Fertility Acupuncture Chicago
Acupuncture For Fertility
Many couples struggle with fertility issues, with as many as 1 in 7 finding it difficult to conceive. However, this knowledge does not make it any easier to cope if you find yourself in this situation.
The good news is that there are plenty of options available to help you become a parent including medication and assisted reproductive techniques (ART) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Today, more and more people are also turning to acupuncture for fertility support. Not only can this ancient therapy improve your ability to conceive naturally, but it can also boost your chances of a successful ART cycle.
In this article, we explore women’s fertility from a Chinese medicine perspective and explain how acupuncture could help.
Women’s Fertility in Chinese Medicine
From a western medical viewpoint, there are many different reasons why a woman may struggle to conceive. These include medical conditions such as:
• Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
• Uterine fibroids
• Fallopian tube blockage
• Thyroid problems
• Premature ovarian failure
Women’s fertility also declines with age, and with more women now waiting until their 30s to start a family, this is a very common problem. In some cases, no medical reason can be identified, and these couples are given the frustrating diagnosis of unexplained infertility.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) views the body in a very different way. Rather than looking for specific medical conditions, it sees fertility problems as an imbalance in one or more of the body’s vital substances. These include qi and blood, yin and yang, essence, and spirit. Let’s take a closer look.
Qi and Blood and Women’s Fertility
Qi and blood are two of the most important substances in TCM. Together, they are responsible for nourishing, warming, and moistening every organ and tissue in the body. Qi and blood have a complex relationship with one another. Qi is a form of energy and blood relies on qi to help it to move through the channels. Blood is more substantial and provides a solid anchor for qi, keeping it nourished as it circulates around the body.
The relationship between blood and women’s fertility is an obvious one. Healthy blood is required to build up the uterine lining every month in preparation for a potential pregnancy. Women with blood deficiencies may suffer from issues such as light or missing periods, while those whose blood cannot flow freely may experience period pain and clotting.
The relationship with qi is less obvious, but it is essential for women’s reproductive health. Qi moves blood, and it is therefore necessary for keeping your menstrual cycle regular. When qi is not flowing as it should, problems such as irregular menstruation, painful menstruation, and PMS can occur.
Yin and Yang and Women’s Fertility
Yin and yang are the opposing but complementary forces of nature which are also reflected in the human body. Although yin is usually seen as representing the female energy and yang as representing the male, women need both yin and yang for a healthy reproductive system.
The first half of a woman’s menstrual cycle is seen as more yin as she builds up her uterine lining in preparation for pregnancy. Then a surge of yang energy is needed for ovulation, which is why a woman’s body temperature rises slightly around this time.
Yin and yang are stored by the Kidneys, and these organs are considered one of the most important for both men’s and women’s fertility. In TCM, the Kidney system includes the reproductive glands and the adrenal glands which produce many reproductive hormones.
Essence and Women’s Fertility
Essence, known as jing in Chinese, is also stored by the Kidneys. Essence plays an important role in fertility as it determines at what age you will start menstruating and also when you will reach menopause. In TCM, women who suffer from premature ovarian failure could be seen as suffering from an insufficiency of essence.
Spirit and Women’s Fertility
Spirit is another important aspect of women’s fertility in TCM. Known as shen in Chinese, the spirit is thought to reside within the Heart and it is responsible for emotional wellbeing. The Heart is seen as having a direct relationship with the uterus in TCM, and having a calm spirit is essential for good reproductive health.
As you probably know, stress is a major contributing factor to infertility, and the link between Heart and uterus is the TCM explanation for this.
External Pathogens and Women’s Fertility
The final factor which may affect women’s fertility is external pathogens. These are seen as negative influences which can penetrate the body from outside and cause disease. These external pathogens are often referred to as extreme climatic conditions including cold, heat, dampness, dryness, and wind. If any of these factors manage to enter the lower part of your body, they can damage the Kidneys and reproductive organs leading to a variety of fertility issues.
Acupuncture for Women’s Fertility
Acupuncture may benefit women’s fertility in a number of ways. Treatments are individually tailored depending on your unique diagnosis and needs. In TCM terms, acupuncture can help fertility in the following ways:
• Promoting the circulation of qi and blood
• Restoring harmony between yin and yang
• Nourishing essence
• Calming the spirit
• Removing external pathogens
From a western medical perspective, acupuncture for women’s fertility has the following benefits:
• Increasing uterine blood flow
• Regulating reproductive hormone levels
• Normalizing the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis
• Reducing stress hormone levels
As well as increasing your chances of conceiving naturally, acupuncture has also been shown to help women undergoing ART. One well-known study found that women receiving acupuncture in combination with IVF had better results than those receiving IVF alone.
To find out more about how acupuncture may help you with your fertility concerns, contact the Ravenswood Chiropractic & Wellness Center at 773-878-7330. Our Acupuncturist has many years of experience treating men’s and women’s fertility issues, and will be happy to answer any questions.