82. Acupuncture for Fertility – Gilli Stuppel, L.Ac
"In the context of in vitro fertilization (IVF,) several studies have indicated that women who receive acupuncture before the procedure tend to have higher success rates. This may be attributed to acupuncture's ability to lower stress levels, which are often heightened in women undergoing IVF. Consequently, many IVF centers now incorporate it as part of their treatment plans."
Since I was five years old, I’ve envisioned myself as a mother. One of my earliest childhood memories is holding my doll Dahlia, tenderly singing lullabies, nurturing her, dressing her in new clothes, rocking her to sleep, showering her with kisses, and pouring my love into her. It was the instinctual longing of a young girl, dreaming of the day when I would cradle my own baby in my arms, and experience profound joy and a sense of fulfillment. Countless women share this desire to become mothers, yet many face immense challenges to realize this cherished dream, just as I did.
In the United States, approximately one in eight couples may encounter infertility issues, however, there is hope. Acupuncture can help infertile couples to conceive. Scientists investigating the connection between acupuncture and fertility are uncovering compelling evidence that supports its effectiveness.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture, derived from ancient Chinese medicine, is a profound therapeutic practice that focuses on restoring balance and enhancing overall health and well-being. This traditional approach involves the delicate insertion of ultra-thin, sterilized needles into specific points in the body known as acupuncture points. By stimulating these points or pathways, the aim is to rectify any imbalances in the body’s energy flow.
Central to traditional acupuncture is the belief in the existence of an energy force called Qi, often referred to as the “life force.” It is believed that Qi flows through the body along intricate channels known as meridians. When this vital energy encounters blockages or disruptions, it can lead to various ailments and imbalances.
How does acupuncture improve fertility?
For both women and men, infertility is often linked to imbalances caused by factors such as hormones or stress. Acupuncture plays a significant role in addressing these imbalances by reducing stress hormones and triggering the release of endorphins, inducing a profound state of relaxation. Research has demonstrated that acupuncture can help improve fertility in several ways, including:
– Regulating the menstrual cycle
– Balancing hormones
– Enhancing blood flow to the reproductive organs
– Improving sperm count and motility
– Reducing the risk of miscarriage
– Alleviating stress and anxiety
– Enhancing the chances of successful pregnancy, particularly in women undergoing in vitro
Furthermore, acupuncture has shown potential in assisting with certain medical conditions that can impact fertility, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, and fibroids. However, perhaps one of its most significant advantages lies in its ability to address stress and anxiety.
When the cause of infertility is unknown, stress can become a key factor impeding pregnancy. Stress can adversely affect physical health, leading to irregular periods, inhibiting ovulation, and causing hormone imbalances. In men, it can reduce sperm count. All these factors combined can make it more challenging to conceive, creating a distressing cycle of stress and fertility difficulties.
Acupuncture has been proven to induce relaxation, alleviate stress, and reduce anxiety by triggering the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain and stress-reducing hormones. When combined with herbal treatments, acupuncture can help restore hormone balance.
When Jessica came to my office, she was 33 years old and had experienced a second early miscarriage. It was evident that she was carrying a heavy emotional burden. I could sense her anger, frustration, and deep sadness. It broke my heart to see her in such a state. However, amidst her turmoil, there was a flicker of hope in her eyes.
To address Jessica’s concerns and prevent another miscarriage, I devised a special program that incorporated Chinese herbs. These herbs had shown promising results in similar cases, and I believed they could make a difference for her. But it wasn’t just about the herbs; we had to take a holistic approach. I wanted to ensure that Jessica’s body received the nourishment it needed, so we also focused on improving her diet. Additionally, I provided her with supplements to enhance the quality of her eggs.
Recognizing the importance of emotional well-being, I wanted to support Jessica in every possible way. Hence, I recommended acupuncture sessions for her, twice a week for six weeks. Since acupuncture has been known to have a calming effect on the mind and body, I hoped it would bring some relief to her troubled spirit. Week after week, I saw a gradual transformation in her demeanor.
After three long months of tireless effort and unwavering determination, she felt ready to embark on her journey to conceive once again. It was a nerve-wracking time for her, but deep down, she carried a glimmer of hope. And lo and behold, her hope turned into reality. Jessica successfully became pregnant and gave birth to a healthy baby boy, a testament to her resilience and the power of the treatment program we had embarked upon.
In the context of in vitro fertilization (IVF,) several studies have indicated that women who receive acupuncture before the procedure tend to have higher success rates. This may be attributed to acupuncture’s ability to lower stress levels, which are often heightened in women undergoing IVF. Consequently, many IVF centers now incorporate it as part of their treatment plans.
Sarah, a brave woman who sought my help at the age of 39 had high follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels and low anti-mullerian hormone (AMH.) She was planning to undergo IVF, however, her reproductive doctor, aware of the potential benefits of complementary therapies, advised her to consult with me first. I could sense Sarah’s mixed emotions, a combination of excitement and trepidation. She wanted this IVF cycle to work, and so did I.
With Sarah, I designed a comprehensive program that included special herbs known for their ability to lower FSH levels. These herbs had a reputation for helping women like Sarah, and I had seen them work wonders in the past. But it wasn’t just about the herbs; we needed to optimize her overall health. So I recommended specific vitamins and nutrition to aid in reducing her FSH levels. Sarah’s commitment to following the program was commendable.
To complement the herbal and nutritional support, I felt that acupuncture sessions would be beneficial for her as well so she started visiting my clinic three times a week, looking for that extra boost of encouragement.
A few months went by, and Sarah’s determination never wavered. She diligently followed the program, taking each step with unwavering hope. And finally, her perseverance paid off. Sarah’s FSH levels dropped significantly and her AMH doubled, surpassing all expectations. It was a moment of triumph and validation for both Sarah and me.
With her FSH levels under control, Sarah could proceed with her long-awaited IVF cycle. The procedure went smoothly, and we were fortunate to obtain healthy embryos for transfer. Sarah underwent the transfer with a mixture of anticipation and cautious optimism. And to our utmost joy, her dream came true. Today, she cradles a healthy baby girl in her arms, a testament to her unwavering determination and the power of the treatment we had embarked upon together.
There’s truly nothing more precious than cradling your own baby in your arms, singing sweet lullabies to them, witnessing their first steps, and hearing their first words. The love experienced through raising children is unparalleled and brings immeasurable joy to our lives.
Gilli’s journey began with acquiring valuable skills that would shape her future path. Her dedication to healthcare led her to serve as a medic in the Israeli army after which she worked for two years in emergency care as well as labor and delivery at the prestigious Kaplan Hospital in Israel.
In 1995, Gilli earned her Doctorate from the Israeli College of Complementary Medicine in Naturopathic Medicine. Gilli’s quest for knowledge took her to the United States in 1996, where she pursued studies in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine, ultimately obtaining a Master’s Degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine. She is certified by the State of California to practice Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine, boasting over 23 years of specialized experience.
Gilli’s unique Acupuncture style harmonizes her vast knowledge and techniques for the well-being of the body, mind, and spirit. Her expertise encompasses a wide range of symptoms and illnesses, including fertility issues, IVF, women’s health, pregnancy care, and more. Collaborating closely with Western Infertility Specialists, Gilli has achieved remarkable success rates with her fertility patients. Her treatment approach integrates Chinese herbs, diet therapy, and supplements to optimize results.
Gilli warmly welcomes you into her practice, where renewed comfort and healing await. Find out more at www.gilliwellness.com