Evidence suggests that moxibustion, when combined with other postural techniques, is safe and increases your chances of turning your breech baby.
What is moxibustion?
Moxibustion is a type of Traditional Chinese Medicine where you burn an herb called mugwort close to the acupuncture point of both feet known as Bladder 67.
How is moxibustion used?
Moxa sticks are burned close to Bladder point 67 for about 15-20 minutes for up to 10 days. We suggest starting treatment around 33 weeks of pregnancy for 10 consecutive days for best results.
How does moxibustion work?
The burning of the moxa stick stimulates Bladder point 67 which has a tonifying, warming, and rising effect that promotes fetal movement and activity. The warming and raising effect is utilized to encourage the baby to become more active and lift its bottom up in order to gain adequate momentum to somersault into the head down position.
This technique can also be used to reposition a transverse presentation.
What should I expect during a treatment?
You should wear loose fitting clothing over your pregnant belly and be sitting in a comfortable, reclining position. We will begin by lighting two moxa sticks and hold them over your Bladder point 67, about 2-3 centimeters away from the skin, close enough to feel warm but not enough to feel uncomfortable or burn the skin. Moxibustion will be applied for a total of 15-20 minutes daily for 10 consecutive days.
Moxibustion is best performed in the evening right before you go to sleep to take full advantage of the horizontal resting position. Gravity will not be forcing your baby down into your pelvis which will allow your baby to turn. It is not uncommon for you to experience increased fetal movement once the moxa is applied and for the hours following.
Moxa should be ceased as soon as you know for sure that your baby has turned.
What is the evidence for moxibustion?
Researchers have found when moxibustion was combined with postural techniques women had:
- a 74% decrease in the risk of having a breech baby at birth
Are there any safety concerns?
Overall, evidence shows that moxibustion treatment is safe. In some studies, women have reported:
- contractions (33%)
- heart palpitations (14%)
- a burn from the treatment (rare)
- nausea and vomiting (2%)
- dizziness (1.7%)
- mild high blood pressure problems (1.7%)
- stomach pain (1.5%)
- baby hiccups (1.2%)
In these studies, however, there was no increase in the risk of preterm birth. There were also no differences in newborn health issues or labor problems. All of the babies had good Apgar scores five minutes after birth.
- 10 consecutive treatments including supplies and instructions for postural techniques to encourage your breech baby to turn.
- One treatment with instructions and supplies for continued use across 10 days.
Cardini F. & Weixin H. (1998). Moxibustion for correction of breech presentation: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA 280(18), 1580-1584. Free full text: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=188144
Coyle ME, Smith CA, & Peat B. 2012. Cephalic version by moxibustion for breech presentation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 5. Art. No: CD003928. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22592693
Vas J, Aranda-Regules JM, Modesto M, et al. (2013). Acupuncture Medicine 31: 31-38. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23249535
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