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Acupuncture Benefits & IVF

From the desk of Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac.DNBAO…

The most common question that patients first ask me in regards to acupuncture and IVF is:

“When should I start treatment?”

In Chinese medicine, everyone is seen as a unique individual and every treatment session is customized to fit the individual’s health history so that there is no one-size fits all treatment.  Additionally, treatment protocols for fertility are customized according to each phase of the menstrual cycle.  However, in regards to when to start acupuncture prior to an IVF cycle, my answer is the same for every person which is:


Various research studies have been conducted looking at the effectiveness for acupuncture during IVF protocols as well as other assisted reproductive technologies for the past 15 years.  However, a study published in 2015 compared the live birth rates (as well as other significant statistics) for three IVF groups:  One group receiving IVF without any integrative therapies including acupuncture, one group receiving two standard acupuncture treatments the day of an IVF embryo transfer (a standard protocol established in previous research), as well as a third group receiving WS-TCM or Whole-Systems Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Whole-Systems Traditional Chinese Medicine includes a complex combination of therapies including acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutritional counseling as well as other appropriate therapies.  Again, these recommendations were made to patients based on their individualized case.  As you may guess, the rates of live birth were higher in the group receiving WS-TCM.  You can read the details of the study here:

Impact of Whole Systems Traditional Chinese Medicine on In Vitro Fertilization Outcomes

Patients in the WS-TCM group had an average of 12 acupuncture treatments during their IVF cycle.  The idea of 12 weeks or 12 sessions is an interesting idea to explore as well given that many acupuncturists will recommend that patients come in up to three months prior to receiving fertility treatments or earlier if they have a known co-factor such as endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids, thyroid disorders, or anemia.  Dr. Weil’s 8 Weeks to Optimum Health published in 1997 also explores this idea that it takes approximately two months to create a physiological shift in the body.

What’s the take home message from this study?  If you are considering conceiving or beginning an IVF cycle, schedule an acupuncture session sooner than later.  There may be benefits from starting a course of acupuncture 3 months in advance.  Find a practitioner that practices WS-TCM-in order words, they will use acupuncture as a primary treatment method but they also incorporate other modalities such as Chinese herbs, nutritional counseling, and lifestyle modifications to optimize your well-being.  Next week, I’ll review some of the general benefits of acupuncture for IVF cycles found in the research over the past 15 years.

Interested in learning more about acupuncture for fertility?  Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more about how acupuncture can benefit your health this year.  Email jlmolleur@ombecenter.com for more details.

Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO

Licensed Acupuncturist

Jessica L. Molleur is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and massage therapist in Massachusetts and California. She holds a Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, CA. Her training also includes a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of California at Davis, CA. Jessica first became interested in acupuncture as a soccer player searching for an alternative to knee surgery. Jessica founded OMBE to integrate the best of Eastern and Western medicine. The center’s green philosophy reflects her commitment to the environment.

She is a National Diplomate of Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Chinese Herbology through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). Following her acupuncture licensure, she became a Diplomate of Acupuncture Orthopedics. This orthopedic specialty certification is held by fewer than 300 acupuncturists in the United States. Areas of specialty include women’s health, pregnancy, infertility, pediatrics, and sports medicine. For patients interested in learning more about acupuncture for fertility and IVF, please click here.

Book online for any acupuncture service in our Boston location or contact OMBE for additional information.

~ by admin on June 4, 2017.


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