Most women undergoing infertility treatment experience increased anxiety. In a randomized clinical trial, researchers explored the effectiveness of acupuncture in diminishing anxiety in a group of women undergoing IVF. 43 patients undergoing IVF received either active acupuncture (n=22) or sham treatment (n=21). Women with a history of psychiatric illness and those using antidepressants and/or anxiolytic drugs were excluded from the study. Anxiety levels were assessed before and after treatment using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAS).
Each patient was given a total of four sessions of acupuncture. In the active treatment group, needles were inserted at points HT7, PC6, CV17, GV20 and Yintang. In the control group, needles were inserted in areas near but not corresponding to these acupuncture points.
Mean anxiety scores after 4 weeks were significantly lower in the active treatment group than in the control group (19.4±3.2 vs. 24.4±4.2; p=0.008). The number of patients experiencing a reduction of > 30% (considered a response for treatment) was significantly higher in the treatment group than in the control group (68.2% vs. 14.3%).
Given that acupuncture resulted in a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms, the authors suggest further studies to determine whether acupuncture might be a complementary option for patients undergoing IVF. Because women with histories of psychiatric illness were excluded from this study, however, we do not know whether this intervention will be as successful in this population.
One of the other big questions is whether reducing anxiety levels (using acupuncture or other interventions) may increase the likelihood of IVF success.
Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD
Isoyama D, et al. Effect of acupuncture on symptoms of anxiety in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: a prospective randomised controlled study.
Reviewed in Medscape (free with registration)
A side effect that I have seen in my own practice is the original symptoms worsening for a few days after an acupuncture treatment. Sometimes other general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional state may be triggered. These should not cause concern, as they are simply indications that the acupuncture is starting to work. My teacher explained it to me like this: Acupuncture is smoothing out blocked Qi (energy) that is stuck in areas of your body. When a garden hose gets a kink in it, the water stops flowing. When you straighten the hose, the built up pressure makes the water burst out in the beginning. This is what can happen when you first have acupuncture
Thanks for providing this information this information helps a lot but my on view on Acupuncture is a traditional form of oriental medicine which originated in China and is being practiced by therapists all over the world now. Acupuncture treatment consists of inserting very fine needles at
specific points on the skin, which are located near nerve endings. The acupuncture points are located along the 12 identified channels (meridians) through which the vital energy(Qi) and blood flows in the body.
Thanks a lot once again.:)