Posts Tagged: Acupuncture

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Acupuncture and Moxibustion for Turning Breech Babies: An Update

My Approach As a Practitioner…

In my practice I’ve had really good success with turning breech babies using moxibustion in combination with acupuncture. It’s something that I see very regularly and I’m always happy that women and their health care providers are becoming more aware that moxa can help, and recognize the importance of using any intervention possible to try and turn the breech baby and increase chances of a vaginal birth. When a woman comes to me with this issue, on the first visit I perform an acupuncture session to try and facilitate movement and space in the hips and pelvis as well as address any other issues such as anxiety, insomnia, back pain or digestive issues in pregnancy. After the acupuncture comes moxibustion. I teach the patient in great detail how to perform this technique and send her home with written instructions and the moxa sticks. 4-5 days later, she returns for another acupuncture session to try and help the process.

This is something that’s great to try before your doctor attempts an ECV Read more

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Is Acupuncture Safe During The First Trimester? Here’s The Evidence…

Many women who are newly pregnant ask me whether acupuncture is safe during pregnancy- specifically during the first trimester. They really want to try or continue acupuncture for a variety of reasons, but are quite mindful of avoiding anything that could put the pregnancy at risk.  I can say it is safe without hesitation, not only from my nearly 10 years in practice but from all the years of experience of my teachers and mentors. However I completely understand that women, their doctors and midwives want more than just anecdotal evidence. So without further ado- here are the studies which I feel should put your mind at ease. Read more

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Acupuncture For Sciatica And Low Back Pain in Pregnancy

In my practice, I see a lot of women who are experiencing either sciatica or lower back pain in pregnancy. It’s a very common condition, and it’s actually one of my favorite things to treat using acupuncture because it works so well! Acupuncture can help you to take the focus off of being in pain, and instead enjoy the last few months of pregnancy while gathering your strength for the birth.

Sciatica refers to pain which is usually in the glute and to some extent radiating down the back of the leg. Read more

Can Acupuncture Really Induce Labor?

Over the years I’ve gotten many calls from frantic women (and sometimes their husbands) who are 40 or 41 weeks pregnant, some who are even scheduled for medical induction in a matter of hours. They all want to know- can Acupuncture help you go into labor in order to avoid induction? The answer is yes… and no. Read on, I’ll explain.

The ideal situation is when a woman comes for regular acupuncture (1-2 times a week) beginning at week 36. I call this “Labor Preparation Acupuncture”. I have a few goals with these sessions:

  1. To help with any pregnancy related discomforts such as low back or hip pain, insomnia or swelling.
  2. To use acupuncture points which get the woman mentally and emotionally relaxed and in a place where she feels ready and optimistic about giving birth.
  3. To stimulate acupoints which aid in relaxing and opening the pelvic region as well as influence cervical ripening (dilation and effacement).

In my experience, women who follow this schedule tend to go into labor more or less on time (and avoid needing a medical induction) and have shorter labors with fewer complications. Acupuncture treatments gently and gradually send your body a message to get ready for labor. Your body is doing this all on its own, but acupuncture helps it happen more seamlessly and helps you to feel more relaxed and ready when the time comes. And YES being mentally relaxed has a HUGE and very real effect on the progress of labor (see this book for more information).

But what about those women who were mere hours away from being induced- can acupuncture help them? I’ve certainly had many cases where I’ve been able to use acupuncture at the last minute to help women go into labor- it’s powerful stuff! However I’ve seen much greater success, by far, with 3-4 weeks of regular sessions leading up to the due date. Rome wasn’t built in a day my friends, and acupuncture is not the same thing as Pitocin. Thankfully!

I’d also like to take this opportunity to encourage all women to get a birth doula as well as a postpartum doula. Read more about doulas and what they do here and here. And, the best way to avoid unnecessary interventions in labor (such as c-sections and episiotomies) or to achieve a VBAC is to choose your hospital based on its maternity procedure statistics. In New York State, they are found on the Department of Health’s website here.

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Lend Me Your Ears: Auricular Acupuncture

Auricular Acupuncture (acupuncture performed on the ear) has an incredibly fascinating history, much of it coming not from China but from right here in New York! But first- you’re probably asking “Wait so ear acupuncture is a thing?” Yes. If you’re a patient of mine you’ve likely had a lot of it. So first, I’ll tell you a little about why I use ear acupuncture, and why you might want it. Read more