How acupuncture can help with fertility problems
Randomised trials in China have demonstrated significantly better pregnancy rates for acupuncture than medication (Yang 2005, Chen 2007, Song 2008), but these studies arguably are not of high quality. In the West, clinical trials on acupuncture for natural fertility are almost non-existent, though a small amount of positive evidence exists (Gerhard 1992, Stener-Victorin 2000, 2008, 2010).
Research suggests that the plausible mechanisms explaining how acupuncture may benefit fertility are by:
- regulating fertility hormones (Ng 2008, Huang 2008, Lim 2010, Stener-Victorin 2010, He 2009)
- increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs. Acupuncture inhibits sympathetic activity, improving blood flow to the ovaries and enhancing the environment in which ovarian follicles develop (Stener-Victorin 2006, Lim 2010).
- increasing blood flow to the uterus improving the thickness of the endometrial lining and increasing the chances of embryo implantation. (Stener-Victorin 1996, Huang 2008),
- counteracting the effects of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) – (Stener-Victorin 2000, 2008, 2009, Zhang 2009).