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Acupuncture Recommendations for Fertility Treatment

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

In the past two weeks, I’ve been writing about acupuncture, fertility, IVF, and some of the findings in research.  Hopefully, the research links have provided a starting point for fertility and IVF patients trying to figure out the best way to include acupuncture into their fertility protocols.  Many of you have emailed me to say that they have showed the data to their endocrinologists or acupuncturists to help improve outcomes!

Similar to research studies done on singular vitamins, the true effects of acupuncture are difficult to study and measure in a vacuum. As I discussed the past couple of weeks, acupuncture is not traditionally practiced as a singular treatment.  Traditionally, acupuncture is incorporated together with other integrative therapies whether that be Chinese herbs, nutrition, or lifestyle modification.  Additionally, acupuncture is customized according to each patient.  Therefore by definition, a standardized acupuncture protocol repeated for every patient in a research study would be considered a less than optimal treatment design by most acupuncturists.

In the wise words of William Bruce Cameron (although some attribute this quote to Albert Einstein):

Not everything that can be counted counts.
Not everything that counts can be counted.

And that is exactly where we stand currently with the research on acupuncture.  As a practitioner of integrative medicine, part of my job is to look at the research and incorporate this into what I know to be clinically effective in my own practice and those before me.  In this case, acupuncture dates back about 2,000 years so one could say that the clinical data is more significant than any other form of modern medicine. In contrast to the past two weeks, I thought I would summarize my recommendations for fertility treatment and acupuncture outside of the research.

In general, I recommend patients  begin treatment at least three months before they begin IVF.  If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, endometriosis, or another condition that may be related to their infertility, six months is ideal.  Many patients seek out acupuncture after a failed or multiple failed cycles.  If you fall into this category, schedule an acupuncture session as soon as possible.  Feel free to email me at jlmolleur@ombecenter.com to find an acupuncturist in your area.  Research has showed that at least eight acupuncture treatments, in addition to sessions 24-hours before and 1 hour after an embryo transfer is ideal.

When patients come in to see me for infertility or a related women’s health condition, I spend almost two hours with them during their initial consult and I look at their total picture of health.  An acupuncturist specializing in fertility should do the same.  For example, your digestive and immune systems are considered an important part of fertility according to Chinese Medicine.  In addition to looking at a patient from an Eastern perspective, I also want to review recent lab values and tests so that I have an objective way of measuring what I am doing.  I also want to ensure that nothing has been overlooked.  For example, many patients are told that their Vitamin D levels are normal.  When I review the lab work, I often find that while the labs are normal, they are not optimal for fertility.  As a result, I typically work closely with my patient’s endocrinologist or other health care providers so that we may coordinate care when possible.  It’s important that your providers can provide the same level of care for you.

Acupuncture treatments are usually scheduled on a weekly basis and sometimes twice weekly once various IVF protocols begin (e.g. the beginning of ovarian suppression with birth control pills).  Acupuncture treatments typically last one hour.  Research has shown that 12 treatments incorporating holistic care such as exercise, supplements, nutrition, Chinese herbs, and stress levels also improve live birth outcomes.  It’s important that your acupuncturist help you with other tools that will improve your outcome.

What’s the take home message?  If you’ve been trying to get pregnant naturally without success, consider acupuncture to increase your rates of fertility.  Having said all of the above, don’t forget about male partners. 40% infertility is due to women, 40% to men, and 20% is attributed to both or unknown factors. Acupuncture is effective for men as well.  If you plan on using a form of assisted reproductive technologies to get pregnant such as ICSI, IUI or IVF: seriously consider acupuncture to improve your success rate.

Trying to conceive with difficulty is an extremely difficult process physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. Acupuncture is one form of treatment that can help you optimize not only your pregnancy success but the health and well-being of your baby and yourself long-term.

Have more questions about acupuncture and infertility?  Schedule a complimentary consult or email jlmolleur@ombecenter.com for more information.

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 11, 2017.

Acupuncture

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