Needling with Intention: Ovulation, Embryo Implantation and Acupuncture

Apr 22

When I perform acupuncture I choose different points for different times of the month to help facilitate the body’s natural rhythms.  For example, around the time of ovulation I will choose points that stimulate the ovaries and bring blood flow to that area.  Some of these points have been used for thousands of years.  However, when doing acupuncture, it is not only the function of the point that is important.  One of the most important parts of acupuncture, in my opinion, is the acupuncturist’s intention.  So around the time of ovulation, not only will I needle a point known for stimulating ovulation, I will also visualize in my mind what a follicle looks like when it is releasing an egg.  I also like to encourage my patients to visualize as well. We say in Chinese Medicine, “Where the Mind Goes the Qi goes”: So if we can use our mind and direct our breath to various parts of the body, we can bring our qi there as well.  I think about this every time I needle.  I needle with intention.

Here is a link to some pictures of a real follicle releasing an egg.  It was the first time that ovulation was recorded on video and was captured by chance during surgery on a 45 year old woman.  The release of the egg took 15 minutes and was much slower than what was previously thought to occur.  Click here to see the pictures and read more about it. 

After IVF embryo transfer or around the time of implantation 6-12 days post ovulation, I like to visualize what an embryo looks like when it is embedding itself into the uterine wall.  What amazes me most about this process is the synergy between the embryo and the blood vessels of the uterus, how they seemingly communicate with each other.  Here are some great videos from to help visualize this process. The fourth Video demonstrates implantation. 

Click here to read about some research on the efficacy of guided imagery and the utilization of visualizations for specific medical conditions.  Although fertility is not specifically indicated in the link above, the research is consistent with the findings of Alice Domar, author of multiple books and founder of Domar Center for Mind/Body Health, that her stress reduction program helps increases the rate of conception among participants.  For more information on Alice Domar’s work, please visit her website here. 

In my practice, I provide my patients with relaxation CDs to use at home and also guide them through breathing exercises.  Stress reduction and associated life-style changes are a big part of what we do.  More on this later!  Thanks for reading.