Good clinical research has demonstrated the effectiveness of acupuncture used in conjunction with IVF demonstrating around a 50% increase in success rate with acupuncture vs. without. Acupuncture works to increase success rates of these interventions by increasing blood flow to the ovaries during the stimulation phase of IVF and by improving the effectiveness of the drugs given. It also relaxes the uterus and addresses uterine spasm after embryo transfer. Acupuncture also reduces stress, calms anxiety, and offsets side effects of the fertility drugs. Here is some more information on the aforementioned study.
In 2016, we participated in research alongside RMA of NY that looked at the ways herbs and acupuncture can work for fertility.
In 2008 research published in the British Medical Journal showed that women doing IVF who underwent acupuncture were 65% more likely to have a successful embryo transfer compared with those who underwent a “sham” version of the treatment, or no extra treatment at all.
In 1980 researchers at the Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the Shanghai First Medical College conducted a clinical trial using Chinese herbs to treat endometriosis. 156 endometriosis sufferers were divided into three groups based on the diagnoses above and then given a herbal formula that addressed blood stagnation as well as their underlying condition. According to the report, 82% of the women saw their symptoms mostly or entirely alleviated, while 18% of the women had either no effect or any beneficial effect was very short term and was lost when the herbs were discontinued.
This study looked at the effect of acupuncture on women who were not ovulating and found that acupuncture seems to adjust FSH, LH, and E2 in two directions and raises progesterone levels. The study also looked at animal experiments which confirmed the results found in women.
Prolactin is a hormone released by the pituitary gland, and women with amenorrhea often have higher levels of prolactin. Acupuncture has also been shown to lower prolactin levels.
A study at Goteborg University in Sweden showed that electro-acupuncture may help some women with PCOS to ovulate. Electro-acupuncture was developed in China as an alternative to manipulating acupuncture needles by hand. It involves the application of a pulsating electrical current to acupuncture needles as a means of stimulating the acupuncture points.
During the study, one group of women with polycystic ovary syndrome received acupuncture regularly for four months. A second group of women were provided with heart rate monitors and instructed to exercise at least three times a week. A control group was informed about the importance of exercise and a healthy diet, but was given no other specific instructions.
Male Factor Infertility
Numerous studies have shown acupuncture to be of benefit in the treatment of male infertility. Whether you are trying to conceive naturally, or using assisted reproductive techniques acupuncture has been shown to increase sperm count and quality as well as concentration.
Here at The Yinova Center we find that Chinese herbs are very helpful in improving all aspects of sperm quality. Our experience is born out in studies such as this one. We prescribe our herbs in individual formulas which contain about 15 herbs. Each formula is prescribed individually and tailored to your specific needs.
At around 34 to 37 weeks gestation, a fetus becomes positioned for birth with its head down. When not positioned this way, it is considered a breech presentation. By using moxibustion (the warming a specific acupuncture point with an herbal incense), babies turn into the correct position 69-85% of the time. You can read more studies about this here, here, and here.
If you would like to learn more about research into acupuncture and cancer, makes sure you look at some of these links to various studies:
A 1998 study at the University of Arizona looked at using acupuncture to treat major depression (1), using a double-blind, randomized, control trial. When measured against a control group who received a placebo treatment, the acupuncture group did remarkably well. In fact at the end of the study, 64% of the participants were judged to be in full remission of their symptoms.
(1) Allen J.J.B., Schuyer R.N., and Hitt S.K. (1998), The efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of women with major depression. Psychological Science 9 (5): 397—401.