Treating infertility with Traditional Chinese Medicine and pelvic exercises

Chinese medicine has a surprising success rate of 60 percent among infertile women.

by Dasha Trebichavsk — 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) employs a broad spectrum of treatment modalities including herbs, acupuncture and bodywork, as well as dietary and lifestyle adjustments. One of its least commonly advertised uses is in the field of infertility. Successful treatment of infertility dates back in China to the Sui Dynasty (589 CE).

Chinese medicine provides a noninvasive, holistic approach to reversing infertility and has a surprising success rate of 60 percent among infertile women. This is a very high percentage, considering that many women discover the modality late in their search for infertility solutions.

TCM infertility treatments use a combination of specific herbs and the stimulation of acupuncture points to strengthen and regulate organ functions — primarily the production of hormones, an essential component of fertility. In addition, by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, Chinese herbs and acupuncture serve the fertility process by restoring deep relaxation in the mind and body.

Patterns of organ disharmony

From the perspective of TCM, infertility is caused by patterns of disharmony in organ systems such as the liver, heart, spleen and kidneys. These patterns of disharmony, such as blood stagnation, cold entrapment, phlegm accumulation, excess heat and so on, play important roles in blocking fertility.

In the vernacular of Western medicine, these pathologies are known as hypothalamic pituitary dysfunction (anovulation), polycystic ovarian syndrome, luteal phase defect, and other syndromes and conditions that can make it difficult or impossible to conceive. However, the key factor in treating infertility with TCM lies in regulating the menstrual cycle by reestablishing harmonious communication among the endocrine glands.

The growing popularity of TCM

As many newspaper and magazine stories have reported, TCM has become increasingly popular in recent years because more and more women are waiting until their mid-30s or older to start their families. It is undisputed that women starting their families later in life have more difficulty becoming pregnant, and many couples spend as much as $50,000 on attempts to conceive — with no guarantee of success.

TCM offers an excellent success rate for far less money; prices range from $50 to $70 per session for acupuncture, plus the cost of herbs. A routine treatment program consists of two acupuncture treatments each week, and many women become pregnant six months to a year after beginning treatment.

Once pregnant, it is usually recommended that a woman maintain acupuncture treatments once a week, and herbal therapy is usually recommended through the first trimester.

Lately, it has been documented that men significantly contribute to the infertility issue. Several studies have concluded that the use of acupuncture improves sperm quality — especially its structural integrity; therefore, if the sperm quality is not optimal, the man, too, should undergo acupuncture and herbal therapy.

Acupuncture used in successful artificial insemination

Acupuncture has also been used as a successful adjunct to artificial insemination. In a study conducted in Germany, at the Christian Lauritzen Institute in Ulm, acupuncture was used 25 minutes before and after embryo transfer, with needles placed in the stomach and colon meridians, as well as in the ear meridians, in attempt to increase blood flow into the uterus and reduce uterine contractions. The results were indisputable. In the control group, 26 percent became pregnant; in the IVF-plus-acupuncture group, 43 percent became pregnant.

Pelvic exercises for infertility and other gynecological issues

Fertility enhancement exercises are based on the observation that many women have weak, tense muscles in their pelvis, buttocks and abdomen, and their breathing is shallow. This leads to muscle spasms and reduced metabolism and circulation in many parts of the body. The reproductive organs become malnourished and dysfunctional, which can result in infertility and a myriad of other gynecological problems.

One approach includes exercises designed by Ludmila Mojzisova, a well-known physical therapist in the Czech Republic, who has had great success helping women get pregnant after all other medical treatments had failed. Forty percent of women who rigorously followed Mojzisova’s exercise regime became pregnant within six months.

Safe, powerful breathing exercises developed by breath explorer Dennis Lewis, can be helpful, as well as several ancient qi kung exercises geared to open energy flow in the body and aid with treatment of menstrual cramps, fibroids, endometriosis, incontinence, uterine prolapse and other conditions. Women of all ages can benefit from learning these exercises.

 

Dasha Trebichavska, M.S., L.Ac., is a licensed acupuncturist practicing in Scottsdale, Ariz.. She specializes in gynecology — specifically helping women get pregnant. 480-272-6572 or www.healthtransformations.net.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 2, April/May 2006.

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