The meridian system consists of 20 meridians interconnecting more than 400 acupuncture points. These acupoints are located on specific areas of the body surface that demonstrate higher electrical conductance because of the presence of higher density of gap junctions (special connections between cells that transmit iron and other intracellular signaling molecules). They act as converging points (or sinks) for electromagnetic fields. Higher metabolic rates, temperatures, and calcium ion concentrations are also observed at these points. In principle, positive (anode) pulse stimulation of a point inhibits organ function, whereas negative (cathode) pulse stimulation enhances that function. This forms the basis of electroacupuncture. Acupuncture or electroacupuncture has been approved to help optimize all the hormone levels by working through the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovary axis (HPOA). Traditional Chinese Medicine stimulates the body’s own natural production of hormones while restoring the health and harmony of the entire system. We cannot simply say that acupuncture increases certain hormones. It has dual roles: it micro adjusts different kinds of hormones in the different levels of the HPOA and restores a subtle balance.
From the Western medical point of view, the influence of electrical acupuncture on the change in estrogen receptor expression in the brain may be one of the mechanisms of normalizing the function of the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovary axis. R Chang et. al published an article in Fertility and Sterility in 2002, suggesting that acupuncture positively impacts opioid production in the central nervous system, which, in turn, influences gonadotropin secretion from the hypothalamus.
Dr. Paul Magarelli, a reproductive endocrinologist and the medical director of the Reproductive Medicine & Fertility Center in Colorado, carried out clinical research combining acupuncture and an in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure. Of those women in the acupuncture group, 51 percent achieved a successful pregnancy, compared to 36 percent of those who underwent IVF alone. The miscarriage rate was 8% in the acupuncture group versus 20% in the non-acupuncture group. There were no ectopic (Tubal) pregnancies in the group of women who underwent acupuncture, but 9% of those in the group without acupuncture had a Tubal pregnancy. The investigators also reported 23% more births per pregnancy among those who had acupuncture as part of their infertility treatment. Initially Dr. Magarelli did not believe in acupuncture. After this research, he was convinced that acupuncture does help to improve the IVF success rate.
Li Zheng is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, a graduate of the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine with 11 years of formal training, including 6 years of residency, a Ph.D. degree holder in medical sciences from the US, a Harvard Medical School trained researcher, a professor at the New England School of Acupuncture, and a staff acupuncturist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Her website is www.acumagic.org and her clinic is located at 475 hillside avenue, Needham, MA02494.