If you are struggling to conceive, you are not alone. Approximately 15-20% of couples are affected by infertility.
Many people associate infertility with a female reproductive problem, but male reproductive health is at least partially to blame in about 35% of infertile couples. Male issues (sperm production and/or quality disorders, ejaculatory disturbances) are identified along with female issues, as possible causes of infertility.
A male-only issue is present in 8% of infertile couples. Clearly, infertility approaches need to focus on both male and female factors.
Research has identified many non-pharmacological ways to boost fertility. These include lifestyle modifications, such as maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet (including eating plenty of omega-3 fats, antioxidants, and important vitamins and minerals) and reducing stress.
We now know that fertility acupuncture can be added to this list due to its ability to boost male fertility
What is acupuncture?:
Acupuncture is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine. In its original form, acupuncture was used to restore “Qi,” the vital life force that circulates along meridians between organs.
Thin needles are inserted along the meridians to restore proper energy flow throughout the body. Today, acupuncture is used to treat a variety of conditions, from pain and migraines to nausea and infertility.
How it works:
According to traditional Chinese theory, restoring “Qi” will improve whole-body health, including sperm quality. Because “Qi” cannot be scientifically measured, researchers have attempted to uncover the biological mechanisms behind acupuncture. There are a few theories regarding exactly how acupuncture works.
The “neurohormonal theory” hypothesizes that acupuncture needles stimulate the release of endorphins (natural painkillers). The “gate control theory” explains how acupuncture works through the nervous system, specifically by stimulating pain inhibitory nerve fibers.
For sperm-related issues specifically, acupuncture may help by countering the effects of oxidative stress, restoring proper hormone levels, and altering sperm shape and function.
Benefits of acupuncture:
In addition to the biological benefits, acupuncture also offers a host of psychological and emotional perks. When used in conjunction with modern Western fertility approaches such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), men can experience an increase in the chances of conception.
Acupuncture boosts male fertility
Studies have shown that acupuncture may increase testosterone levels and improve sperm motility, concentration, and shape. Acupuncture is a safe, non-invasive treatment that has the potential to improve male fertility.
Part of a holistic approach:
Although modern fertility treatments focus more on the mechanical biological process of either stimulating ovulation and/or inserting a fertilized embryo into the uterus, an acupuncturist will use a more holistic approach. This will include a thorough assessment of your exercise and dietary habits to identify areas that can be improved.
Many acupuncturists will include nutritional compounds and herbal medicine as part of their treatment. These helps to further rebalance your system and promote fertility.
There is some evidence for the effectiveness of selenium, zinc, and antioxidants including vitamin-E and coenzymeQ10 in improving semen quality. We recommend our males to take the Vitagenis Activ Plus, Vitagenis CoEnzyme 10 and Vitality to round out a comprehensive approach with acupuncture.
In addition to the possible biological mechanisms of acupuncture needles hindering certain pain-pathways and stimulating the release of your body’s natural pain-killers, the experience itself is very relaxing.
When you are stressed, your hormone levels become unbalanced, which means you will be producing too much of certain hormones, like cortisol, and not enough essential reproductive hormones (testosterone and luteinizing hormone).
By reducing your overall stress levels, your body can achieve its natural healthy state of hormonal balance.
Acupuncture is a safe, complementary treatment to address male infertility. Studies have shown that acupuncture has the potential to positively impact common causes of male infertility including sperm quality and quantity, and hormonal imbalances.
An acupuncturist’s holistic approach is also beneficial in addressing underlying factors, like diet and stress, that could be contributing to infertility.