Supplementing Fertility Treatment with Yoga, Acupuncture and Other Complementary Medicine Programs
At Dallas-Fort Worth Fertility Associates, we recognize a mind-body connection to infertility, and share alternative medicine resources with our patients. According to the National Infertility Association (RESOLVE), as many as 2 in 3 American women practices complementary medicine. Beyond a trend, complementary medicine has proven effective over the centuries.
Eastern medicine such as acupuncture can enhance fertility (in certain cases), reduce stress and foster overall wellness. Other practices–such as meditation, massage and yoga–complement conventional medicine as well.
The caveat: Your Dallas-Fort Worth fertility specialists need to know which complementary therapies* you may pursue, however, because certain practices could cause more harm than good.
Eastern Vs. Western Medicine for Fertility
Allopathic (Western medicine) fertility treatment, including in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination, produces incredibly successful outcomes for thousands of couples. For example, fertility surgery can open blocked fallopian tubes and treat endometriosis, and intracytoplasmic sperm injection offers hope to men with incredibly low sperm counts. For certain physiological causes of infertility, Western medicine is the most direct path to conceiving a baby.
However, a hybrid treatment plan, which combines stress-reducing practices and Eastern medicine with the latest scientific breakthroughs in reproductive medicine, can deliver the best overall approach to conception.
Dallas Fertility Associates Companion Treatments
Acupuncture has been shown to alleviate stress, and to directly impact the reproductive system. In addition to stress reduction, benefits include stimulating hormonal and ovulatory function, and increasing blood flow to the uterus to improve the lining. Some studies show acupuncture improves sperm performance, and even IVF success rates when acupuncture is performed in the months leading up to in-vitro fertilization.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a 3,000-year history of enhancing mind-body wellness. Dallas-Fort Worth Fertility Associates, and fertility specialists throughout Texas and the U.S. support the use of acupuncture in conjunction with IVF and fertility treatment.
While most people associate chiropractic care with back pain or spinal issues, anecdotal evidence supports the benefits of chiropractic care for men and women undergoing fertility treatment.
Once used as a sedation method prior to surgery, hypnosis (or hypnotherapy when used for therapeutic purposes) helps women reduce their blood pressure and stress levels, and boost immune-system function. Recent studies show beneficial results for women trying to get pregnant, particularly when employed in the embryo transfer stage of IVF.
Massage or Reiki
Massage, shown to lower blood pressure and reduce stress, is a good choice for women and men undergoing the rigors of fertility treatment. You can find reputable therapists here: http://www.amtamassage.org/
Yoga and Meditation
‘Yoga for Fertility’ classes at Dallas-area studios are becoming more common, and the practice has a two-fold effect. First, the practice of yoga and meditation calms the mind with purposeful breath, and teaches coping skills for dealing with stress and infertility. Second, the community of women sharing the experience of infertility in a yoga class can provide a powerful support network.
*Herbal Medicine or Supplements
The FDA does not regulate dietary supplements, and suspect ingredients may actually impede, rather than enhance, conception. With the exception of most prenatal vitamins, Dallas-Fort Worth Fertility Associates does not recommend over-the-counter herbal medicines or supplements during fertility treatment, especially those that harm fertility, or interfere with fertility medications.
• St. John’s wort
Alternative medicine, or complementary medicine, focuses on finding balance in the body, and enhancing the body’s ability to heal itself. Dallas-Fort Worth Fertility Associates encourages patients to embrace wellness and stress management strategies during and after fertility treatment.
Contact your fertility specialist for specific questions about the complementary medicine options you are considering during your treatment cycle.