Mind-body therapies have been increasingly used in conjunction with conventional medicine for infertility. These therapies may include touch therapy, movement therapy or focus therapy to assist in balancing the body.
Touch therapy is hands-on. These therapies may include massage, reiki, craniosacral therapy, reflexology and acupuncture.
- Massage, either deep tissue or soothing, used therapeutic touch to cleanse and detoxify your body. Specifically, the Mayan Abdominal Massage may improve fertility and correct a prolapsed or tipped uterus.
- Reiki improves the overall physical and mental health, including the reproductive system which increases the chance of pregnancy. Reiki can reduce stress which is linked to fertility problems. If continued after pregnancy is achieved it continues to reduce stress, nausea and morning sickness. Used during labor it can minimize pain and discomfort associated with birth.
- Craniosacral Therapy (CST) encourages healthy conception and pregnancy by balancing hormones via the pituitary gland, decreasing physical tension and relieving stress. It can also release restrictions in the pelvic region which improve reproductive organ health. During an IVF cycle, CST allows the uterus to become more receptive to a fertilized egg and may reduce pain or bloating associated with ovarian stimulation.
- Reflexology is the practice of massaging or applying pressure to parts of the feet or hands which coincide with particular organ systems. Reflexologists may be able to help with irregular periods, absent ovulation, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome and blocked tubes in the male reproductive system. Reflexology may help with stress related to infertility.
- Acupuncture has potentially been given the most media attention when it comes to infertility. Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into specific points of the body which reside on channels or meridians. In women, this therapy may help balance hormones, resort normal menstrual flow, improve uterine environment or assist in maintaining pregnancy. In men, the therapy may help with male factor infertility, including highly fragmented sperm DNA. Acupuncture may be used in conjunction with Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Movement therapy includes, but is not limited to, yoga and pilates.
- Yoga is a mix of poses (asanas), controlled breathing and meditation. Fertility yoga is used to open the pelvis and correct blood flow to the reproductive organs. There is also significant benefit in its stress relieving properties, as chronic stress can alter the immune system, improve mood or anxiety and improve cardiovascular health.
- Pilates exercises improve fertility while reducing stress, which restores hormonal balance. It also encourages release of endorphins to improve the response to pain and promote better sleep. Pilates benefits are similar to those found with yoga.
Focus therapy includes mediation and relaxation techniques.
- Meditation requires you focus on a word, phrase or situation as you are conscious of your breathing. This imagery reduces stress and brings inner awareness to the state of your body. Guided meditation is available on CD for specific conditions associated with infertility.
- Relaxation is a state of deep rest. With this practice your heart rate, blood pressure and rate of breathing all decrease. Varying techniques including progressively tightening and relaxing muscles in your body, deep breathing and imagery.
Many other mind body techniques are available and you are encouraged to find some that appeal most to you. Discuss alternative treatments with your doctor to ensure its safety during treatment and the subsequent pregnancy.