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Unlock Fertility with Acupuncture
By Catherine S. Gregory
After Veronica Skudlarczyk of Denver tried unsuccessfully for almost a year to get pregnant, she turned to a reproductive endocrinologist recommended by a friend. Following a series of fertility tests, which revealed nothing obvious, Skudlarczyk learned she had “unexplained ovarian dysfunction.” She became suspicious when the doctor said they could “work around her ovaries” and prescribed a powerful fertility drug.
Instead of filling that prescription, Skudlarczyk made an appointment with Jane Gregorie, a licensed acupuncturist and owner of Acupuncture Denver. Gregorie, who practices Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), administered acupuncture treatments to help regulate Skudlarczyk’s menstrual cycles and to move energy to her reproductive organs so her ovaries could recover from 14 years of birth control use. Gregorie also recommended dietary changes and Chinese herbs to support her patient’s healing. Skudlarczyk’s cycle came into balance within just three months, and after adding a couple of months of Maya uterine massage, she was able to conceive a child.
Traditional Chinese Medicine looks at fertility through the lens of a patient’s life force, or qi. According to Stephanie Gianarelli, LAc, owner of Acupuncture Northwest in Seattle, energy imbalances in the spleen, liver, and/or kidneys can cause irregular menses. By enhancing the health of those organs through acupuncture and lifestyle changes, Gianarelli says, a woman can regain her fertility and improve her overall health.
Despite its thousands of years of proven success in China and Japan, acupuncture is just now being recognized by Western fertility doctors as having a positive outcome on their procedures. A German study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility in April 2002 showed that pregnancy rates improved in patients who received acupuncture while undergoing assisted reproductive therapies. Women who received acupuncture immediately before and after embryo transfer had a clinical pregnancy rate of 42.5 percent versus 26.3 percent in the control group.
The University of Washington in Seattle and Acupuncture Northwest are replicating that study, referred to as the Paulus study. In her private practice, Gianarelli treats clients she describes as stressed-out, Type-A personalities in their mid-30s and early 40s who frequently show up at her clinic with diagnoses such as male factor infertility and hormonal imbalances.
Skudlarczyk says watching friends endure the stress of high-tech fertility treatments reaffirmed her decision to choose more natural alternatives. A study conducted in 2003 by Cardiff University in Wales showed that medical fertility procedures compound the stress of not being able to conceive, further decreasing the chance of a successful pregnancy.
When stress hormones are dominant, the reproductive hormones can’t work, says Dr. Randine Lewis, LAc, Houston-based author of The Infertility Cur...
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