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I wondered how effective Complementary and alternative medicine were. I have done some research and found this article on the internet. There appears to be little evidence about whether it works.
I have cut it down a bit & lifted a few of the intersteing facts...I thought it was quiet interesting....

Title: Complementary and alternative medicine utilisation in NHS and private clinic settings: a United Kingdom survey of 400 infertility patients. By:Catherine Coulson and Julian Jenkins
From: Journal of Experimental & Clinical Assisted Reproduction 2005, 2:5 doi:10.1186/1743-1050-2-5


Infertility patients are a vulnerable group that often seek a non-medical solution for their failure to conceive. Some evidence suggests that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has found increased utilisation among patients seeking infertility treatment, although there is little information available to quantify this phenomenon.

Patients attending for infertility diagnosis and treatment often ask the physician about CAM; Our data suggest a high use of CAM particularly among female private patients, although patients appear sceptical of the efficacy of such treatment which is consistent with the literature.
* Infertility patients in our survey accessed CAM for their infertility more frequently than the overall use of CAM in the general population.

* The most commonly used CAM was herbalism (34%), followed by aromatherapy (21%), homeopathy (17%), acupuncture (14%), reflexology (6%) and massage (6%).

* As the use of CAM in the past by the infertile patients in our survey was consistent with the above reports, it seems reasonable to suggest that infertile patients in general make a greater use of CAM for their infertility than the general population.

* the highest use of CAM among women from the private clinic (40%). This may reflect a greater ability of these couples to afford the cost of CAM, even though they have the additional cost of their fertility treatment.

* CAM therapies used by the infertility patients include: acupressure, chiropractor, naturopathy, cranial osteopathy, osteopathy, Alexander technique, environmental medicine, kinesiology, Reiki, anthroposophic medicine, aromatherapy, autogenic training, visualisation, shiatsu, ayurveda massage, therapeutic touch, mediation and yoga.

* It is interesting to speculate why infertility patients would access CAM despite the lack of evidence of efficacy. Indeed, the patients in our study population registered scepticism regarding CAM themselves.

* Apart from pregnancy, there are other valuable aspects to any infertility treatment. Quality of life measures and sense of well-being are valid, especially in a disability which may become chronic, such as infertility. This condition has a deeply distressing impact on how a woman or man feels about her/himself at the level of core identity. Patients often describe an encounter with a CAM provider in terms of a someone who was "really interested", a person "who listened really carefully to what I was saying" and "who seemed to understand how I feel". From this, it may be offered that traditional doctors would benefit by refining listening and counselling.

* Although it is important to ensure the treatment we provide to patients is safe and effective, it remains vital to consider the patients foremost when managing infertility. As CAM is used so frequently (unsubstantiated claims of efficacy notwithstanding) there is a clear need for further research on this topic [3]. However, treatment offered for infertility should be patient, not doctor, centred.

* Patients should be treated holistically, respecting their own views and moral/ ethical framework. Our study suggests that CAM may be addressing a need that is not fully met by traditional medical practices.
 

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Just wanted to say a few things from the point of view of a Reflexologist (me)
I agree, the biggest stumbling block seems to be a lack of research, and because no MEDICAL proof seems to be forthcoming, there is a general vague feeling of, well it won't do any harm.
I have been working with infertility now for a few years and in that time I now have 12 healthy babies.
All of these women have been down the medical line, have had infertility for between 2 and 8 years and many have had failed IVF/IUI, Reflexology has been a last resort.
The strange thing is the varying reactions. Many women are convinced from the profound effect of the Reflexology sometimes after only one treatment, and others seem to have the attitude that 'well it might have happened anyway', how can you win.
I believe that one day medical science will have definite proof that Alternatives can work, but not until they start looking at things from a different angle.
We are all made up of a complicated systems of energy, all unique in their own right. Alternatives work with the whole being, whereas medical science will treat the symptoms, and not look for the root.
I really believe in my heart that one day alternatives will be more apparent in the NHS, which I feel would save them a fortune in the long run, but how we get there, at the moment, remains a mystery.
Julie Q
 

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Hi
more info I am a homeopath and have worked with many patients with infertility and have had many positive results. The main thing my patients say is that using alternative treatments, what ever they are allow them the space and time to think and come to terms with the way things have worked out for them. All alternative therapies focus far more on the individual and as such people have time and an opportunity to consider how they feel about things in a safe and caring environment. This in itself is healing.
My experience is so positive with all the alternatives and being a homeopath and finding myself and my DH in this situation is strange but we would not have coped as well had we not been supported by homeopaths, reflexologists and acupuncturists.
I know that treating patients I have cured many complaints and identified problems that have allowed couples to go on and have great pregnancies and beautiful children.

My advice is don't just go to a therapist as a last resort consider them a part of the overall treatment.
FEW
 

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There is some research to indicate a link between acupuncture and IVF success - e.g. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1933901.stm

Anecdotally, the acupuncturist I've been seeing has had quite a bit of success treating women with infertility, with and without IVF.

/links
 

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Hi Kristin,
Just wanted to say thanks for posting that link to the BBC website - I'm printing off article for DH who is very sceptical about acupunture - I'm seeing an acupunturist (?) for the first time on Tuesday - am going to make him read this  :)
Thanks again!
BTW, in case anyone's interested, I tried reflexology earlier this year - it was fantastic - really sorted out my cycle, lighter af. and also my skin (no spots - nice side-effect  ;D) sadly no bpf though  :( - plus treatment was far too expensive (£70) but maybe that's cos it's London  ???
xx
 
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