A recent study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that women who used weekly acupuncture in addition lifestyle modification achieved pregnancy almost twice as quickly as women who used lifestyle modification alone to support their efforts to conceive.
The women targeted in this study fell into the category of “subfertile,” meaning they had been trying to conceive (having unprotected sex) for more than 12 months. The participants were randomized into one of two groups. Group one received the lifestyle intervention alone: fertility-friendly diet counseling, low-intensity exercise program, and encouragement/assistant to quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption. Group two received lifestyle intervention as well as a Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis and weekly acupuncture treatment. TCM treatment was administered over 12 weeks, and acupuncture was based on TCM diagnosis, menstrual cycle phase, assessment of mood/spirit and other biomedical conditions.
The pregnancy rates over the course of the 12 week intervention were identical between groups, with 7 women (16% of total sample) achieving pregnancy. However, the women who achieved pregnancy in the acupuncture group became pregnant in an average of 5.5 weeks, versus 10.7 weeks in the lifestyle-only group. Women receiving acupuncture also demonstrated an increase of fertility awareness and well-being.
Other studies have shown t he benefit of whole systems TCM to support increased pregnancy rates in women undergoing medical fertility treatment. “Whole systems” refers to the practice of TCM as originally intended, using personalized diagnosis and treatment instead of standardized protocols as well as herbs, moxibustion, massage and lifestyle recommendations.
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