chinese new year

The Chinese New Year in 2016 is Monday, Feb. 8. In celebration of this momentous holiday, let’s take a look at an excellent traditional Chinese medicine fertility treatment that might just help you get pregnant: acupuncture.

If you are unfamiliar with acupuncture, it’s a treatment that uses thin needles that are inserted at different points in the body to facilitate the flow of Qi or the flow of energy in the body. The treatment is used for many conditions, including fertility. Proponents say that the process regulates the way the body functions. In the case of fertility, it is said to correct the flow that contributes to both hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism (under-functioning and over-functioning thyroids, respectively).

Acupuncture is a natural treatment that has no interfering effects for Western fertility treatments. Whether the flow of energy contributes to fertility isn’t proven scientifically, but many patients say it is relaxing. And a natural stress-relief is always a welcome complement to fertility treatment, by any doctor’s standards.

Another known benefit is that acupuncture can improve the blood flow to the uterus, which facilitates a thicker and more nutrient-rich endometrium lining. This improvement to the lining can help with implantation of the embryo. Many times, even after pregnancy occurs, acupuncture treatments continue to help prevent early miscarriages.

Some additional benefits could include:

  • Hormone regulation, particularly in the case of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) where we are trying to achieve a more regular and healthy menstrual cycle for the patient. Some proponents claim it can improve the ovarian function that then produces more viable eggs for assisted reproductive technologies like in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
  • Increasing sperm count for men with male fertility issues. Not only the count, but it has also been said to increase the motility (movement) of the sperm present.
  • Decreasing the impact of side effects from Western fertility drugs used during IVF cycles.

It is important to note that TCM also encourages a healthy lifestyle to give your body what it needs to be at its best. They look at the parents as fertile gardens that are ready to have a baby, and as such, need to make sure their “soil” is ready. This figurative phrase means plenty of healthy foods in their diets (and not processed foods and refined sugars), regular exercise, water and plenty of sleep. As a practitioner of Western medicine, I couldn’t agree with this more.

So have a Happy Chinese New Year this coming February. To celebrate, why not make a Chinese New Year’s resolution to try an ancient TCM fertility treatment, acupuncture, to get pregnant? It certainly doesn’t replace your Western fertility treatments, but it isn’t going to hurt them either. And who knows? You could have something special to celebrate the Chinese New Year next year as a result.