|Thank goodness, acupuncture has come a long ways!|
How does acupuncture work?*
In Chinese medical theory, acupuncture works by balancing the body’s Qi. Qi can be described as a form of bioenergy that runs along meridians. If Qi gets blocked, it shows up as an imbalance or illness. Basically, if you have a health condition, some part of your body’s system is out of whack. Chinese medical theory allows us to diagnose the imbalance… and balance it.
In Western medical theory, acupuncture appears to work by stimulating parts of the brain. It also stimulates the body to release natural biomolecules such as neurotransmitters, vasodilators, and hormones. The exact mechanisms which brings this about are unknown, but the effects are measurable.
Is acupuncture safe?*
Acupuncture is widely acknowledged as one of the safest forms of medicine. Acupuncture needles are pre-sterilized, individually packaged, and disposable. Acupuncturists undergo extensive training and are regulated by the individual states’ medical board.
One of the greatest advantages of acupuncture is that it has virtually no side effects. Occasionally a small temporary bruise may appear at the site of an acupuncture needle. When compared to the laundry list of cautions and side effects for the average pharmaceutical drug, acupuncture is very low risk!
Do acupuncture needles hurt?*
Most people barely feel a thing when needles are inserted. Some people feel a slight pinch, and others ask “Is it in yet?” Acupuncture needles are solid, flexible, and very, very thin (about the width of two hairs). There are certain sensations associated with the therapeutic effects of acupuncture. These may include slight cramping, heaviness, distention, tingling or electric sensation traveling along a meridian. If any discomfort is experienced, it is usually mild and temporary.
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There are a few different type of acupuncture clinics. The traditional clinic where you are in a private room and your acupuncturist administers the needles. A chiropractic office may also use acupuncture in combination with chiropractic care. The community acupuncture clinic is where fees are based on a sliding scale and your acupuncture is administered in an open room area.
When we did our IUI's the first time, I used acupuncture with my chiropractor. My chiropractor had a specific plan and procedures for his patients who were going through infertility treatments. He did adjustments and afterwards used acupuncture.
This last time we did IUI's I used our community acupuncture office. I really love our acupuncturist there and she was incredibly helpful with asking lots of questions about what treatments we were doing and developed a specific protocol for me based on my body and the procedure we had done.
Let's get to the main question I want to try to answer for you. Why do people use acupuncture with infertility treatments?
First of all acupuncture does not "cure" infertility. But, acupuncture can be used to increase blood flow to certain areas and is believed to boost ovarian production. Acupuncture is also used to help get your body back in balance. Many RE's are now referring patients to acupuncture clinics. My own RE suggests acupuncture in addition to fertility treatments.
So many times infertility is such an unknown area. Many RE's believe that acupuncture will only enhance the fertility treatments of their patients. It is an inexpensive treatment that can be used in conjunction with fertility drugs.
Why did I use acupuncture during my own treatments?
When I began fertility treatments I was 35 years old. We all know that 35 is the magic age that puts you into the advanced maternal age for fertility treatments. I decided that I would utilize acupuncture as a way to help my body get in sync. This past time when I began fertility treatments I was 41. I was definitely in AMA territory. I used acupuncture based on how it had helped me with other physical problems and I decided it would be beneficial to help me relax and again get my body in sync.
Does acupuncture guarantee pregnancy with fertility treatments?
No. There is no guarantee that acupuncture combined with fertility treatments will guarantee a pregnancy. I am an example of that. Even though I used acupuncture with every IUI, I never had a pregnancy. For me though it gave me peace of mind that I truly did everything possible that I could to have a successful cycle.
How do I find an acupuncturist?
You definitely want to ask your potential acupuncturist about their training and credentials. Every acupuncturist has to go through extensive training. You can go to NCCOAM to find an acupuncturist in your area.
I hope this has helped answer some questions you may have about acupuncture.
Have you used acupuncture with your fertility treatments? I'd love to hear about your experiences.
*information from East Nashville Community Acupuncture