An Australian team has carried out a review of current research evidence in the field of acupuncture treatment for gynaecological conditions. Acknowledging that acupuncture has been used in this area for many centuries, and that research interest has increased over the past twenty years, they conclude there is now an accumulation of preliminary data indicating that acupuncture may improve women’s menstrual health, and their ability to cope with delays in conceiving.
They go on to mention experimental data indicating acupuncture can influence reproductive functioning, although the mechanisms behind this effect have yet to be fully understood. There is discussion of recent clinical research demonstrating that acupuncture regulates uterine and ovarian blood flow, and that the effect is most likely mediated as a reflex response via the ovarian sympathetic nerves. Since this encourages a thicker uterine wall, fertility is improved through embryo implantation being more successful. Stress is known to have a negative effect on reproduction and perhaps the menstrual cycle. As acupuncture aids in lowering stress hormones, which undermine fertility, it is thought that this may be a major mechanism for acupuncture to influence fertility.
(Acupuncture and women’s health: an overview of the role of acupuncture and its clinical management in women’s reproductive health. International Journal of Women’s Health, 17 March 2014.)