Acupressure is a holistic system that compliments what your body does naturally; it is an ancient Chinese Medicine Technique that refers to the use of pressure points (acupuncture points). These points lie on energetic channels running from the surface of the skin to connect to the body’s internal organs. Physical pressure is applied to these specific points on the body by the hand, elbow or with other various devices.
Is there any research on using acupressure in labor?
Yes, research has been published in respected western medicine journals confirming benefits of acupressure in labor.
When is the best time to start using acupressure for labor pain relief?
The best time to start using acupressure to alleviate pain during labor is at the onset of labor. Studies have found that women received greatest benefits of acupressure pain relief when used at the beginning of there labor rather then waiting until they were in pain or before they even went to the hospital. It was found that by the time the women were at the hospital there labor partners were already experts at finding the specific acupressure points.
How fast does acupressure start working for pain relief?
You should begin feeling relief within one or two contractions. You will know that it is working as the intensity of the contractions will lessen. Women have reported that the intensity of contractions ease when the acupressure points are being pressed and they feel calmer and more in control of there labor.
When you apply pressure to the acupressure point how do you know how much pressure to apply, when to apply the pressure and for how long?
This will vary by the women. Pressure can be applied using your fingers, thumbs, elbows, knuckles or any other device. Once you locate the pressure point you should use your entire body to apply the pressure as to not wear yourself out. You will know that you are in the correct spot as the women may feel intense, achy, warm, tingling sensation, it will not feel this way if you are not in the correct spot. If the pressure hurts you are in the wrong spot.
Are there certain points that should be used for the different stages of labor?
Yes, the book outlines several pressure points that can be used along with a suggested use of the points. As labor progresses different pressure points may be used to intensify the effect.
How easy is this to do for someone without any experience in using acupressure?
There is no special training or massage technique required for acupressure. The technique relies on being able to palpate the pressure points and pressing them with there thumbs, fingers, hands or elbows. simply has to apply pressure to that point to the level the woman finds useful.
Can anything go wrong if the wrong points are pressed?
No, as the only pressure points being used are those that the women find useful during labor. Pressing the “wrong” points does not in theory become an issue.
Do you need any special tools to use acupressure?
No, the only tools you need are your hands.
If you want to induce labor with acupressure, when is the appropriate time?
Although acupressure is considered a natural approach to labor induction it is still considered an intervention. Therefore, you should not try to stimulate labor until after your due date. The safest time to use acupressure to induce labor is three to four days prior to a medical induction.