This is honestly the question I hear the most from my patients or potential patients. And I wish that I had a really solid answer for them. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t heal itself overnight and every one is so different that each case needs to be evaluated by a skilled practitioner and expectations need to be set individually. And what I’d really like to emphasize is that acupuncture, herbal formulas, diet and lifestyle changes help your body to heal itself, and once your body is in balance, things like conception, regular and painless periods, acne relief and hormone balance can occur.
For most cases, I advise getting acupuncture once per week for a minimum of 3-6 months with the addition of Chinese herbs and supplements. The reason I say 3 months of treatment in most cases is because that's how long it takes to make an egg and/or sperm cell (YES! Your partner should also be getting treatment!) I will also make dietary and lifestyle recommendations for the patient to incorporate into their routine as part of their treatment protocols.
IF YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF IVF, I highly recommend starting treatment as soon as you can. There is research to support that full system Chinese medicine (i.e. acupuncture and herbs) yields higher success rates with IVF in both donor and non-donor cycles. (PMID: 25911598) Depending on your age and where you are in your IVF cycle, dictates the amount of treatment that you will need that week.
HERE IS A SAMPLE ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT PLAN FOR AN IVF PATIENT UNDER 40:
ORAL BIRTH CONTROL or ESTROGEN PRIMING: 1 x week
STIMULATION PHASE (Usually 10-14 days): 2x week, or at least 3-4 treatments during this time.
RETRIEVAL: ACUPUNCTURE Day before retrieval if possible.
TRANSFER: Acupuncture 1-2 times between retrieval and transfer. Acupuncture within 24 hours of transfer.
POST TRANSFER: 1x week, till week 13 of gestation. If you are a high risk pregnancy or over the age of 40, I recommend continuing weekly or biweekly treatments.
DOSING MATTERS IN ACUPUNCTURE
Would you train for a marathon by running once per week? I mean, I suppose you could and some of you might actually do ok by training that way but it would take a REALLY long time and not typically recommended by trainers.
Same goes with Acupuncture treatment. The more consistent you are at following your practitioners treatment protocols, the more successful you will be! Dr. Lindsay Fox