Over five thousand years ago, the Chinese discovered the complex relationship between stimulating a point on the skin to influence a particular organ or organ pathway. Acupuncture uses thin sterile disposable needles that are inserted into acupuncture points to cause an effect in the body. In Acupuncture, the practitioner treats not just the symptoms but the whole person – body, mind and spirit. There is typically little to no pain associated with the acupuncture needles; it feels more like a pin prick. In fact, most of our patients become so relaxed from the treatment that they often fall asleep during their session, and leave feeling calm and rested.
The Discovery of Acupuncture
The Chinese discovered the circulatory system more than 2000 years before William Harvey did in the West in 1628. The ancient Chinese had a very advanced scientific understanding of the body and how it worked, but they defined it in terms and symbols not known to those in the Western world. The acupuncture theory of the ancient Chinese takes into account their deep understanding of the lymphatic, circulatory, vascular, and nervous systems. They were able to influence all of these systems through their selection of acupuncture points on the 14 major pathways.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture has three main theories describing how and why it works, and with the current advancements in science in the fields of biophysics, biochemistry, and physiology, we are now able to understand the complex mechanisms of acupuncture.
Neural Theory: Insertion of needles stimulates the nervous system releasing chemicals to either alleviate pain or affect the body’s internal regulating systems. It stimulates nerve fibers to carry electrical impulses back to the brain increasing beta endorphin concentrations.
Electrical Theory: Research has shown that there is a higher electrical magnetic field around the acupuncture points than in the surrounding skin.
Current Theory: Research has found that needle insertion activates pain fibers in the skin. These pain fibers trigger a cascade of chemical messengers, while sending signals to the spinal cord which relays information to the brain stem. Acupuncture can be seen as a bridge that is able to affect and integrate different systems of the body, such as the nervous, endocrine, circulatory, muscular and digestive. Because of these broad effects, acupuncture can create profound changes in the body.
Benefits of Acupuncture Treatment for Reproduction
- Improvement in the function of the ovaries to produce higher quality eggs
- Regulation of the hormones to produce a larger number of follicles
- Increase in the blood flow to the uterus and increase in the thickness of the uterine lining
- Relaxation and de-stress
- Prevention of uterine contractions post IVF embryo transfer
- Reduction of the side-effects of IVF medications
- Strengthened immune system / Increased energy
- Improvement in sperm count, motility, morphology
- Reduction of sperm DNA fragmentation
- Increase in chance of conceiving
- Decrease in chance of miscarriage
Effects of Acupuncture
- Reduction of pain via inhibition of nociceptive fibers
- Activation of blood coagulation and immune complement systems
- Enhancement of blood circulation
- Restoration of visceral homeostasis
- Normalization of vascular tone
- Reduction of muscle contractions and spasms
- Promotion of tissue repair (immune response)
- Normalization of endocrine function (Hypothalamus, Pituitary, LH, FSH, Adrenal, Ovary, Thyroid)
- Normalization of neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, adrenaline)
- Normalization of sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight)