I’m pretty sure like most people, you have probably have never heard of Moxibustion which is why people can often be hesitant to start using it in pregnancy.
That’s why a guide written by a qualified midwife is the best place to start, so welcome to my guide on moxibustion!
A guide to moxibustion
In this guide, we will go through what moxibustion actually is, why you should use it and when is the best time to start.
What exactly is moxibustion?
Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese treatment using dried herbs (mugwort) which are heated and directed to an energy point on your little toe.
Chinese medicines work using energy lines which run through our bodies, including through the uterus.
Energy in Chinese medicine is not the same as energy you might get from food, but rather the energy we emit as people, which is known as Qi and is the ‘life energy’.
In moxibustion we try to balance Qi, by ensuring the right balance of Ying & Yang.
Excess Ying (the feminine side of the circle) relates to low energy whereas excess Yang (the male side) relates to overworking and too much energy.
Moxibustion in pregnancy
By 34 weeks most babies are head first, meaning their heads are in the pelvis. However, a small proportion are bottom first, indicating they could be breech and for some women moxibustion is a safe way to encourage your baby to move.
Breech babies are considered to have low energy and therefore the heat from the moxa increases their energy to balance their Ying & Yang, encouraging them to move to a head down position.
Moxibustion sticks are held near to but not on the acupressure point called Bladder 67, the end of the longest energy line in your body located at the outer edge of both your little toes.
Moxibustion sticks are hot, and therefore care needs to be taken when performing this treatment to prevent the risk of burns to the skin.
Moxibustion should be taught by a trained midwife or healthcare professional. I recommend starting treatment from no earlier than 34 weeks, and ideally no later than 38 weeks. Your midwife will be able to tell you at your appointment which way your baby is facing, and they may offer you a scan to confirm if they believe your baby is breech. Confirming the position of your baby is recommended before you start your treatment.
Once the position of your baby is known a 1:1 appointment is required to start your moxibustion treatment. It’s recommended to have 20 minutes of treatment twice a day, treating both points during the same treatment (one on each little toe). This treatment may cause your baby’s movements to become more vigorous, or you might not notice a change, this is fine. What the treatment will not do is cause your babies movements to decrease or stop, if this happens contact your maternity unit immediately, it is not being caused by the moxibustion.
Is moxibustion right for you?
It’s really important that every woman or birthing person accessing moxibustion is correctly counselled on its use as it’s not necessarily safe for everyone. For example, some women who have blood clotting disorders, those on certain medication and those that have previously had a caesarean may not be suitable for moxibustion. Natural does not always mean safe.
Moxibustion is often performed for up to 10 days twice a day, and a scan is required to confirm if the baby’s position has changed. If a movement occurs during your treatment plan, don’t stop, keep going for the full ten days, continuing treatment will not cause a head-down baby to move to a breech position.
If you’re unsure if you should use moxibustion and it’s not offered by your local practitioners or NHS trust, please get in contact with me for some 1:1 advice. Those who do wish to have a 1:1 you will also receive some biomechanics training where these moves will assist you in doing everything you can to turn your breech baby, whilst also learning about your pelvis and the muscles that are used to support it.
Remember, every birth is different and not every treatment is right for everyone – however, I can offer support and advice for your birthing journey.
As with all health and wellness information, always consult your professional healthcare providers before beginning any new treatment or programme. The information in this article is not intended to serve as medical advice and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of a health problem. This website is not a substitute for professional medical care. The information given is provided for educational use. Consult your doctor or Complimentary Medical Practitioner before acting on any of the suggestions or recommendations.
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