Health Team

Acupuncture Used For Stress Relief, Possible Fertility Treatment

Posted March 26, 2008 5:26 p.m. EDT
Updated March 26, 2008 10:39 p.m. EDT

— Some women are turning to the ancient Chinese art of acupuncture for help getting pregnant.

Gina Rhoades, 40, said she became pregnant with her third child, Lila Grace, after undergoing acupuncture at the Duke Fertility Clinic.

“And my progesterone went from a 4 to an 11, which is a pretty high number in a short period of time, just with acupuncture – nothing else,” Rhoades said.

The clinic promotes the ancient Chinese art for stress reduction.

“There are some studies that suggest that there may be a fertility benefit as well, but the data on that question is mixed,” said Julia Woodward, a doctor at the Duke Fertility Clinic.

Acupuncturist Julie Hutsell said the treatments do make patients feel better.

“We know that it's having an effect on the nervous system, that it is also producing endorphins in the body,” Hutsell said.

Endorphins subdue pain.

Hutsell says specific points on the body, including the wrists, reduce nausea, while others boost energy and help with relaxation.

Rhoades, who has miscarried in the past, said the treatment helped reduce her nausea and let her get a 30-minute nap.

“I’m kind of more settled – definitely relaxed,” Rhoades said.

There is no conclusive research that stress reduction helps with fertility.