The origins of the practice of acupuncture can be traced back more than 30 centuries ago to the heart of ancient China. The first practitioners were highly skilled at making accurate diagnoses through detailed observation of their patients. Based on the belief that the body can be mapped with energy channels called meridians, associated with the various body systems in which energy, or qi (chi) flows, they suggested that obstructions to the flow of energy along these channels could result in physical, mental and emotional imbalance, which eventually led to disease. By stimulating the acupuncture points the free flow of energy could be restored, allowing the body to re-establish its natural balance. This approach remains central to the practice of acupuncture today.
There has been much comment in the press in recent years about the benefit of acupuncture for fertility concerns. Here at the Zita West Clinic, acupuncture is always carried out in conjunction with mainstream Western medicine to ensure the best possible level of reproductive health. Our team carries out over 6000 sessions of fertility-focused treatments each year and we consistently update our methods by consulting the latest research as part of fertility treatment.
Zita West has over twenty years’ experience as an acupuncturist, and heads up our team of practitioners. They always have access to Zita for advice, as well as to a whole medical team of highly experienced doctors and midwives at the clinic. Zita also frequently reviews individual cases to ensure that clients receive the highest standard of care.
The results of some research studies into acupuncture are very promising and we remain strong supporters of its use as part of a coordinated approach, though there is often very little hard evidence to prove its effectiveness in terms of accepted Western medical standards. There are many research studies that suggest acupuncture may help in various areas relating to fertility and conception but none can be considered proven in those terms. Research has been conducted into its use in the following areas:
• Regulating the menstrual cycle
• Reducing stress by decreasing the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. High stress levels are associated with reduced chances of conceiving
• Improving blood circulation to the pelvic organs, including the ovaries and uterus, allowing the reproductive organs to work to their full potential
• Increasing blood circulation to the uterus ensures optimal endometrial thickness
• Helping to trigger ovulation in some women with ovulatory dysfunction
• Helping women with PCOS, endemetriosis, dysmenorrhea, pelvic inflammation
• Improving sperm count, motility and structural abnormalities
It’s clear that more well-designed, large prospective studies are needed into the use of acupuncture in the field of natural fertility (and alongside IVF treatments) However, the feedback from the majority of women and men up and down the country who have had acupuncture is that they have benefited enormously, feeling proactive, relaxed, acknowledged, supported and nurtured through what is a very stressful time for many.
What to expect
In our experience, women and men are often slightly anxious on their first visit, especially if they have never had acupuncture before. The sensation you experience is quite personal, and can be experienced initially as dullness or tingling around the insertion site but this is often very pleasant. Once this feeling settles down, your body can feel heavy, easing you into a very restful state and make the session deeply relaxing and enjoyable.
We believe it’s important to make sure you are treated according to your own individual circumstances. On your first visit your practitioner will take into consideration your medical history and lifestyle, as well as making observational diagnoses. Our clinical questionnaires are carefully compiled to provide our practitioners with this important information, and will be emailed to you at the time of booking. On the day of your first treatment, please bring your completed forms with you. This information can be crucial for your practitioner to identify where the imbalances in your body are, and therefore making the correct selection of acupuncture points to focus on with you.