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In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Acupuncture, By: Teri Calandra, L.Ac & Kristine Ward, L.Ac

Posted Oct 17 2009 10:00pm

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Acupuncture, By: Teri Calandra, L.Ac & Kristine Ward, L.Ac
I love the fact that there are so many options for us to explore in regards to complimenting IVF treatments. Please read below and article from my guest bloggers Teri Calandra and Kristine Ward. Your comments are always welcomed!

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Acupuncture
By: Teri Calandra, L.Ac & Kristine Ward, L.Ac
South Loop Acupuncture: Chicago, IL

Acupuncture has been the primary medical system in China for thousands of years. Many people are aware of the benefits of acupuncture for stress reduction, addictions, and pain management. However, most people are still in the dark about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as an adjunct to woman’s health and infertility.

Traditional Chinese Medicine includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and Tui Na (a type of Chinese medical massage). For the purposes of IVF and TCM the most beneficial combination is acupuncture and Chinese herbs. In addition, diet and lifestyle changes may also be recommended by the TCM practitioner.

Infertility and Traditional Chinese Medicine

It is important to mention that the diagnoses of conventional pathologies (such as infertility and polycystic ovarian syndrome) are not within the scope of practice for a licensed acupuncturist. Chinese Medicine views the inability to become pregnant and sustain pregnancy as a symptom of a number of different patterns that can be treated.

The accepted statistic of infertility according to the World Health Organization is that one in seven couples has difficulty in getting pregnant. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be conducive for increasing your IVF success rates, sustaining pregnancy, decreasing aches and pains, decreasing stress, and easing labor and delivery.

Chinese Medicine is also able to help with male infertility. It is recommended to combine acupuncture and Chinese herbs to increase sex drive, and increase the quantity and viability of seminal fluid.

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture?

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system for diagnosis and treatment. The individual is seen as an integrated whole. Every part, process, thought, and emotion within the individual is considered in terms of its contribution to the healthy functioning of the whole person. Each disease and disorder is not seen as an isolated event but as an outward manifestation of the whole person being out of balance.

Acupuncture is able to influence health and sickness by stimulating certain meridians or, “energy pathways” along the body. These “energy pathways” are stimulated using single use needles that are as thin as a hair. The goal of acupuncture is to put your body into a state that allows it to heal itself.

TCM (acupuncture & Chinese herbs) can also utilize stress reduction techniques that can have an effect on subtle and non-mechanical reasons for infertility. Irregular ovulation, low sperm counts, or undiagnosed causes respond the best to a combination of TCM and IVF treatments. IVF is the best means to obtain pregnancy in cases of tube blockage. However, acupuncture is able to keep the body in a homeostatic state to maintain the body as nurturing environment for the embryo. (Lyttleton 379)

The following are just a few of the many articles and books that support acupuncture and IVF.
- W. Paulus, M.D., M. Zhang, M.D., I. El-Danasouri, Ph.D., E. Strehler , M.D., and K. Sterzik,M.D, “Influence of acupuncture on pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy”, Fertility and Sterility, Vol. 77, No. 4, Apr. 2002
o “The analysis shows that the pregnancy rate for acupuncture group is considerably higher than for the control group (42.5% versus 26.3%”
- Johnson, D “Acupuncture prior to and at the embryo transfer in an assisted conception unit-a case series”, Acupuncture in Medicine: Journal of the British Medical Acupuncture Society, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp 23-8, Mar. 2006
o “This was a success rate of 57.7% compared with 45.3% for patients in the IVF unit not treated with acupuncture”
- Liang L. O.M.D., Ph.D, L.Ac. 2003 “Acupuncture and IVF” Blue Poppy Press, Boulder , CO
- Lyttleton J. 2004 “Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine” Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh, UK
- Zhi-Qiang C, Li-Yun L. 2008 “Male and Female Infertility” People’s Medical Publishing House, Beijing, China

Teri Calandra and Kristine Ward both have a background in massage therapy, and graduated from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine with their Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine. They are both NCCAOM board certified and are licensed through the state of Illinois. Teri and Kristine have been working together since 2005, and they co-own South Loop Acupuncture in Chicago. South Loop Acupuncture offers acupuncture, Chinese herbology, and Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination (NAET). Together they have combined specialties in woman's health, digestive, and respiratory disorders, musculoskeletal dysfunctions, and allergies. Both practitioners have a strong belief that where one medicine leaves off the other picks up. They believe that it is important to work with all medical modalities in order to offer the greatest care to the patient.

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