Meditation and acupuncture for fertility
No one would claim that trying to conceive is stress free. In reality, a study of 200 couples who visited a fertility clinic found that half of women and 15% of men said infertility was the most stressful experience of their lives.
In trying to find ways to ease the emotional and physical burden of being at the heart of fertility issues while trying to get pregnant, many individuals and couples are turning to acupuncture.
“Navigating infertility is a multifaceted challenge,” says Jacqueline Fernando, MSW, LCSW, a therapist at Alma Therapy. “Throughout the fertility journey, there are many moments of grief and loss. The grief over the dream of a child, the story of desired conception, or the romance of starting a family without invasive drug intervention. .. As a result, many fertility patients experience feelings of anxiety before any office visit and when those visits do not have an ideal outcome, many patients feel incredibly sad, tearful, heartbreaking, disappointed and angry. .
Related: How To Make A Baby: The Quick And Dirty Guide To Getting Pregnant
These patients also tend to feel lonely, even though the CDC states that 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility and 1 in 4 women are affected by miscarriage. Women in particular may feel particularly singled out since infertility has gained the reputation of being a “women’s health issue”.
But the ancient practice of acupuncture can help refocus energy on what can be controlled and has fertility benefits for both women and men.
How acupuncture can help people struggling with infertility
Acupuncture is an ancient practice based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that dates back nearly 3,000 years and involves placing small, very thin needles along the meridians of the body.
“Some people like to say ‘needles tell the brain to tell the body what to do,'” says Brooke Taylor, LAc, owner of The Road in Austinspecializing in acupuncture for fertility.
Acupuncturists can be certified in fertility and are highly skilled in working in tandem with the Western approach and diagnosis, Taylor adds.
Some common questions an acupuncturist may ask are:
- How long is your cycle?
- How many days do you usually bleed?
- What is the volume and color of your periods?
- Are there clots?
- Do you have symptoms of PMS?
Through this deep dive, acupuncturists are then able to help you develop a plan that will best help you on your individual journey.
“Acupuncture has been shown to aid relaxation, calm the body, and help manage mental well-being,” says Fernando. “The treatment of infertility is overwhelming and out of your control; therefore, participating in activities that give you back some control is empowering and healing. Also, using a guided meditation app on the acupuncture table is wonderful for practicing calming the anxious mind.
Related: Can Babies Benefit From Acupuncture? Here’s what you need to know
Research has also shown that a consistent practice of acupuncture can help increase blood flow to the ovaries and improve the overall quality of the eggs.
“Acupuncture can improve fertility when a patient receives treatment for about three months before conception,” adds Katya Mosely, founder of Spirit Gate Wellness in Los Angeles, who also specializes in maternal acupuncture. “Especially when combined with herbal medicine, it can clear blockages in the fallopian tubes, increase endometrial lining, regulate thyroid and sex hormones, and calm the mind to help keep conception season going. pleasant.”
Related: I Hate Sex When I’m Trying To Conceive
And while most conversations about fertility issues revolve around women, it’s true that men also struggle and can benefit from acupuncture as well.
“In men, acupuncture and lifestyle changes can completely change sperm quality and quantity in about three months,” Mosely adds.
Common misconceptions around acupuncture
Often, acupuncture is used as a last resort in assisted fertility treatments, such as IUI or IVF, but it’s true that acupuncture can also benefit those who conceive naturally, Mosely adds.
Those navigating a TTC journey may feel like every moment is high pressure and must yield immediate results. Taylor encourages those who practice acupuncture to know that just because you don’t feel an immediate impact after your first treatment doesn’t mean it won’t work.
Related: It’s time to stop calling infertility a women’s health problem
“Most of our health issues didn’t happen overnight, so our bodies need time to move in the right direction,” says Taylor.
And like a therapist, if your first acupuncturist turns out not to be a good candidate, you can seek out the one that best suits your personal preferences and background.
What to expect from your first acupuncture session
Both Taylor and Mosely share that you shouldn’t be surprised when, during your first session, your acupuncturist asks about everything from your sleep to your eating habits. The objective of your first session is above all to allow your acupuncturist to better understand your medical, emotional, hormonal and nutritional history.
The frequency and duration of your visits to an acupuncturist will also begin to become clearer after this first session. However, it is safe for you to practice acupuncture throughout your pregnancy. Acupuncture might even help with labor preparation.
From a mental health perspective, it also offers tools that can help navigate the ebbs and flows of an infertility journey.
“Acupuncture, meditation and meditative activities promote the practice of relaxation and calming the body,” says Fernando. “Becoming well versed in calming the heart rate and breathing can be quite challenging for some and requires regular practice in order to become efficient and proficient. This is a muscle that can benefit from regular practice, so when it comes to It’s game day, recovery or transfer day, office visits when it really matters, individuals have the tools and skills to calm down and soothe themselves.
Jacqueline Fernando, MSW, LCSW, is a therapist at Alma Therapyand specializes in infertility and reproductive loss counseling.
Katya Mosely is the founder of Spirit Gate Wellness in Los Angelesand specializes in maternal acupuncture.
Brooke Taylor, LAc, owns The road to Austinand specializes in acupuncture for those trying to conceive.
fertility, Health, planning a pregnancy, trying to get pregnant