Besides providing relief for the mother, research shows that one Chinese acupuncture session a month during pregnancy can greatly improve your baby’s health.
How does acupuncture work?
An increasingly popular form of medication, the ancient Chinese art of acupuncture is used by about five million Americans for relief from common ailments.
Based on the premise that the vital force (“qi”) flows through the body along the paths known as “meridians”, acupuncture aims to balance the energy when it is blocked.
Using thin gold needles, the acupuncturist maneuvers affected points, of which there are over 2000, to boost energy flow through the body.
Acupuncture points used during pregnancy:
Good neiguan: This acupuncture point is situated at two fingers over the inner wrist. When the acupuncturist targets this point, it provides relief from morning sicness [morning sickness remedies]
Zusanli: This point is situated above the kneecap. Targeting of this point can reduce water retention and also encourage digestion.
Zhubin: Situated below the calf muscles and just on top of the inner anklebone, stimulation of this point, provides relief from symptoms like anxiety and hypertension.
Research shows that acupuncture administered during pregnancy provides quicker relief from nausea than those who don’t have acupuncture.
Acupuncture also helps pregnant women cope with pelvic pain and lower back pain. Other symptoms which can be relieved by acupuncture include:
- Weight control
Other benefits of acupuncture:
1. Psychological issues
The most common psychological symptoms that can be treated with acupuncture are anxiety, worry and tension. Besides supporting internal balance, acupuncture is deeply relaxing and a great antidote to depression and post-partum depression.
Depression is usually a result of blocked energy in the liver caused by anger, frustration, resentment or mechanical damage from viral or chemical sources.
2. Physical problems
Morning sickness: The usual point targeted to treat the problem is pericardium 6, which synchronizes digestion. The main aim is to suppress the rebellious stomach qi moving in the wrong direction.
Edema: Also called swelling, ankle and foot edema is most common during the second and third trimesters and is caused by a rise in circulating fluid in the body. According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the accumulation of fluid is due to stagnant qi or the absence thereof in the kidney and spleen.
Fatigue: The most common symptom suffered during pregnancy, fatigue is remedied by sleep and a nourishing diet. Acupuncture helps enhance production of blood and other fluids and promotes optimal functioning of the internal organs by unblocking qi flow.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS): Due to the circulation of extra fluid in pregnancy, the compression of the meridian nerve can lead to CTS.
During labor and delivery, acupuncture helps to strengthen weak contractions and reduce pain.
Acupuncture-assisted delivery is shorter, less stressful, and less painful and it is less likely to cause post-partum hemorrhage.