Complementary And Alternative Medicine
Dismissed As Invalid
Ask any couple who have been disappointed by the failure to conceive if they would try anything to have a baby, and the answer would probably be, "Yes." However, conventional medicine struggles with the concepts of using alternative methods to facilitate conception. Ancient methods of healing are often cast aside because they don't fit the framework of what is taught in Western medical schools. Sadly, many couples who might receive help through alternative medicine are discouraged by their health care practitioners from investigating or using these methods.
Infertility Affects Many
Infertility is quite common in the US, with nearly 10 percent of men and women in their reproductive years suffering with some form of infertility. The plethora of treatments available to such people ranges from in vitro fertilization, hormone therapy, fertility drugs, surgical repair (to open blocked tubes) to behavior modification (lose weight, stop smoking). While many of these therapies work, many do not, or it takes a long time and a lot of money before results are seen. During the process, nerves are frayed, nobody has fun, and lovemaking becomes an event for sperm donation.
What Is CAM?
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a title used to describe any medical practice or product that is not included in the conventional Western definition of standard health care. Alternative medicine refers to medical treatment used in place of standard care, such as acupuncture, and complementary medicine is nonstandard treatment that is used along with standard care, like hypnosis.
The Use Of Acupuncture In Treating Infertility
Several studies have been done proving the benefits of acupuncture as a primary or secondary method of infertility treatment. It is an ancient medical technique that rebalances a person's body through the stimulation of pressure points. The most common method of performing acupuncture is with the insertion of needles at various specific sites on the body. Used in China and other Asian countries for more than 3,000 years, this method of healing continues to be used to treat all types of maladies and conditions. It is also used alone or together with other disciplines to treat infertility in women and men. Research has shown consistently that there are positive responses to this type of treatment, especially in cases where it is used in conjunction with conventional fertility treatments.
Hypnosis As A Complementary Treatment
There have not been many studies on hypnosis in terms of a treatment for infertility. However, as time goes on, more studies are becoming available and the results are very impressive. One study indicated that when used as a complementary aid to IVF, the chances of conception doubled.
Unlike acupuncture, hypnosis has been used in Western medicine for nearly 150 years. Doctors in the late 1800s used hypnosis to help sedate patients who were having surgery. Hypnosis induces a deep sleep or trancelike state allowing the patient to become more open and receptive to suggestions. When used as a method of treating illness, the process is called hypnotherapy and it is believed to be a successful treatment for many ailments, including anxiety, insomnia, stress-related illnesses and labor pains.
In the case of infertility, the effect of hypnotherapy is most useful for anxiety and stress. In 2006, at Soroka Hospital in Israel, a team of researchers studied a number of women undergoing IVF. Some of these women were hypnotized during the embryo transfer stage of the treatment to induce relaxation. This stage often induces uterine contractions which can counter the transfer. The results were that 28 percent of the hypnotized women conceived as compared to 14 percent of those who were not hypnotized. Researchers concluded the hypnotherapy helped with relaxation which may have reduced uterine contractions.