Acupuncture is an essential component of Traditional Chinese Medicine and has been used to treat headaches, infertility, recurrent miscarriages, hormone disorders, stress, body aches and depression along with many other diseases. It’s been offered for centuries to promote general well-being and focuses on mind-body interaction. Its benefits are based on traditional beliefs and experience rather than medical evidence like Western Medicine. It is also considered to be complementary or an alternative type of medical treatment rather than being the primary treatment modality.
Acupuncture is the insertion of very thin needles into specific points along the “meridians” to restore the energy balance in the body. Meridians are believed to be the pathways for the flow of energy called the “Qi”. It is believed that if energy does not flow properly, an imbalance in the body will disrupt normal body function. Acupuncture is considered low risk, minimally invasive and beneficial for a number of disorders.
Acupuncture and its benefits in patients with infertility are still controversial. Although earlier medical studies reported higher pregnancy rates in women using acupuncture with IVF treatment, latest studies do not show a significant benefit. Therefore, its routine use in patients with infertility or those undergoing IVF is not recommended. Some patients may benefit from acupuncture because it may balance mood and emotions, reduce stress and boost the immune system, provide more self-control and confidence. Each case needs to be assessed individually to determine whether acupuncture will be complementary to the fertility treatment modality.