Articles and Resources of Interest
How Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture) Enhances Fertility
by Robin Hays and Nancy Rakela
TCM describes the female reproductive system as a network of energy systems. Each energy system has
complementary organs and hormonal responses. This network responds to stress, chemicals, lack of
exercise, poor diet and excess emotions all of which can put the body ‘out of balance’. A TCM practitioner
will carefully determine the state of your imbalances and prescribe an individualized program of herbs,
acupuncture and diet to help you create the correct environment for fertility and pregnancy.
Psychological stress can have a negative effect on couples facing fertility problems. Stress
leads to the release of stress hormones and causes detrimental effects on mechanisms responsible
for a normal ovulatory menstrual cycle. The success of acupuncture for reducing stress and anxiety
is due to its beta-endorphin release and sympathetic calming effects.
Stress causes the sympathetic nervous system of be over stimulated. Thus, the blood flow
is diverted away from the ovaries and uterus to the adrenals (stress coping gland) instead. This
can cause irregular cycles, lack of ovulation, and infertility. Electro acupuncture and Femoral
Artery Massage redirect the blood flow back to the ovaries and uterus, enhancing fertility and
regulating your cycle.
Acupuncture Strengthens The Immune System
Many women with immunological factors hostile to pregnancy have been effectively treated with
TCM prescription of diet, herbs, and acupuncture. When an acupuncturist treats the root problem,
the immunological markers correct themselves.
Fertility Hormone Regulation
Acupuncture has been known to control pain through stimulating the release of beta-endorphin.
In addition, beta-endorphin works to influence the source of women’s ovulatory and fertility
hormones (the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis) and control hormones that regulate a women’s
ovulation and fertility that includes gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), follicle stimulating
hormone (F.S.H.), luteinizing hormone (L.H.) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).
Acupuncture Regulates Hormones Creating Better Egg Quality
Acupuncture normalizes the dysfunction of the Hypothalamus- Pituitary - Ovarian Axis.
This improves ovarian function creating more follicles, and better egg production. It
has also been suggested that the concentrations of central opioids may regulate the
function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis via the central sympathetic system,
and that a hyperactive sympathetic system in anovulatory patients could be normalized by
ElectroAcupuncture (Chen and Yin, 1991). It has been assumed that various disorders in
the autonomic nervous system, such as hormonal disturbances, may be normalized during
auricular acupuncture (Gerhard and Postneck, 1992).
Acupuncture Lessens Side Effects From Clomid
Clomid often causes the uterine lining to thin, which is detrimental to becoming pregnant.
Acupuncture causes the uterine lining to thicken and become more uniform. This is a result
of increased blood flow to the uterine arteries, as proven in the article referenced just
I.V.F. Assistance With Acupuncture Treatment
This study shows that acupuncture increases blood flow to the uterine arteries, creating a thicker
and more regular lining, allowing for IVF to be more successful. Acupuncture also improves ovarian
blood flow to increase ovarian response.
Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with
Electro Acupuncture Stener-Victirin,et al., Human Reproduction, Vol 11, no6. pp. 1311-17, 1996.
Decreases Uterine Contractility at Implantation
Study: Influence of Acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo ART.
Fertility and Sterility Vol77 April 2002
"Acupuncture May Improve Success Rate of IVF Pregnancies:
Patients in the acupuncture group received two acupuncture sessions - the first treatment
25 minutes before embryo transfer, the second treatment 25 minutes after. In the acupuncture
group, the pregnancy rate was "considerably higher" - 34 women (42.5%) were carrying a fetal
sac at the time of examination."
"Relaxing the uterus with Acupuncture treatment allows for more successful IVF."
Acupuncture Decreases The Chance of Miscarriage
Acupuncture relaxes the uterus, increases blood flow to the uterus, warms the uterus, increases
the immune system, regulates the hormones and decreases stress, all creating less of a chance
Acupuncture Improves Fertility In Men, Too
According to statistics from the National Infertility Association (an organization also known as RESOLVE),
between 35 percent and 40 percent of infertility problems among couples are actually caused by male
conditions. A recent trial published in Fertility and Sterility has shown just how effective
acupuncture can be in the treatment of this condition, leading to significant increases in the number
of normal sperm and equally significant reductions in structural defects. Thus, Acupuncture improves
sperm count, motility, and morphology.
Benefit to the Well Individual?
Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in many areas of health care.
Areas such as postoperative nausea, chemotherapy side effects,
osteoarthritis, low-back pain, headache, menstrual cramps, addiction, carpal
tunnel syndrome, and asthma, just to name a few.
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About The Authors:
Robin Hays, L.Ac., O.M.D., China is a Licensed
Acupuncturist, Herbalist, and a Diplomate of National Board of
Acupuncture Orthopedics with a specialty in fertility and pregnancy
complications. She practices in Los Angeles, CA. Nancy Rakela, L.Ac.,
O.M.D., China is a Licensed Acupuncturist, with certification
Acupuncture Orthopedics, with a specialty in acute and chronic pain. She
practices in Berkeley, CA. For more information, see