OBJECTIVE: To investigate acupuncture practitioners' experience and perceptions of supporting patients presenting with fertility issues.
DESIGN: Questionnaire survey.
SETTING: British Acupuncture Council.
PATIENT(S): British Acupuncture Council acupuncture practitioners.
INTERVENTION(S): Questionnaire designed for the study, by post and online.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Questions on education and training, size and nature of practice, liaison with conventional care, and perceptions about use of acupuncture for fertility issues.
RESULT(S): Questionnaires were sent to 2,580 practitioners. Of 861 responses, 15% of practitioners supporting fertility issues said this constituted a large proportion of their case load. Eighty percent of practitioners reported most fertility work was related to assisted conception. More than 60% had specialist training. Practitioners' perceived benefits included stress reduction, relaxation, regulation of menstrual cycle, and emotional support. Emotional burden on both patients and practitioners was recognized and the limits of therapy. Point-specific acupuncture protocols were common (70%). Thirteen percent reported problems working with physicians. Use of acupuncture for male fertility issues was uncommon.
CONCLUSION(S): A minority of acupuncturists have become specialists in supporting fertility issues. The use of an acupuncture protocol is common but does not conform to traditional acupuncture as it is taught and practiced for other conditions.
- Acupuncture Therapy
- Clinical Competence
- Great Britain
- Holistic Health
- Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
- Professional Practice
- Risk Assessment
- Stress, Psychological