Founder of the Sandhya Maarga Holistic Living Academy
Combining the benefits of traditional yoga with innovative medical intervention could relieve stress associated with infertility. (Shutterstock/-)
Having a child in a family is a gift. While many families have children, some struggle in their journey to get one.
Many who are unable to bear a child the natural way often turn to medical science, using a popular process called in vitro fertilization (IVF) that increases their chances of pregnancy.
According to studies, yoga can affect one's fertility rate. Not only will it release stress, which can lead to poor fertility rates, some experts also believe that certain asanas (postures) can promote pregnancy chances due to increased blood flow to the pelvis that stimulates hormone-producing glands, which also releases muscle tension.
Rahul Sachde, M.D., a specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey, said that combining the benefits of traditional yoga with innovative medical intervention could relieve stress associated with infertility and thus increase the probability of conception.
"Women who are infertile, especially in the long term, are extremely stressed out. One study has shown that the stress levels of an infertile woman are actually similar to those of someone just told that they have HIV,” he said.
A study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology strongly supports Dr. Sachdev's claims. The study reported that infertile women's anxiety and depression levels equaled those of women with conditions such as cancer, HIV and chronic pain.
A research program conducted by Dr. Sachdev found that by incorporating yoga and meditation, couples had a 50 percent fertility rate within a year of finishing the program.
Other studies also demonstrated strong support that yoga can help with infertility. Harvard Medical School published a report in Fertility and Sterility showing that women are 3 times more likely to conceive by practicing yoga and other relaxation exercises than women who do not. An astounding 55 percent of the participants in the group who were taught yoga, meditation, negative emotional releasing techniques, imagery exercises and nutrition conceived within one year.
Alice Domar, PhD, from Harvard Medical School, encourages infertile women to practice yoga to develop a conscious love-connection between themselves and their bodies that they may be frustrated with for having failed to conceive a child. She also recommends infertile couples do yoga together because, although both are physically together, the exercise allows them to develop a non-sexual bond since sex, according to her, is often linked with failure when it becomes emotionally charged.
For those who have opted for the IVF procedure, yoga can also play a major role in increasing one's success. Researchers at the Fertility Center of Illinois discovered that couples who practice yoga tend to be more determined and can overcome the stress related to the strenuous IVF procedure. As relaxation is a key factor in improving the likelihood of conceiving, relaxing the muscles, lower abdomen and the mind can greatly aid the IVF procedure.
Fertility centers around the world are now widely adopting yoga. Dr. Jennifer Hirschfeld-Cytron says that "we have seen a decrease in anxiety in patients who utilize the yoga program. In the US, cost remains a top reason why couples stop infertility treatment, but close behind is emotional distress [and] yoga can help alleviate this stress and allow couples to stay in treatment."
Genevieve Tan Shu Thung runs an online holistic living magazine, which publishes articles related to holistic living at http://www.holisticlivingannex.com.
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