Candid Thoughts on Infertility Acupuncture
I’m not going to sugarcoat this. I am (was?) an acupuncture skeptic through and through.
My pre-treatment (rather judgmental) assumption of the process went something like this: Let me get this straight…You stab me with needles in random places on my body, I veg out for a bit in dim lighting with some relaxing music, magical medical improvements are achieved. Yea. Right.
As round 4 of IVF kicked-off, all of a sudden I became a little more open (or should I say desperate) to try something new…mostly because despite my skepticism, I had heard great things about acupuncture, and also because…well, there could only be more to gain at this point than there would be to lose. So I purchased a Groupon for two treatments, made an appointment, and showed up with an open mind.
My experience can be summed up in two words…weirdly. awesome.
I have no idea if the treatment was purely a placebo for me, but either way, it made me feel calm, rested and prompted really deep sleep, all important things to maintain when putting your body through IVF.
Here’s a little bit about my experience:
My appointment started with an AcuGraph test. A whaaatttt? The AcuGraph Digital Meridian Imaging system is a computerized tool the practitioner uses to help analyze your health by documenting the energetic status of the acupuncture meridians. This involves harmless touching of a moistened small probe to different acupuncture points on your hands and feet. Sounds fucking weird, I know, but the results were quite interesting. I had a lot of red marks on my body chart, with “red” typically indicating “bad performance or negative results” and in this case…stress. No surprise there.
Next I was lead into a private treatment room where I met my acupuncture practitioner. I was surprised he spent so much time with me discussing my situation, informing me of relevant infertility/acupuncture studies and findings, explaining his recommended treatments and “reading” me.
My first session was pre-transfer, the evening before my scheduled FET. Needles were placed in the top of my feet, lower legs, uterus area, below my belly button, below each thumb, and my ears. I was definitely a bit nervous my first time, so I don’t think I relaxed quite as much as I was supposed to, but I DID leave feeling calm and refreshed. Interestingly enough, I had an obvious sensation of blood flowing around my uterine area that was in line with exactly what the practitioner had promised. For those who are curious, the needles were not painful (in my opinion). I felt a quick and mild sensation as they went in and then nothing as I attempted to go into a bit of a meditative state for the next 30 minutes.
My second session was 2 hours post FET the next day. This time needles were only placed in the top of my feet, lower legs, below each thumb and in my ears. I was really able to let go and relax this time and nearly fell asleep within my 25 minute alone time. My pulse was proof that I had really improved my stress levels from the moment I walked in.
Overall, I found the treatments to be greatly beneficial to my mental state, placebo or not. The jury is still out on that one. If this cycle is successful, it will be hard for me to deny that acupuncture played a role, and I’m so hoping that is the case.
If you’re up for trying something new, but don’t necessarily want to commit to a specific acupuncture venue or treatment, I highly recommend checking out Groupon for a local acupuncture deal. They seem to run a ton of these! Great way to get a feel for it.
Off to another session this week because the TWW is starting to get the best of me. I think it gets tougher to endure with every failed cycle. I’m doing everything I can to keep myself busy…including volunteering myself to be stabbed with needles. And to think, a year ago, needles were one of my biggest fears.