In TCM the acupuncture point ST-36 is said to strengthen the immune system and boost the body's resistance to disease (Ross 1995). The Spleen's function of constantly transforming what is consumed into new Qi and Blood also plays a part in the body's defence system (Liang 2003). Recent studies from Korea and Taiwan have shown an impact on autoimmune diseases such as SLE and arthritis with electro-acupuncture and moxibustion on ST-36 and SP-6, by 'suppressing autoimmunity and modulating immune abnormality' (Kung et al 2006, Yun-Kyong et al 2007).
Anna was 33. She had suffered three spontaneous abortions between 5 and 8 weeks of pregnancy in the past 2 years. Recently she decided to try IVF and had bloods taken to check her immune system, which showed raised NK cells. Anna was told by her specialist that she would require treatment with oral steroids and intravenous immunoglobulin for a successful outcome. Anna felt she would like to try a more natural approach for 4-6 months. She came for acupuncture and on initial consultation showed weakness in the Stomach and Kidney energy.
Anna had weekly acupuncture for 6 weeks, specifically focusing on points to regulate the immune system and tonify Kidney Qi - ST-36, SP-6, Ren-12, Ren-4, BL-23, BL-20, BL-17. She also made lifestyle changes to her diet and exercise regimes.
In the third month of treatment Anna called to say she had conceived naturally. She had no problems during her pregnancy and continued with acupuncture every 6-8 weeks, with ST-36 and BL-23 used in each session. Anna gave birth to a healthy boy at 40 weeks.
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