Mind and body therapy pertains to the connection between one’s physical and mental health. Stress is the culprit of various illnesses, both emotional and physical. Chronic conditions like infertility may cause severe stress, which may subsequently lead to anxiety and depression. But could these mind-body therapy approaches really help women conceive? Studies and clinical trials prove this to be true. Results have shown that mind-body medicine provides women with healthier ways to cope with the stress and anxiety of fertility, including fertility treatments.
Although more has to be done to confirm 100% efficacy of these approaches, most studies have claimed an increase in the number of pregnancies in couples participating in mind-body programs. And according to a Pediasure and pregnancy-related article, for those studies where pregnancy was not the target outcome, the participants showed improved emotional well-being. Moreover, some people believe that our minds can work on our bodies efficiently and our health in general, doing as much as literally healing our bodies. In fact, one does not need to believe to reap its benefits. Practitioners of this field of medicine see and utilize mind-body therapies to decrease stress and increase one’s quality of life, but not to actually cure a disease or condition.
Mind-body medicine is also known as mind-body-spirit medicine, holistic care, or integrative medicine. Here are some of the most common therapy approaches that may help with fertility and improved overall health.
“Many practitioners and teachers of yoga claim it offers benefits for one’s mental health. It seems like an obvious conclusion, given that most yoga focuses on exploring one’s inner world of consciousness.” John M. Grohol, Psy.D. said. A combination of pranayama (breathing) and asanas (postures), yoga is a systematic and meditative exercise. It has been used for thousands of years to clear the mind and achieve inner peace. Lately, practitioners have utilized it to assist women who are diagnosed to be infertile or couples who have been unsuccessful in conceiving. Fertility-friendly yoga DVDs are slowly gaining popularity in the markets. Only a few results connect directly to achieving fertility through yoga, but the restorative and gentle yoga types have been very beneficial for women who are undergoing IVF treatment, which may have a link to successful conception.
Group Therapy And Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT is a known technique of counseling that is done by a therapist guiding a patient through a process of replacing his negative thoughts with positive ones. “CBT is a relatively brief, skills-focused treatment that has been shown to be effective for a wide variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, anger, social skills deficits, and relational problems.” Shelby Harris, PsyD, CBSM elaborates. Breathing and relaxation techniques are also involved here. It is one of the most effective methods for individuals with anxiety, stress, and infertility. One study claimed that more positive results were seen in patients with depression than those who were taking antidepressants. Group therapy, on the other hand, is a type of counseling where women or couples with similar emotional issues have found beneficial in terms of mental and emotional healing.
One of the oldest practices, acupuncture, works by working on trigger points to balance energy in the entire body. It is considered as alternative medicine and at the same time a mind-body approach, as it induces relaxation, comfort, and stress reduction. Research and clinical trials on the acupuncture-fertility link are thought to be due to these positive benefits.
According to Andrea F. Polard, PsyD “Meditation is not just relaxing, but to be keenly aware of the present moment while not interfering with mental activities that revolve around our little self.” There are various types of meditation, and the type of meditation that may help women conceive is that which guides women to cope with the stress of attempting to have a child. This kind of meditation teaches the mind to let go of the useless thoughts and focus on the goal you want to achieve. It encourages the mind to move further from worry and nearer to peace and calm. This is a new practice that has just been introduced in fertility programs, and not much can be said about it in terms of positive or negative outcomes.
This can be done either alone through audio recording or with the guidance of a hypnotherapist. The patient/client is walked through a state of light sleep or a trance, and this results in deep relaxation of the mind and body. While in a trance, the therapist assists the patient by inducing hope and positivity in the patient’s thoughts. He enumerates alternative ideas to replace the patient’s negative thought patterns. Two or more studies have proven that hypnosis during IVF treatments increased the success rate of the procedure. Additionally, hypnosis is a popular remedy for heavy smokers those who want to lose weight the healthy way.
It is a type of meditation that involves guidance from a therapist or an audio recording walking the patient through a relaxation and breathing exercise while ‘daydreaming’ beautiful colors and peaceful spaces such as the forest or the beach.