Infertility patients usually endeavor to do as much as they can to promote their overall good health while keeping a positive outlook. In addition to eating well, exercising and learning about available medical procedures, such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) they may be interested in exploring non-traditional wellness options. As an additional benefit, many healthcare professionals recommend acupuncture to help supplement the patient’s existing program.
Acupuncture is traditional form of Chinese medicine. This ancient technique has been used for centuries as a remedy for a number of health issues, including pain of all kinds as well as stress relief. When performing acupuncture, the attending physician inserts very thin needles (called “pins”) into specific points on a person’s body, which promotes and stimulates healing.
For women dealing with infertility issues, acupuncture is known to help manage an array of uncomfortable side effects, such as cramping, mood swings, tension, depression and more.
Licensed and board-certified acupuncturist Dr. Matt Skahill, PoOm, has been a long-term partner with Main Line Fertility for many years. Offering onsite office hours one day a week, Skahill works with patients who are simultaneously undergoing fertility treatments. This provides easy, one-stop treatment for patients who want to take advantage of acupuncture.
Skahill said, “Recent research has found that acupuncture enhances In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) pregnancy rates when combined with standard medical care, acupuncture may help regulate the menstrual cycle, increases the opportunity for pregnancy and possibly prevent miscarriage. We also suggest that fertility patients integrate acupuncture into their treatment to assist in alleviating stress and anxiety as well.”
Acupuncture can complement the IVF treatment that the patient is undergoing and does not require a great deal of extra time.
Skahill explained, “During the initial patient consultation, we discuss the clinical diagnosis in the western sense, and then we translate that back to Chinese medicine to choose the correct combination of acupuncture points. For the actual treatment, the patient lies on a table and pins are set on certain areas of the body, usually from the elbow to the fingertips and the knee to the toe. The patient then rests for usually about thirty minutes.”
In addition to working with fertility patients, Skahill has a background in cancer treatment and work at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center. In addition, he spent three seasons treating the Philadelphia Eagles football team with acupuncture. He added, “I’ve done an incredible amount of acupuncture on most of the team members over the years and they found it to be a positive experience and extremely beneficial.”
Not surprisingly, he explained that quite often patients who are unfamiliar with acupuncture are hesitant to try it and may assume that there is some level of discomfort involved. Skahill said, “A misconception is that acupuncture is some kind of torture and that it hurts. It’s really a painless process. The pins we use are thinner than a human hair. The entire process is really very relaxing and most certainly not painful at all.”
For more information about Dr. Skahill and acupuncture, visit Poplar Wellness Center: www.poplarwellness.com.