Monday, July 22, 2013

Acupuncture Relieves Common Pregnancy Discomforts

Acupuncture is a natural, safe and effective way to relieve common pregnancy discomforts by rebalancing the various systems in the body.

A short explanation of how acupuncture works: the surface of the human body is a map of its internal functioning. The meridian channels that run up and down the body are connected by acupuncture points. Pain means that chi is blocked along these channels. Acupuncture is a method used to clear the flow and create opening.

Acupuncture has been found to be especially useful in treating these common pregnancy complaints:

  • Pain (e.g. lower back)

  • Nausea

  • Insomnia

  • Headache

  • Skin problems (e.g. eczema)

  • Digestive problems (e.g. constipation)

  • Sciatica

Here are a few pressure points that are useful for relieving some common pregnancy discomfort that you can try at home:

  • Apex of the head - massaging the top of the head in an uplifting motion lifts the chi and helps hold the pregnancy. It also treats hemorrhoids and prolapsed organs.

  • Point at two fingers above the wrist (P6) - applying pressure to this point help alleviate nausea because it helps to hold the stomach chi down.

  • Outside of leg - using a foam roller to massage and release the muscles can help ease sciatica.

There are a number of pressure points that are contraindicated during pregnancy - they are the same points that are used to induce labor, so make sure yourself, your loved one (who has the good intention of giving you a massage!) or your massage therapist do not stimulate these points. Most of these points when stimulated move too much "chi", and therefore are not suitable for pregnancy. Points to avoid during pregnancy:

  • Points on sacrum - stimulation may be too opening and can cause baby to descend

  • Point between the thumb and forefinger - it's used to treat headache, and courses the chi through the body which can be too stimulating

  • Point located four fingers above the ankle - this point connects to the uterus and is used to increase contractions

  • Points in the shoulder area around the trapezia - these points are considered downbearing and very opening, and can also be used during labor

Always go to a licensed acupuncturist (LAc) who has a degree from an accredited school and a license from your state. Most education programs do not provide specialized trainings on pregnancy, so ask if the acupuncturist has treated pregnant clients before, or if s/he has received any post-grad training on prenatal care.

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