Sunday, March 20, 2011

Acupressure for Birth-Large Intestine 4

Located on either hand between the thumb and first finger is an acupressure point called Large Intestine-4, or Hoku. This is one of the most powerful points for a variety of complaints including constipation, headaches, and digestive woes. During labor it is particularly useful for reducing pain and encouraging contractions.

It's fine to do hand massage, or to explore how the point feels, but repeated acupressure to this spot is not considered appropriate during pregnancy until one is expecting labor to begin soon.

Acupuncture stimulation of Large Intestine-4 for 15-30 minutes has been shown to produce enough endorphins to be successful pain relief for dental surgery. Some studies have indicated that rubbing a bag of crushed ice, or an ice cube, on this point during labor can help to reduce contraction pain.
In this study, 49 pregnant women used ice massage on the point during early labor, at the beginning of each contraction and continuing until the contraction stopped.
During the next contraction, the ice was rubbed on the opposite hand. This continued for 20 minutes or 4 contractions.

Women reported pain reduction by nearly 50% when ice massage was used in the left hand, and by 19% in the left hand. Learn more about using this point with Touch Techniques for Birth DVD.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More Acupressure for Birth

Last posting I talked about Spleen 6, a powerful acu-point for hormonal balancing and labor preparation and support. Using the same touch techniques to access that point, include Kidney 3 and Bladder 60, on either side of the ankles to encourage downward movement energetically, as well as to relieve back pain, and encourage labor to progress.

Kidney 3 is located behind the inner ankle and Bladder 60 is located behind the outer ankle. Squeeze both at once between the ankle and Achilles tendon.Apply pressure gradually, with attention and intention, as she exhales. Release the pressure with the same attention.

Press these points every half hour when helping to initiate contractions, working both sides of the body simultaneously if possible. Hold each point for at least 5 minutes, encouraging the client to envision the cervix softening and dilating, imagining hormones coming into full strength to promote labor, envisioning energy flowing without blockage throughout her body.

Acupressure points are not magic buttons that will cause a change immediately; they need thorough and consistent attention over a period of hours or days to be effective.

When searching for a point, ask how it feels; the woman may notice a special sensitivity when you touch the point, a discomfort, a zing of energy, or a pulsing. Or she may not feel much at all. Think of the body as a temple in which it is appropriate to enter quietly and respectfully; use that same respect and caution when touching a point.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Powerful Acupressure for Promoting Labor

Acupressure is a system of physical and energetic healing that uses pressure on specific points and channels to stimulate or balance the flow of energy through the body.  There are 12 primary paired meridians associated with specific organ systems.

The Spleen/Stomach meridian supports the immune system and balances hormones and cellular fluids.  Acupressure points on the Spleen meridian are especially useful for  labor induction, edema reduction, uterine concerns, and relief of nausea.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Massage Leads to Safe, Natural Birth

Here is a recent letter from a former student:
Hi Leslie,
I'm reporting a beautiful, empowered, and (surprisingly) healthy birth with the help of your classes and video.
I'd taken the maternity massage courses through OSM prior to conception, and had worked with pregnant women for a few months.
During our 38 week prenatal visit, my blood pressure was alarmingly high-159/100. Our midwives at Alma Midwifery immediately scheduled a transfer of care to the midwifery team at Emanuel Hospital. They started pushing for an induction, we delayed, finally resorting to breast pumping on his due date.