Can Moxibustion Induce Labor?

If you are familiar with moxibustion, then you know how famous it is for turning breech babies. Even though the ECV or hand-to-belly procedure is pretty helpful, it can be super uncomfortable. So, many turn to moxibustion instead – a popular heat therapy that stimulates the acupoints. The question is, can moxibustion induce labor too?

I know how hard it is to find a proper treatment that will work for your body. But, moxibustion is more than just burning herb sticks and holding them over your skin. It’s an ancient Chinese practice that creates heat to stimulate blood flow and create muscular activity in the lower abdomen.

I actually tried it myself, and it worked like a charm. If you have your doubts, I think my story can help. Here is what happened.

My Experience With Moxibustion

You know as much as I do that some babies get too cozy in the womb. Some doctors might suggest medically induced labor. That was the case with me with my first child. My baby wanted to stay in the womb a little longer, which made the whole process insanely tricky. The problem is, I didn’t want to do it.

Inducing labor can make the contractions even worse and increase the odds of an epidural. As long as I could, I would try to keep it natural though my back was killing me. I stayed in the hospital for who knows how long until I finally decided to take the step.

With the second pregnancy, however, I wanted to do things a little bit differently.

I was 28 weeks pregnant when my friend connected me with an acupuncture therapist in my local area. The therapist specializes in a bunch of holistic modalities, one of which is moxibustion. My friend swore the treatment would work. It can help with labor and even with my lower back.

I decided to give it a try.

How Did Moxibustion Feel Like?

My first impressions? It was odd. Using sticks to help with the pain and labor sounded pretty far-fetched to me. But I was wrong.

The first time I went for a treatment, the therapist gave me two options: indirect or direct moxibustion treatment.

With the direct one, the therapist uses a tiny, cone-shaped moxa and puts it on top of a certain acupoint. In other words, the moxa comes in contact with the skin and is extinguished before it burns the skin. If done unprofessionally, it can hurt you.

The indirect option, on the other hand, is a safer alternative. People have a low chance of burning the upper layer of the skin. The practitioner will light the moxa stick and hold it above the affected area. They will keep that position for a couple of minutes or until the spot becomes slightly red.

I chose the indirect treatment since it looked less scary. Here is how it went.

The therapist lit a big moxa stick. It soon started to emit a potent herbal smell. Then, she carefully approached my skin. She started with the toes and held the stick over my skin for a couple of minutes.

I felt a warm sensation running through my feet as if that one spot could radiate the heat all across my body.

Can Moxibustion Induce Labor?

I wasn’t sure the treatment would work, so I asked the therapist how holding a stick will help me with my labor.

She explained that by burning the stick above the skin, the heat would stimulate the receptors in the toe and promote a healthy release of the two most essential pregnancy hormones – prostaglandins and placental estrogen.

These hormones can stimulate contractions and help the baby move. After the treatment, I also did some research. Based on clinical studies, it seems that moxibustion may have the potential to induce labor.

But, when paired with acupuncture or herbal treatment, it can be even more effective. Even though there is not much evidence, it seems the treatment is on the right track. So, I went for some more sessions, and I even learned to do it at home.

The result was pretty effective. My pain in the lower back subsided, and my labor with the second child was a lot easier than I expected. I can’t say with 100% certainty it was due to moxibustion, but I think it worked like a charm for me.

What About Moxa for Breech Baby, Does It Work?

That’s a good question. I heard that a lot of people use acupressure for a breech baby. The thing is, many unborn babies can be positioned with their feet or bottom towards the cervix. This often happens in women during late pregnancy.

The alternative form of treatment can help the baby in the womb switch positions healthily. But, it seems it is not the only one with such benefits. I consulted with my therapist at the massage moxa treatment center, and it looks like moxibustion can have the same results.

When you pair it with acupressure, it can have even more amazing effects. That’s because both of these treatments can stimulate the bladder meridian and kidney channel and help the baby turn. The hot sensations work their way through the acupoints and release pregnancy hormones that promote a contraction – the same way it works for inducing labor.

That’s why using moxa sticks to turn breech babies can come in handy. I’m not very familiar with the moxibustion breech instructions, but I think it’s better to leave the work to the professionals. That way, you can guarantee you are getting a safe and effective treatment.

After I gave birth, I’ve been using moxibustion therapy at home regularly. But now, I use it for my immune system, my fatigue, and my back pain. It might seem like an odd approach, but I think it’s worth it.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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