Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Does acupuncture hurt?
A. Acupuncture needles are inserted with a sterile guiding tube and are only inserted to just below the skin. The insertion is usually painless, though sometimes a sensation of a tingle, buzz or heavy pressure feeling can be felt. This usually resolves after a few seconds when the needles are in the correct position.
Q. Is acupuncuture safe?
A. The evidence available from large-scale prospective studies indicates that acupuncture therapy is safe and that serious injury is a very rare occurrence. The reported incidences of serious injury are usually a result of poorly trained or underqualified practitioners. Acupuncture is an extremely safe therapy when practiced by professionals who have completed the full undergraduate level of training. Our specialist Acupuncturist is fully qualified and practices in a safe and sterile manner at all times.
Please note that the term ‘dry needling’ is used by those who have not completed this full training and are implementing the practices of Acupuncture. These underqualified practitioners may have completed only a weekend long course to obtain this ‘dry needling’ qualification, so please be wary of anyone using this title.
Q. Are there any side effects to acupuncture?
A. There can however be some minor side effects from acupuncture, such as:
- Very minor bruising at the site of needle insertion
- A small lump of blood under the skin at the site of needle insertion
- Itchiness at the site of needle insertion
- Nausea/fainting/sweating (very uncommon but can happen to those who faint at the sight of needles)
If you experience any of these side effects following an acupuncture treatment, please notify our staff immediately so future treatments can be adjusted accordingly.
Q. How does acupuncture work?
A. Acupuncture works by stimulating the body’s ‘Qi’ (internal energy) with the insertion of tiny needles along its meridian system (traditional Chinese medicine energy pathway system). This stimulation causes an internal reaction that activates the body to heal itself, adjusting hormones, pain responses and promoting normal physiological functioning.
More recently there have been many studies investigating the mechanism of action of acupuncture and the following theories have been developed:
- Acupuncture stimulates chemical substances, such as endogenous opioid peptides (EOPs) to effect an analgesic response.
- Electro acupuncture at low frequency activates the mu- and delta-opioid receptors by releasing encephalin, beta-endorphin and endomorphin in the supraspinal CNS regions.
- Electro acupuncture at high frequency activates the kappa opioid receptors in the spinal cord due to an increase in action of dynorphin.
- Acupuncture causes an immediate suppression of pain by conditioning the body’s internal pain response stimulation known as diffuse noxious inhibitory controls (DNIC). This involves the stimulation of neurons in the trigeminal caudalis and/or the spinal dorsal horn.
- Afferent fibres such and A-delta and C fibres are activated to cause an analgesic effect. These fibres are found in skin, muscle and viscera throughout the entire body.
- The body’s fascia has been noted to correlate with the TCM meridian system. Furthermore, it is understood that the disruption of the nocioceptive receptors in the fascia can have a notable consequence on human health.
Q. How long are the needles left in for?
A. In an average treatment the needles will only be left in for 20 to 30 minutes.
Q. How many treatments will I need?
A. As everyone is unique, and their health is just as individualized, it is hard to say how many treatments will be required to get you back feeling great and in prime fertile health. A rough rule of thumb is that an acute condition (no more than 1 month) may see desired results within 3-6 treatments.
For more chronic conditions treatment results will depend on a number of factors (ie. How long you have been experiencing these symptoms or how well your body responds to the acupuncture). Perhaps you should consider acupuncture like going to the gym. At first you need to re-train your body, then you need to condition it for optimal and long-term results. This may take 1 treatment a week for 3 weeks or it may take several treatments a week over a period of time. We will work with you for as long as it takes to reach your health goals.
Our Fertility Program patients are treated in a ‘fertility phase’ style treatment. This means that at each phase of the female cycle different treatment approaches are necessary to obtain optimal results.
Q. Will acupuncture really improve my IVF success?
A. Yes. IVF alone has only a 14-21.1% live birth rate (1). However, studies have shown that when you support your IVF treatment with acupuncture your live birth rate can increase to over 30% (2).
1. Macaldowie A, Wang YA, Chughtai AA & Chambers GM 2014. Assisted reproductive technology in Australia and New Zealand 2012. Sydney: National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit, the University of New South Wales
2. Manheimer Eric, Zhang Grant, Udoff Laurence, Haramati Aviad, Langenberg Patricia, Berman Brian M et al. Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis BMJ 2008; 336 :545
Q. Why do I need to come in before and after my embryo transfer?
A. The clinical trials that showed a beneficial effect of acupuncture support for IVF predominantly used acupuncture directly before and after embryo transfer (1).
1. Manheimer Eric, Zhang Grant, Udoff Laurence, Haramati Aviad, Langenberg Patricia, Berman Brian M et al. Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis BMJ 2008; 336 :545
Q. Why is it recommended to come in before and after my egg collection?
A. It is recommended to have acupuncture immediately before and after egg collection to assist with stress reduction as well as prepare and maintain an internal environment that in conducive with the next stage off your IVF treatment, embryo transfer.
Women can sometimes feel extremely nervous and excessively worry about this collection procedure. This stress can lead to a disruption of hormones that is not favorable for conception. Acupuncture at this time is especially helpful for these women and can play an important role for those having this procedure at IVF clinics that do not use an anaesthetic. In these cases, acupuncture will help to relax and prepare both the body and mind for a more comfortable egg collection experience. The post-collection acupuncture treatment will promote fast healing of any trauma caused by the procedure, reduce any bleeding and promote blood flow to the uterus maintaining and supporting a healthy endometrial lining. Acupuncture will also reduce any of the drug side-effects that are still causing discomfort, such as bloating, swelling, fluid retention and inflammation.
Q. Will acupuncture improve my egg quality?
A. Acupuncture has been shown to improve blood flow to the ovaries increasing the delivering of key nutrients and oxygen needed for optimal follicular growth and development.
During the early stages of development the follicle needs large amounts of energy to mature and grow into a healthy embryo. It has been suggested that acupuncture is able to improve the energy consumption of the follicles during this early stage of development, therefore improving quality of the eggs and ability to go on into a healthy pregnancy. Acupuncture is also able to reduce any internal oxidative factors that are not conducive with a healthy fertile environment.
Q. When should I start my fertility acupuncture treatments?
A. In an ideal world, every couple would begin their fertility acupuncture treatment programs (natural and IVF) 3-9 months before trying to conceive or before their next round of IVF. This allows for any internal imbalances to be corrected and environmental toxins eliminated. Obviously most couples won’t have this amount of preparation time so anything is better than nothing and acupuncture treatments can begin at any stage of your fertility journey.
Q. I have blocked tubes. Can acupuncture assist with helping me to conceive?
A. Acupuncture can still play an important role for those women who have been diagnosed with blocked tubes and need the assistance of IVF to conceive. Acupuncture will assist by lowering stress levels whilst undergoing medical intervention, promote a healthy endometrial lining and reduce any of the side-effects experienced with the IVF drugs.
Q. Can acupuncture assist male infertility?
A. Yes. Studies have shown that acupuncture increases the blood flow to the testes improving sperm quality and motility.
Q. We’re doing IVF because my husband is the reason for our infertility. Should I also be having acupuncture?
A. Yes. As you will most likely be required to take some form of artificial hormone therapy and undergo all the IVF procedures, it is highly important that you maintain an optimal environment for embryo attachment to increase your chances of IVF success.
Acupuncture will assist with reducing drug side effects, reducing inflammation and trauma from procedures, maintain and support a healthy endometrial lining and reduce any stress hormones that will most likely present when going through IVF treatments… all of which will improve your chances of pregnancy via IVF.
Q. I’m doing my IVF through The Fertility Centre. Why should I come to Spring Acupuncture for my IVF Support Acupuncture?
A. Spring Acupuncture, Fertility and Pregnancy Clinic is conveniently located next to the Fertility Centre in Springwood, Brisbane. IVF support is our passion and we are the only clinic in Springwood to provide this specialized service.
Q. Should I continue to have acupuncture once I am pregnant?
A. Yes. Acupuncture is fantastic at naturally assisting you through each stage of your pregnancy. Acupuncture can reduce the severity of morning sickness, fatigue, mood swings, nausea, and constipation, as well as the likelihood of miscarriage, breech presentation/malposition and the need for medically induced labour.
Q. I’ve just had a baby, how can acupuncture help me?
A. The overwhelming experience of childbirth, be it vaginally or via caesarean, can leave the body depleted of energy, blood and essential nutrients. Adding to this, you now are a vending machine for your precious little one. Your body is in high demand of nourishment and is still healing. Acupuncture, herbs and supplements will assist you to optimize your energy intake so you can get back to normal (or should we say, your new normal). This can be particularly helpful for women who are struggling with milk production and are wanting natural support.