Acupuncture is one of the safest and most popular complementary therapies alongside IVF. There has been lots of research to support the use of Acupuncture alongside IVF. However there is also is a lot of mixed reporting due to the lack of funding into acupuncture studies.
The most up to date research study in 2018 which involved a system review and meta analysis concluded that acupuncture had a significant treatment effect on women undergoing IVF and ICSI. The study further concluded that acupuncture can help alleviate stress and anxiety alongside the IVF cycle.
Traditional Acupuncture (TCM ) is a complete system of medicine and comprises of Acupuncture, dietary therapy, herbal medicine and tuina massage. Traditional acupuncture takes a holistic approach to health and regards any disease as an imbalance within the body. The exact nature of the imbalance is unique to the individual.
Acupuncture and the stages of the IVF cycle
A three month preparatory acupuncture programme is the ideal preparatory time for an IVF cycle . The reason for this is the life cycle of an egg is 90 days and to influence egg health alongside dietary changes preparation is important.
Recent studies show that longer term preparation is more effective than previous studies that offered short term acupuncture. However patients come for acupuncture at all stages of the treatment cycle.
During IVF cycle
Many patients report acupuncture can help with relaxation, stress and help manage the unwanted side effects of drugs.
Acupuncture is shown in research to help improve blood flow to the reproductive organs.
Pre and Post Embryo Transfer
There have been many widely publicised media articles and research on the use of Acupuncture at embryo transfer. The most well known is the study published in the British Medical Journal and also listed on the NHS website. Both studies conclude that Acupuncture alongside IVF treatment improves rates of pregnancy and live birth in women undergoing IVF.
The Two Week Wait
Many patients can find the two week wait the hardest part of the IVF cycle. Acupuncture can be a supportive treatment at this time to help reduce stress and calm the mind. A systematic review and meta analysis concluded that Acupuncture may be a suitable treatment option to help reduce stress and anxiety levels.
Choosing An Acupuncurist
When Choosing an Acupuncturist always make sure your acupuncturist is a member of a recognised professional body. The British Acupuncture Council is the leading self regulatory body of Acupuncturist in the UK. All members observe a strict code of conduct and safe practise and are listed on the register of The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care.