Acupuncture is a centuries-old treatment technique that relies on very thin needles placed in specific locations on the body to help relieve pain and to treat some types of acute and chronic medical conditions. Widely used in traditional Chinese and Eastern medicine, in the past decade, the use of acupuncture has become quite popular as a complement to Western medicine as well.
Researchers aren’t sure how acupuncture actually works to relieve or prevent pain or to manage other medical conditions, but they believe the needles may disrupt pain signaling pathways to diminish pain sensations in the brain. Traditional Chinese medicine holds that the needles help realign the body’s natural energy or chi (sometimes spelled “qi”) to promote wellness and prevent or treat disease. Acupuncture is one of the fastest-growing alternative medicine modalities, and it’s practiced worldwide.
Acupuncture has several uses and benefits for patients undergoing IVF. First, multiple studies have shown acupuncture can significantly reduce discomfort associated with egg retrieval or ovum pick-up (OPU), offering pain relief that’s equal or superior to conventional pain relief methods. Other studies show acupuncture performed before and after embryo transfer can improve a patient’s odds of becoming pregnant. In fact, many studies show higher rate of success for women who choose to have acupuncture treatment when undergoing IVF. In addition, acupuncture during IVF shows promise for:
Acupuncture needles are very thin -- much thinner than the needles used in immunizations -- and they’re not placed deeply into your skin. As a result, most people report minimal or no discomfort with treatment. Any discomfort that does occur tends to occur when the needles are placed. Once the needles are in place, most people say they feel no discomfort at all.
Absolutely; in fact, it’s so safe, it’s routinely used during pregnancy to help prevent morning sickness, pain, tiredness, and other pregnancy-related symptoms.