Chinese Medicine theory is based on the healthy functioning of the body being governed by the flow of Qi (or energy) through a system of channels (or meridians) under the skin. When this flow of Qi becomes blocked, illness occurs. When acupuncture is performed, fine needles are inserted at various points along the channels and the body’s balance can be restored and the illness is resolved.
We invited Melanie Hackwell of Ancient Roots Fertility Acupuncture to answer your questions and explain why you may want to consider acupuncture as a complementary therapy when starting your fertility journey.
“I only practice acupuncture for Fertility and Women’s Health. I have been practicing this speciality for 10 years and hold a BSc in Acupuncture, as well as receiving clinical training in China, and extensive post-graduate training in Fertility for both female and male. I am currently working on my Advanced Level Diploma in Fertility Acupuncture.”
What will happen at my first session?
“Your practitioner will conduct a detailed case history of the patient using Chinese Medicine theory, in order to gain background into how the illness arose, what patterns are evident, looking at the tongue and take the pulse, and make a diagnosis.
“Based on that diagnosis, they will put a set of acupuncture points together to use to assist with restoring health and balance to the patient. They may also use a herb called moxa to warm a certain area of the patient’s body and will also make various lifestyle and diet suggestions.”
Does Fertility Acupuncture hurt?
“When done correctly it does not hurt but the patient may feel a sensation such as a dull ache.”
Are there any side effects?
“There may occasionally be some bruising in certain areas, or the patient may feel tired after treatment (especially with the first treatment). This does not last long, and the patient normally feels refreshed a day or two days after treatment.”
How many sessions will I need?
“This is a question that is very difficult to answer until a detailed case history is conducted and the practitioner sees how the patient responds. I generally tell patients that I need about three months to clear any underlying issues that I can see.”
When should I start acupuncture for IVF?
“In order to have the best results, I will need to see you regularly for a period of months. I will often have people approach me a week before starting fertility treatment. While I am happy to help and the acupuncture will provide relief from the stress that a patient is under, more time is required to clear the underlying issues that I see so often in clinic and to work on egg quality and/or semen quality.”
What can I expect from Fertility Acupuncture?
“One of the most important aspects to be aware of is that I was once sitting where you are today. I am fully versed with the pain and intense emotions that go along with trying to conceive. A large amount of empathy is given to my patients which I feel is essential in the healing process.
“Like all acupuncturists, I will conduct a detailed case history. However, with Fertility Acupuncture I will also delve into the immune system in great detail along with any previous illnesses one may have experienced. I will also be looking at lifestyle, and ask for certain tests to be conducted such as thyroid and vaginal microbiome. By the time you have visited an IVF clinic, you will have already had all of your hormone levels tested so we will be looking at those as well.
“Increasingly, due to various environmental factors, I am seeing more and more men requiring treatment and we will be investigating that side of things also.
“I will give you an honest opinion of how long I feel treatment will be required. I do however ask that you give me time to tackle the underlying issues that I see on a daily basis.
“I am delighted to have a chat with anyone who needs more information or just so we get to know one another. I feel it is so important to build a close relationship to my patients, so they trust in the support and advice that I give them.”
Contact Melanie directly to make an appointment or to find out more. For more information on the individual practitioners and organisations offering support, advice, and information to those undergoing fertility treatment, please visit our Support Hub.