Acupuncture And Infertility | From Ancient To Modern Practice

From Ancient To Modern Practice

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The practice of acupuncture is centuries old and it is practiced as part of many different medical systems – its isn’t just the Chinese who have traditionally done  it! However, this site exploresTraditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), as it is perhaps the most famous and widely practiced of the acupuncture traditions in the Western world.

Acupuncture needle

Acupuncture needle

How Many People Have Some Difficulty Starting A Pregnancy?

For the UK alone, The National Collaborating Centre for Women’s and Children’s Health estimate one in seven couples (1) have problems with infertility at some point. Another estimate is 10 to 15%, with 9% of UK women aged between 15 and 45 yrs old requiring treatment at least once in their lifetime (2).  Internationally, one recent study estimated between 3.5 and 16.7% of couples in different populations reported subfertility issues.  Globally, 43 to 63% of those couples reportedly sought medical intervention (3).

Why Talk About Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture And Infertility?

TCM has been practiced in the West from small beginnings in the 1970s growing to the extent where many European and American cities and even small towns have TCM clinics in many neighbourhoods. Whilst the practice may perhaps have been viewed in the 1970’s and 1908’s as more esoteric, or even as weird, wacky nonsense, it has gradually shaken off its negative press and replaced it with a more medical reputation.  Centuries old it may be, but in modern China it is practiced alongside modern medicine, in the same hospital, run by the state, with white coats and stethoscopes rather than perhaps the ‘smells and bells’ fondly imagined by romantically minded westerners in the 1970’s. One third of China’s outpatients appointments use TCM (that’s 1.3 billion treatments in 2008), offered often as well as modern conventional medicine by 49% of China’s doctors (4).

The famous Yin Yang symbol has particular meaning within TCM acupuncture

The famous Yin Yang symbol has particular meaning within TCM acupuncture

TCM has a long history of seeing patients with male and female infertility problems, indeed for much of China’s long history, it was the official healthcare system. Click on the links to explore how acupuncture is used with male and female subfertility patients and how acupuncture is used with IVF.

References

1. National Collaborating Centre for Women and Children’s Health. 2004. Fertility Treatment and Assessment for People with Fertility Problems. [online]. London: National Collaborating Centre for Women and Children’s Health. Available at:

http://www.rcog.org.uk/files/rcog-corp/uploaded-files/NEBFertilityFull.pdf

2. Evers, J. L. H. 2002. Female Subfertility. The Lancet. 360, pp. 151-59.

3. Boivin, J et al. 2007. International Estimates of Infertility Prevalence and Treatment-Seeking: Potential Need and Demand for Infertility Medical Care. Human Reproduction. 22 (6), pp.1506-12.

4. Xu, J. & Yang, Y. 2009. Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Chinese Health Care System. Health Policy. 90, pp.133-39.

Yin Yang symbol photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/hisks

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