Improving sperm parameters with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine
By Nicola MacDonald
In males, infertility is estimated to be present at a rate of around seven percent and may be a factor in up to fifty percent of infertile couples. Western medicine has little to offer men in the treatment of most male fertility disorders, particularly where substandard sperm is the issue.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) considers male infertility to be related to the correct functioning of the Kidney, Liver and Spleen. The Kidney is known as the ‘root of life’ – it stores the Jing (essence), governs birth, development and reproduction, controls the lower orifices and is the gate to Ming Men (warming the lower Jiao, Jing and harmonising sexual function). The Liver regulates the movement and volume of blood, circulates the Qi to prevent obstructions and controls the sinews (including the penis). The Spleen is the root of the acquired Qi and through its transforming and transporting function contributes to the development of blood Yin and Yang which are necessary for reproductive processes to occur.
Sperm is probably most closely connected with the Kidney Jing. It is the Yang of the Kidney that gives sperm their motility, warms the seminal fluid to prevent it being thin and watery, and provides the spark for libido and orgasm. The Yin controls substance and is represented by quantity of seminal fluid, sperm count and morphology, and control over ejaculation. Jing essence manifests in poor sexual development or premature ageing. Liver blood deficiency can lead to a decline in Jing (fertility).
Damp heat can cause obstructions within the genital region in the form of infections and this can reduce male fertility and sexual function. Men over the age of 35 have a decline in their sperm parameters. Traditional Chinese medicine equates this to a Kidney deficiency. Kidney depletion are situations that wear out the body – that is chronic illness, excessive ejaculation and exercise, or overwork.
Dysfunction is created in the Liver by the emotions of anger, frustration and repressed emotion, a greasy and spicy diet, excessive alcohol intake (creating too much heat) and a sedentary lifestyle. The Spleen is harmed through difficult to digest foods contributing to a lack of nutrients to nourish the Jing and blood, a predominance for worrying or overthinking, and exposure to damp environments.
Studies suggest that acupuncture given twice per week for between five and ten weeks can significantly improve sperm count, concentration, morphology, and rapid motility.
The body of evidence supporting acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine for improving sperm parameters is small but growing. Western pathology provides an accurate tool for measuring the extent of sperm disorders and TCM provides treatment to significantly improve sperm parameters where there is currently no comparable Western medical option.
If you’re interested in improving your sperm parameters to increase your fertility, book an Acupuncture appointment at Endeavour Wellness Clinics.