Many couples, both men and women, are turning to the traditional Chinese medical practice of acupuncture to help them conceive and bring life into this world. Unfortunately, there are those who remain skeptic both about the effectiveness of acupuncture for fertility and about the safety profile of undergoing acupuncture for fertility. According to Elaine Hickman, the acupuncturist of Freedom Chinese Medicine, this most likely stems from the belief that the needles used in acupuncture will naturally bring pain and discomfort and can affect the different physiologic and hormonal processes associated with fertility. It is feared that acupuncture will only bring more harm than good.
But nothing could be farther from the truth.
The Freedom Chinese Medicine FB page has several very interesting interactions with its many followers sharing the safety profile of fertility acupuncture. It would seem that the unfounded fears of many individuals is largely attributed to the unusually long acupuncture needles used in the treatment. In many instances, they equate it with the needles used in syringes usually in the administration of certain types of medications as well as in drawing blood for diagnostic purposes. Most people think that if a very small needle from a syringe can be that painful, what more a needle that is more than 5 times longer than average? While it is understandable that people will naturally think it is painful, acupuncturists and their respective clients are doing everything they can to spread the word that acupuncture is not painful and that it is safe. The most people will experience is a very slight, almost negligible, pinprick. In some cases, a little tingling sensation has been reported as well as a dull ache.
Now, is fertility acupuncture safe?
If improving blood flow to the ovaries so that it will continue to aid in the maturation of egg cells is considered not safe, then perhaps the more appropriate question is would you rather take medications with plenty of proven side effects instead? Acupuncture is all natural. You are not introducing anything into the body. No chemicals. No substances. No nothing. What the acupuncturist is only inserting is some very fine surgically sterile needles that are meant to stimulate certain nerve endings in your body. If you have already experienced getting a therapeutic massage before, then the effect is almost similar to that. The only difference is that instead of indirect stimulation of the nerves by deep palpation, the acupuncturist directly stimulates the nerve endings with the acupuncture needle.
To understand which is actually safer, here is an example. Clomiphene citrate is the medication that is often given to women who have problems with fertility. The idea is for clomiphene to stimulate the release of an egg cell from the ovaries in a process called ovulation. This is the period of time that the woman has the highest chance of getting pregnant. However, it should be noted that clomiphene citrate commonly produces abnormal vaginal bleeding, headache, breast tenderness or even discomfort, as well as nausea and vomiting. In severe cases of clomiphene adverse reactions, shortness of breath, chest pain, seizures, and stroke have also been reported. The question now is, do you get these from acupuncture?
Abnormal vaginal bleeding can lead to anemia which can significantly weaken you making you feel easily fatigued. Breast tenderness or discomfort can further aggravate the already splitting headache that you may have. Prolonged nausea and vomiting will lead to fluid and electrolyte imbalances. You will have heart palpitations. You will feel dizzy. You will feel muscle aches and pain. Of course, your doctor will give you medications for these side effects. But these medications will bring another set of entirely different side effects. And you are asking if fertility acupuncture is safe?
Given that the acupuncture pinprick is painful to some, does it result to abnormal vaginal bleeding? Does it lead to seizures, chest pain, and stroke? Does it make breathing difficult?
Additionally, even if acupuncture is painful, without it, clomiphene will simply not work. Why? Because clomiphene forces the ovaries into releasing egg cells. The question is are these egg cells healthy enough to be fertilized? Sure they can be released by the ovaries but will it be fertilized by a sperm cell? Acupuncture addresses this by making sure the egg cell gets plenty of oxygen and nutrients for its development. Fertility acupuncture helps ensure that the egg cells are fully mature and very healthy even before they are fertilized.
Given all these information, it would be helpful to know the answer to this question – is fertility acupuncture safe? It is not only safe but is also a very effective way to help you get pregnant. There is no need to fret about any dangerous invasive procedure. When carried by a professional acupuncturist, expect positive results after a number of required sessions.