15 February 2008

Ferti-boost, Acupuncture

Today is officially the 15th day of me and my friend Ferti-boost. I have started using Ferti-boost on the 30th of January. I would have imagined that I will different or feel changes or something, but hey, nothing not the slightest little thing… except for a bit of grumpiness and headaches which I can’t blame on Ferti-boost. I have also got in contact with a Chinese acupuncture place, and will start of with my first acupuncture very soon. I was supposed to go today, but things didn’t work out as planned, so we had to move our appointment. Well there is so much to read about acupuncture, which of cause I have read by now. The people that know me will know that I don’t easily do things without checking every bit of detail first. I have to say, that I am quite exited about it, and for some reason I truly hope that between Ferti-boost and this acupuncture, something will happen. I guess I just hope for a miracle, but miracles do happen. Anyway, thought I’ll share some information on the acupuncture thing: The principles of acupuncture are based on the release of neurotransmitters, like endorphins, that ease pain and threat inflammations, but if headlines are an indication of what’s hot and what not, it’s believed that infertility treatment is a modern day science, which could only be made possible through the courtesy of high-tech medicine and procedures. As good as what this modern day science is, many couples trying to conceive find themselves turning to an age-old treatment, which I’m sure by now you know what I’m talking about… Acupuncture… Mostly women, who have failed one or usually more that one attempt at IVF, will turn to this treatment, either by themselves or by referral by their reproductive specialists. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine treatment that relies on the painless but strategic placement of tiny needles into a “grid-like” pattern that spans the body, from head to toe. The needles are used to stimulate certain “energy points” believed to regulate mental, emotional, spiritual and physical balance. For many women, it’s often just what the doctor ordered. They say, that “it can allow you to cross the line from infertile to fertile by helping your body function more efficiently, which in turn allows other, more modern reproductive treatments to also work more efficiently” In a study of 160 women published April 2002, in the reproductive journal, a group of German researchers found that adding acupuncture to the traditional IVF treatment protocols substantially increased pregnancy success. In this same study one group of 80 patients received two, 25-minutes acupuncture treatments, one prior to having fertilized embryos transferred and one directly afterwards. The second group of 80, who has also undergone embryo transfer, received no acupuncture treatment. The result: While women in both groups got pregnant, the rate was significantly higher in the acupuncture group 34 pregnancies, compared to 21 in the women who received IVF alone. I suppose it also depends on the underlying cause of your infertility. Whether it’s a male factor (like low sperm count), or it’s a matter of egg quality in women, or whether the woman has blocked fallopian tubes or trouble ovulating. So for a sceptic like me, what is this thing called acupuncture, and how will possibly help infertility? Well apparently for fertility, the needles are placed in energy points linked to the reproductive organs to improve energy flow to those areas. It is still not entirely clear how the technique works, but there is some evidence that it increases the production of endorphins, or brain chemicals that make you feel good and help reduce stress. It may also improve blood supply to the ovaries, which improves their function, and the uterus, which can make it easier to nourish a fetus and reduce the risk of miscarriage. Well for someone as scared as needles as what I am, obviously the next question on my list will be… Is this painful? And it doesn’t matter which webpage you’ll browse all the answers will lead you to NO… Not really. The needles might sting a bit the first time you have it done, only because you don’t know what to expect, but then you get used to it. So for the few of us that do have a needle phobia, don’t automatically dismiss acupuncture… The needles used within acupuncture are both sterile and extremely thin. Most people are surprised to see how thin the needles actually are. They range in width from approximately .14 mm to .30 mm and in length from 15 mm (.5 inch) to 75 mm (3 inches). The most commonly used needle is a 25 mm (1 inch) .25 mm width needle. Generally, they are inserted about 1-3 mm into the body - deeper on fleshy areas such as the buttocks. So based on your diagnosis and style of acupuncture practiced, the initial treatment may use 3 – 10 or even more acupuncture points. So now that I elaborated a bit on this acupuncture thing… the next thing on my mind is what I will expect on my first visit… and boy o boy did I ponder on this for a while. Even though I will be able to provide you with the exact details after my appointment, here is some information I was able to obtain from my acupuncturist. Generally, the first appointment is longer that your follow-up visits which I suppose everyone will think it would be. You will undergo quite a bit of questioning. Some of the practitioners will not treat at all on the first visit, while others have very succinct questions and will begin treating once they have made their diagnosis. The individualization of the treatment is one of the strong points of oriental medicine. Well after the initial questioning or of cause if you have to go for a follow-up visit, your practitioner will form a diagnosis, treatment plan and begin the acupuncture treatment. The initial treatment is fairly conservative to ensure that you are comfortable and to allow your acupuncturist to see how you respond to acupuncture. After the needles are inserted you are usually left to rest for a period of about 10-45 minutes. In some of the styles the needles are inserted quickly and removed immediately and in others they may even be left in for a longer period of time They say that acupuncture is simply one facet, within an acupuncture treatment your acupuncturist may choose to utilize various additional techniques depending on your condition and their training, these may include Electro-acupuncture - the acupuncture needles are stimulated with an electric charge delivered from a machine. This is used often and effectively in patients dealing with pain. Moxibustion - this involves the burning of an herb - Artemisia Vulgaris - either on the top of a needle or on the skin directly. This is used often in patients who are dealing with cold or stagnant conditions such as certain types of abdominal cramps. Cupping - this involves the use of glass or plastic cups which are placed on the body with suction to help remove toxins and muscle tension. They are used often in patients with immune issues such as a cold as well as for pain. Tuina - this is an essentially massage that is targeted towards the meridians and acupuncture points. It is used for a wide variety of conditions. As part of your overall treatment plan, your practitioner may also prescribe lifestyle and dietary changes to help you rebalance your body and mind. Hey that was a mouth full, so let me confirm the details after my session…

1 comment:

  1. Stefanie,

    I just can't imagine that you are going for acupuncture. I know you're a big scary cat when it comes to needles.
    Good luck girl!


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