Acupuncture and IVF

Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in improving life birth rates in women undergoing IVF. Research so far has focussed almost solely on the effect of acupuncture at the time of embryo transfer so there is not much in the way of evidence for the full scope of acupuncture practice as it applies to IVF. As trained and experienced TCM practitioners, we know that all aspects of Chinese medicine and, in fact, most natural medicine approaches, do not have a magic bullet affect in just one or two treatments. Best results are obtained by continuity of treatment over a period of time – a gradual improvement process. That is why we recommend ongoing treatment before, during and after (assuming you fall pregnant) your IVF process.

We are currently participating in some very exciting research with the University of Western Sydney in collaboration with Melbourne IVF and a number of natural medicine practices who are providing acupuncture to undergoing IVF treatment. The study concludes in early 2015 and we look forward to sharing the results on the blog!

My husband has a low sperm count, we will be using ICSI. Can I use acupuncture to support myself during IVF?

In this case we recommend seeing both partners for IVF support. Even if a woman does not have a specific fertility issue, we will work to optimise her cycle, endometrial lining, ovulation and other factors which can influence her fertility. Of course for men with a low sperm count we would recommend comprehensive treatment using both acupuncture and naturopathy if possible as great gains can be made. While ICSI can overcome the low sperm count issue, it really only chooses the best of a bad lot, so we still need to improve the overall health of the sperm to try to get better results. Your practitioner will give you guidance about duration and frequency of visits

Do I need to disrobe?

In general you will not be required to disrobe for your acupuncture treatment, though areas to be needled will be required to be exposed. This can usually be done with minimal exposure, though at times we will request removal of clothing to facilitate treatment (e.g. we may need you to remove your top in order to needle points on your back). You will always be effectively draped to ensure privacy and warmth. Please feel free to ask your practitioner for additional covering if you are not completely comfortable.

When should I come in for induction?

Many of the pregnant women we massage have regular massage throughout their pregnancy to help their body adjust to the increasing load. We certainly recommend this but can of course see women at any stage of their pregnancy. We recommend coming for induction massage around the time of your due date – it is better to begin while you still have time rather than leaving it to the last minute when you may feel under more pressure to go into labour. Our aim is to help you feel supported, healthy, ready and relaxed so your body will transition into labour when it is ready.

How does the induction massage work?

Our massage therapists have been specially trained to understand how acupressure and massage techniques can be combined to create the ultimate oxytocin stimulating, deeply relaxing massage. Oxytocin is the hormone your body produces to stimulate contractions – all this happens naturally when your baby releases a hormonal signal when he or she is ready to be born. Oxytocin, often referred to as the hormone of love, is stimulated by pleasure, relaxation, loving feelings, sex and other social, sharing and pleasurable experiences. Massage can be used to create relaxation and pleasure states and acupressure points are used to stimulate the uterus and move your qi and blood. We have found this combination to be highly effective and particularly so when combined with acupuncture induction – especially if a medical induction is looming. Massage induction is especially useful for pregnant women, who are fearful of acupuncture or suffering from stress, anxiety or fatigue.

What is the mother roasting massage?

Our Mother Roasting massages are based on traditional restorative techniques used in many cultures for post natal women. The treatment involves ‘warming’ the mother in some way (hence the name) and providing deep, relaxing, restful, restorative massage. New mums commonly experience aches and pains associated with birth recovery, lost sleep, new routines, major physiological, emotional and psychological changes and breastfeeding. As well as massage we use moxibustion (a technique from Traditional Chinese Medicine), warming oils, acupressure warm fluffy towels and other techniques to give mum the ultimate 90 minutes of bliss.

You can have as many Mother Roasting treatments as you like and it is never too late! Mothers of tolders, tweens and even teens would still just love this treatment. There is no real cap on when to have it. All mothers need and deserve this kind of indulgence and care. Only by looking after yourself can you be the best mother you can be.

Mother Roasting is a great gift for the mother to be or new mum. You’ll find out gift vouchers here!

I’m pregnant. Is massage safe for me?

Absolutely! Our massage therapists are highly trained professionals and can safely and confidently provide massage at ANY STAGE of pregnancy – from day one to week 42! Massage is the ideal way to manage the increasing physical load of pregnancy and many of the associated symptoms of pain, cramp, spasm and other discomfort. Not to mention how relaxing and stress relieving massage can be! Surely when you are pregnant this is the one time you can unquestioningly justify a massage for yourself? Self care is paramount to a happy, healthy pregnancy and massage is an important part of that.

Our massage therapists are also trained to provide induction massage to help you go into labour at the end of your pregnancy. A deeply relaxing massage incorporating acupressure points to stimulate contractions is a very successful approach for many women.

After your baby is born our massage therapists provide special treatments to help new mums recover from birth, sleeplessness, breastfeeding, stress and fatigue. You can read more about Mother Roasting here.

Finally, some of our massage therapists are trained to provide and teach parents the lovely skill of infant massage. For more information check in with reception.

Can osteopathy help during pregnancy?

Absolutely! A large percentage of our patients consult with our highly experienced osteopaths during pregnancy. Most women experience rapid and significant changes as their body adjusts to the increasing load and shape of their pregnant body. These changes bring their own challenges but also play out in the context of a body that might already suffer niggles, pain or struggle with previously existing conditions arising from accidents, stress, etc. These conditions are often exacerbated or changed during pregnancy and osteopaths seek to help the body to accommodate these changes, treat long held and acute problems and bring relief. Our osteopaths will also try to ensure that your pelvis is symmetrical and that your body is well prepared for labour and birth.

How does osteopathy work?

Your osteopath will explain your treatment during their consultation with you – always based on the specific condition you present with. As a general guide, osteopaths work with the soft tissues of the body to facilitate healing, release tension, improve functionality, re-align joints and bones, release stress and restore balance. Osteopathic treatment is often confused with chiropractic or physiotherapy techniques. However, osteopathy is very gentle and seldom involves direct work on the bony structures and rarely involves boney manipulation (though they are trained to be competent in these methods if needed).