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TCM,Acupuncture treatment for Women’s health and infertility

by Hui Xu

Resolve breech presentation
Treatment: acupuncture plus moxibustion
Result: the proportion of Cesarean sections indicated for breech presentation is significantly lower in the treatment group than in the observation group
Possible mechanism: increase the probability of the fetus turning by increasing active fetal movements
Conclusion: Acupuncture should be attempted in cases of breech presentation. Such a method appears to be a valid option for women willing to experience a natural birth.

Induce Labor
The popularity of labor induction using Acupuncture is increasing because it helps women with uncomplicated pregnancies seek to avoid conventional medical induction, imposition of medical time frames, and the cascade of interventions that often follow.
Acupuncture induction is safe and effective. It works harmoniously with the delicate hormonal balance of pregnancy to promote labour.
Acupuncture has remarkable effects and advantages in facilitating contractions, shortening birth process, and alleviating labor pain. However, the clinical trials demand large sample of multi-center randomized controlled trials, improved standard evaluation system, consistency in research, and further exploration in basic research.

Treat polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Acupuncture reduces hyperandrogenism and improves menstrual frequency in PCOS. Acupuncture’s clinical effects are mediated via activation of somatic afferent nerves innervating the skin and muscle, which, via modulation of the activity in the somatic and autonomic nervous system, may modulate endocrine and metabolic functions in PCOS.

Control menstrual pain
Acupuncture has become a popular treatment for menstrual pain. The National Institutes of Health recommend acupuncture either by itself or along with other treatments for menstrual pain. In a well-designed study of 43 women with menstrual pain, women treated with acupuncture had less pain and needed less pain medication.
Acupuncturists treat people with dysmenorrhea based on an individualized assessment of the excesses and deficiencies of energy (Chi) located in various meridians. In the case of dysmenorrhea, a Chi deficiency is usually detected in the liver and spleen meridians. Moxibustion is often added to enhance needling treatment, and qualified practitioners may also recommend herbal or dietary treatments.

Alleviate menopause
Seventy percent of perimenopausal and early postmenopausal women will experience menopause symptoms. Primary menopause symptoms include hot flashes, insomnia, somatic pain, depression, and fatigue. Hot flashes are most commonly treated. Acupuncture is an effective and valuable option for women suffering from menopause. Mechanism includes regulation of nerve-endocrine-immunity net, regulation of free radical metabolism, regulation of blood lipid and bone metabolism.

Support IVF and fertility
·         Acupuncture may improve ovulation by modulating the central and peripheral nervous systems, the neuroendocrine and endocrine systems, the ovarian blood flow, and metabolism
·         Acupuncture can improve the outcome of IVF-ET (embryo transfer), and the mechanisms may be related to the increased uterine blood flow, inhibited uterine motility, and the reduction of depression, anxiety and stress
·         Acupuncture may also assist in improving the outcome of IVF-ET by modulating the immune function
·         Acupuncture plays a positive role in male infertility, the mechanism may involves relief stress and anxiety too

References:
·         J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2010 May;23(5):455-8
·         J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2004 Apr;15(4):247-52
·         Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2010 Oct;30(10):877-80
·         Chin J Integr Med. 2011 May;17(5):386-95
·         Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jul;301(1):E1-E10
·         http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/menstrual-pain-000052.htm
·         Chin J Integr Med. 2011 Dec;17(12):893-7
·         Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2010 Mar;30(3):257-60