By Adele Potter, Dip.ACU BSc , MNRZA
As an acupuncturist I know how wonderfully helpful Chinese medicine can be to the pregnant and birthing woman. There is a growing body of research evidence which shows how many common complaints of pregnancy and birth can be greatly helped by this modality.
Acupressure is a form of Chinese medicine that is easy to learn and self-administer. Closely related to acupuncture, acupressure involves pressing various points on the skin in order to regulate and restore the body’s energy system. Your birth supporters may wish to learn these highly adaptable techniques as well, as acupressure can be used to assist labour in a variety of situations. The knowledge that you have an “acupressure toolbox”, always available to you, helps promote confidence that you are fully prepared for the journey ahead. I believe this sense of personal empowerment ripples out beyond just the birth experience, affecting ultimately the whole of life experience.
To find easy, how to guides on acupressure for pregnancy and birth explore the Debra Betts website. Betts is a senior acupuncturist in Wellington who has worked with midwives and birthing women for many years. Her website contains a wealth of high quality, accessible material, including a free labour acupressure guide, which you can print off and use for yourself. It also has suggestions for acupressure prescriptions for some of the common pregnancy conditions.
However, acupressure has the weakness of being somewhat generic (i.e. it’s a ‘one size fits all’ approach, whereas in reality there are many different energetic states behind similar physical manifestations). Therefore, I would definitely encourage pregnant women to make at least one trip to an acupuncturist, if at all possible. An acupuncturist can give a woman a greater understanding and awareness of her own individual patterns of health. An understanding of your own unique patterns can only bring greater focus and understanding of your individual needs. Added to this, an acupuncturist can support you in your acupressure education, can answer all your questions, reassure you that you’ve located the pressure points correctly, and perhaps even teach you some new points which may be ideal for you specifically.
If you have any questions I would be more than happy to help.
Adele can be contacted by email.