What do the needles look like?
Acupuncture needles are made of high grade stainless steel and are extremely fine. Indeed many acupuncture needles can fit down the hollow section of a typical hypodermic needle used to take blood or give injections.
Are the needles sterile?
All the needles are sterile, come in sterile packaging and are disposed of safely after a single use.
Does it hurt?
Insertion of acupuncture needles is done with an insertion tube and is usually painless. The depth of insertion is quite shallow. Sometimes a sensation of a dull heavy feeling, or a tingle is felt around the point.
How long are needles left in for?
Needles stay in for 20 – 25 minutes.
How will I feel?
Most people find that the acupuncture treatment is very pleasant and invokes a deeply relaxed state. It is not unusual for patients to fall asleep during their session. Some people feel a little drowsy after acupuncture but this is transient and is usually remedied by eating and drinking something.
How does acupuncture work in general?
Very fine stainless steel needles are inserted in acupuncture points located along channels (or meridians) and produce specific reactions in the related organ system. In acupuncture terms, the needle influences the flow or movement of qi and blood.
Research shows us that acupuncture increases endorphin output (which accounts for the relaxation patients feel during and after treatment) but clearly there are other mechanisms of action, not yet well understood, which bring about therapeutic benefit.
Sometimes leads are attached to the needles and a small electrical current is passed through them. The sensation may be barely perceptible but the needle is made to vibrate gently and stimulate the underlying blood vessels and tissues. The treatments designed to increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries often use this approach.
Sometimes laser is used instead of an acupuncture needle. In this case it is the laser beam which stimulates the acupuncture point rather than a needle.
Who will administer the acupuncture?
The acupuncturists who work in the acupuncture IVF support clinic are all hand picked, and trained in this specialty. They are all graduates of universities in Australia, hold a degree in Chinese medicine and are accredited by national professional associations.
These practitioners have a special interest in reproductive medicine, do extra training in this field and attend regular upgrading and mentoring sessions.
I would like to have acupuncture during my IVF cycle, but the thought of more needles is not a pleasant one. Is there any alternative?
Yes, one group of IVF researchers working in the United States found that when they treated women with laser acupuncture (no needles at all), they got a higher implantation rate than with traditional acupuncture. Whether the other benefits of acupuncture (anxiety reduction, and regulation of stress hormones) occur with laser acupuncture, has not yet been tested.
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