Healing Traditions Integrated Wellness    
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Infertility Treatment with Chinese Medicine


“Chinese Medicine" may help "turn back the reproductive clock."


In Today's blog, we will be discussing what factors are involved in the "Fertilty treatment process" Utilizing Chinese Medicine.  We will be discssing the treatments performed (Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Therapy), treatment time frame, ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) Support Utilizing Chinese Medicine and the Chinese Medical view of the hormones and how Chinese Medicine balances the body's hormones.


Chinese Medicine can be an incredibly helpful adjunct in one's fertility Journey.  Please read on, to learn more on how Chinese Medicine can play a role in helping you achieve optimal fertility.




Before begining treatment, patients are encouraged to undergo a necessary “medical evaluation” done either by their Primary Care Physician and or their Reproductive Endocrinologist in order to assess any immediately correctable medical disorders, or exclude any underlined malignant diseases before they embark upon Fertility Treatments utilizing Chinese Medicine.


It is also advisable, as well as, being very helpful if the patients bring their medical exam data/results (including a basal body temperature charting, if any) when visiting our clinic. A defined Western medical diagnosis, if available, will also be valuable for us in evaluating and treating the case even within the paradigm of the Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) system.


For many women, the treatment course which will consist of acupuncture treatments, and/or herbal therapy, dietary therapy and lifestyle changes, normally ranges from 6 to 14 menstrual cycles (ranging 6-14 months of treatment) depending on the individual case, to improve fertility markers and increase the chances of conceiving. Some difficult cases may need a longer period of treatment in order to prepare the body to conceive and ultimately achieve pregnancy.

Please be patient with yourself. It takes at least three to six menstrual cycles to normalize a woman's cycle; longer if she has taken fertility drugs, has a history of sexually transmitted disease, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, polycystic ovaries or very irregular menstrual cycles. Likewise, it takes 70 days to generate new sperm in a man. If he has a history of drug and alcohol abuse or urological complications, it may take longer to regenerate his reproductive capacity.


During patient visits, the overall health of the patient and their reproductive system is assessed through understanding the patient’s general health symptoms and charting the various bodily changes throughout the menstrual cycle, specifically using basal body temperature charting. Treatment will consist of Acupuncture and Chinese Hebal Therapy combined.

Acupuncture and herbal therapies are gentle, yet effective. Conventional Western medicine offers a bigger bang, but we liken this to putting a thumbtack in the wall with a sledgehammer. Many women do not need fertility drugs and medically assisted reproductive techniques, yet they go through months of physical and emotional agony, not to mention the financial burden.  TCM will put the tack in the wall with a thumb. It is safe, natural, cost effective, and has no side effects. In fact, TCM can only make you stronger, while helping create a healthier environment for a harmonious pregnancy. (TCM will also increase the likelihood of conception if you do opt for the fertility drugs or medically assisted fertilization techniques. See below)

How can TCM treat these hormonal imbalances?

Many hormonal problems are due to slight imbalances in the delicate endocrine system, which may alter a pathway by which the body produces hormones. A slight aberration can throw the entire system off so it no longer functions smoothly.

 Modern diagnostic techniques may not detect any laboratory abnormality or functional causes at all. This does not necessarily mean that fertility drugs or surgical procedures are warranted.

 Research has shown that both acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine influences these hormonal pathways, and assists our own internal energies to restore endocrine harmony. Both Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine are associated with meridians (or energy channels) spanning the body which are correlated and connected to the internal organs, thus, they are able to influence the internal organs, the reproductive organs, as well as, effect the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, which is responsible for ovulation and sperm production. These systems all need to be balanced for optimum function.


TCM View of Hormonal Effects


Chinese Medicine developed a different approach according to Chinese Medical theory on the perspective of hormones and where they come from. The endocrine system is the basic equivalent of the Kidney system in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). It is responsible for maintaining functions related to genital system, urinary system, endocrine system, bone, blood and central nervous system. The Kidney is our most basic and primal energy source and is primarily responsible for reproduction, growth and proper development of the body.

Acupuncture treatment focuses on balancing the systems of the body that are unbalanced by exerting a strong homeostatic effect utilizing the nervous and hormonal systems. You will likely be treated for imbalances in the Kidney and Liver systems in order sedate your nervous system and balance endocrine function.


In regards to Chinese Herbal Medicine, Chinese herbal formulas have been clinically proven to be effective in altering hormone levels in the body. A commonly used formula in the treatment of menopause, for example, known as Rhemmania Six, or "Liu Wei Di Huang Wan", alters female sex hormones by directly affecting the adrenal cortex, other endocrine glands, or both.

From a biomedical perspective, this particular formula with or without modifications, has been reported to increase plasma levels of cortisol (our stress-dealing hormone), increase estrodiol (an estrogen derivative) and decrease overall FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone). It also was shown to increase estrogen receptors significantly. What does all of this mean? The overall effect of the above data indicates a balance of hormone levels resulting in reduction of menopausal symptoms.


Your Chinese herbal formula will be designed according to what your Chinese Medical Diagnosis is and will also be based on the signs and symptoms you exhibit and may be experiencing. From a TCM perspective, we would aim at treating imbalances in the Kidney, Liver and Spleen system. Your formula will be completely customized for your body using either Bulk or powdered herbs that can be combined to address both your symptomatic picture, as well as, your root causal or underlying disorder. In other words, we will treat both your symptoms so that you feel better, but we will also be addressing the underlying cause of your symptoms so that your body can regain balance and homeostasis.

Fertility enhancement Utilizing Chinese Herbal Medicine:

  • Certain herbs contain natural energetic substances whose essence gently corrects underlying deficiencies, clears areas of excess or removes obstructions. By way of a thorough diagnosis, we will analyze your body's individual disharmonies and develop a prescription designed precisely to correct your imbalances.


These herbal formulas will be created based upon your past medical history - from an Eastern and Western perspective, your present symptoms, and your basal body temperature chart results. We will individualize each herbal formula, providing different herbs for various segments of your cycle; some women may need to switch herbal preparations two to four times throughout the month to enhance the effect.


Over the counter herbal remedies are not as effective, because they are aimed at a "general population." The whole key to effective treatment is that each individual's particular needs be addressed. We will tailor each herbal remedy to meet your body's reproductive requirements. 
The herbal formula prescribed for you will be multi-faceted, containing:

o herbs to strengthen your entire system and improve general health.
o herbs to correct your particular imbalances
o herbs directly targeted at improving reproductive function - depending on your individual diagnosis.


If the patient is undergoing other reproductive therapies, such as IVF, the program can be an adjunct therapy to promote health and well-being, relieve stress and support the possibility of a positive outcome.



IUI/IVF Support To Enhance the Success Rate:

This is achieved by improving the quality of eggs and sperm before fertilization, and promoting the maternal uterine-
endometrial environment. In order to prepare an optimal Uterine environment, we 
suggest the patient start TCM treatment at least 2 months before the IUI or IVF 
procedure. For more information on IUI/IVF Support utilizing Chinese Medicine, please refer to IVF/IUI page of blog.


Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can also aid in the treatment of frequent miscarriage or problem pregnancies, as well as, addressing the stress known to occur when coping with a shattering diagnosis of infertility.


As you have observed, the two medical systems, Western medicine and TCM, appear quite different and sometimes even “irrelevant” to each other in regards to diagnosis and treatment of infertility and other diseases. However, they BOTH possess the same objective of treating the human body and it’s ills, through their different approaches and paths of diagnosis and treatment. This is not an issue of which one is superior, but rather, the fact that by integrating the two systems, we are able to "see" more clearly, the entire picture of the human body with a broader view and with various-depths, and thus, we have more treatment approaches to choose from for each unique scenario, which, we believe, is a blessing.

Studies involving Chinese medicine & female infertility:

  • Studies by Chen, Dong and Luo et al have shown that acupuncture relieves stress. The relationship between stress and infertility is thought to be through the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis (HPA), which plays a significant role in fertility. The axis regulates both our sex hormones and our stress responses, which suggests stress contributes to a range of fertility disorders such as amenorrhea, anovulation, ovulatory disorders and irregular periods.

  • Stener-Victorin et al studied the use of electro-acupuncture on 24 women suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) with oligo/amenorrhoea. In cases of mild obesity, ovulatory cycles increased from 15% to 66%, suggesting acupuncture is a long-lasting effective treatment for ovulation induction. 

  • Another study Stener-Victorin led, demonstrated that a certain acupuncture protocol increases uterine blood flow (decreased the pulsatility index of the uterine arteries). This means that acupuncture increased the blood flowing through the uterine arteries. Therefore, when the diet is nutritionally sound and the body is in balance, adequate nutrients will be more easily supplied to the uterus when using the Stener-Victorin protocol. This supports the development of a healthy endometrial lining, which is an important prerequisite for embryo implantation and growth.

  • Gerhard & Postneek assessed the hormonal effect of ear acupuncture on 45 infertile women with oligomenorrhea (scanty or infrequent menstrual flow) or luteal phase deficiency. Results were compared with 45 women undergoing conventional hormone therapy. The authors assert, ‘Based on our data, [auricular] acupuncture seems to offer a viable alternative for female infertility due to hormonal disorders.’ They also observed a reduced miscarriage rate in the auricular acupuncture group compared to the hormonal treatment.

  • Lian used Chinese herbs in 60 cases of luteal phase insufficiency. The author recorded a rise in the Basal Body Temperature (BBT) and a 56% successful outcome with over half achieving pregnancy. This modest study suggests that Chinese herbs have a normalizing effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis.


  • Chen A, ‘An introduction to sequential electric acupuncture (SEA) in the treatment of stress related physical and emotional disorders’, Acupuncture Electrotherapy Research,1992; 17, pp. 273-83.
  • Dong JT, ‘Research on the reduction of anxiety and depression with acupuncture,’ American Journal of Acupuncture, 1993; 21, pp. 327-30.
  • Gerhard, I & Postneek F, 1992, ’Auricular acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility’, Gynecological Endocrinology, September 1992, Vol. 6, Issue 3, pp. 171-81.
  • Lian F, 1991, ‘TCM treatment of luteal phase defect – an analysis of 60 cases.’ Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, June 1991, Vol 11, Issue 2, pp. 115-20.
  • Lou H, Meng F, Jia Y & Zhao X, ‘Clinical research on the therapeutic effect of the electroacupuncture treatment in patients with depression,’ Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 1998; 52, pp. S338-40.
  • Stener-Victorin E, Waldenstrom U, Andersaan SA, & Wikland M, 1996, ‘Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women using electro-acupuncture’, Human Reproduction, 1996, Vol.11, No. 6, pp. 1314-7.
  • Stener-Victorin E, Waldenstrom U, Tagnfors U, Lundeberg T, Lundestedt G & Janson PO, 1996, ‘Effects of electro-acupuncture on anovulation in reproductive treatments: a critical review,’ Human Reproduction Update, 1996, No. 2, pp. 323-5.


For more information on Treating Infertility with Chinese Medicine in Denver-Lakewood, Colorado, please visit: www.healing-traditions.com

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American Board of 
Oriental Reproductive Medicine

Certified Practitioner

National Certification
Commission for Acupuncture
and Oriental Medicine

Certified Practitioner




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