should be, "one of the most relaxing experiences of your life," thanks to the natural endorphins and balance of your mind and body. If pain is experienced, it is likely due to an inexperienced practitioner and/or low quality equipment, so make sure to do extensive research ahead of scheduling an appointment.
So how exactly does acupuncture help? The list of health benefits is as long as my arm. According to Burris, this Eastern form of healthcare has been known to result in increased blood flow to a woman’s uterus, increased thickness of uterine lining, increased endorphins throughout the body to regulate the gonadotropin-releasing hormone, reduced stress hormones that negatively impact conception, along with improved sperm counts, morphology, and motility in male infertility patients, and many other problematic areas that might be preventing couples from conceiving the baby their heart so strongly desires.
If you're still feeling wary of what might feel like a drastic alternative method, your feelings are valid since most people in the Western world are not accustomed to this form of medical care. But Burris's advice is to put your preconceptions aside and take a chance on something new that has been proven beneficial for people who have found themselves in your shoes. "For those who are leery of acupuncture and herbal medicine, consider giving it a try," urges Burris supportively. "It is a fraction of the cost of IVF, will benefit your physical and emotional health, and will only improve your fertility in general."
Well when you put it that way, what's to lose? (Other than your fear of needles, of course.)
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