Trying to Conceive: Connect with the infertility community in Japan

Alternative Therapy

While alternative therapies such as acupuncture, hypnosis, and other complementary therapies have yet to be concretely proven in the scientific method as effective that are several studies that show that they may be able to succeed where western science fails:

  1. ACUPUNCTURE: (According to health.com) Researchers at the Center for Integrative Medicine, at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine, conducted a meta-analysis of several research studies on the effects of acupuncture on IVF outcomes. (A meta-analysis is a research study that gathers information from several studies and evaluates them together.) The meta-analysis considered seven trials, which all together included 1,366 women.The researchers found that when acupuncture took place on the day of embryo transfer, statistically significant improvements were found in the rates of clinical pregnancies, ongoing pregnancy, and live births. They also found that 10 woman would need to be treated with IVF and acupuncture to see one additional pregnancy.In another study, often referred to as the “German study,” a German fertility clinic offered 160 IVF patients who had good-quality embryos an opportunity to participate in a study on acupuncture and IVF outcomes. Half of the patients received acupuncture treatment, 25 minutes before and after embryo transfer. The control group did not receive any supportive therapy.

    In the acupuncture group, 34 of the 80 patients got pregnant. In the control group, 21 out of 80 got pregnant.

    There have been a number of other, smaller sized research studies on acupuncture and fertility. Because of their small size, the results of these studies are controversial. Just a few of the possible connections between acupuncture and fertility found in the smaller studies:

    • Acupuncture may improve sperm quality and counts in infertile men.
    • Acupuncture may improve the lining of the endometrium, including increased the blood flow to the uterus.
    • Acupuncture may help regulate hormone levels, specifically gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which in turn may improve ovulation rates.
    • Acupuncture may help women with PCOS and anovulatory cycles.
    • Acupuncture may help those with thyroid problems. (And problems with the thyroid can lead to problems with fertility.)
    • Acupuncture may increase the number of follicles produced during an IVF treatment.
  2. WHOLE BODY TECHNIQUES: Meditation, guided imagery and deep breathing (cognitive behavioural therapy) shows great promise in helping individuals going through infertility. While it is unclear how these help there seems to be a correlation between the nervous system, stress release and hormonal balance.
  3. HERBS: Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon writes that “Chinese herbs have a long history of use in aiding fertility. Records indicating herbal treatment of infertility and miscarriage date back to 200 A.D…In modern China, herbs are used to treat infertility in both men and women and the results of large scale clinical trials are reported in Chinese medical journals…Although the outcome for any given individual cannot be predicted, the clinical studies conducted in China indicate that about 70% of all cases of infertility (male and female) treated by Chinese herbs resulted in pregnancy or restored fertility. Depending on the particular study and the types of infertility treated, success rates ranged from about 50% up to more than 90%. Included in these statistics are cases of infertility involving obstruction of the fallopian tubes, amenorrhea, absent ovulation, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, low sperm count, nonliquification of semen, and other causes.”
  4. YOGA: According to Parents.com: Studies show that yoga can help reduce stress, which can affect fertility. Some experts also believe that specific poses can help promote baby-making by increasing blood flow to your pelvis, stimulating hormone-producing glands, and releasing muscle tension.
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