Infertility with Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine

By Salin Perayotyucol, R.AC, R.TCM.P, BEcon(Hons)

Credit: Photo by Janko Ferlic / Unsplash

Acupuncture and herbal medicine as alternative treatments of infertility have great success for both men and women. They can improve the sperm quality and overlies functions and balancing endocrine system and hormones.

Acupuncture and Fertility:

The March 22, 2014 issue of Health CMI, there is an interesting article entitled “Infertility to pregnancy with Acupuncture and herbs” . The article suggests that several types of patients suffering from infertility participated in the study including those using IVF, IUI, and those using no biomedicine assistance. All types showed significant improved successful pregnancy rate. The researches cited prior investigations measuring the biological mechanism by which acupuncture enhances fertility. The researches note that beta-endorphins and related neurotransmitters stimulated by acupuncture causes the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). This exerts a regulatory effect on the menstrual cycle and ovulation. Acupuncture has been shown to enhance the micro-circulation of blood in the uterus through the inhibition of excess sympathetic nerve activity in the uterus.

TCM theories, how do acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies help with pregnancy?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views health as a state of balance between all the systems of the body. In term of infertility, there are 4 organ systems- kidney, spleen, heart and liver that when unbalanced, can lead to infertility.

In addition to the organ systems, there are 4 vital substances – yin, yang, qi (energy) and blood that can become deficient, excessive or stagnant and create a state of unbalance that may manifest as infertility.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine for fertility are effective by restoring balance and healthy to these organ systems and vital substances.

Credit: photo by Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

Traditional Chinese Medicine treats fertility in different phases according to menstrual cycle:

  1. Menstrual Phase: acupuncture and herbal medicine nourishes and supplements energy and blood flow and also encourage the complete elimination of uterine lining.
  2. Follicular Phase: using acupuncture therapy and Chinese herbs to nourish the yin and blood, relieve heat in the heart and liver channels that begin to build up during this phase.
  3. Ovulatory Phase: the benefits of acupuncture points and herbal medicine are to support the energies during ovulation by facilitating the necessary transition from a yin to a yang state and opening the collaterals.
  4. Luteal Phase: Traditional Chinese Medicine is to supplement the energy and yang aspect by providing support for uterine contractility, strengthens receptivity of endometrium, directs liver blood to the uterus.

As for males, Acupuncture can raise the quantity and enhance the quality of the sperm. When treating female infertility, even if the male sperm may be normal, applying acupuncture for the male especially just a few days before ovulation may raise the chance of conceiving. The treatment sessions for the male need not to be frequent, usually once weekly or once every two weeks, but it is recommended to have a continuous 2-3 sessions the week before female ovulation.

As reported by a number of recent studies, acupuncture alone or in conjunction with Chinese herbs may dramatically improve sperm quantity and quality, reduce stress of men, as well as nourish the uterus and balance female hormone levels.