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6 Acupressure Points To Induce Labor And Their Benefits

 

The majority of women in labor experience high levels of pain, anxiety, and tension in their bodies. The main cause of labor pain is the intense contractions and the opening cervix as the body prepares itself for the baby to move out of the body through the birth canal. Effective pain management methods during delivery have been a topic of discussion for many years. Continuing awareness and studies being published on the subject matter have paved the way for ancient techniques and newer interventions to be introduced. 

While several drugs may be used for easing pain and anxiety during labor, many women are not comfortable using pharmacological means during this time. Instead, they may prefer a naturally therapeutic technique like Acupressure, which has been used for pain management for hundreds of years. 

 

What is Acupressure?

Acupressure was initially practiced in ancient China. It is used due to its superior therapeutic potential for numerous health conditions. The human body is a cluster of pressure points found across different meridians. Acupressure is based on using specific acupoints found in different areas of the body. This technique involves the application of pressure on the acupoints, which elicits a functional response in the body. By stimulating these areas of high electric conductance, the individual may experience benefits like decreased tissue adhesion, increased relaxation, increased blood circulation, and improved activity of the parasympathetic nervous system.

Acupressure to Induce Labor and Its Benefits

 

• Reduction of Labour Pain

Acupressure is popularly used due to its ability to relieve pain from various body parts. One way it may be able to achieve this is through the stimulation of endorphin release in the body. Endorphins can help eliminate the sensation of pain. Other than endorphins, other forms of natural opioids may also be released, which is another factor leading to pain relief. 

This was further evaluated in a meta-analysis conducted by Smith and Collins, where the pain intensity in pregnant females was analyzed on a visual analog scale. The visual analog score has a reading from 0 to 100, and low scores indicate lower pain levels. The study results showed that women who were treated using Acupressure had increased satisfaction levels of pain relief compared to those who had not been treated with it. This was also associated with reduced use of pain killer medications. 

 

• Relieves Anxiety

Another way Acupressure may benefit females in labor is through its ability to relieve anxiety. Studies conducted to further evaluate this have shown Acupressure to cause the release of a neurotransmitter known as Serotonin. Serotonin positively affects an individual’s tranquility and relieves their anxiety. Another way Acupressure can help relieve symptoms of anxiety associated with labor is its ability to cause the release of specific peptides, which have an analgesic and sedative effect on the body. They do this during the activity of the Sympathoadrenal system of the body, which is often activated during anxiety.

 

• Increase Blood Flow and Uterine Contraction

Studies have shown Acupressure to increase the overall blood supply to the uterus. This may not only induce uterine contractions and induce labor but also cause the increased release of progesterone hormones. It also causes an improved production of biological regulatory factors like integrin αvβ3, LIF, VEGF, and HOXA10, which may help promote the chances of pregnancy in couples who are trying to conceive. 

The ability of Acupressure to increase uterine contraction and induce labor was also investigated in a systemic analysis conducted by Yingru Chen Xuekai Zhang, including 11 clinical studies. While the three of these are observational studies, the other eight were randomized clinical trials. The effects of Acupressure which were paid special attention to during these studies include the duration of delivery, the length of pregnancy, and the strength of uterine contractions. The study results showed that Acupressure might be effective at strengthening the uterine contraction, increasing the length of time of uterine contractions, and shortening the length of the period between each contraction. 

Acupressure Points to Induce Labor

The Acupressure points known for inducing labor include the GB21, LI4, BL32, PC8, SP6, and BL60. 

 

• Gallbladder 21 (GB21)

GB21, also known as Gall Bladder 21, is an acupoint located between an imaginary line drawn from the top of the acromion process of the shoulder and the bony prominence of the neck. This acupoint is known for its ability to relieve delivery pain. The GB21 points should be massaged using the thumb for one minute to activate this point. The individual may then take a one-minute break before starting the massage again. 

 

• Large Intestine 4 (LI4)

LI4, which is also known as Large Intestine 4 or Hegu. The term Hegu means joining valleys and is located between the thumb webbing and pointer finger at the back of the hand. Like GB21, LI 4 is also known for its ability to induce labor. Other than its ability to induce labor, it may also relieve pain and improve immunity levels in the body. The individual should massage the point using their thumb for one minute using soft pressure to activate this point. 

 

• Bladder 32 (BL32) 

BL32 stands for Bladder 32 acupressure point. It may also be referred to as Ciliao, translated as the second crevice in English. This name is the location of this acupressure point, which is found on the dimple of the buttocks. These points may be more accurately found by running the finger down along the spine until the intergluteal cleft is reached. The mechanism of action of this acupoint is by triggering contraction and induction of labor. This is activated by applying firm pressure on the point while moving towards the buttock. This massage should be repeated for a few minutes. 

 

• Pericardium 8 (PC8)

The Pericardium point 8 is a special acupressure point known as Laogong or Labor palace. As the name suggests, PC8 is effective for inducing labor. It is located in the center of the palm. To activate this point, the individual should apply light pressure to the center point of the palm for a few seconds. 

 

• Spleen 6 (SP6) 

Spleen 6, also known as Sanyinjiao, is considered amongst the most commonly used point for managing different conditions, one of which is induction of labor and reduction of pain. The name of this point translates to three yin intersection due to its location on the body. It is located just above the ankle, on the backside of the lower calf. These points can be activated by applying firm pressure on the point for a few seconds, after which one minute break may be taken before repeating the message. 

 

Bladder 60 (BL60)

BL60, which stands for Bladder 60, is also referred to as the Kunlun, a mountain range in Asia. This point is located on the top of  of the Achilles tendon just behind the ankle. The activation of BL60 can promote labor and ease labor pain and reduce obstruction. The individual should apply massage using light pressure for a few minutes to activate this point. 

 

The Bottom Line

Acupressure to induce labor is an effective way to help relieve labor pain and anxiety while inducing uterus contractions. Even though the effectiveness of this method is found in numerous studies, pregnant females are recommended to consult their doctor if this will be suitable for them. 

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our consultation page where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.

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