Acupuncture is not something I would have ever considered. I work in the medical field where we learn pain referral patterns, anatomical structure, and muscle origin, insertion, and innervation. If there is pain or injury, you treat based on structure and function.
Acupuncture is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and involves stimulating anatomical sites (or acupoints) around the body to stimulate various systems in the body.
A few weeks ago, my doctor recommended acupuncture to help increase blood flow to my uterus and help thicken my uterine lining. When I scheduled my first appointment, I was surprised at how in-depth the intake form was. It was probably 5 pages longer than the intake forms I filled out for my fertility doctor. During my first appointment, the acupuncturist asked me a few questions relating to diet, exercise, medications and supplements, and prior IUI attempts. She then asked me how I was doing with all of this. While my doctor asks me how I am, its usually pretty quick: “Hi, how are you?” “I’m good/ok/alright” “Ok, great, let’s look at these ovaries…” It was nice to have someone actually ask how I was doing emotionally during this whole ordeal.
The physical exam is quite short. She checks my pulses and comments on how cold my hands and feet are and then looks at my tongue. The physical exams I perform on my patients are 45-60 minutes, so this was a little shocking initially. Then she goes right into it: placing needles in my feet, legs, belly, head and ears. They sting going in and then itch for a second, but soon I barely notice them. Then she puts on heaters and soft music, places an eye pillow over my eyes, and leaves the room for about an hour.
At first my mind usually wonders and I start thinking about what my next ultrasound will show or how my husband will get out of work to make it to the next IUI. I eventually relax, and by the time she returns, I usually have fallen asleep. I don’t want it to end. I would prefer to lie there–belly exposed, needles in my ears–for the rest of the day. But my time is up, so I rise, put my jeans back on, and head out into the world. The serenity that follows acupuncture lasts the rest of the day. I am a little foggy, but overall calm and relaxed.
I have no idea if this is actually going to impact my lining or help us conceive, but so far, I have found acupuncture both addicting and wonderful.