acupuncture and massage therapy can increase pregnancy rates
Research has shown that in vitro fertilization (IVF) patients who use massage therapy experience pregnancy rates 1.5 times higher than with IVF alone and those who use acupuncture experience higher pregnancy rates by approximately 16.2%. While more research is needed to further support these results, there are only a few minor side effects from acupuncture and massage therapy, so these are low risk and high potential reward forms of therapy.
Massage therapy involves manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, in order to therapeutically relieve mental and physical pain or discomfort. There are many different styles of massage therapy, each targeted for a certain purpose. Massage therapy uses specific points in the body to help with a variety of conditions including reducing muscle tension, as well as improving circulation, joint health, and recovery of soft tissue injuries. Massage therapy provides a useful method of treatment without any critical known side effects.
Massage therapy can be used for many different fertility related diagnoses, such as infertility, endometriosis, hormonal dysfunction, occluded fallopian tubes, as well as for IVF. In a study, the pregnancy rate for patients who underwent IVF after massage therapy was 56.16%, which was approximately 1.5 times higher than with IVF alone. This study showed that pregnancy rates in women over 40 were even higher than this. These results are likely due to reduction in stress, an increase of blood flow in the abdomen, as well as a decrease in uterine contractions that massage therapy can help provide. Massage therapy has been shown to have multiple different positive impacts on fertility, including an increase in pregnancy rates for IVF patients.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles on intentional trigger points of the skin, in order to help the body suppress pain and promote relaxation. Acupuncture can help by altering blood flow, naturally produced opioids in the body, and immune system function. Acupuncture may also alter the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin, helping in this process. The points on the skin that are targeted with acupuncture varies based on the intention of acupuncture use. The minor side effects of acupuncture include possible bruising, soreness, and minimal external bleeding at the locations of the needle injection. Acupuncture can be used to treat a variety of conditions including headaches, labor pain, neck and back pain, menstrual cramps, as well as postoperative and chemotherapy-induced nausea.
Acupuncture points can be used to relax the uterus by impacting the autonomic nervous system, which controls unconscious body functions. This can increase endometrial receptivity, which is the ability of the embryo to develop. There have been many documented improvements in fertility patients with acupuncture use. It has been found that after acupuncture, the number of embryos can increase, the uterine lining can become thicker, and follicles can increase in number. Additionally, in men, semen quality and sperm count can increase after use of acupuncture. Acupuncture can improve uterine blood flow, which could increase the likelihood of successful embryo development after embryo transfer. These studies show the many possible benefits of acupuncture use during IVF treatment.
Families with infertility challenges often find themselves in a great deal of stress. It is possible that stress could have an impact on IVF success rates, however some studies on this have shown conflicting results, especially since stress levels can be measured in many different ways. Yet, it is known that stress can impact many physiological conditions. Since acupuncture is helpful with reducing stress, this is another benefit, which can prevent the possible negative effects on fertility success.
Both massage therapy and acupuncture can increase pregnancy rates in patients undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), as well as those who may be experiencing some other fertility issues. These therapeutic methods are useful for many patients and have few side effects. While these methods do not work for all patients using IVF, they are simple, minimally-invasive or non-invasive methods to help increase IVF success rates.