Skip to main content

The TCM Treatment of Infertility Part 1

Acupuncture and Herbal Therapy are ancient Chinese methods used for the treatment and prevention of disease. These systems are as ancient and effective as any other medical techniques used in the world today. They have been practiced consistently fo

r the past five thousand years in the Orient. Seventy percent of one quarter of the world’s population uses acupuncture and herbs as their main form of health care. Whenever I worked in the Hospitals in China, patients nearly always received Acupuncture and Herbal medicine first before any drugs or surgery was given, you could say the opposite is true here.

A natural form of medicine which can do no harm or have any side effects surely has to be the medicine of choice when it comes to properly looking after your health.

Treating the Whole Person

The benefits of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs in treatment for the infertile couple can be found in early Chinese medical literature dating back to the 11AD. Not only do these techniques assist in regulating the menstrual cycle and invigorating the sperm, but they also serve to enhance the function of the whole body. This “whole body” health approach, in turn, provides a key to unlock unlimited potential in healing. Furthermore, herbal formulas that tonify the Kidney energy (renal and adrenal function), and Kidney essence (jing) are especially beneficial in raising sperm count and motility. Whether you are planning to use high tech fertility treatments, or take the more natural approach, acupuncture can increase your chances of achieving a pregnancy and a Take Home Baby.

Acupuncture uses the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as well as herbal prescriptions for maintaining a balanced system. Our goal is to allow patients to conceive naturally. By strengthening the patient’s health, it allows the inborn ability of conception to take place. A healthy more balanced body will conceive more naturally. Many women feel a sense that their “biological clock” is running out, it stands to reason that pregnancy is more likely to occur in a “healthy” 40 year old versus an “unhealthy” 40 year old. It will take more than three months to improve the quality of your internal and external health. This doesn’t mean lost time; it means giving your body a head start. If you do not conceive naturally and decide to use ART, IVF or IUI; you can rest assured that the time spent on improving your health will give you the best possible outcome. There are several advantages to using Traditional Chinese Medicine as an approach to heightening a couple’s fertility.

Some Advantages of Using Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM for short), which includes acupuncture and herbal therapy sees the person as an integral Mind/body organism, thereby does not treat just symptoms/diseases. TCM ventures to stimulate the body’s natural healing potential by treating root causes rather than just symptoms.

TCM, used in the treatment of infertility, minimizes undesired side effects and accumulated toxicity from invasive procedures and drug therapies, known and unknown.

Traditional Chinese medicine may be used to strengthen and balance one’s general health so that IVF, GIFT, ZIFT, ICSI, ART, IUI and TET procedures are more effective. The TCM patient derives general health benefits and endocrine system balancing from specific acupuncture and herbal regimes. Pregnancy becomes easier to achieve and postpartum recuperation happens faster. Medical studies have been done in China to verify this type of whole body health enhancement in bringing about pregnancy.

The widespread use of TCM suggests that it is a complete traditional medical health care system and can be used very successfully with or without the integration of Western medical techniques.

This is how Traditional Chinese Medicine can Enhance Fertility it regulates the menstrual cycle,

regulates hormones by reducing stress, Improves ovarian function; encourages production of follicles; enhances their quality, Improves blood flow to ovaries and uterus, reduces miscarriages, enhances immune system, lessens uterine contractions after embryo transfer, improves thickness of uterine wall lining, lessens side effects of medications, improves sperm parameters (takes 3 mon.), improves quality of oocytes (immature female reproductive cells) (takes 3 mon.) In part 2 next week we will continue and explain the involvement of liver congestion and its impact on fertility.

Correcting Breech Presentation

I have heard that moxibustion a technique of Chinese medicine is very effective in correcting breech presentation. What is moxibustion? And how good is it for turning the baby in the womb?
Moxibustion, or Moxa for short, is an ancient form of heat therapy. Moxa uses the ground up leaves of the plant Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris). These are either rolled into sticks for indirect moxa, or the powdery substance is made into tiny cones and burned on ointment or a ginger slice, which is then placed on the acupuncture point. That is called direct moxa. In Chinese, the term for acupuncture is “Zhen Jiu.” The “Zhen” means “needle,” and the “Jiu” means “moxa.” Thus, acupuncture and moxibustion have been paired therapies for hundreds of years.

Burning moxa has a distinct odour, which some people find relaxing. The essential oils in moxa have a significant effect, as a type of aromatherapy or medicinal incense. All over the world, mugwort has had a good reputation as a plant that keeps evil away. In European folk tradition, mugwort was put into dream pillows to keep bad dreams away. The ‘sagebrush’ of the west is mostly Artemisia tridentata, closer to mugwort than to sage.

During indirect moxa, the smouldering moxa stick is held a couple inches away from the skin, usually around the inserted needles or just above the acupuncture point. The practitioner will monitor the heat level, and work with the patient to provide a therapeutic level of heat while maintaining comfort and safety.

Throughout most of pregnancy, a woman’s uterus has enough space to allow the foetus to move comfortably and change position. By the 36th week of pregnancy, most foetuses turn into a head-down, or “vertex” position, which is the normal and safest position for birth. In about 4 percent of all pregnancies, however, the baby does not move to the vertex position. This results in a breech presentation, in which a baby’s feet, legs or buttocks – rather than the head – are the first to come out during delivery. Breech deliveries may lead to more complications during childbirth than normal deliveries, and often require a caesarean section to be performed, adding extra in medical costs and increasing the risk of harm to the mother. The technique of moxibustion to correct breech presentation involves heating acupuncture points BL-67 on both feet with moxa poles for 15 minutes once a day for 5 days then waiting a few days to check if baby has turned, if not then this treatment is continued for a further 5 days. Most research show that the optimal time to carry out this technique is between the 34th and 36th week of gestation. Acupuncture correction of foetal mal-presentation is a relatively simple, efficacious and inexpensive method associated with a lower percentage of operatively completed deliveries, which will definitely reflect in improved parameters of vital and peri-natal statistics. Recent randomised controlled trials in China indicate varying success rates ranging from 89.9 to 90.3%