Western acupuncture

Western medical acupuncture is a therapeutic modality involving the insertion of fine needles. It acts mainly by stimulating the nervous system and is principally used by conventional healthcare practitioners.

Currently the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence only recommends western acupuncture as a treatment option for the following:

  • chronic tension headaches
  • migraines
  • persistent lower back pain.


Whereas Chinese acupuncture is a holistic therapy used to re-balance the whole body and may be beneficial in helping fertility.

Chinese acupuncture

Chinese acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine used to re-balance the body's flow of energy (known as qi). The healthcare system is based on ancient principles that date back almost two thousand years.

A Chinese acupuncturist aims to manipulate and unblock stagnant qi. When this energy is flowing freely it is believed to encourage the body's natural healing process.

The underlying principle of this form of acupuncture is that illness and pain occur as a result of blocked energy (qi). Many things are thought to contribute to blocked energy, including stress, poor eating habits, injury and infection.

In Chinese acupuncture ultra-fine sterile needles are inserted into certain points on the body (where qi can be accessed). This re-establishes the flow of qi and is believed to trigger the body's natural healing abilities.

Many Chinese acupuncturists work with a greater range of conditions. Such issues they typically address include:

  • allergies
  • anxiety
  • fatigue
  • depression
  • digestive disorders
  • insomnia
  • infertility
  • menstrual disorders.


Acupuncture and Fertility

Research has been conducted into its use in the following areas:

  • Regulating the menstrual cycle
  • Helping to counteract stress levels
  • Improving blood circulation to the pelvic organs, including the ovaries and uterus
  • Helping to support ovulation dysfunction in some women
  • Helping to improve sperm health


Many small scale studies suggest that there may be some benefit in acupuncture for improving fertility and for assisting menstrual and hormonal issues.

However more studies are needed before any substantive claims can be made that acupuncture definitely helps fertility. This said thousands of women and men who have it certainly believe they benefit from the treatment, not least because it helps them to feel proactive and relaxed as they go through what can be a very stressful time.

As Chinese acupuncture is a complementary therapy, it is important that it is used along side (not instead of) conventional medical treatment. It is also advisable to speak to your doctor before trying any complementary therapy to ensure you are suitable to try it.