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Studies abound about the benefits of mind-body therapies in conjunction with conventional treatments for infertility. These treatments are used mainly to ease stress and contribute to well-being, both of which former fertility patients will swear helped them overcome infertility. There are a great variety of therapies. Some, like acupuncture, have been around for centuries, while others are relatively new.
Touch therapies use a hands-on approach. Massage, reflexology, and acupuncture fall under touch therapies, with all found to be great stress relievers in a variety of studies. A 2004 study published in Medical Study News reviewed a new massage technique developed by a physical therapist and a massage therapist called the Wurn Technique. The study showed a 71 percent pregnancy rate within one year of the receiving the treatment. A 2008 review of randomized controlled trials from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore found acupuncture significantly improved pregnancy rates resulting from the embryo transfer process. Touch therapies are said to reduce stress because they improve blood flow, balance the body’s energy flow, and reduce cortisol levels.
Movement therapies are exercises to promote strength and wellness, such as yoga, Tai Chi, and Pilates. Yoga is touted for being a gentle form of exercise that eases stress, promotes weight loss, and increases fertility. Studies found couples who practiced yoga were more likely to conceive during in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments than those who didn’t, and in 2000, Harvard Medical School researchers revealed women who participated in yoga and relaxation techniques were three times more likely to get pregnant.
Focused therapies like meditation, visualization and relaxation are techniques that help you to calm yourself and eliminate stress from your life. The techniques teach people how to focus and visualize peace and tranquility, and all that is required is a dedicated stretch of time in a quiet place to clear your head. Breathing techniques are often incorporated into these practices, where you concentrate on breathing in and out in slow, deliberate breaths. A San Diego State University and University of California, San Diego joint study found that people who practiced mindfulness mediation or somatic relaxation reduced their levels of distress and improved positive mood states, with mindfulness meditation also reducing distracting and ruminating thoughts and behaviors.
If interested in trying mind-body techniques, first speak to your physician to find out if they are safe. Many fertility practices have accepted mind-body techniques as a beneficial adjunct to treatment and even offer their own practitioners.