Acupressure is a simple treatment, similar to acupuncture, that uses the pressure of your fingers to stimulate certain trigger points called “acupoints” in your body. Acupressure can be used to stimulate certain points in your body to activate the nervous system and release the hormones that will induce labor. Acupressure can also be used to ease the pain of labor. You should never take any steps to induce labor without discussing them with your doctor or midwife first. This article does not constitute or replace medical advice.
A 2005 study in the Complementary Therapy and Medicine Journal showed that women who used acupressure went into labor naturally and more often when compared with a control group who did not use acupressure. Another study in 2004 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine also showed that labor time and pain were reduced by the use of acupressure. So after discussion with your health care provider, why not give it a try? This article will detail some of the most successful methods for self acupressure treatment for inducing labor. Acupressure is usually given by your fingers and thumbs, but you can also purchase tools to help with the treatments as well. www.handsonsupply.com has the most common tools available for purchase. Just search for “acupressure tools” on the site.
The most common areas for using acupressure to induce labor are called the “adjoining valley”, the “shoulder well”, “big and high” and the “three yin crossing.” Each of these areas is described below. Use your fingers or acupressure tools to apply pressure to the described areas. Apply the pressure for fifteen to thirty seconds, experimenting with the level you are comfortable with using. You may want to try these self-treatments on each of the areas several times a day.
The “adjoining valley” is the area between your thumb and forefinger. Applying pressure here connects to the part of your large intestine that surrounds your uterus. This is the best known self accupressure treatment to induce labor.
The “shoulder well” is the area located approximately four finger widths from the joint of your shoulder to your neck, at the highest part of your shoulder muscle. Applying pressure or using a gentle kneading motion here can induce labor and can also help ease the pain of labor.
The “big and high” area is located between your Achilles’ tendon and your ankle, directly above the back of your heel. Pressing down on this point will help your baby to descend downward, toward your cervix, thereby inducing labor.
The “three yin crossing” area is located on the inside of your leg, near your ankle. Applying pressure here will ripen your cervix for delivery and help to strengthen your contractions for a quicker, easier birth.
Acupressure can also reduce stress, increase your blood circulation, increase your energy and help you relax! Have your birthing partner learn your various acupoints so that during labor he or she can help you with the self treatments, and help you to relax after the birth. Here’s wishing you a safe and healthy delivery!