Women’s Health & Fertility

Acupuncture treats a broad range of disorders that can arise at various stages of a woman’s life.

The reproductive cycle is a complex system involving hormonal functions in both the reproductive organs and the brain which orchestrates a myriad of different effects in different tissues. For a woman to achieve her full fertile potential, these physiological functions need to be regular throughout her reproductive years.

“The treatment of women is ten times more complicated than the treatment of men.”
– Chinese medical texts

Many of the medical problems that can develop from irregularities of the menstrual cycle and associated organs are appropriate for acupuncture treatment such as:

  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Amenorrhea
  • Menorrhagia
  • Leucorrhea
  • Premenstrual Syndrome
  • Endometriosis
  • Migraine Headache
  • Menopausal Symptoms
  • Pregnancy-Related Concerns
  • Breech Presentation
  • Pre-birth Acupuncture
  • Labor Support
  • Infertility
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (POS)
  • Urinary Bladder Symptoms
  • Pelvic Pain or PID
  • Stress, Anxiety, Fatigue

Pregnancy

Acupuncture addresses all the common discomforts of pregnancy such as heartburn, constipation, leg cramps, backache, nausea, swelling of the hands and feet, poor sleep, mood disorders, headache and fatigue. A safe and gentle treatment for pregnant women, acupuncture is easily tolerated and brings welcomed relief from the discomfort brought on by pregnancy in all three trimesters.

Acupuncture for a Natural Labor

In clinical practice, acupuncture given at week 36 through to the onset of labor is an ideal method to address the discomforts or medical issues that can arise in the last stages of pregnancy such as heartburn, constipation, leg cramping, backache, swelling of the ankles and hands, fatigue and poor sleep. Pre-birth acupuncture also helps prepare a woman to have the most efficient and comfortable labor as possible.

Studies have shown that acupuncture during labor offers a range of positive effects including reduced time in labor; a reduced rate of medical intervention; a labor that progresses without intermittent slowing down of cervical dilation and uterine contractions; and reduced pain and greater emotional comfort.

Infertility

It is estimated that one in five couples in the United States struggles with infertility. Acupuncture can help to improve the chance of pregnancy for couples in any stage of the infertility process.

Studies suggest that when used with in vitro fertilization (IVF) acupuncture can optimize the effectiveness of this medical protocol.

Acupuncture is an excellent adjunct therapeutic approach to maximizing the chances of achieving a pregnancy through ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies) including in vitro fertilization (IVF). Research indicates an increased success rate with acupuncture when used prior to beginning the ART protocol.

“Acupuncture can allow you to cross the line from infertile to fertile by helping your body function more efficiently which, in turn, allows other more modern reproductive treatments like IVF to also work more efficiently.”
– James Dillard, MD, assistant clinical professor, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and clinical adviser to Columbia’s Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Women undergoing the protocols of ART, including IVF, often report high levels of stress, anxiety and depression, as well as discomfort from the side-effects associated with the hormonal management of the reproductive cycle. Acupuncture addresses these symptoms by down-regulating stress hormones, relieving pain and discomfort, promoting relaxation, improving sleep and providing emotional support to the woman.

Acupuncture works effectively to:

  • enhance ovarian response in follicle and egg production and development
  • enhance follicle and egg quality
  • increase estrogen levels if these are low
  • improve implantation rate by regulating and supporting pregnancy hormone levels
  • improve the circulation of blood to the uterus and ovaries
  • increase endomentrium thickness if too thin
  • relieve the side-effects of medication
  • reduce the number of ectopic pregnancies occurring in ART cycles
  • statistically improve the birth rate of IVF cycles by 10-15%

STUDIES

    • Reduction of blood flow impetus in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electroacupuncture, Stener-Victorin E.,Waldenstrom U., Nilsson L., Andersson S A., Wikland M. (1996). Human Reproduction, 11:1314-1317.

Previous studies have shown that reduced blood flow in the uterine arteries is associated with a decreased pregnancy rate following IVF-embryo transfer. This study shows that after eight acupuncture treatments blood flow to the uterus was markedly increased. Research carried out by one group of IVF clinics in California has shown that using this protocol to increase blood flow to the uterus combined with acupuncture on the day of transfer has resulted in a significant improvement in pregnancy rates.

    • The relationship between perceived stress, acupuncture, and pregnancy rates among IVF patients: a pilot study, Balk J., et al (2010); Complimentary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 2010; 16:154-157.

This study investigates the relationship between acupuncture, stress and pregnancy rates. Patients who received acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer had a pregnancy rate of 55.6% compared with the control group pregnancy rate of 35%.

Pre- and Post-Embryo Transfer (IVF) Acupuncture

Acupuncture treatment given before the transfer of the fertilized embryo(s) and again after the implantation in the uterus is believed to increase the chances of a successful outcome. Studies have shown that the more significant of the two treatments is the pre-embryo transfer acupuncture treatment.

STUDIES

  • In vitro fertilization and acupuncture: clinical efficacy and mechanistic basis, Anderson, B., Haimovici, F., Ginsberg, E., Schust, D., and Wayne, P. (2007). Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 13(3): 38-48.
  • Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy, Paulus WE, Zhang M, Strehler E, El-Danasouri I, Sterzik K. (2002). Journal of Fertility and Sterility, Apr; 77(4): 721-4.

Research indicates that acupuncture before and after an IVF transfer of the fertilized embryo/s has a favorable effect on a successful implantation in the uterus. Paulus and colleagues (2002) compared the clinical pregnancy rate of two groups of subjects: one that received acupuncture 25 minutes before and again 25 minutes after embryo transfer and another group that had no acupuncture treatment. The group receiving acupuncture had a clinical pregnancy rate of 42.5% compared to 26.3% in the non-acupuncture group.

What our clients are saying

Menstrual Cycle: Dysmenorrhea

For twenty-five years I experienced excruciating pain during my period. At first the problem was ovarian cysts that would grow and swell until they burst. That was brutally painful. Luckily, it only happened about four times a year. Later on, however, I began to have pain every month. There was no sign of cysts, but for about two days each month I was in agony. My OB/GYN offered birth control pills, which I hated taking partly because of how they made me feel, but also because I felt it only masked the problem. I was on them and off of them for years when I finally became fed up with them. My next course of action was to take ten Advil every four hours for those two days just so I could function. That saw me through a number of years, but I was getting worried that the ibuprofen would eventually leave me with a hole in my stomach.

Around that time, I started seeing a chiropractor. Being contorted in pain for two days every month for over a decade had really done a number on my alignment. His treatments eased the pain somewhat, but still, every month I was in hell for two days. I finally went to a fertility specialist who found a fibroid tumor on my uterus. After it was removed I had high hopes that my problems were solved. Sadly, the next month the pain was back. I was devastated. I actually started to wonder if it really was all in my head, as one doctor put it. When I informed the specialist about this during my follow up visit, he asked me to come back the next month on one of the two days that were painful. I agreed, but reluctantly, as he wanted me to wait to take any Advil until he’d run some tests. I did as he asked and suffered through two and a half hours of testing. There were sensors testing my heart rate, blood pressure, brain waves, my pulse, my core body temperature and a few other things. When I went back to get the results, the specialist told me that the pain I was experiencing was equivalent to that of a woman enduring hard labor. So, basically, I had been going through thirty-six to forty-eight hours of severe labor pain once a month for a good 20 years. While this news didn’t stop the pain, at least it made me feel better to know that it wasn’t in my head. Plus, I now had a way of explaining to doctors, in language they would understand, just how much pain I was experiencing.

When I relayed this information to my chiropractor, in March of 2008, he suggested acupuncture. He gave me Susan’s name and I called her right away. I figured the worst that could happen was that nothing would change. I started seeing her a week later. The treatments were fascinating and she answered dozens of questions for me. I felt comfortable and safe in her care and, most importantly, she listened to me. As much as I liked that, I was after results and I was holding off on judgments until my next cycle began. In late April, my period arrived. Though I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t have any pain. There was some minor cramping, but nothing like what I was used to. When day three came to an end and I realized that I hadn’t so much as thought about taking Advil, I literally broke down and sobbed like a baby. The overwhelming sense of relief had me sliding to the floor and crying for about twenty minutes.

Susan was overjoyed with my news and has been caring for me for a good year and a half now. My only regret when it comes to being her patient is that it took me so long to find her. I grow frustrated when I think about all the years when I genuinely believed that this was just my lot in life. I’ve recommended acupuncture to many people and those who know me well are amazed at what I don’t go through anymore. It is my sincere hope that as the United States continues to look at healthcare in our society acupuncture will grow to be a valued and respected treatment for a variety of health concerns. I wish anyone with a chronic health problem the same relief that acupuncture has given me.” MR

Menstrual Cycle: Endometriosis

I contacted Susan Kane because I was diagnosed with endometriosis. This was after about five years of misdiagnosis and three surgeries including a partial hysterectomy. I am only 40-years-old and did not want to have another surgery but the pain was unbearable. I was on all kinds of pain medication and was not feeling good most of the time. I decided to try a whole food diet for some of my symptoms and acupuncture for pain management because I had seen it recommended on several endometriosis websites.

I admit I was skeptical at first but after only a few treatments I was feeling so much better I was completely amazed! Susan brought my pain down from a 9 or 10 to a 2 or 3, and sometimes, I’m even pain-free which hasn’t happened in many years. I am so grateful to her. I feel like she threw me the life preserver I needed when all of the other avenues I had pursued had me sinking deeper into the abyss.

If you have pain and medical professionals suggest more drugs or more surgery, I recommend that you seek out Susan Kane. Acupuncture treatment has changed my life for the better and improved my state of mind. Susan took the time to listen to my entire history and she offered encouragement and positive reinforcement on top of her superior knowledge of acupuncture techniques. She is a professional in addition to being a truly caring person. This is a combination that I find to be very rare. I have already recommended her and will continue to do so without hesitation.” AF

Infertility

After struggling with infertility and five failed insemination attempts, I decided that I needed to find a way to let myself relax and relieve the stress that infertility causes. Before I started my IVF treatment, I contacted Susan and set up an appointment to meet with her. After my first appointment, I felt so much better mentally and was able to relax and think peaceful thoughts. I looked forward to my weekly treatments and they helped to relieve the anxiety I was feeling about being unable to conceive. On my very first IVF treatment cycle, I had 6 good sized follicles and my doctor was very pleased with the results. I continued to go to acupuncture every week right up to the embryo retrieval and also went right before the embryo transfer. We were successful on our first attempt and are expecting a baby in July! I would encourage anyone struggling with infertility to do acupuncture along with their treatment because I honestly do believe that it works on getting your mind and body to relax.” MS

After six months of trying to get pregnant, I started investigating fertility treatments. I began with a traditional fertility clinic when I read about the success of acupuncture for the purposes of trying to conceive. I had known others who had used acupuncture successfully for pain management and increased mobility, so I decided to try it out. I was pregnant within the first month or so, before I had received the first treatment from the fertility clinic. Thanks, in part, to Susan I have a healthy and happy baby.” LK

The acupuncture that I received from you (Susan) last year may have done the trick: I am due to deliver a baby boy in about a week! I was told that my hormone levels were finally turning around and I got pregnant only 5 months later.” JD

I had been off of birth control for 9 months without becoming pregnant. During this time I began experiencing peri-menopausal symptoms. My gynecologist suggested we get a consult from a fertility specialist. We went through the medical diagnostics and my results were typical for a 38-year-old woman. I decided to see Susan Kane for acupuncture treatment in conjunction with the ART protocol when we were in our third cycle of hormone stimulating medication (and our second IUI cycle). Susan is a professional, grounded, and caring practitioner with a calm and cheerful demeanor. We talked prior to my first session and I was impressed by her knowledge of issues related to women’s health and fertility. She took the time to discuss with me the purpose of each treatment and made me feel comfortable with what she was doing. We were scheduled for an IVF consult if the third cycle was not successful. During this cycle, I had 4 mature follicles which resulted in a singleton. I’m delighted to report that I became pregnant in the first cycle during which I had acupuncture support from Susan (third cycle overall)! Not only did Susan provide a safe and comfortable environment for the acupuncture treatments but she provided me with resources for general health and well-being. I would highly recommend Susan to any woman undergoing fertility treatments!” SD

A most amazing thing has happened and I thought you would like to know: I am 6 weeks pregnant! I think the acupuncture together with a variety of redirecting creative energies assisted in a miracle. I hope this can be an inspiration to other women who may come to you with a similar history.” KS

On my very first IVF treatment cycle [with acupuncture], I had 6 good sized follicles and my doctor was very pleased with the results. I continued to go to acupuncture every week right up to the embryo retrieval and also went right before the embryo transfer. We were successful on our first attempt and are expecting a baby in July!” MS

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART): Pre- and Post- IVF Embryo Transfer Acupuncture

I had a great experience at Acupuncture Arts East in Haverhill right before my frozen embryo transfer. Susan Kane is a licensed and well sought-out acupuncturist. Her depth of knowledge and calm demeanor make the whole experience an informative and relaxing one. I have always been the epitome of good health. In doing research before both my IVF treatments, acupuncture the day before an embryo transfer kept coming up in my readings. Susan was very accommodating in seeing me on a Sunday at her home office since there is only a short window of opportunity for the actual IVF procedure. The acupuncture suite is tranquil and peaceful overlooking wooded and water views. The place is meticulously clean and hygienically prepped. Susan was very thorough in her explanation of placement and position of the acupuncture needles in regards to fertility benefits. It was a great experience and I had a successful outcome of pregnancy from this cycle.” anonymous

Pregnancy Support

I began receiving treatments from Susan in February of 2013. At 43, I was pregnant for the first time and wanted to ensure as healthy a pregnancy as possible. Regular treatments helped me feel strong and energized throughout my nine months, and I found Susan to be a skilled practitioner with a warm and friendly personality. I developed gestational hypertension late in my 3rd trimester for which my doctor put me on medication. Susan did only three treatments before I was able to decrease the medication and, after three additional treatments, I was able to discontinue the medication completely.” AA

Postpartum Depression

After a difficult labor, I delivered a big baby boy via c-section in August of 2007. Then, after a few months, I decided to get an IUC (intrauterine contraceptive). The IUC’s hormones were toxic to my body and, for almost a year, I found myself battling a major bout of postpartum depression as well as debilitating aches and pains, as if I had arthritis.

I have always been a big believer in alternative therapies, especially acupuncture. I did an online search for acupuncture in Haverhill and found Susan Kane.

Susan’s professional manner is miles ahead of any practitioner I have worked with. We talked before each appointment. She thoroughly reviewed my medical history and my current state of health to determine what course of action to take to help me get better. She listened, even when I was in tears, weary from atrocious symptoms that my regular doctors could not help me with.

After just one treatment with Susan, I began to feel like my old self again. Once I had visited with her a few more times, I felt the aches and pains slip away, and the blackest depression I had ever suffered began to lift.

I owe Susan a debt of gratitude for her patience, guidance and adeptness with her craft. Susan takes all things into consideration, takes thorough notes and asks thoughtful and telling questions. She cares deeply. I am sure that without Susan, I would not be the healthy me that I am today.” DM

Menopause: Hot Flashes

At age 45, my MD offered a complete hysterectomy as the solution to my various gynecological problems. As the known side effects of such a surgery (hot flashes, mood swings, accelerated aging, etc.) could be addressed by taking hormones, I opted to have the surgery.

The surgery did indeed resolve my various gynecological problems but it threw me full-blown into menopause. I had never before experienced such intense, rapid hot flashes nor such extreme mood changes. I was placed on EstraTab, a natural hormone, for two months with no impact whatsoever. I then tried Estrace, another natural hormone, and soy tablets, both of which made only a slight difference.

The hot flashes continued to wake me up several times during the night and were still occurring about once every two hours during the day. After a couple more months of these symptoms, I began seeing Susan for menopausal symptoms. I saw an improvement immediately in that the number of hot flashes decreased steadily until after a very few sessions I was only experiencing them once or twice per day. My husband also remarked on my improved temperament.

After two months, I am completely “flash-free” and feel like my old self again. I firmly believe that every gynecological medical person should recommend acupuncture as one of the more effective viable treatment options for menopause.” DA

I started to visit Susan for acupuncture treatment when the intensity and frequency of the hot flashes I was experiencing became almost unmanageable. Along with the hot flashes, or perhaps due to them, I was also feeling low on energy and just generally out-of-sorts. Susan worked with me to develop a course of treatment that quickly got the flashes under control within the first couple of weeks. The intensity, frequency and duration of the hot flashes were dramatically reduced. I also have felt significant improvement in my energy level and sense of well being as a result of treatment. Susan’s knowledge and demeanor create a peaceful and soothing environment which only adds to the positive outcome I’ve experienced. I continue treatments now to maintain the healthy balance we’ve achieved.” CL