Low Level Laser Therapy & Fertility
ACUPUNCTURE WITH LOW LEVEL LASER THERAPY FOR WOMEN’S HEALTH AND FERTILITY
Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is also known as photo biomodulation or cold laser therapy. LLLT is light therapy that provides therapeutic effects to the body, at the cellular and mitochondrial level. Low level laser does not cause pain, heat up, burn, or cut the tissues of the body. It is not a high-powered laser used for surgery.
The light energy from the low level laser penetrates through the tissues of the body into the cells and mitochondria. The light energy provides the fuel for the cells and mitochondria to function optimally. The laser light supports mitochondrial function and ATP production to provide the required energy for the body to heal.
The mitochondria are the power houses of every cell in the body. Mitochondrial health is central to egg quality. The eggs have 200 times more mitochondria than any other cells in the body. As women age, mitochondrial function wanes with fewer mitochondria and less ATP production. Without enough ATP production or energy, the follicle may not mature optimally and even with fertilization, the embryo may not have enough energy to develop or implant.
Low level laser therapy has been in use since 1967 but the benefits for fertility were not discovered until 1995 by Dr. Toshio Ohshiro in Japan. Dr. Ohshiro treated 2 post menopausal women for low back pain with LLLT. After a series of treatments, the women reported that they began to menstruate again. Dr. Ohshiro determined that the LLLT rejuvenated the ovarian function by improving the ATP production of any remaining eggs after menopause. This led him to conduct research with LLLT and women of advanced maternal age who had been unable to get pregnant with assisted reproductive technology (ART).
Summary of Dr. Ohshiro’s research article published in 2012:
The first trial included 74 women with an average age of 39 yo. These women were considered infertile with an average of 15 ART cycles and an average of 9 years of infertility. After a course of LLLT prior to ART, 21% of the women became pregnant and 68% of these women went on to have a live birth.
The second trial included 701 women with an average age of 39 yo, an average of 8 ART cycles, and an average of 4 years of infertility. After a course of LLLT leading up to ART, 22% became pregnant and 50% of these women went on to have a live birth.
Since Dr. Ohshiro’s research, LLLT has been used by other practitioners in Japan, Denmark and Norway to support women’s health and fertility. More recently, clinics in Canada and the United States are offering LLLT for fertility. In these clinics, LLLT is often combined with acupuncture, moxibustion, and/or massage for a synergistic effect.
Health Blossoms is the first clinic in Texas to offer LLLT for fertility and women’s health.
At Health Blossoms, Dr. McKenzie combines LLLT with acupuncture, infrared heat and Mayan abdominal massage to support fertility and hormonal balance. Dr. McKenzie is a licensed acupuncturist and certified in LLLT.
Benefits of Acupuncture with LLLT for women’s health and fertility:
- Improves blood circulation to the reproductive organs
- Improves absorption of nutrients important for egg quality including CoQ10
- Regulates inflammation and reduces pain
- Reduces oxidative stress and aging of the ovaries
- Improves mitochondrial function and cellular ATP production to support maturation of follicles, egg quality, embryo development, and implantation
- Softens scar tissue and adhesions that may be due to surgery, infections, endometriosis or cysts
- Upregulates the parasympathetic nervous system to support relaxation, circulation and healing
- Releases endorphins
- Improves uterine lining health, endometrial receptivity, and balances the pelvic microbiome
- Reduces muscle tension
- Research and case studies show that it increases the chances to get pregnant and to maintain the pregnancy
Women with the following concerns may benefit from LLLT:
- Less than optimal egg quality as indicated by labs (low AMH, high FSH)
- Scar tissue or adhesions due to endometriosis, surgery or infections
- Advanced maternal age
- Poor responder to conventional therapies
- Thin uterine lining
- Preparing for egg retrieval
- Preparing for frozen embryo transfer
- Uterine fibroids
- Painful periods
- Mid cycle or ovulation pain
- Low back pain with period
- PMS or PMDD
- Pre and post surgery support to minimize scar tissue
- Peri or post menopausal
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Digestive concerns including dysbiosis and gastrointestinal inflammation
Following are general examples of protocols for fertility or hormone related concerns. The protocols would be individualized for each patient depending on health history and fertility goals. A protocol may be 3-4 menstrual cycles or months. In some cases, a longer protocol may be needed.
- TTC naturally:
2-3x per week in the follicular phase for 3-4 menstrual cycles, to improve egg quality and uterine lining receptivity
1-2x per week in luteal phase for 3-4 menstrual cycles, optional, may be recommended for women of advanced maternal age or with high FSH and low AMH
- Preparing for egg retrieval:
Ideally, prepare with 3-4 months or menstrual cycles to improve egg quality and uterine lining receptivity prior to egg retrieval
2x per week leading up to egg retrieval
1-2x during the week following the egg retrieval, to support healing and reduce inflammation
- Preparing for FET:
Ideally, prepare with 2-4 weeks before the start of medications prescribed to build the uterine lining
2-3x/week leading up to transfer day with a goal of receiving 6-10 treatments before the FET
- For hormone related female concerns (endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroids, dysmenorrhea)
2-3x per week in the follicular phase for 3-4 menstrual cycles
Dr. Toshio Ohshiro research: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24610987/
Denmark and Norway case studies: https://www.ecronicon.com/ecgy/pdf/ECGY-08-00402.pdf