Aromatherapy and acupuncture for fertility
The World Health Organization suggests that about 80,000,000 people worldwide experience infertility, with unexplained (idiopathic) infertility affecting about 10–15 per cent of that figure. Find out how natural therapies such as aromatherapy and acupuncture can be used to help couples suffering from infertility.
Stress relief and fertility
Recent research indicates stress may be a major factor in unexplained infertility, particularly when it comes to the physiology of women. Stress is a response to a fight-or-flight situation that triggers a small explosion of hormones into the bloodstream. According to research by psychologist Dr Alice Domar in the US, excessive fight-or-flight response not only harms our cardiovascular and immune systems but can also disrupt our hormonal balance and reproductive systems, contributing to many common health problems.
There is a range of natural therapies that can be used for stress relief and infertility by regulating the menstrual cycle, invigorating sperm and enhancing the whole body.
Acupuncture for fertility
Acupuncture has given hope to couples who have failed to achieve effective results from mainstream infertility treatments.
Acupuncture has been recommended by the World Health Organization as a treatment for infertility. Acupuncture is believed to be 5000 years old and its use in the treatment of infertility can be traced back as far as 11CE.
Acupuncture is based on the idea that the body has an energy force, known as qi, running through it. A person’s health and wellbeing are influenced by the flow of qi in their body, so if the flow is insufficient, unbalanced or interrupted, illness may occur.
Acupuncture works to unblock the flow of qi through the meridians of the body. Acupuncture helps to restore the balance when the flow is interrupted. Some researchers have suggested that acupuncture has been quite successful in treating stress and couples with unexplained infertility by aiding relaxation and creating an environment in which conception is more likely to occur.
Research has also shown that acupuncture can directly affect hormone balance and uterine blood flow, enhancing fertility and a couple’s chances to conceive.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, conception depends on kidney qi in both the male and female. The kidney stores the essence responsible for reproduction, growth and regeneration, so a deficiency or obstruction in this area will hinder conception.
Herbal medicine for fertility
Herbal medicine is said to potentially have powerful effects on the body’s hormones and reproductive health. Some herbs may not be suitable for people with certain conditions, so it is advised you consult a practitioner to recommend herbs for infertility. There is a range of herbal medicines that can assist with fertility, such as chaste berry, false unicorn root, motherwort, saw palmetto berries and fleece flower root. Herbal medicine can also be used to control stress and so help with stress-related infertility.
Aromatherapy is another natural health treatment that has been around for thousands of years. Aromatherapy uses the healing properties of plant scents to trigger a reaction. Aromatherapy oils can be used in a number of ways including in massage, with an oil burner or in the bath.
Some aromatherapy oils that can assist fertility include:
Rose: Has a balancing effect on mood and is recommended to regulate the reproductive system.
Geranium: Is said to balance hormones and to have oestrogenic properties.
Balm: Useful for menstrual problems.
Chamomile: A calming and relaxing herb. Also recommended for menstrual pain.
Basil: Can help tone the reproductive system. However, as it’s a strong oil it should be used sparingly and infrequently.
Aromatherapy oils that contribute to stress relief include lavender, bergamot, jasmine, neroli, sandalwood and ylang ylang.
Find a practitioner that can assist with fertility management