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As more and more woman are facing infertility issues they are increasingly using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to supplement or replace conventional fertility treatments, including acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy. CAM practitioners have a holistic, interdisciplinary and individualized approach that supports pregnancy.  They also address other determinants of fertility such as lifestyle, environmental factors, and psycho-emotional causes providing a huge benefit to infertility patients.

Stress and Infertility

Stress is now recognized as being the cause of many disease processes.  Commonly, stress is not even taken into account during the fertility process by most doctors and is not considered to be an obstacle.  However, cortisol, known as the stress hormone, can wreak havoc in our body by contributing to weight gain, depression, suppressed immunity, inflammation, and other degenerative diseases.  None of these are helpful when trying to get pregnant.  Furthermore, cortisol can cause a disruption in ovulation by delaying the luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) surge, and suppress gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion.  This imbalance causes disruption in ovulation and can even result in anovulation.

Another function that is impaired by periods of stress is the detoxification pathways  leading to a buildup of environmental and physiological toxins that effect the gastrointestinal tract flora and hormonal balance.  Organic plant based nutrients, rich in minerals. vitamins, antioxidants, and various other phytonutrients are essential to maintain liver health.  This will provide a good foundation from which your body can begin to build vital resources to support a new life.  All of this can be properly assessed by a CAM practitioner.

Alternative Solutions to Infertility

Fortunate for us, the CAM community offers many solutions to the infertility battle.  One of the main keys is to remember that you have the natural inherent ability to activate your parasympathetic nervous system responsible for “rest and relaxation”.    Acupuncture can also help initiate the relaxation response to help reverse or heal the disrupted physiology causing the infertility.  Some other valuable tools that can help:

• Meditation

• Lifestyle modifications

• Chinese herbs

• Diet

• Yoga

Acupuncture can increase fertility by not only reducing stress, but by increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs and by balancing the endocrine system which plays a critical role in the initiation and maintenance of pregnancy. According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), “acupuncture is believed to restore the balance between Yin and Yang.” This can be translated into the Western medicine terminology as “acupuncture modulates the imbalance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic activity” which will help reduce stress.  When used in conjunction with Western fertility treatments acupuncture can greatly increase fertility rates.

In conclusion, before you give up on your infertility battle, give Complementary and Alternative Medicine a try.  It is less expensive and less stressful in the long run.  You can be on your way to having a healthy baby faster than than you thought.



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