Acupressure is an alternative therapy that is easy, effective, and can be done at home to help improve fertility. Acupressure has been applied for thousands of years to help improve hormonal balance, the menstrual cycle and aid conception.
Acupressure comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine, based on the same ideas as acupuncture, but without the needles. It involves applying pressure with the fingers to specific points on the body. The stimulation of these points signal the body to increase circulation and energy to another area of the body. Acupressure works to improve the health of the corresponding organ and body systems associated with that particular acupressure point. Many times the acupressure point is not located near the symptom. Before we learn why, lets look at the history of TCM and acupressure as one of the many paths to wellness through this system.
TCM is based on an ancient medical system, developed between 2,500 – 3,000 years ago. Acupuncture and acupressure are part of the TCM healing system. Acupuncture and acupressure stimulate key points on pathways of healing known as meridians, in which qi (life force) flows. There are 14 distinct meridians in the human body, with hundreds of points that correspond to specific organs in the body which correspond to patterns of dis-ease. Patterns of dis-ease are thought to be blockages within the meridians. Stimulation of key points may help move these blockages for improved health.
For example, kidney qi is associated with fertility health. If there is an infertility issue, pressing a specific acupressure point such as Ki 16 stimulates circulation and energy to the kidneys and reproductive organs. Ki 16 is located just one inch to the left and right of the belly button, which is not where the kidneys are located.
What is thought to cause blockages associated with negatively impacting the health of the body? It is thought that blockages occur due to poor diet, poor lifestyle choices, overuse of medications, lack of sleep, stress, environmental pollution and sedentary lifestyle.
How is Acupressure Beneficial for Fertility?
This ancient healing practice may help improve fertility by stimulating improved blood flow to the reproductive organs which in turn stimulates a release in toxins, movement of pelvic congestion and reduction in inflammation which may also alleviate pain. An increase in circulation means nutrient and oxygen rich blood moves to the reproductive organs for improved reproductive tissue health.
The Benefits of Acupressure for Fertility:
- Acupressure is not harmful to fertility
- It costs nothing
- It is a great way to connect with your partner
- It can be used while on medications in preparation for IUI, or IVF
- It is a great way to prepare the body for pregnancy
- It may help alleviate pain associated with many fertility issues
- Aids in regular natural detoxification of the organs
- May help improve hormonal balance
- Stress relief
Who Can Benefit from Acupressure for Fertility?
Are you experiencing any of the following?
- Infertility Diagnosis
- Painful menstruation
- Absent Periods
- Conditions associated with pelvic stagnation such as Endometriosis, Uterine Fibroids, Ovarian Cysts, PCOS
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Women preparing for pregnancy
- IUI/IVF Preparation
- Hormonal imbalance
How to Apply Acupressure
1. Apply pressure with your finger tips or thumb to the point of your choice (see corresponding images below). Press only hard enough that you feel pressure, not pain or discomfort. If you want to try out points on your back side, you will need to have a partner help you.
2. Stimulate the point by slowly moving the finger/s in a clockwise motion, pressing as deep as comfortable. Do this for one minute.
3. Release and move to a new point.
Note: It is best to use fingers that have short nails, be sure not to scratch the area.
Acupressure Points for Fertility
Now that you have learned the benefits and how to do it, let’s learn about the specific points shown to support fertility.
Important: For women who are preparing for pregnancy, but have yet to begin actively trying to conceive, it is fine to stimulate these points all month long. For women who are trying to get pregnant naturally or through IUI, only stimulate these points prior to ovulation. For those preparing for IVF, it is fine to apply acupressure up to the day prior to embryo transfer. Do not stimulate these acupressure points if you are pregnant.
Acupressure Points On The Front Of The Body
Epang II: Located on the scalp, just above the hairline, on the outer side of the eyebrow. This point is used to decrease painful menstruation and promotes regulation of the menstrual cycle.
Governing vessel 26 (Gv 26): Located midline just above the upper lip and just below the nose. This is an excellent point for revival and energy from stress, exhaustion, trauma, or a painful experience such as pregnancy loss. GV 26 is helpful for menstrual cramps as well.
Yintang: Located in the center of the face, between the eyebrows. Stimulates the pituitary gland for hormone regulation and balance. May also help reduce anxiety.
Lv 14: Also known as Liver 14. Located below the breast, two ribs below the nipple, 4 inches midline. Improves liver and digestive health which may aid in hormonal balance, PMS, breast tenderness. It is also used to improve libido and sexual energy.
Ren 14: Located approximately 2 inches below the sternum, 6 inches above the belly button. This may vary depending on the woman’s body type. Known as the “Gateway to the Heart,” this point is supportive of heart health. Revitalizing and supportive for the heart for depression, anxiety, fears, worry and stress associated with any fertility challenge: miscarriage, infertility, failed IVF, IVF preparation, struggling to get pregnant. This point runs along the conception meridian.
Ren 12: Located halfway between the belly button and the sternum, 4 inches above the belly button, below Ren 14. Associated with the spleen and stomach. Supports proper fluid balance, mucous production. May help to reduce fluid buildup in the uterus or fallopian tubes and support cervical mucous production.
Ki 16: Also known as Kidney 16. Located 1 inch on either side of the belly button. This point is directly stimulating for the kidney, which is considered the seat of fertility health. Stimulation of this point is also used to improve immunological response, which may be useful for those with autoimmune related infertility issues. Supportive for general fertility health, boosts fertility for those with lowered fertility.
Ren 6: Located 1 and a half inches below the belly button, midline on the lower abdomen. This point is supportive of overall body vitality and energy. Useful for those who feel exhausted, ready to give up, or need more energy. Supportive for overall health of the body.
Zigong (Rn 3): Located 4 inches below the belly button, 3 inches from the centerline of the body, just at the ovaries. Stimulation of this point is promotes healthy circulation to the uterus and ovaries. Supports proper function of the uterus and ovaries. Improves the menstrual cycle and may be used for those with irregular menstrual cycles or even absent menstruation.
Ren 4: Located midline, along the conception meridian, 2 inches below the belly button. Stimulating to the uterus, bringing circulation and energy to the uterus in preparation for implantation.
Ren 3: Located on the midline, 4 inches below the belly button. This point is considered to be the “Central Pole” of the conception meridian. Stimulation of this point may be used to help regulate menstruation, strengthens kidney qi, the seat of fertility. Helpful in reducing pelvic inflammation. May improve implantation when stimulated prior to ovulation when trying to conceive.
St 30: Located 5 inches below the belly button, 2 inches from midline. Stimulation may improve function of the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. May aid in regulation of ovulation and overall function of the entire reproductive system.
Acupressure Points On The Back Of The Body
UB 44: Located 3 inches to either side of the 5th thoracic vertebra. This point promotes deep relaxation, supportive just prior to going for IVF, or for those with very painful menstruation or very high stress levels. This point may also stimulate uterine contractions, which may be strengthening for the uterus, but should not be done after ovulation in case of pregnancy.
UB 15: Located 1.5 inches from the spine at the 5th thoracic vertebra, on both the right and left side of the body, almost in-line with UB 44. This is a great point for those with hormonal imbalance and/or irregular menstrual cycles due to sleep disturbance. This point supports restful sleep. Also may support the body during times of anxiety and mood swings.
UB 17: Located at the level of the lower edge of the shoulder blade, at the 7th thoracic vertebra. Supportive in moving the blood, cooling inflammatory conditions of in the reproductive organs. Has also been used to improve the menstrual cycle in those with abnormal menstrual bleeding (spotting, heavy menstruation, light menstruation, mid-cycle bleeding).
UB 23: Located at the level of the 2nd thoracic vertebra, in the area of “kidney energy,” 1.5 inches on either side of the center of the spine. This point is supportive in reduction of abnormal vaginal discharge, irregular menstruation and menstrual cramps in the lower back. This point is also used on men with impotence.
DU 4: Known as the “Life Gate” on the Governing Meridian, this point is located midline on the spine, at the 2nd thoracic lumbar vertebra. Used to support the uterus and infertility. This point improves energy to the reproductive organs and kidneys.
UB 31, UB 32, UB 33: These three points are supportive for lower back pain associated with menstrual cramps, infertility and irregular menstrual cycles. They also increase circulation to the reproductive organs for improved fertility.
LI 4: Located in the webbing between the thumb and forefinger; press against the forefinger bone. Improves circulation to the uterus and stimulates uterine contractions, which may helpful for toning the uterus in preparation for pregnancy. Avoid after ovulation if trying to conceive. Helps the uterus to work smoothly and efficiently without spasm, which may help prevent menstrual cramps.
GB 30: Located in the center of the buttock, in the dimple area. Pressing this point may help to relieve menstrual cramps, especially those that radiate through the hips and down the thighs. Also helpful for irritability and the feeling of frustration.
B 60: Located on the outer ankle between the outer ankle bone and Achilles tendon. Traditionally used to help a woman through a difficult labor, this point may also be helpful for women with very painful menstruation known as dysmenorrhea. Not to be done during pregnancy, unless performed during true labor under the guidance of a practitioner.
Acupressure As Part Of Your Fertility Plan
Acupressure is a great way to help improve fertility when combined with a healthy diet, regular exercise and stress management. For an added benefit, you can apply acupressure after Self Fertility Massage! Acupressure is also safe to do with IVF medications.
As a Doula I use acupressure points to help laboring mothers manage pain, fear, improve the efficiency of the uterus and enhance a sense of wellbeing. I have seen acupressure work in the most intense labor situations. If it can be so effective in labor, why not try it in preparation for pregnancy! I love that acupressure can be done by anyone and it costs nothing! Try acupressure today!
2. Monte, Tom. The Complete Guide to Natural Healing, Boston Common Press, 1997