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Acupuncture and acupressure for pain management in labour and birth: A critical narrative review of current systematic review evidence

Results: The RCTs included in these systematic reviews differed in terms of study designs, research questions, treatment protocols and outcome measures, and yielded some conflicting results. It may be inappropriate to include these together in a systematic review, or pooled analysis, of acupuncture for labour with an expectation of an overall conclusion for efficacy. Trials of acupuncture and acupressure in labour show promise, but further studies are required.The aim of this study is to examine current evidence from systematic reviews on the topic of acupuncture and acupressure for pain management in labour and birth, and to evaluate the methodological and treatment frameworks applied to this evidence. The use of current systematic reviews of the evidence for acupuncture and acupressure for labour and birth may be misleading. Appropriate methods and outcome measures for investigation of acupuncture and acupressure treatment should more carefully reflect the research question being asked, the use of pragmatic trials designs with woman–centred outcomes may be appropriate for evaluating the effectiveness of these therapies. Methods A search limited to systematic reviews of the MEDLINE, CINAHL, PUBMED, EMBASE and Cochrane databases was performed in December 2013 using the keywords ‘CAM’, ‘alternative medicine’, ‘complementary medicine’, ‘complementary therapies’, ‘traditional medicine’, ‘Chinese Medicine’, ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine’, ‘acupuncture’, ‘acupressure’, cross–referenced with ‘childbirth’, ‘birth’, labo*r’, and ‘delivery’. The quality of the evidence is also evaluated in the context of study design. Levett KM, et al., Complementary Therapies in Medicine,...

Recurrent miscarriage–outcome after supportive care in early pregnancy

Recurrent miscarriage–outcome after supportive care in early pregnancy Liddell HS et al, Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 1991 Nov;31(4):320-2. This study did not use acupuncture or herbs, but it is interested to include it here as a way of managing early pregnancy in women who have had previous miscarriages. There is currently no known prevention therapy for unexplained recurrent miscarriage, but this study showed that emotional support and close supervision helped improve outcomes in subsequent pregnancies.     Abstract One hundred and thirty three couples were investigated at a recurrent miscarriage clinic. In their next pregnancy 42 women (Group 1) with unexplained recurrent miscarriage were managed with a programme of formal emotional support and close supervision at an early pregnancy clinic. Two women were seen in 2 pregnancies (44 supervised pregnancies); 86% (38 of 44) of these pregnancies were successful. Four of the 6 miscarriages had an identifiable causal factor. Nine women (Group 2), also with unexplained recurrent miscarriage, acted as a control group. After initial investigation they were reassured and returned to the care of their family practitioner and did not receive formal supportive care in their subsequent pregnancy; 33% (3 of 9) of these pregnancies were successful (p = 0.005; Fishers Exact Test). Whilst acknowledging that there is a significant spontaneous cure rate in this condition, emotional support seems to be important in the prevention of unexplained recurrent miscarriage, giving results as good as any currently accepted...

Pre-Birth Acupuncture

Pre-birth acupuncture involves a series of acupuncture sessions in the third trimester. Acupuncture can be started from week 30. The process is aimed at building up the expectant mother’s strength for a more natural birth process. Pre-birth Acupuncture is currently being used routinely in hospitals in China and Germany with positive results. How effective is Acupuncture for preparation for birth? In China and Germany expectant mothers begin weekly acupuncture sessions at 36 weeks gestation and continue right through till birth. Research has suggested that pre-birth acupuncture can decrease mean labour times from 8 hours and 2 minutes to 6 hours and 36 minutes. “Feedback suggest that pre-birth acupuncture offers a range of positive effects that goes beyond reducing the time spent in labour, with midwives reporting a reduced rate of medical intervention” (1) When should I start my sessions? You can start from week 30 fortnightly sessions building up to weekly sessions at week 36. Can I address other health concerns? Although it is common to use preparation points each treatment can be tailor to suit your specific needs. If you have hip pain for example, we can add some specific local hip points or use some massage during your session. Can acupuncture help breech or posterior babies? Acupuncture and Chinese moxibusion has shown to be very clinically effective. Ideally Acupuncture and Chinese moxibusion would be started from week 34. However positive results can still be achieved after. A study conducted in China suggested that 81% of babies respond to Acupuncture treatments (2). How does treatment for breech or posterior babies work? The treatment involves the application of moxa...

When to start acupuncture Chinese medicine for fertility?

Acupuncture Chinese medicine for fertility, when to start?   You should start acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatment immediately if any one or more of the following situations apply to you: Age factor: You are over 36 year old; Between 30-35 yo, not conceived after tried for six months; 29 yo or younger, not conceived after tried over one year. Period: You don’t have regular menstrual cycles; Your cycle is less than 25 days or over 40 days; Your have severe Pre-menstrual Tension or extreme menstrual cramping. Ovulation: You are not sure if you’re ovulating or not; You don’t notice any fertile mucus; You have ovulation pain or mid-cycle spotting. Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): You have previous failed ART treatments such as: IUI, IVF; You are Preparing for fertility treatments, e.g. IUI, IVF. Existing Diagnosis & History: Your have two or more consecutive miscarriages; Your progesterone levels are lower than normal; You have been diagnosed with PCOS/PCOD, Endometriosis; Your partner’s sperm testing shows...

Pregnancy Acupuncture

Pregnancy is a time of extraordinary physical and emotional change. It’s also a time when it’s more important than ever to support and care for your well-being. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help you meet the unique challenges of pregnancy, ensuring optimal health for you and your baby in a safe and natural way. Acupuncture for pregnancy- what to expect? Acupuncture has been used in China for thousands of years to regulate the female reproductive system. Acupuncture and TCM are based on the concept that Qi (pronounced “Chee”) or vital energy, flows through the body in channels called meridians. Practitioners of acupuncture and TCM work to balance the Qi in the body’s meridian and organ systems by manipulating corresponding points on the body. For a healthy pregnancy, treatment is often recommended once a month with weekly treatments in the last month. However, your practitioner will tailor your treatment entirely to your needs and choose points based on your unique symptoms and concerns. Since some acupuncture points should not be used during pregnancy, it’s important to choose a practitioner experienced in prenatal acupuncture. It’s also important to discuss any treatments or herbal supplements with all of your prenatal health care providers. Relief for common concerns Regular balancing treatments throughout your pregnancy can enhance your health as well as your baby’s health, potentially preventing complications and positively influencing the development of your baby. Many mothers-to-be find themselves facing anxiety, fatigue, back pain, heartburn, nausea, and other symptoms as a result of the many new demands being placed on their bodies. Acupuncture has been found to effectively relieve many of...