Using Acupuncture to Enhance Fertility and Treat Common Pregnancy Conditions

by Lisa Bernazani M.Ac., Lic.Ac.

Introduction to Acupuncture

For at least 2500 years, the Chinese culture has used acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to safely and effectively assist in the treatment of infertility, pregnancy, post-partum conditions, and many other gynecological conditions. This system of medicine evolved over the past 2500 years and continues to be used widely especially in many areas of Asia, Europe, and the United States.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine work with your body to bring the internal organs and physiological systems of your body back into balance. In addition, acupuncture can be effectively used in the treatment of pain and structural conditions like back pain, sciatica, abdominal pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome that may also arise during the time of pregnancy. It is effective alone, but may also be safely used in conjunction with western therapies.

So how does it work? There are 2 ways to understand it -- the eastern way and the western way.

Western Understanding

Research efforts to understand the mechanisms underlying the effectiveness of Chinese medicine are continuing to grow within the United States. According to studies conducted at the National Institutes of Health, the insertion of acupuncture needles on the surface of the body stimulates secretion of beta-endorphins and enkephalins in the brain and spinal cord.

The brain and spinal cord are the source of the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems of the body. These 2 systems regulate hormonal and endocrine function and levels, the gastro-intestinal system, and immunity, etc. Stress has a direct effect on the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. When these 2 systems are brought to "balance" through the initial insertion of needles and the secretion of endorphins and enkephalins, the person relaxes and systemic and organic function may be restored.

Eastern Understanding

The ancient Chinese paid close attention to maintaining order, harmony and balance within themselves and their environment. In using this system, in order to obtain the best results, any areas of life that cause great imbalance or are greatly imbalanced should be adjusted.

Over many years, the ancient Chinese doctors discovered a system of meridians or pathways that run on the surface of the body. Contained within these meridians is the "life force" or "qi" of a person. At the area of the torso, these meridians move deeper into the body, eventually passing through all the organs, bones, muscles, tendons and tissues.

Through the insertion of acupuncture needles on the surface of the body, blocks within the internal pathways are cleared. As blocks are removed, the spirit of the person becomes relaxed, causing the body to relax. As this happens, proper circulation is restored. Over time and with treatment, the restoration of proper circulation leads to normal organic and system function. Symptoms are alleviated and health ensues.

Not only is physical health restored, but a person regains the clarity and the will necessary to move forward along his individual path. During a course of treatment, many times a client is able to see, know and feel this transformation. In this way (of understanding), it is important that the practitioner administering treatment is also clear, calm, in addition to being skilled and licensed.

Conditions Treated

For Enhancing Fertility and Infertility:
• "unexplained" infertility
• hormonal imbalances
• habitual or threatened miscarriage
• small fibroids
• anxiety, and depression

For Pregnancy:
• breech position
• habitual or threatened miscarriage
• nausea and morning sickness
• hormonal imbalances
• edema
• anxiety
• fatigue
• labor induction

For Pain Conditions:
• back pain
• sciatica
• abdominal pain
• plantar fasciitis
• carpal tunnel syndrome

For Post-Partum:
• anxiety
• depression
• fatigue
• insomnia
• carpal tunnel