Effect of Acupuncture on Symptoms of Anxiety in Women Undergoing In Vitro Fertilisation

Isoyama D et al, Acupunct Med. 2012 Jun;30(2):85-8.
Acupuncture in Medicine (BMJ)

In this randomised controlled trial, the authors found that using acupuncture points that specifically reduce stress, significantly lowered anxiety levels of women undergoing IVF (as measured on the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale) when they were treated once a week before and during the IVF cycle. Other women who were also treated with acupuncture once a week but with non acupuncture points did not experience the same benefit.  


Purpose: To determine if acupuncture improves symptoms of anxiety in infertile women undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment.

Methods: A randomised clinical trial was performed in 43 patients undergoing IVF. The patients were randomised into two groups: test group (n=22) and control group (n=21). The anxiety level of each patient was analysed before and after treatment using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAS). Treatment sessions consisted of four weekly sessions. In the test group, needles were inserted at points HT7, PC6, CV17, GV20 and Yintang. In the control group, needles were inserted in areas near but not corresponding to acupuncture points.

Results: The mean HAS score after the 4-week experimental period was significantly lower in the test group than in the control group (19.4 ± 3.2 vs 24.4 ± 4.2; p=0.0008).

Conclusions: The results indicate that acupuncture can reduce anxiety symptoms observed by the reduction of psychological parameters of women undergoing IVF. Further evidence should be sought as to whether acupuncture might be a complementary option for patients undergoing IVF.