Holistic Therapies have been around for thousands of years and they are a generic term for any treatment / therapy session that is intended to treat the individual as a whole on all levels - mind, body and spirit. Most complementary or alternative therapies could be regarded as holistic.
Over five thousand years ago, the Chinese discovered the complex relationship between stimulating a point on the skin to influence a particular organ or organ pathway. Acupuncture uses thin sterile disposable needles that are inserted into acupuncture points to cause an effect in the body. In acupuncture, the practitioner treats not just the symptoms, but the whole person — body, mind and spirit.
Potential benefits of acupuncture treatments for reproductive health:
- Improve the function of the ovaries to produce higher quality eggs
- Regulate the hormones to produce a larger number of follicles
- Increase blood flow to the uterus and increase the thickness of the uterine lining
- Relax and de-stress
- Prevent uterine contraction post–IVF embryo transfer
- Reduce the side effects of IVF medications
- Strengthen the immune system and increase energy
- Improve sperm count, motility, and morphology, and reduce sperm DNA fragmentation
- Increase chance of conceiving
- Decrease chance of miscarriage
Jackie Brown is the acupuncturist at CRGW. Jackie treats both patients undergoing treatment with us and other people requiring fertility based acupuncture. She can be contacted as follows:
Reflexology has its origins in China & Ancient Egypt. Reflexologists believe that the feet are the mirror of the human body and that different parts of the feet relate to different organs and glands within the body. Reflexology involves a method of treatment using massage to reflex areas found in the feet and the hands.
In the feet, there are reflex areas corresponding to all the parts of the body and these areas are arranged in such a way as to form a map of the body in the feet with the right foot corresponding to the right side of the body and the left foot corresponding to the left.
By having the whole body represented in the feet, the method offers a holistic treatment allowing not only symptoms to be treated but also the causes of symptoms.
Reflexology does not claim to be a 'cure-all' but very many different disorders, such as hormonal imbalances, tension and stress have been successfully treated by this method.
Several studies have looked at reflexology and improvement in fertility and have not found any benefit with reflexology.1,2
2. Ernst E. Med J Aust. 2009 Sep 7;191(5):263-6.
Clinical Hypnotherapy can be used to help prepare you mentally, emotionally and physically for IVF. This preparation can range from positive lifestyle changes, changing limiting beliefs to eliminating a needle phobia together with visualisation and imagery techniques can help to prepare some people for IVF or other fertility treatment.
There are numerous meditation and relaxation classes, CDs and VHS/DVDs on the market, all focusing on the core principles of deep breathing, quieting the mind and reducing muscle tension. Some people find it easier to learn meditation under the guidance of an expert, while others prefer to meditate in the privacy of their homes. In a supported and safe environment hypnotherapy can help reduce the levels of stress and anxiety by increasing relaxation, and removing emotional blocks .
The exact link between fertility and stress is not clear but it is thought hormones play a key role. An article in the journal Human Reproduction describes how pregnancy rates were reported in couples that reported stress with those who did not. They discovered that pregnancy was much more likely to occur when couples reported feeling good, relaxed and happy, and was less likely if they reported feeling tense or anxious.
According to a study presented to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology Conference in Berlin in July of 2004, it suggests that the use of hypnosis during embryo transfer may significantly improve the cycle outcome in terms of increased implantation and clinical pregnancy rates. Furthermore, it seems that the patients' attitude to the treatment was more favourable.