Tag Archive: pregnancy

This paper, Efficacy of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in the management of female infertility: a systematic review, argues in favor of the benefits of Chinese herbs for female infertility. From the article, “‎Our review suggests that management of female infertility with Chinese Herbal Medicine can improve pregnancy rates 2-fold within a 4 month period compared with Western Medical fertility drug therapy or IVF. Assessment of the quality of the menstrual cycle, integral to TCM diagnosis, appears to be fundamental to successful treatment of female infertility.”

Put this paper together with the previous study I mentioned below, and it looks like for this condition a course of herbs and acupuncture may be just what the doctor ordered 🙂

This study shows yet more evidence that Chinese medicine can help improve fertility.

IVF Acupuncture Study

Here’s a study: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE66C66D20100713 that shows some of the common errors researchers make when studying acupuncture. The first problem is their “sham” protocol was not sham, the second problem was their “real” acupuncture was not real.

Regarding the latter point first. When a skilled acupuncturist gives a treatment, he or she diagnoses the patient’s condition according to Chinese medicine’s theory and provides an individualized treatment for the person’s specific condition. With respect to infertility, there are at least half a dozen main possible causes according to Chinese medicine, which would each call for a different treatment. One does not just put needles into points “that are related to fertility” and do the same thing for everybody.

With respect to the “sham” acupuncture, it’s been well established that needling into almost any point has some beneficial, non-placebo effect. Secondly, it is not clear that the authors of the study understood acupuncture theory well enough to select points that would have no effect at all on fertility (and depending on the patient’s condition, almost any point would be likely to have some effect).

The authors acknowledge a possible issue with their sham protocol, but conclude that the way to remedy this is to use a sham protocol where needles aren’t inserted into the skin. However, some styles of acupuncture, including the one I specialize in, include non-inserted needle techniques; in addition, some studies have shown non-inserted techniques to have therapeutic efficacy.

Unfortunately, these types of problems occur over and over in the field of acupuncture research.

It’s good news that people are finding out about this. No one wants to take strong medications while pregnant, for obvious reasons, but being depressed for months can be very painful. I hope everyone hears about this!