For many couples the process of trying to conceive can be a long, complex and emotional one. The reasons that many struggle with fertility issues are many and varied.
- In recent years, many women have been delaying conception until their late thirties and forties and age can play a major factor.
- Lifestyle factors are also important. These include being over or under weight, smoking, heavy drinking and stress.
- Contributing conditions also include blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and poor sperm quality.
- Increasingly complex tests are revealing how genetic problems and immunological disorders can interfere by preventing implantation or causing early miscarriage.
Typically patients come for acupuncture either to enhance the chances of natural conception or to seek support in the process of assisted conception. There have been several studies in recent years suggesting acupuncture can benefit fertility outcomes by:
- Lowering stress hormones and regulating FSH.
- Improving blood flow to the pelvic area, ovaries and uterus.
- Reducing contractions of the uterus.
- Regulating the immune system.
Traditionally trained acupuncturists diagnose according to the principles of Chinese medicine. This means that we can offer an integral approach that brings together our knowledge and experience both from an Eastern and Western perspective. This enables us to offer advice and suggestions about lifestyle and diet that complement the treatment and address the imbalances specific to each individual.
The holistic approach of Chinese medicine aims to restore the balance of the body back to normal functioning in order to help women to conceive naturally. In Western terms this equates with a better hormonal balance. Acupuncture uses the language of Qi (energy flow) and Blood: it aims to restore the proper flow of these two substances to enable the organs to function optimally. Taking a detailed case history enables us to interpret the numerous signs and symptoms and to assess where particular imbalances lie. Each of the organs and their associated meridians have both a physical and emotional influence and, in this way, targeted treatment results in changes on both the physical and emotional level.
The testimonials below give a flavour as to how acupuncture has helped many of our patients:
ENDOMETRIOSIS & IVF SUPPORT
After a couple of years of unsuccessful treatment I came to see Valeria. We began a plan of treatments designed to treat my symptoms of endometriosis and support me throughout my ongoing IVF cycles. The acupuncture firstly helped my periods to become less painful and heavy and during the IVF to ensure the best follicle growth , egg production and during the very sensitive implantation phase. Valeria treated me as a whole person with advice on lifestyle, diet and nutrition to help quality egg growth and improve my blood flow, which was my main problem due to a blood clotting disorder. I would also receive regular acupuncture treatments before and after an embryo transfer, which would be so soothing & calming and help prepare my body for implantation. I have been seeing Valeria now for over 3 years and I can honestly say that acupuncture has made the biggest difference to me both emotionally and physically during my infertility journey and after many long years I now have a beautiful baby daughter.
POLYCYSTIC OVARIES, MISCARRIAGE & PREGNANCY SUPPORT
I initially came to see Marian for fertility reasons following a recent miscarriage. I wanted help to recover and to become pregnant again. I knew I had come to the right place; her supportive and gentle approach treats the whole body and includes lifestyle and dietary advice. After seeing her for a few months, my menstrual cycle had regulated and I felt much stronger and calmer. Soon after, I found out I was pregnant again.Marian treated me throughout pregnancy and addressed the various changes to my body, including varicose veins, disturbed sleep and heartburn. We found out that our baby was breech at 30 weeks and Marian showed me moxibustion techniques to do at home to help turn the baby around. She was an important part of helping me to approach my pregnancy and birth in a calm and relaxed way. Marian has a deep and instinctive knowledge of the body, my experience was around fertility and pregnancy but she would be my first port of call for anything else that may arise. I would recommend her very highly indeed.
Marian works at Shine, Church Street and has been in practice for 23 years and has worked on the NHS in a GP practice alongside her private work. She was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster and currently teachers on Japanese Acupuncture programs at post-graduation level.
Valeria practices at Shine, Newington Green and at the Zita West Clinic, an integrated fertility clinic in Central London. She graduated from the University of Westminster (BSc Hons TCM Acupuncture) and has been studying the Japanese system of modern day Master KiikoMatsumoto in the last few years.
For information on current research, visit the British Acupuncture Council website: http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/female-fertility.html