Reproductive Acupuncture Specialists

Fertility Enhancement through Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine

No matter if you are taking a modern approach to fertility treatment (through IVF, IUI, etc.), or want to take a natural approach, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can increase the chances of becoming pregnant and having a child. Research suggests that acupuncture & Chinese herbal medicine helps to:

  • Regulate the menstrual cycle
  • Regulate hormones by improving the neuroendocrine axis
  • Improve blood flow to the ovaries & uterus
  • Improve ovarian function: encourages production of follicles and normalizes ovulation
  • Improve the thickness of the uterine wall (endometrial) lining
  • Reduce uterine contractions after embryo transfer
  • Significantly improve pregnancy rates and reduce miscarriage rates when used in conjunction with IVF
  • Reduce the side effects of pharmaceuticals
  • Regulate the immune system
  • Improve sperm parameters (at least 3 months of treatment)
  • Reduce stress to help you feel more resilient during your fertility journey

Treatment Programs

All acupuncture treatment plans are tailored to the specific needs of each patient. However, gathering what we know from research and past experience, there are some general guidelines to be aware of and follow. Ideally, it is best to consult with an acupuncturist at least 3-4 months before beginning any fertility treatment. This allows the time to make the necessary diet, lifestyle, and exercise changes necessary to get the body into a more balanced, supportive state for increased fertility. It also allows the time for the optimal number of acupuncture & herbal medical treatments.

Acupuncture & ART

It is ideal to consult with your acupuncturist 3-4 months before beginning a fertility treatment involving Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) to develop a treatment plan. Generally, when combining acupuncture with ART (such as IVF, IUI, etc.), it is optimal to begin at least 1 acupuncture treatment per week for at least 3 months prior to the ART procedure. During the follicular stimulation phase (by pharmaceuticals), the acupuncture treatment frequency is commonly increased to twice per week. Also, it is optimal to receive an acupuncture treatment within 24 hours prior to an IVF transfer.

Natural Fertility Treatment Only

If you are attempting to achieve a pregnancy through natural means only, the average treatment course is between 3-6 months. Treatment frequency will depend on many factors, including: age, previous pregnancy history, general health, menstrual irregularities, and the etiology of infertility (both Western & Eastern diagnoses). In addition to acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine plays a large role in the natural infertility treatment plan. Lifestyle, dietary, and exercise changes will also be a very important part of the treatment plan.

Complicating Factors

These following factors may warrant a longer acupuncture treatment plan and/or more frequent acupuncture treatments:

Female:

  • near the age of 40
  • previously taken fertility drugs
  • undergone previous ART procedures
  • polycystic ovaries
  • experiences PMS
  • elevated FSH level
  • history of endometriosis
  • produces antibodies to sperm

Male:

  • history of sexually transmitted disease
  • history of urinary tract infections
  • history of prostatitis or other urological issues
  • chronic low back pain

Acupuncture & ART - Clinically Researched Protocols

There are currently two prominent protocols that have been researched. They are as follows:

Sterner-Victorin et al Protocol: focused on acupuncture treatments leading up to IVF procedure

  • Eight treatments before retrieval
    • Treat the patient twice a week for four weeks up to retrieval
  • Point Locations (all points are needled bilaterally)
    • UB 23 (black clip) to UB 28 (red clip) (one lead)
    • SP 6 (red clip) to UB 57(black clip) (one lead)
    • Electro-stimulation set from 0 – 100 Hz for 30 minutes
  • TDP lamp on the low back is optional for the patient

Paulus et al. Protocol: focused on acupuncture treatments right before & after embryo transfer

  • Treat 12-24 hours before embryo transfer
  • Treat within 1 hour after embryo transfer
  • Pre transfer points
    • Du 20, PC 6, ST 29, SP 8, LIV 3
    • Ear points: Rt. Shen Men, Brain; Lt. Uterus & Endocrine
  • Place ear BB's in each ear using the same points & ask patient to stimulate them during transfer

Post transfer points

  • LI 4, SP 10, ST 36, SP 6
  • Ear Points: Rt. uterus & endocrine, Lt. Shen Men, brain

Director of Integrative Acupuncture

Hope Peek, LAc, MSOM, Dipl OM, FABORM, CEFP

Hope Peek is the founder and director of reproductive acupuncture services at Charlotte Acupuncture and Wellness Center. She is a Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (FABORM). The ABORM is the national organization dedicated to testing practitioners and increasing the standards of clinical practice and research in reproductive acupuncture and herbal medicine. Hope was one of only 55 fellows in the entire nation to be first certified by the ABORM. She was the first acupuncturist in the Charlotte region to obtain this specialized board certification and focus her practice solely on reproductive issues.

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As one of 30 charter members of the Clinical Excellence in Fertility Program(CEFP), Hope is connected to and studies with the top Oriental reproductive specialists throughout the world. The CEFP is a group of highly skilled practitioners dedicated to advancing the treatment of fertility with acupuncture and herbal medicine through The Fertile Soul Method. Hope was the first acupuncturist in the Charlotte metro area to begin offering treatments based on The Fertile Soul Method.

Hope is a North Carolina licensed acupuncturist and nationally board certified in Oriental Medicine by the National Certification Commission for Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She completed a four year traditional Chinese medical program at the prestigious Southwest Acupuncture College in Santa Fe, NM where she earned a Masters of Science degree in Oriental Medicine. Hope further studied acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in China, and she completed hospital internships at the China Beijing International Acupuncture Training Center and the Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Hope has also received advanced training in reproductive medicine and the treatment of women's health issues with acupuncture and Chinese medicine. She has had the privilege to study reproductive medicine with renowned practitioners such as Randine Lewis (author of The Infertility Cure), Mike Berkley, Ray Rubio, Sadhna Singh, and Brandon Horn.

Hope is a member in good standing of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the American Association of Oriental Medicine (AAOM), the National Certification Commission for Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), and the North Carolina Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCAAOM). Hope blends the use of her knowledge and skills of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and traditional Oriental nutrition with her strong compassion and desire to help women with their health issues.

Fertility Acupuncture Journal Articles

General Acupuncture & Infertility

IVF & Acupuncture