Acupuncture Benefits for IVF in Research
From the desk of Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO…
In last week's blog, I discussed the findings of some interesting research done comparing IVF groups receiving no acupuncture, two standard acupuncture treatments the day of embryo transfer, as well as a third group receiving WS-TCM (Whole Systems Traditional Chinese Medicine). WS-TCM is a term that refers to the complex combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, nutritional counseling, and lifestyle modifications customized for each patient. WS-TCM also describes how traditionally acupuncture is incorporated to treat not just fertility patients but all conditions. As you may guess, the third group benefitted the most, having the highest rate of live births. You can view the study in detail here:
This week, I wanted to continue the discussion about the benefits acupuncture for IVF. In my practice, patients see me for acupuncture and WS-TCM specifically for fertility and co-factors for infertility such as endometriosis, PCOS, ammenorrhea, fibroids, and irregular cycles. During IVF cycles, the goal of acupuncture treatments include:
- Reducing common side-effects of fertility drugs: headaches, migraines, bloating, GI distress, and depression
- Reducing general anxiety and stress
- Improving endometrial lining measurements
- Improving blood flow to the uterus
- Reducing uterine contractility before and after embryo transfer
- Increasing follicle numbers & egg quality
- Reducing inflammation
- Strengthening the immune system
Many research studies have attempted to look at those very specific physiological outcomes as listed above. Research studies have been conducted on acupuncture and infertility all over the world including Germany, China, Australia, Sweden, as well as the United States since 2002. One of the first studies published by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in April 2002 out of Germany showed that pregnancy rates increased from 26.3% to 42.5% after acupuncture treatments scheduled within a half- hour of the embryo transfer. There have been several studies published since in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility showing similar results. A 2004 study published by the Reproductive Medicine and Fertility Centre in Colorado Springs showed that acupuncture improved the rate of pregnancy from 36% to 51%, decreased miscarriage rates from 14% to 8%, decreased tubal or ectopic pregnancies, and most importantly increased the rates of live birth from 35% to 42%.
Additionally, studies performed as early as 1996 have examined protocols using electro-acupuncture as a means of improving reduced uterine arterial blood-flow, a measurement thought to be indicative of endometrial receptivity. The study had good outcomes which you can read more about here:
In conclusion, there is a growing body of evidence that acupuncture is effective in doing what acupuncturists have known for thousands of years. Next week, I'll discuss my recommendations to patients for acupuncture treatment for fertility outside of the research
Interested in learning more about acupuncture for fertility and IVF? Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more about how acupuncture can benefit your health this year. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Jessica L. Molleur, Lic.Ac., DNBAO
Jessica L. Molleur is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and massage therapist in Massachusetts and California. She first became interested in acupuncture as a soccer player searching for an alternative to knee surgery and discovered the many benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of California at Davis and a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, CA. Jessica is a National Diplomate of Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine and Chinese Herbology through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She is also a Diplomate of Acupuncture Orthopedics, a specialty certification held by fewer than 500 acupuncturists in the United States.
Jessica currently maintains a private acupuncture practice in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood, which was awarded Best Acupuncture Center by Boston Magazine. Areas of specialty include women's health, pregnancy, infertility, pediatrics, and sports medicine. If you are interested in learning about the benefits of acupuncture for fertility and IVF, please visit the acupuncture + fertility page. New patients can book online to schedule any acupuncture service including a complimentary consult. Jessica also serves as a health care consultant for a number of integrative medical institutes. Her clients include IVF and infertility centers, functional medicine offices, orthopedic facilities, concierge practices, and green spas. Please contact OMBE for more information about these services.
Prior to her consulting work, Jessica founded an integrative health center in Boston. The eco-friendly center was one of the first twenty-five companies certified as a Sustainable Business Leader in Boston. During its ten-year tenure, the center provided services including acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, naturopathy, nutritional counseling, personal training, Pilates, and yoga. Studio offerings included mom and baby programming, Mongan Method Hypnobirthing, natural childbirth education and the Holistic Moms Network. The center was the recipient of several awards, including Mayor Menino's Green Business Award, a multiple recipient of Boston Business Journal's Best Workplace, Boston Magazine's Best of Boston Award for Massage Therapy as well as Best Eco-Friendly Massage, Eco-Beauty Bar, Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, Pilates, and Workout.