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Yoga’s Stress Relief: An Aid for Infertility?

NEW YORK, February 4, 2011: In recent years, so-called ‘yoga for fertility’ classes have become increasingly popular. They are the latest in a succession of holistic approaches to fertility treatment.

No study has proved that yoga has increased pregnancy rates in infertility patients. But students of yoga-for-fertility classes say that the coping skills they learn help reduce stress on and off the mat. For many, it’s a support group in motion or lotus.

‘As important as the yoga postures was the idea that women could come out of the closet with their infertility and be supported in a group,’ said Tami Quinn, the founder, with Beth Heller, of Pulling Down the Moon, a company with holistic fertility centers in Chicago and the Washington area. ‘With yoga they are getting support and they don’t even realize it.’

‘We will never promise that you will get pregnant by doing yoga,’ Ms. Quinn said. ‘We can tell you many women who have done yoga have gotten pregnant. But there’s no clinical data supporting the fact that yoga increases conception rates. The last thing we would want to do is give false hope.’

Stress, however, has been shown to reduce the probability of conception. Alice Domar, who has a Ph.D. in health psychology and is the director of mind-body services at the Harvard-affiliated center Boston IVF, said of yoga: ‘It’s a very effective relaxation technique, and a great way to get women in the door to get support. It’s a way to get them to like their bodies again.’

Medical acceptance of yoga as a stress reliever for infertility patients is slowly growing. On March 17, Resolve, the national infertility organization, will host a tele-seminar on ‘Yoga for Fertility.’

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