In addition to acupuncture, Chinese Medicine includes a range of treatment options including herbal medicine, diet therapy, cupping and acupressure. Acupressure involves the stimulation of acupuncture points by fingers, hands and elbows. Acupressure can be applied at home to keep up momentum in between treatments.
Acupressure can also be used by partners to help their partner in pregnancy. When a woman is about to embark on her journey through childbirth, it is important to remember that labour means work, hard, painful, physical work. At Gardenvale Chinese Medicine, we encourage partners to ‘push the right buttons’ using the technique of acupressure during labour, to help with pain relief. It’s important that the support person uses their whole body, not just their fingers (we don’t want them to hurt themselves). These points should be used with caution during pregnancy as they are strong points, that may stimulate labour.
Below are some helpful images and a video, to use as a guide for acupressure during labour. Please also find at the bottom some evidence for the effectiveness of acupressure for pain relief.
LI4 is located on the back of the hand, between the thumb and index finger. It is the highest part of the triangle that is made when the thumb fits inside a fist. The nature of this point is for pain relief during contractions.
SP 6 is located about a hands width above the inside ankle bone, in the depression just off the inside of the shin (tibia) bone. The nature of this point is to aid the cervix in dilating.
BL32 is located on the back, over the second posterior sacral foramen (These often form dimples in the lower back). It is roughly one finger length above the buttock crease and one and just over one finger width from the spine. The nature of this point is for pain relief when the support person uses a thumb or knuckle.
GB21 is located at the height of the trapezius muscle on top of the shoulder. The point has a downward nature, and might help stimulate contractions.
KID 1 is located on the bottom of the foot, the top third of the foot on the midline. It is good to use a knuckle in this point. This point is considered grounding and will help promote relaxation and a sense of calm.
Watch the video for a further demonstration of the acupressure points
Liddle, S. & Pennick, V. (2015). Interventions for preventing and treating low-back and pelvic pain during pregnancy. Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group. doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD001139.pub4.
Ozgoli, G., Sedigh Mobarakabadi, S., Heshmat, R., Alavi Majd, H. & Sheikhan, Z. (2016). Effect of LI4 and BL32 acupressure on labor pain and delivery outcome in the first stage of labor in primiparous women: A randomized controlled trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 2016 (29), 175180, doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2016.10.009.
Samadi, P., Alipour, Z. & Lamyian, M. (2018). The Effect of Acupressure at Spleen 6 Acupuncture Point on the Anxiety Level and Sedative and Analgesics Consumption of Women during Labor: A Randomized, Single-blind Clinical Trial. Iran Journal Nursing & Midwifery Research, 2018, 23 (2) 87-92, doi: 10.4103/ijnmr.IJNMR_199_16.
Smith, CA., Collins, CT., Crowther, CA. & Levett, KM. (2011). Acupuncture or acupressure for pain management in labour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2011(7) doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009232.