Migraine attacks are severe headaches that last from 4 to 72 hours. The pain is often on one side of your head, throbbing and gets worse when you move. You may also have other symptoms, such as feeling and being sick or being extra-sensitive to sound or light. About 1 in 6 people who have migraines get what's called an aura. This can cause symptoms like temporary problems with your vision, or pins and needles or numbness in parts of your body. You may be more likely to get a migraine attack if you are tired, hungry or stressed, or eat or drink certain foods. Migraines are common. About 1 in 10 people will have a migraine attack in any one year and nearly 1 in 5 people will have an attack at some point in their life. Women are more likely to have migraine attacks than men.

How acupuncture can help?

Traditional acupuncture theory sees pain as being largely due to obstruction of the body’s vital energy or qi. Acupuncture needles are thought to act like switches in the body’s energy circuits, freeing up stagnant energy and getting it flowing.

Research has shown that acupuncture is significantly better than no treatment and also at least as good, if not better than, standard medical care for migraine. From a biomedical perspective, acupuncture can help in the treatment of migraine by:

• providing pain relief – by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to   
   release of pain killing endorphins and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord.
• reducing inflammation – by promoting release of various biochemical substances.
• increasing blood flow in and around the brain.
• affecting the brain levels of a chemical called serotonin, which has various functions, including control of
   appetite and mood.

Traditional acupuncture takes a holistic approach to health and regards illness as a sign that the body is out of balance. The exact pattern and degree of imbalance is unique to each individual. The traditional acupuncturist’s skill lies in identifying the precise nature of the underlying disharmony and selecting the most effective treatment. The choice of acupuncture points will be specific to each patient’s needs. Traditional acupuncture can also be used as a preventive measure to strengthen the constitution and promote general well-being.

An increasing weight of evidence from Western scientific research is demonstrating the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating a wide variety of conditions. From a biomedical viewpoint, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system, influencing the production of the body’s communication substances - hormones and neurotransmitters. The resulting biochemical changes activate the body's self-regulating homeostatic systems, stimulating its natural healing abilities and promoting physical and emotional well-being.

by Dr. Maria Phillips, DAOM, L.Ac.

Acupuncture for Treatment of Infertility, Endometriosis, and Menstrual Cycle Disorders

European Research Study proves that acupuncture increases pregnancy rates for women undergoing In-Vitro Fertilization. The study concludes that acupuncture seems to be a useful tool for improving pregnancy rate after ART. This study has been reported on the national news and in US medical journals, prompting an increase in referrals from medical doctors for the use of acupuncture in IVF procedures.

Two groups totalling 160 subjects, each received a standard in-vitro procedure (IVF). One group, however, also received acupuncture therapy before and after implantation. The non acupuncture in-vitro group had a 26.3% pregnancy rate, while the group of women who received acupuncture showed a 42.5% success rate.

Acupuncture has been used to successfully treat infertility and menstural cycle disorders for literally thousands of years. While most modern research is set up to try to determine why Acupuncture works, this German study demonstrates scientificically that acupuncture can improve pregnancy rates. This scientific proof is what American doctors have been waiting for to be able to confidently recommend acupuncture to their patients. Doctors in the Cleveland Clinic are already using these techniques with an 83% success rate.

Acupuncture Physician, Beth Hopkins-Acampora, at the Center For Natural Health here in Jacksonville, Florida has been using this procedure successfully improve pregnancy rates for client undergoing IVF treatments.

According to the American Society for Reproductive Science, over 6.1 million or 10 percent of women in the United States are diagnosed as being infertile, which is defined as one year of unsuccessful conception. Women who choose to conceive after the age of 35 have a greater chance of having medical difficulties that may result in infertility issues. Due to career choices, as well as other extraneous factors, which include dietary and exercise habits, years of birth control pill use and an increasingly stressful modern life, these numbers will likely increase and a greater portion of the population will be affected by infertility in the future.

The causes of infertility are vast and varied. Some of the main factors that may prevent successful conception include: lack of ovulation, poor quality of eggs, thin endometrial lining, poor quality and number of follicles, low progesterone, high follicle stimulating hormone, blocked fallopian tubes, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, adhesions, infections and stress.

In summary, acupuncture offers a cost-effective, safe, and comprehensive intervention for women who want to become pregnant. Acupuncture is proven effective for men and women who wish to prepare their bodies for conception, pregnancy, and delivery, even those who have not experienced difficulties with infertility. Similarly, women who do not wish to undergo IVF for a variety of reasons, also choose acupuncture as an effective mode of treatment. Finally, acupuncture can be integrated with ART to enhance effectiveness.

Acupuncture has been clinically proven to:

Enhance Egg Quality: Test results of clients who have undergone acupuncture have shown that the egg quality significantly improves.

Enhance the Quality of the Uterine Lining: A healthy uterine lining is necessary to help with embryo implantation and to grow a healthy baby. Acupuncture improves the flow of healthy blood into the uterus.

Reduce the Chances of Uterine Contraction After IVF procedures: Acupuncture relaxes the patient and the uterus so it won't contract and expel the fertilized egg.

by Dr. Maria Phillips, L.AC.

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