Acupuncture: Ancient Art for Infertility

by Mary Ellen Roelkey

Susan L West is the sole proprietor of Acupuncture Associates. She practices Traditional Chinese Medicine and Infertility along with the acupuncture techniques.
Susan has been in practice in the Hagerstown area since 1995. In 2002 she opened Acupuncture Associates. She has eighteen years experience with a National Board Certification in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and a Masters degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Susan says, "I am the everything, the cleaner, secretary and receptionist of the office/business with no employees at this time."
I asked Susan what aliments she feels acupuncture most benefits. "I prefer to call it Chinese medicine because it is usually a combination of acupuncture and herbs. There is a difference - some people have a degree in acupuncture, mine is in Chinese medicine, meaning they do not have the herbal training that I do. Basically, anything you can treat with western medicine, you can treat with Chinese medicine - we just do it differently." She continued, "There are certain things that western medicine should be your first choice. Chinese medicine is excellent for any type of pain, arthritis, sports injuries, migraines, joint pain, back pain, and nerve pain. It is excellent for gynecological disorders like painful periods, excessive bleeding and one of my specialties, infertility."
Acupuncture is a complex branch of ancient Chinese medicine, but its practical principles and methods are easily understood: Fourteen major energy channels called meridians course through the human body including the head, arms, hands, legs, feet, torso, and internal organs. A subtle energy called Chi (pronounced chee) circulates via the meridians to all parts of the body, even the most remote cells. Chi is the vital force, the presence of which separates the living from the dead. Its balanced, unimpeded flow is critical to sound health. Any misdirection, blockage, or other derangement of the amount, flow, or balance of Chi may result in pain, dysfunction and ill health. With acupuncture needles, or other means, the acupuncturist stimulates certain points (acupoints) along the course of the meridians. Such stimulation helps restore the normal balance and flow of the Chi so organs and bodily systems can work together in harmony as intended. This sets the stage for the body to repair itself and maintain its own health."
When most people think of acupuncture, they are familiar with its use for pain control. But acupuncture has a proven track record of treating and addressing a variety of endocrine, circulatory and systemic conditions. Susan told me, "I think a lot of people stay away from acupuncture because they think the needles are painful, but the needles are so fine that you can get ten of them into the hollow tip of a hypodermic needle."
Susan very proudly displays on her "baby board" (a large bulletin board with a plethora of baby photos and thank you notes) what she calls her "acupuncture babies".
Chinese medicine has a high success rate with functional infertility, which results from factors such as hormone imbalances, endocrine gland disorders and emotion problems. Acupuncture alone can increase the success rate of IVF by 35%. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs used together can increase the success rate by 60%. Many women who incorporate acupuncture and herbs into their treatment conceive naturally once the imbalances have been corrected.
One of Susan's fertility patients, Kelly, said, "After several years of trying to get pregnant with traditional fertility treatments I went to Susan and within three months of acupuncture and herbal treatments I conceived naturally. With continued treatments I carried my baby to full term and delivered a healthy baby girl in early March of this year."
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be an effective treatment in wide variety of medical problems. For insomnia, anxiety, and panic attacks, herb formulas can be healing. Digestive disorders are helped with Chinese medicine. People with chronic pain, allergies, and sinus problems respond well to acupuncture. The Chinese herbs that Susan prescribes are well regulated and well researched. "I am pretty cautious in my herbs, but if the herbs are prescribed properly they are safe. Be careful with the herbs you can buy in the drugstores," Susan warns.
"If people out there can't find help anywhere else, not that I want to be there last choice, really I want to be there first choice. Sometimes if you would come and get acupuncture first you could get better quicker. My people with migraines don't have migraines anymore. Acupuncture treatment helps you deal with stress too," Susan said.
Nancy, a patient stated, "All my life I have suffered with migraine headaches. I went to Susan about a year ago and after twelve years of traditional medicine I finally found relief. Within two weeks of the acupuncture and herb treatments my pain decreased 95% and I am off prescriptions. I am very thankful to Susan."
Susan is also certified to do animals and she has a few doggie patients. "People say, how do you know acupuncture works and it's not in somebody's head? The dogs get better, the horses get better, and the animals don't know what you are doing. Some vets are now learning acupuncture," Susan stated. She is continuously taking courses as she believes you need to continue to learn to get better.
Krista was diagnosed with an immune disorder several years ago. She told me, "With traditional medicines there were side effects, after one year with Susan's help through acupuncture and herbs I am now clean."
Each patients' health problems and response to treatment are unique, the frequency of treatments vary. Susan West's office is located on the west end of Hagerstown. She is open Monday, Tuesday afternoons and Thursday, but she does have evening appointments as late as 6 or 6:15 and sometimes 6:30. Call for an appointment, 240-420-8600. Acupuncture Associates, 920 West Washington Street, Hagerstown, MD 21740.
Susan is also available to speak to groups.

Information resource: 2009, Acupuncture Media Works