For couples who are trying to get pregnant, every piece of advice is important. Though the medical treatments to boost fertility are widely available, many couples are still hoping to do it the natural way. This is when the traditional techniques, like acupressure, comes into the picture. But now the question is, can acupressure really aid with infertility? Here’s what we’ve found.
What research tells about acupressure and fertility
A study from Mashhad University of Medical Sciences in Iran, found that acupressure increased the positive outcomes when it comes to physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms that women experience in response to infertility treatments.
Another group of researchers assessed the effects of acupressure on self-efficacy and pregnancy rate of women undergoing in-vitro fertilization and sperm injection. The results revealed that other factors like the women’s age and their spouse’s job have significant effects, but there is still no profound evidence linking acupressure to the respondents’ pregnancy rate in relation to infertility treatments. Self-efficacy, or the women’s ability to positively cope with infertility treatments, may be improved by acupressure but it is also influenced by their coping strategies before receiving the massage treatment.
These studies suggest that there are some evidence on how acupressure can improve the wellbeing of women receiving infertility treatments, but more research is yet to unveil its direct effects on the pregnancy rate of women who have fertility issues.
However, considering that acupressure can somehow improve some physical and emotional symptoms among infertile women, it may be worthwhile to consider learning a bit more about this ancient healing technique and how it may lead your way to a healthier mind and body. So here, let’s know a bit more about acupressure and how it may contribute to the wellness of couples who are trying to get pregnant.
What is Acupressure?
Acupressure is a traditional practice of stimulating the several pressure points of the body to help improve one’s health and wellbeing. In the traditional Chinese or Eastern medicine, it is believed that illnesses are caused by the imbalance of the yin and yang inside the body. To achieve this balance, the body should have a free flowing “qi” or life force within the body. The “qi” flows in a certain pathway of healing with its key points known as the meridian. If a meridian is blocked, the “qi” will be blocked and it is believed to produce symptoms of a disease or a condition beyond the normal body functioning. Removing these blockages are deemed to promote healing and wellbeing.
With acupressure, the meridians are stimulated to promote better circulation and enhance the person’s energy. The major meridians in the body are connected to hundreds of points that are responsible for the health of various organs and tissues of the body. Most of the time, the meridian is not positioned next to the body organs that they are responsible for. For example, pressing an inch to the left and right side of your belly button, known as the Ki16, may help promote better circulation in the kidneys and reproductive organs even if they are not located directly underneath these key points.
Acupressure for Fertility
Many people resort to acupressure for relieving body pain and for boosting relaxation, but did you know that the traditional Chinese medicine uses this technique to help enhance reproductive health? For more than 2 millennia, acupressure was employed not only for beauty and relaxation, but also to deal with sexual and fertility issues like decreased arousal, impotency, premature ejaculation, and infertility.
The proponents of acupressure believe that just like the other disease conditions, these reproductive issues result from the blockage in the flow of qi. These blockages are primarily caused by unhealthy practices like medication abuse, poor diet, stress, sedentary lifestyle, and pollution from the environment.
This is where the beauty of acupressure comes in. Putting gentle, yet firm pressure on certain key points may help relieve these blockages. Moreover, the massage helps improve blood circulation in the pelvic area, increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients, and thus, improving reproductive health in the long run.
Benefits of Acupressure for Fertility
Though the role of acupressure in fertility is mostly anecdotal, many couples can still take advantage of its positive effects on their mind and body. Some of the beneficial effects of acupressure for fertility are:
Relaxation and Stress-relief
Many couples are struggling to get pregnant without realizing that they are already getting too stressed about the process, and forget to enjoy their moments of being together. Even doctors believe that getting pregnant isn’t ideal in a stressful environment. Stress contributes to hormonal changes that may affect your ability to bear a child.
So while you and your partner are making both ends meet just to conceive, why not try a relaxing acupressure session once in a while? Though it may not directly help you get pregnant, it may help relax your mind and body while waiting for the right timing to come, which has been shown to increase conception rates.
Intimacy between couples
Learning the proper technique, acupressure may not only improve the flow of qi within your body. It can also promote intimacy if you’ll be doing it with the help of your partner. One major issue in infertility is decreased sexual desire or libido, making it less likely for you to have unprotected sex and get pregnant. Considering the relaxing effects of acupressure together with your loved one may help improve your intimacy as a couple.
Detoxification of the body
Acupressure offers a natural way to detoxify your body from the harmful elements that you might have from chemical-enriched food, environmental pollutants, and sedentary lifestyle. It works on the principle of removing these blockages by stimulating the acupressure points in the body and promoting blood and nutrient circulation in that area.
No side effects to fertility
Another good reason why couples opt to consider acupressure is that it has no known side effects to fertility and health. In fact, the relaxation brought by acupressure can even improve your sense of wellbeing and make you feel more prepared for any fertility treatment that you choose. It can also be freely taken together with your medications.
If in any case, you already passed the ovulation period and preparing for a procedure, there are specific points of acupressure that are suggested to be avoided. So depending on your needs and the current treatment plan, you can safely infuse acupressure into your routine provided that you learn how to apply it appropriately.
Natural pain relief
Remember the moment when you got an intense headache and you resorted to massage your temples using your fingers? Without your full awareness, you are already applying acupressure on that instance. Our head has points where acupressure can be applied for pain relief, but this isn’t limited on headaches alone. Other acupressure points in the body can also provide relief from pain that is associated to reproductive conditions like endometriosis, PCOS and uterine fibroids.
Acupressure points for fertility
Knowing the various acupressure points and how to stimulate them accordingly will help you get your very own fertility massage at home. The following acupressure points are located on the front side of your body, making it easier for you to do self acupressure for fertility while you are in your most comfortable place and position.
All these are the top acupressure points to get pregnant, but do take note that some of them should be limited after the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle if you are currently trying to conceive.
So let’s begin with the acupressure points that you can stimulate whenever you deemed that they are necessary. These are the following:
Location: In between the eyebrows, same spot as the ‘third eye’
Purpose: It may help relieve stress, anxiety and insomnia which may contribute to fertility issues. It may also aid in stimulating the pituitary gland to achieve hormonal stability.
Location: On the top or dorsum of the foot, around two finger widths above the skin between the big toe and the second toe
Purpose: One of the fertility pressure points in the feet that may help regulate the menstrual cycle and blood flow in the ovaries and uterus. It is also known for its calming effects against stress, headache, menstrual cramps and anxiety.
Stomach 36 (Zu San Li)
Location: Around four finger widths below the kneecap, on the outer side of tibia
Purpose: It may help relieve gastrointestinal discomfort like nausea and vomiting, fatigue and stress. This point is often used to promote health and longevity, and may be helpful for women who are trying to get pregnant above 35 years of age.
Kidney 9 (Zhubin)
Location: On the inside of the lower leg, around 5 inches above the ankle and around 1 inch behind the tibia
Purpose: This acupressure point is also known as the “Guest House” because it is deemed to promote a welcoming environment for the baby. Stimulation of this point especially during the 3rd, 6th and 9th month may help sustain a mother through pregnancy.
Ren 12 (Zhong Wan)
Location: On the midline of the abdomen, around 4 inches above the umbilicus (belly button)
Purpose: This is one of the acupressure points in the Ren Mai or Conception Vessel, that is vital for male and female fertility. It can also be used to help deal with stomach upset and acid reflux.
The next acupressure points are mostly located around the womb and its nearby organs, thus should be carefully stimulated only BEFORE your expected date of ovulation if you’re currently trying to conceive. You should NOT stimulate any of the following points once you get pregnant.
Ren 3 (Zhongji)
Location: On the lower midline of the abdomen, around 4 inches below the umbilicus
Purpose: Just like the other pressure points in the Ren Mai (Conception Vessel), stimulating this point is specifically purposed for fertility. Alongside, it may help regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle and those dealing with irregular uterine bleeding. It may also be beneficial for men who have spermatorrhea (a sexual dysfunction that produces subsequent ejaculation even without any sexual activity) and impotence.
Ren 4 (Guan Yuan)
Location: On the lower midline of the abdomen, around 3 inches below the belly button
Purpose: This point helps promote the vitality of the uterus and helps deal with menstrual cramps and bloating. Stimulating this point may also assist older women who are trying to get pregnant.
Ren 6 (Qi Hai)
Location: On the lower midline of the abdomen, around 1.5 inches (two finger widths) below the belly button
Purpose: Also known as the Sea of Qi, stimulating this point is supposed to harness the energy that is stored deep within the body. It is considered to be a major point for relieving fertility issues like irregular periods, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and perimenopausal symptoms.
Location: On the midline of the lower abdomen, measure around 1 inch above the pubic bone and one hand’s width to its left and right side
Purpose: Popularly termed as the Palace of the Child, this acupressure point may help prepare the womb for conception by increasing the circulation in the uterus and regulating the menstrual cycle.
Spleen 6 (San Yin Jiao)
Location: In the inner part of the lower leg, around 4 finger widths above the ankle in the depression beneath the tibia
Purpose: Pressing this acupressure point may help relieve the pain from menstrual cramps and improve a woman’s reproductive health. It may also be beneficial in dealing with insomnia, anxiety and stress. Stimulating this point should be avoided during pregnancy because it may induce premature labor.
How to stimulate acupressure points to aid in conception
Doing acupressure is as simple as doing a massage. Though the technique may not totally guarantee pregnancy, stimulating the various acupressure points mentioned above may help your body relax and be more prepared to conceive. However, experts in acupressure suggest that aside from the location, you also need to learn how to apply pressure on the area effectively for you to achieve the desired effects. Here are some simple steps to follow when doing acupressure at home.
- Locate the acupressure point that corresponds to your needs.
- Apply a steady, firm pressure by pressing the point using your finger. The pressure must be strong enough to provide a sensation, but not too strong to cause pain.
- Press the area for around 1 to 2 minutes.
- Repeat this procedure to the other acupressure points in your body.
- If you’re a beginner, you can start doing this technique on 2 to 3 acupressure points first.
- Remember that stimulating some acupressure points may induce uterine contractions or premature labor, so be careful in doing this after ovulation if you are actively trying to get pregnant.
Acupressure is a widely used technique promote the health and wellbeing of people, yet more scientific research is required to establish its effectiveness in boosting one’s fertility. Even so, acupressure is a non-invasive, cost-effective, and relaxing way to cope with infertility and other reproductive issues, making it a popular option for couples who are trying to conceive.