Alternative therapies and preconception

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What are alternative therapies?

Alternative therapies tend to be practices which have existed for many years or have quite a large following but are not mainstream medicine.
They include such treatments as hypnotism, acupuncture, herbal treatment, chiropractics and relaxation or meditation type treatments aimed at improving positive thoughts and improving general mental well being.

Why are these treatments considered alternative?

Any medical treatment that is licensed and supported by scientific evidence involving stringent testing can be considered mainstream medicine. Many of the therapies currently considered alternative may be effective but are yet to be rigorously tested. Other therapies such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which includes herbal treatments and acupuncture may well be backed by some scientific evidence but the reasons that traditional TCM practitioners give to why the treatments work are in doubt, or just not supported by research.
Some examples of popular alternative therapies

Hypnosis

It’s used to treat a range of conditions, such as anxiety, eating disorders, and, yes, fertility. Experts think it can enhance fertility by promoting relaxation, which may help prime the body for baby making — especially if stress or anxiety has been standing in the way of your pregnancy plans. How does stress interfere with fertility? Stress creates a fight-or-flight response that tells the body to release stress hormones such as cortisol, which in turn upsets the hormonal balance needed for ovulation, fertilization, and implantation of an egg. It follows then, that decreasing stress through hypnosis can be a major fertility booster. And research bears this out: Studies show that when women were hypnotized during IVF procedures, their rates of conception were dramatically improved. If hypnosis sounds like something you might want to try, you can learn the technique with a therapist or you can try it on your own with hypnosis CDs or DVDs.

Does it work?

There is some evidence to suggest that hypnosis can help with fertility. Any lowering of stress hormones has to be good for a woman trying for a baby. However the research is limited. Give it a go: the worse than can happen is you will come away feeling more relaxed!

Relaxation techniques

Beyond hypnosis, other mind-body relaxation techniques such as meditation, guided visualization, yoga, and even talk therapy, can help relieve stress. And since stress is known to interfere with fertility, any of these stress-busting methods may help you get in a baby-making frame of mind

Does it work?

Again being relaxed can only be a good thing. Practices like Tai Chi, Yoga and meditation certainly add a massive quality to life and those who practice regularly seem to have an extra something that sets them apart. Again it can’t hurt and may add more to your life than just helping to make a baby.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is said to work by manipulating “chi” flow around the body.
It is thousands of years old and part of TCM. Typically a subject has needles inserted into points on the “meridians” which are said to be the channels through which chi flows around the body.
Where fertility is concerned, acupuncture may improve blood supply to reproductive organs, stimulate hormones, regulate ovulation, and decrease stress — all of which may help increase your chances of getting pregnant. For this reason, acupuncture is one of the most popular natural fertility treatments — and not just for women. For men, it may increase sperm quality and count. Acupuncture can be a treatment in and of itself or it can be part of a holistic treatment plan that may include herbs nutritional counseling, or other holistic techniques.

Does it work?

Acupuncture definitely has some effect on fertility in men and women. However it may well be nothing to do with chi or meridians and may well be just the release of natural pain-killing drugs from the brain. These are called endorphins and are natures feel good chemicals.

Other treatments

There are many other forms of alternative therapy including chiropractics, osteopathy and faith healing.
They may well have some significant benefits and the only way to find out is to try them.

For the more scientifically minded there is a host of information on line and in scientific journals to read.
Enjoy your research but most of all relax… The better you feel the more likely you will enjoy making a baby.