Within the context of Chinese medicine, I’m always amazed at the power of being consistent. Don’t get me wrong— acupuncture and Chinese herbs are powerful on their own, but they really get an extra oomph when there’s a sense of consistency to using them.
The proof is in the pudding with IVF: Two different studies (in 2009 and 2014) have shown that nine to 12 acupuncture treatments before an IVF embryo transfer greatly improve success rates.
I love it when I get difficult fertility cases and the patients persevere with their herbs and acupuncture treatments, and, not surprisingly, end up pregnant. I want to encourage my patients, particularly those struggling with fertility, to take heart, be patient, and understand that Chinese medicine results don’t happen overnight.
It actually works much differently than fertility drugs like Clomid or Letrizole, which stimulate follicle production and generally cause you to produce more follicles than you would normally. Instead, Chinese medicine stimulates the body overall to allow it to heal and become healthier so your hormones work better. Having problems getting pregnant means there’s some kind of energy blocked somewhere, and Chinese medicine works to make that energy flow properly.
What does that mean time-wise? For most of my fertility patients, it typically takes three months just to regulate somebody’s cycle and improve egg quality. The average time it takes to achieve pregnancy – after consistently having acupuncture treatments and taking herbs – is around six months.
So the next time you think, “What’s the point of these herbs anyway?” or “Meh, I’m going to skip acupuncture this time,” don’t give up! All these components of Chinese medicine add up to recreate a whole and healthy you, so stick with it if you can—you’ll be glad you did.