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Frequently Asked Questions

Does Acupuncture hurt?

I think most of our patients agree that Acupuncture doesn’t hurt. You are likely to feel a sensation when the practitioner manipulates the needle. This may vary from a deep ache to a tingling sensation and you should feel very relaxed.

How does acupuncture work? 

From a western medical perspective, acupuncture works by stimulating the peripheral nerves, which send messages to the brain, and the brain in turn, sends messages to the internal organs. By stimulating the brain, acupuncture can modulate the endocrine, neurological and immunological systems, bringing about a state of homeostasis and well being.

Acupuncture also releases endorphins the body’s natural analgesic, which both reduce pain and promote a sense of wellbeing.

In addition, Acupuncture is very effective in improving blood circulation in the tissues as well as systemically, and easing tension in the muscles.

The hypothalamus resides in the brain and controls the discharge of gonadotropin- releasing hormones (GnRH) which govern ovulation, menstruation, conception and pregnancy. By stimulation the hypothalamus through the peripheral nervous system, acupuncture is very effective in regulating the hormones and treating menstrual issues and infertility.

How many sessions of Acupuncture might I need? 

This will depend very much on the condition, the chronicity and the individual. Usually the patient starts with weekly treatments and then they can come less frequently as they improve. 

How many sessions of Acupuncture might I need to treat infertility? 

It takes three months for the follicles to develop so you should be prepared for treatment to take at least three months, although it can take less. Ideally you should start with weekly treatments, at least for the first couple of cycles, after which you may be able to cut down to fortnightly or to prime times of your cycle. 

During what phase of my cycle should I start Acupuncture treatment for fertility? 

You can start Acupuncture treatment at any time of your cycle as each phase of your cycle is important in its own right and all four phases are mutually interdependent (see our blog on treatment according to the phases of the menstrual cycle here). Later in the course of your treatment once the therapeutic effects of the treatment have been established, you may be able to cut down on the frequency of the sessions and focus the treatment on the prime times of your cycle. In most cases, the follicular phase and around ovulation will be the most important phases of the cycle, but this may vary according to the individual and the condition with which they present. 

When should I have Maya Abdominal fertility massage?

Maya Abdominal Fertility Massage should only be given between your period and ovulation. 

When should I start treatment to prepare for IVF? 

Ideally treatment should be started three months before your IVF cycle for the maximum benefits. This would enable us to work on improving egg quality as it takes three months for the follicles to develop. Some people do not come to us until much later, leaving only a few weeks before their cycle before they start.
Although this gives us less time to work on egg quality, there are still plenty of other things we can work on to prepare you for your cycle and improve your chances of success. These include invigorating blood circulation in the ovaries and uterus to enhance the development of the follicles and aid implantation, lower cortisol levels, thicken the endometrium, reduce inflammation, increase ATP production in the follicles to improve cell division after fertilisation and much more.

Some patients just come to us on the day of embryo transfer, when they have two treatments - one just before and one just after transfer - to aid and facilitate the transfer procedure and help implantation. These two treatments alone have been found to increase success rates by 40%. 

Can I have an acupuncture during pregnancy? 

Yes, it is advisable to have acupuncture during the first trimester to help prevent miscarriage. This is particularly recommended if you have conceived through IVF or if you have suffered from recurrent miscarriages.

Other symptoms such as morning sickness, can be treated in the first trimester or indeed throughput pregnancy.

In the third trimester, it is recommended to have acupuncture to help prepare for labour. This works to loosen the ligaments in the pelvis, soften the cervix, calm the mind and boost energy in preparation for labour. It is advisable to have four weekly treatments starting four weeks before your due date. These treatments have been found to reduce the likelihood of going overdue, reduce the average labour time and reduce the likelihood of complications.

What is the difference between acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the way that they work?

For optimal results, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are usually used in combination. Acupuncture may, in some cases, have more of an immediate effect, whilst Chinese herbal medicine may take a little longer to show results. Whilst acupuncture is particularly effective at instantly calming the mind and reducing pain, Chinese herbs are more effective than acupuncture in moving the blood and breaking down adhesions or masses. They are also more effective in nourishing the Blood and building up Yin, as, whilst acupuncture works simply by moving the Qi and rebalancing the energy to enable the body to function cation optimally, Chinese herbs, which are tangible, substantial and very nourishing, are pushing energy in. Chinese herbs are particularly indicated in chronic and complex cases. 

Should I chart my Basal Body Temperature (BBT)? 

Whether or not you chart your BBT is a very personal choice, since some patients prefer not to get too obsessed with tracking day to day chances. However, if you are happy to take your temperature and put it into a chart, it can be very helpful for the practitioner to see it at the end of the month, as the chart holds a wealth of information about your cycle. It can be very helpful as an extra diagnostic tool and if you continue to chart each month, you can see the improvement in your cycle as your treatment progresses. To read more see our blog on BBT

Can acupuncture and Chinese medicine increase cervical mucus? 

Yes, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can both increase cervical mucus by tonifying Yin. Chinese herbs are particularly effective in tonifying Yin. To learn more about cervical mucus and Chinese medicine, read our blog here

Can acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine improve egg quality? 

Yes, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are very effective in improving egg quality. They do so by increasing blood circulation around the developing follicles, so improving the transport of oxygen and micronutrient to the eggs.

In Chinese medicine, the quality of the eggs is dependent on Yin, which itself is supported by Blood. Chinese herbs are particularly effective in nourishing Blood and supplementing Yin, so they are particularly important in the treatment of low AMH and poor egg quality. 

Can Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine treat low progesterone? 

Yes, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are both effective in treating low progesterone and tonifying Kidney Yin/Yang and Spleen Qi/Yang. To learn more, why not read our blog on luteal phase defects? 

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