Acupuncture for Infertility & Assisted IVF
While female infertility most obviously can prevent a woman from becoming pregnant, if a woman with similar underlying difficulties does manage to become pregnant, it will often be difficult to take the pregnancy successfully to term, as these underlying difficulties may lead to miscarriage. The goal for treating female infertility is not only to enhance the ability to become pregnant in the first place, but also to prevent miscarriages and to deliver a healthy baby.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been used to treat infertility and prevent miscarriages for about two thousand five hundred years in China. Thousands of years of clinical practice and empirical evidence built from innumerable cases has allowed Chinese medical physicians to determine that using needles to stimulate certain specific points on the meridians of the body can help treat infertility.
There are many classical Chinese herbal formulas devised by Chinese medical physicians that have, throughout history, been successful in treating infertility and preventing miscarriages. Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan (which means: “pills of five seeds to bring forth offspring”) is a classic herbal formula to treat infertility. Shou Tai Wan (which means: “Fetus Longevity Pill”) is commonly used to treat miscarriage and/or pre-miscarriage with lower back pain, abdomen pain and uterine bleeding during pregnancy. Today, these formulas are still recommended remedies by Chinese medicine doctors and Western medical physicians in China to help infertility and miscarriage.
It was first reported in 1981 that acupuncture is effective in the promotion of ovulation and success in becoming pregnant. Of the 50 women with anovulation that received acupuncture treatment, 45 women successfully ovulated and 28 women got pregnant .
Another study done in 1984 showed, of the 24 women with anovulation that received acupuncture stimulation at point SP6, 18 women successful ovulated and 16 became pregnant .
In 72 cases of infertility caused by endometriosis, after treatment periods ranging from 3 to 9 menstrual cycles, there were 42 cases of pregnancy, or 58.33% of the studied group .
For 20 cases of infertility due to tubal obstruction, acupuncture in combination with Chinese herbs showed results of 12 cases of pregnancy .
Practitioners in Europe and the United States also report that women who have had infertility issues, but were treated with acupuncture and Chinese medicine, successfully become pregnant. Acupuncture has also been shown to be able to improve the success rate of IVF treatment. It was reported that in Germany 160 women underwent IVF, in which 80 women received acupuncture and 80 women did not.
From current research, many studies such as those from the Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, United States reveal that acupuncture and Chinese medicine benefits infertility.
Chinese herbal formulas have similar effects as outlined for acupuncture above. Chinese herbal formulas can affect the ovaries, follicles, and uterus as well. Chinese herbs can improve the development of the ovaries, quality of ovulation and cleavage capacity; increase ovary’s weight, stimulate the release of GnRH (Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone), and increase the total number of follicles. Chinese herbs can also encourage the development of the uterus, increase uterine weight, and increase thickness and the number of glands [18-20].
Around the 14th day of the cycle, the ovulation phase, inducing ovulation is needed; while around 16 – 28th days, the luteal phase occurs. It is necessary to promote the secretion of LH (luteinizing hormone); moreover, it is needed to lead bleeding in the menstruation phase. It is especially important that acupuncture treatment for menstrual cycle dysfunction be done once or twice per week for 3 to 6 months (or more).
Additionally, though the treatment plan is similar to the above for acupuncture and Chinese medicine when working with women undergoing IVF treatments, there is a unique element consisting of one session of electric-acupuncture treatment given within 1 hour before the embryo transfer and 1 hour after implantation.
Women with a history of miscarriage may be more susceptible to infertility, and even after they become pregnant it is still easy to miscarriage. Helping them to become pregnant and preventing miscarriage is most important; therefore, a detailed treatment plan and schedule are necessary. Usually, the treatment with acupuncture and Chinese medicine is needed for three to six months before making a plan for pregnancy.
Chinese medicine and acupuncture are also beneficial for women with pre-miscarriage problems. Common symptoms include lower back pain, abdominal pain, and uterine bleeding during pregnancy. The signs of effective treatment are the disappearance of the above symptoms within 3 days to 1 week. The immediate use of acupuncture and Chinese herbs are necessary afterwards.
Dr. Yang has treated many cases of female infertility in the China and United States over 30 years. He has successfully helped women with infertility to become pregnant and prevent miscarriage by using only acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas. Dr. Yang has also been involved in helping women undergoing IVF treatment to successfully get pregnant and prevent miscarriage via applying acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas.
A 40 year old infertile woman, by using only acupuncture with Chinese herb, was able to successfully become pregnant and prevent a miscarriage
When the patient first visited my clinic in March of 2010, she was already 40 years old and had a history of thyroid disease for the past ten years. Her hyperthyroidism had been under control for the last six years with the help of Western medicine. After this term of treatment for hyperthyroidism, however, she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and abnormalities of T3, T4 and TSH. She was then treated with Western medicine for the ensuing hypothyroidism for a year, and her T3, T4 and TSH returned to the normal range. With the condition successfully under control, she gradually discontinued this treatment and stopped taking Western medicine. She has also suffered from cluster migraines for ten years, with episodes occurring once every two to three months lasting around ten to fifteen hours per episode. She experienced the majority of the migraine pain on the right side of her head, and subsequent to every attack she experienced anxiety and insomnia. She also had allergic rhinitis, and had to take anti-allergy medicine when the symptoms worsened. She also reported pain in her lower back, hips, limbs and muscles, which had led to a diagnosis of fibromyalgia five years before. Four years prior to her visit to my clinic, she had been pregnant but unfortunately miscarried at about the seventh week of pregnancy, after which she had been unable to become pregnant again.
When she first visited, she had aches in her whole body, especially pain in her neck, upper back, lower back and hips. She felt tenseness and distension pain in her whole head sometimes, and suffered from migraines on the right side of her head once every two to three months. During these episodes, the pain would spread to the right eye, with discharge, drooping, and a burning sensation under her lower eyelid. At times she had nasal congestion with white discharge, phlegm irritation of her throat in the morning. In general her sleep was normal, but she always felt that she did not get enough sleep, and was reluctant to get up immediately when she woke in the morning. She often felt anxiety, depression, fatigue and a heavy sensation in her body, and was sometimes exhausted. There were times where she felt coldness in her lower limbs, and hot flashes in her upper body. Sometimes she felt distention and discomfort in her abdomen, and had gas and belching; however, her appetite was normal, bowel movements occurred once a day, and she had normal urination. She had no history of hypertension or diabetes. Her first period occurred when she was thirteen, and came once a month, but was always irregular, coming four to five days early or late, with twenty-five to thirty days for each cycle, had a median volume of bleeding with pink colored blood containing small clots. Two to three days before menstruation she would have lower abdominal pain, discomfort and a sensation of fullness, with simultaneous breast distension and discomfort. Her libido was normal.
Assessment showed that she had a moderate voice, was tall and had a slightly puffy face. There was a slightly dark color on her face and around her eyes, on her lower eyelids. Her tongue body was swollen with teeth marks on the edges, a slight groove in the center of her tongue; it had a pale color and was moist with thick white coating. Her pulse was floating weak in both distal positions, slight wiry in the middle positions, and weak on both sides of the proximal positions. The Ear Pressure Test showed there was significant painful sensation with slight touch on the corresponding parts of the head, endocrine, neck, chest, back, leg and stomach, with a severity of pain she described as 7-8/10. Slight touch to the face produced a painful sensation with a severity of 4-5/10. Slight touch produced a painful sensation in her neck at about C4-7, with a severity of 5-6/10. A painful sensation with slight touch was felt in her upper back in T1-T4, with a severity of 5-6/10. There was a painful sensation with slight touch in her shoulder, with a severity of 5-6/10. There was a painful sensation with slight touch in her lower back from L3-S2, with the severity about 6-7/10. There was a painful sensation with slight touch on her hips, with a severity of about 4-5/10. Finally there was a painful sensation with slight touch on her lower limbs, a severity of about 3-4/10.
Based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine, she was deficient in spleen and kidney, as well as having qi and blood stagnation and shen disorders, with occasional exterior cold invasion with simultaneous yang deficiency, though fundamentally her issues were due to deficiency in spleen and kidney. The treatment principle used was to tonify of spleen and kidney, combined with regulation of qi and blood, to warm the body, expelling wind and cold, and to calm shen to help her anxiety and stress. The points included DU20, Yintang, ST36, and SP6 with electric acupuncture stimulation; the manual acupuncture points included LI4, LI14, 15, 20, DU 14, 12, 2, 3, 4, SI11, 10, 9, UB 23, 25, 28, GB30, RN12, 14, 6, ST25, 27, Zi gong xue, among others. These were applied once a week for 15 minutes during the acupuncture treatments. The ear points utilized included head, endocrine, back, stomach, and shenmen.
The Chinese herbal formulas included Formula I and II. Formula I included the herbs Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Gang Jiang / Sheng Jinag, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Bai Shao Yao, Xian Mao, Xain Ling Pi, Tu Si Zi, Zhi Shi, Chen Pi, Rou Gui/Gui Zhi. The Formula II included the herbs Gui Zhi, Bai Shao Yao, Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Fang Feng, Da Zao, Sheng Jiang, and Gan Cao.
The basic prescription was Formula I as main her treatment, switching to Formula II if nasal congestion occurred. The formula was 50g of powdered herbs for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with about 2-3 oz. warm water. The treatment for follow up visits modified some points of the acupuncture protocol, and herbs in the herbal formula, according to the progression of the patient. After three weeks of the treatment, her symptoms were improved, especially her lassitude, anxiety and back pain. After a few months of the treatment, the symptoms were markedly improved, especially the cluster migraines. With these successes, she hoped to use acupuncture with Chinese medicine to treat her infertility, in order to make possible her dream of becoming a mother. Considering her history of thyroid disease and miscarriage and that she was nearly 41 year-old, she had been advised to choose IVF – however, she wanted a natural pregnancy. According to the patient’s request and condition, I did a modified electric acupuncture treatment protocol for DU20, Yintang, Zhigongxue and SP6; the manual acupuncture points selected were ST36, RN12, DU14, 12, 2, 3, 4, UB23, 25, 28. The ear points included brain, endocrine, back, and shenmen. The Chinese herbal Formula I was modified and used after menstruation. The second formula below was taken one week before ovulation; the herbs included Dang Gui, Chuang Xiong, Chi Shao Yao, Wan Bu Liu Xing, Yi Mu Cao, Gui Zhi, Xiang Fu, Tao Ren, Wu Yao, Zhi Shi, and Pu Huang. This protocol was used consistently for five months.
Results: Two weeks after the New Year of 2013, she called to make an appointment for her son (6 week-old) – she had been successful in getting pregnant naturally, two months after her last visit, and had successfully given birth to a child at the age of 42.
Successful pregnancy and miscarriage prevention of infertile woman by using only acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal formulas
A 28 year old female was referred to my clinic for help with her infertility by using acupuncture and Chinese herbal formula. Three years previously she had been pregnant, but had miscarriage on about month two of the pregnancy, and had not become pregnant again until recently. She reported lassitude, fatigue, lower back pain, occasional weakness of her legs. She had a poor appetite but no abdominal fullness with acid reflux. Her bowel movements were once a day, and her urination was normal. She felt nervous with slight anxiety sometimes. Her sleep was normal, but she always felt that she did not get enough sleep, and was reluctant to get up immediately when she woke in the morning. She had no other symptoms such as headache, upper back pain, stiffness or cold in her body, etc. With regard to her menstruation, her first period appeared at the age of thirteen, and regularly came once a month, with pale blood and no clots, with moderate volume for five to six days, with twenty-five days for each cycle. She did not have abdominal pain and emotional changes before and during menstruation. Her libido was low. Assessment showed she was thin of body, of middle height, had lower voice without excitement, and a slightly dark color around her lower eyelids. Her tongue body was thin and small, pale with red color with a thin and white coat, and there were no cracks in the center of her tongue. Her pulse was weak and deep, especially weak and deep bilaterally in the proximal positions. There were tight and cold sensations on her limbs when slight touch was applied. There was a painful sensation with slight touch on her neck about C3-7, with a severity reported as 3-4/10. There was a painful sensation with slight touch on her upper back, with a severity of 3-4/10. There was a painful sensation with slight touch on her lower back, with a severity described as 4-5/10. The Ear Pressure Test showed there was significant painful sensation with slight touch on the corresponding parts of the brain, neck, waist and sacral, and shenmen, all with a severity of about 6-7/10.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine she was yang deficient in the spleen and kidney, with inadequate essence. The treatment principle used was to warm and tonify yang in spleen and kidney, and tonify essence. The electric acupuncture points included SP6 and Zigongxue; and manual acupuncture points included ST36, RN6, RN4, REN12, Yintang, DU20, LI4, KI3, and UB23, 25, 28, 54 and 57. The ear points are brain, endocrine, uterine and shenmen, among others. This treatment protocol was applied once a week for fifteen minutes during acupuncture treatment.
The Chinese herbal formula was a modification of Li Zhong Tang, Si Wu Tang, and You Gui Wan. The herbs included Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Gui Zhi, Sheng Jiang, Bai Shao Yao, Xian Mao, Xian Ling Pi, Tu Si Zi, Gou Qi Zi and Da Zao. The formula was a 50g powdered herb prescription for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, and mixed with about 2 oz. of warm water. The treatment for follow up visits modified some points of the acupuncture protocol, and herbs in the herbal formula, according to her progress. Because it was very inconvenient for her to drive about 130 miles to visit my office for treatment, after the second visit I transferred her back to her primary acupuncture physician to continue the acupuncture treatment once a week, and she visited my office once a month for acupuncture treatment and a monthly refill her herb formula.
Results: After a few weeks of the treatment, she reported improvement of her fatigue. After about a few months of the treatment, most symptoms were improved, her appetite was increased, and her libido was improved. After six months of the treatment, she had no obvious symptoms, and ended treatment. A few months later, she called to report that she had been pregnant for two months. As the patient reported in follow-up, she had successfully delivered a baby with normal pregnancy ten months later.
(Dr. Joseph Beardsley, Acupuncture Physician was involved in this case. He practices Chinese Medicine in Lakeland, FL. For more information, visit www.ancientartacupuncture.com)
38 year-old infertile woman had failed 4 times in treatment with IVF, but successfully became pregnant with only acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas
A 38-year-old woman sought help for her infertility. She had undergone IVF four times in the past four years, but without success. She hoped acupuncture would help her get pregnant. She had no previous history of pregnancy and miscarriage, and her gynecological examinations were normal. When she first visited, she had lassitude, fatigue, and weakness in her lower and legs that worsened when menstruation came. She slept poorly, woke up at night and had difficulty going to back sleep again. She felt anxiety and stress. Her appetite was normal, with bowel movements once a day, and her urination was normal. She did not have pain in her back or limbs. Her first period appeared at age of twelve, and came regularly once a month with dark blood and clots, moderate volume for four to five days, and had twenty-five days for each cycle. Her libido was normal. There was no information of pulse and tongue because of telephone counseling.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, she was deficient of spleen qi and kidney essence and had blood stasis. The treatment principle used was to tonify spleen qi and fortify kidney essence and regulate blood to move blood stasis. The best treatment option was acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal formulas. After explanation of the treatment plan, she gladly accepted. Acupuncture points included SP6, Zhigongxue with electric acupuncture stimulation; the manual acupuncture points included ST36, RN12 RN6, KI3, DU20, Yintang, LI4, KI3, and UB 23, 25, 28 and 57. These were applied once a week for fifteen minutes during acupuncture treatment. The ear points included brain, endocrine, back, and shenmen, among others. The Chinese herbal formula included the herbs Dang Shen, Huang Qi, Bai Zhu, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Bai Shao Yao, Tu Si Zi, Sheng Jiang, Gui Zhi, Xian Ling Pi, Xian Mao, Gou Qi Zi and Da Zao. The formula was a 50g powdered herb prescription for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with about 2-3 oz warm water. The treatment for follow up visits modified some points of the acupuncture protocol, and herbs in the herbal formula, according to the progression of the patient.
Results: After a few months of the treatment, she reported a successful natural pregnancy. She was advised to continue to take a Chinese herbal formula to prevent miscarriage. The Chinese herbal formula included the herbs Dang Shen, Huang Qi, Bai Zhu, Shan Yao, Tu Si Zi, Sang Ji Sheng, Du Zhong, Xu Duan, Da Zao, Sheng Jiang and Gui Zhi.
(Dr. Joseph Beardsley, Acupuncture Physician was involved in this case. He practices Chinese Medicine in Lakeland, FL. For his more information, visit www.ancientartacupuncture.com)
After nine IVF failures, acupuncture with Chinese herbal formulas assisted the tenth IVF in leading to pregnancy, and helped to prevent miscarriage
At the end of June 2010, a 39-year-old gynecologist came to my clinic seeking acupuncture treatment following her fertility doctor’s advice to improve her chances of successful IVF. In the past twelve years she had nine IVF’s and two successful pregnancies, but unfortunately she had miscarried each at about 10 weeks. The reason for her infertility and miscarriages was determined to be from an autoimmune condition that caused the pregnancies to be rejected. She desperately wanted to get pregnant and have her own biological child. On her first visit, she brought magazines containing articles that revealed acupuncture was used to assist IVF, and she hoped to use the methods recommended by the articles. After reading the articles, I explained that the process of Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture depended on the patient’s specific circumstances to design the protocols for each individual. I said that I would design a protocol for acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal formulas to treat her unique conditions, as determined by examination of her tongue and pulse accompanied with her symptoms. After this explanation, she accepted the idea of customized and individual treatment. She complained about stress: anxiety, over-thinking, too much worry, difficulty calming down, and always hyperactive. She slept poorly, waking up three times a night with difficulty falling asleep again, even to the point of occasionally needing medication to sleep. Her sleep generally totaled about five hours a night. She was always very busy with her family and office, and usually went to bed around 12:00am, and got up by 6:00am, arriving at the office to start work at about 7:30am. She often worked through lunch. She had lassitude, fatigue and weakness of body; she also had poor appetite, no acid reflux, and two to three bowel movements a day without diarrhea. She didn’t have headaches, back pain or leg pain, any coldness or hot sensation in her body. She first menstruated at eleven years old, and her menses came regularly, with pink blood and tiny clots, with five days of bleeding per each twenty-six day cycle. She had menstrual cramps four days before her menstruation with abdominal discomfort and bloating, and obvious anxiety. Her libido and urination were normal.
She walked very fast, expressed tension on her face with a moderately slim body and dark circles under her lower eyelids. Examination showed that her tongue body was medium size with little teeth marks on the edge of her tongue, and pale red tongue body color with a thin, white, moist tongue coating. Her pulse was thin wiry. She didn’t feel pain from slight touch to the neck, back and legs. Ear exam revealed significant painful sensation from slight touch on the corresponding parts of the brain, neck, endocrine, chest, back, leg and shenmen, and other points – she described the severity as 7-8/10. She had a test that revealed her uterine blood circulation was below normal.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, her condition was Spleen and Kidney Deficiency, disorders of Qi and Blood, and shen disorders. The treatment was to tonify the Spleen and Kidney, invigorate the Blood and regulate the Qi, and calm the shen to help her stress and anxiety. The acupuncture included electric acupuncture points of DU20, Yintang, RN12 and 14; the manual acupuncture points included ST36, 27 and 25, SP6, RN10 and 6, Zigongxue, LI4, KI3, LV3 and UB57. Acupuncture treatment, including electric acupuncture, was administered fifteen minutes twice a week. The ear points included brain, endocrine, waist, stomach and Shenmen. The Chinese herbal formula included Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Dang Gui, Bai Shao Yao, Chuan Xiong, Xian Mao, Xian Ling Pi, Tu Si Zi, Gou Qi Zi, Xiang Fu, Zhi Shi, Pu Huang, and Gan Cao. The formula was 50g of an herbal powder prescribed for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with about 2 oz. warm water.
Treatments for follow up visits modified some points for acupuncture protocol and the herbal formula according to the progression of the patient. During the second visit, she said her fertility doctor agreed with her taking Chinese herbs. After a few treatments, she felt significant improvement of sleep, tension and anxiety, and found it easier to quiet her mind and activity. A test revealed that her uterine blood circulation improved significantly, to almost normal. By the a few months treatment she was able to sleep six to seven hours a night without waking up. On the twenty-second treatment, she complained of being very frustrated. Her fertility doctor had decided to place her embryo into the uterus next week, but only one embryo qualified. She placed three qualified embryos in IVF nine times before, but failed seven times – she believed that this history meant that with only one qualified embryo, there would be no possibility of a successful pregnancy. However, I explained to her that there was a possibility of successful pregnancy, because there were many research reports in China of acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas increasing fertility. Because her physical condition had improved significantly, and especially because her intrauterine blood circulation (per test) had improved substantially, I explained that overall her condition was very good. Two weeks later, she called to report that she was indeed pregnant, but that she was very nervous and anxious due to fear from her history of miscarriages. She asked how I could help. I suggested that she come back for acupuncture treatments with Chinese herbal formulas to prevent miscarriage, which were commonly and effectively used to prevent miscarriages in China.
After two days she came back to my clinic. She complained of high nervousness and anxiety, her face looked stiff with tension, gritted teeth, trembling hands and body. She felt tired and always wanted to sleep. She also felt slight abdominal fullness, slight nausea and occasional vomiting, with loss of appetite. Her bowel movements were once or twice a day with slight constipation. Her tongue was pale red with a thin, white coating. Her pulse was smooth and rolling. The acupuncture points included ST36, RN12, DU20, Yintang, and PC6. Acupuncture was administered once a week. The Chinese herbal formula included Dang Shen, Huang Qi, Bai Zhu, Fu Ling, Sheng Jiang, Sha Ren, Bai Dou Kou, Zi Su Ye, Shan Yao and Gu Ya. This formula was to tonify Spleen and harmonize the Stomach to stop nausea and increase her appetite. She felt better after two weeks of treatment, with most symptoms improved. The acupuncture treatment was the same as before, the Chinese herbal formula changed to Shou Tai Wan, adding Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Chen Pi and Shan Yao. This special treatment was to prevent miscarriage until the tenth week, the time of her previous miscarriages.
Since she usually walked fast with agility, I asked her to walk more slowly, and with small steps. I also suggested that she nap for five to ten minutes at lunchtime to help her relax. If possible, she needed to reduce her workload to ensure prevention of miscarriage. She wanted to comply, but it was very difficult because she had too many patients waiting for her help. She continued acupuncture treatment with Chinese herbal formulas until the tenth week of pregnancy, which passed the time of her two previous miscarriages.
In August 2011, she came to my clinic to express her deep gratitude with a card two months after delivery. She wrote: “You made me realize the dream as a mother.”
Acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal formulas assisted IVF for successful pregnancy
A 39-year-old woman had used contraception for many years. When she wanted to get pregnant, she tried to do so naturally for two years, but was unable to, and so planned to get help with IVF. Because she was 39 years old, her fertility doctor suggested that she have acupuncture during preparation for IVF, to improve her chances of pregnancy.
When she first visited, she had lassitude, fatigue, regular difficulty sleeping, with waking two to three hours after falling asleep, though she was able to fall back asleep again. She felt stress and anxiety with heart palpitations. Sometimes her appetite was normal, with no bloating but acid reflux. Her urination and libido were normal. She didn’t have headache or back pain or leg pain; she didn’t have sweating or hot flashes or other symptoms. She first menstruated at age twelve, with pink blood no clots, moderate volume for five days per each twenty-four day cycle. She did not have abdominal pain or emotional changes before or during menstruation. She had no history of heart disease, hypertension or diabetes, etc.
Examination showed that her tongue body had an extra padded edge without teeth marks, and pale red body with thin, white, moist coating. Her pulse was wiry and weak bilaterally in the proximal positions. She did not have tenderness or painful sensation with slight touch on the face, neck, back and limbs. The Ear Pressure Test revealed significant painful sensation on the corresponding parts of the brain, back, endocrine, and shenmen, with a severity of 6-7/10.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, her conditions were Heart and Spleen Qi and Blood Deficiency with shen disorders. The treatment plan was to tonify Qi and Blood in Spleen and Heart, and calm the shen. The acupuncture treatment selected electric acupuncture stimulation of SP6 and Zigongxue; the manual acupuncture points include DU20, RN12, RN14, PC6, DU20, LI4, PC6 and Taiyan. Acupuncture was administered once a week. The ear points included brain, endocrine, uterine, and Shenmen. The Chinese herbal formula included Huang Qi, Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Bai Shao Yao, Xian Mao, Xian Ling Pi, Tu Si Zi, Gan Cao, Da Zao, Suan Zao Ren and Fu Ling. The formula was a 50g herbal powder prescription for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with about 2-3 oz. of warm water.
Treatments for follow up visits modified both some points of the acupuncture protocol and the herbal formula according to the progression of the patient. During her second visit, she said that her fertility doctor agreed with her taking Chinese herbal formulas. Meanwhile, she underwent medical examinations that included ultrasound on the uterus and ovaries, and monitored individual hormone levels, and also used hormone therapy.
After a few weeks treatment, she had hot flashes with cold body, sweating and aggravated insomnia, lassitude and obvious heart palpitations. Her appetite was normal, bowel movements and urination were normal. An ultrasound revealed a small ovarian cyst, which resulted from her use of hormone therapy. Therefore, based on her conditions, her treatment was changed to tonify Kidney Yin and Liver, and clear heat, harmonize the Liver and nourish the Heart. The Chinese herbal formula included Sheng Di Huang, Xuan Shen, Bai Shao Yao, Zhi Mu, Mu Dan Pi, Han Lian Cao, Dang Gui, Xian Mao, Xian Ling Pi, Zhen Zhu Mu and Mu Li. Acupuncture points KI3 and LV3, 2 were added. Subsequently, according to her symptoms, the follow-up visit treatments were modified, and acupuncture points and herbs were adjusted as needed. Her above symptoms improved, and the ovarian cyst dispersed two weeks later.
After a few months of acupuncture treatment for preparation of IVF, her fertility doctor required that she have a special acupuncture treatment when the embryo was put into the uterus. She had an acupuncture treatment at 8:00am and 11:00am for two sessions, because of the plan to place the embryo into the uterus at around 9- 10am. The points included SP6, ST36, KI3, LI4, DU20, Yintang, RN12 and 14.
Three weeks after the embryo was placed into uterus, she called to report she was pregnant. The last phone call was to follow up while she was on her way to the hospital to deliver.
A 32-year-old woman came to my clinic for acupuncture to increase her fertility and assist IVF. She had attempted to have a natural pregnancy for three years, but these efforts had failed. Her fertility specialist recommended acupuncture during the preparation phase of IVF.
She had no history of disease, but two years ago she felt mood changes, nervousness, anxiety and depression—crying without reasons. She had anxiety, tension, sometimes depression and headache that dominated front and side of her head two to three times a week from a few hours up to one to two days. She slept poorly, woke up easily, and had difficulty going back to sleep. She was prone to anger with excitement. She also had lower back pain aggravated by waist movement, but she did not have pain in the neck and upper back. She had lassitude, fatigue and weakness of body and lower legs after walking. Her appetite was normal with no acid reflux, and her bowel movements and urination were normal. She first menstruated at twelve years old, had a regular cycle, moderate volume with black blood and clots, with six days of bleeding for twenty-six days of each cycle. She had abdominal cramps that worsened one week before menstruation, accompanied by severe lower back pain, abdominal bloating, chest swelling, occasional nausea, with headache and obvious mood changes. Those symptoms gradually reduced at the end of her menstruation.
Examination revealed dark circles under her lower eyelids, and dark color on her cheek. Her tongue body was normal size, pale red with a slightly purple tip, no teeth marks, and thin, white, moist coating. Her pulse was wiry and weak bilaterally in the proximal positions. The Ears Pressure Test revealed significant pain with slight touch on the corresponding parts of the brain, waist, endocrine and shenmen, with a severity of 7-8/10. Slight touch to the lower back from T12 to S2 and next to the spine was painful; she especially rejected pressure on the lower back, L4 to S2. The severity of the pain around T12 to L3 was 5-6/10, and from L4 to S2 was 7-8/10.
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, her condition included Blood stasis and Qi stagnation with shen disorders. The treatment plan was to invigorate the Blood to dispel stasis, and move Qi to stop pain, as well as calm shen to improve her sleep and emotional problems. The electric acupuncture points included DU 20, Yintang, RN14, RN12; the manual acupuncture points included RN4, 6, SP6, 9, LI4, RV3, Zigongxue and UB57. Acupuncture was administered once a week. The ear points included brain, endocrine, Zigong and shenmen, among others. The Chinese herbal formula included Dan Shen, Pu Huang, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong, Yan Hu Suo, Bai Shao Yao, Tao Ren, Wu Yao, Xiang Fu, Sang Ji Sheng, Niu Xi, Gui Zhi and Sheng Jiang. The formula was 50g of herbal powder prescribed for one week, to be taken orally three times a day, 2g per dose, mixed with about 2 oz. of warm water.
Treatments for follow up visits modified both some points of the acupuncture protocol and the herbal formula according to the progression of the patient. After a few weeks of treatment, she reported significant improvement of her lower back pain and mood changes. After a few months of treatment, she menstruated with no obvious mood changes, and only slight lower back aches and abdominal distension. After three months of treatment, most of her symptoms were no longer detectable, and it was time for IVF. Four months later, she called to report that she was eight weeks pregnant and expressed thanks for helping her
- Zhong, L. M. Acupuncture combination Chinese herbs treating 50 cases of anovulation. Jiangxi Traditional Chinese Medicine (in Chinese), 1981; (4):32
- Chen, D. Y. Acupuncture on Sanyingjiao (Point SP6) induced ovulation. Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine (in Chinese), 1984; (9):521
- Lian, F. The treatment of Traditional Chinese Medicine for luteal phase defect–an analysis of 60 cases. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine (in Chinese), 1991; 11(2):115
- Chen, Q, et al. The clinical observation of 72 cases for Acupuncture treatment of endometriosis, Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion (in Chinese), 1996, 16(2) 25
- Zhao R. Acupuncture combination with Chinese herbs treatment for 20 cases of tubal obstruction infertility. Journal of Clinical Acupuncture (in Chinese), 2004, 20 (1): 22
- Li, D. J, et al. Treatment of immune infertility with Chinese medicinal herbs of ziyinjianghuo. Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine (in Chinese), 1995; 15(1):3
- Paulus, W. E, et al. Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy. Fertil Steril, 2002; 77(4):721-4
- Manheimer E, et al. Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis.BMJ, 2008; 336(7643):545-9
- Yu, J, et al. Relationship of hand temperature and blood ß-endorphin immunoreactive substance with electric -acupuncture induction of ovulation (in Chinese). Acupuncture Research (in Chinese), 1986; 11(2), 86-90
- Zhou, CH, et al. Experimental study of the mechanism of acupuncture inducing ovulation. J Combining Chinese and Western Medicine (in Chinese), 1986; 6(12), 764
- Yu, J, et al. The clinic observation of Electric-acupuncture to ovulation, blood FSH, LH levels and follicular growth. Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine (in Chinese), 1998; 9 (4):199-202
- Chang. R, et al. Role of acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility. Fertility and Sterility, 2002; 78 (6) 1149-53
- Sha, J. E, et al. Clinical study of 84 cases on Acupuncture treatment for infertility of premature ovarian failure. Journal of Clinical Acupuncture (in Chinese), 2000; 14 (6): 16
- Zhong, L. M. et al. The mechanisms of Chinese medicine and acupuncture promoting ovulation (in Chinese). Tianjin Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1990; 16 (5):17-18
- Goswamy, R.K, et al. Doppler ultrasound studies of the uterine atery in spontaneous ovarian cycles. Hum. Reprod., 1988; 3, 721-726
- Goswamy, R.K, et al. Decreased uterine pertusion – cause of infentlity. Hum. Reprod. 1988; 3, 955-959
- Liu, W. C, et al, The influence of acupuncture on serum hormones of dysfunction uterine bleeding (in Chinese). Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion (in Chinese), 1991; 11(5), 37-38
- Liu, J. X, et al. The clinical and experimental study about YangjingTang promoting ovulation (in Chinese). Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 2001; 21 (2):94-98
- Zhang, S.C, et al. The clinic and experiment studies about tonify kidney formulas to regulate menstruation and promote ovulation. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine (in Chinese), 1999; 40 (6):369-371
- Lian, F, et al. The experiment study about ErZhi Tiangui Fang to egg quality in rats (in Chinese). Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 2004; 24 (7):625-627