Acupressure to Reduce Labor Pains

I found this research on acupressure to reduce labor pain interesting. I use more points than what was used in this study, and the results are truly incredible, it works like magic. Acupressure to reduce labor pain, Hjelmstedt A, Shenoy ST, Stener-Victorin E, Lekander M, Bhat M, Balakumaran L, Waldenström U. Acupressure to reduce labor pain. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2010 Nov;89(11):1453-9. A randomized controlled trial within an Indian public hospital to evaluate the effect of acupressure on pain levels when administered during the active phase of labor with women having their first baby Summary 213 women having their first baby were randomized to receive either

  1. Acupressure at SP6 (Sanyinjiao) on both legs during contractions over a 30-minute period
  2. Light touch at SP6 (Sanyinjiao) on both legs during the same period of time
  3. Standard care

Their experience of labor pain was assessed by visual analog scale at baseline before treatment, immediately after treatment, and at 30, 60 and 120 minutes after treatment. Treatment Methods The study was conducted in a large public hospital in India where epidural analgesia is not an option in normal labor and where women cannot bring a companion. All women in the study had uncomplicated pregnancies and been transferred to the labor room with a cervical dilatation between 3 and 7 cm. The women in the acupuncture group were treated with acupressure at SP6 (Sanyinjiao) on both legs simultaneously during each contraction over a period of 30 minutes. Conclusion A reduction of in-labor pain was found in the acupressure group and was most noticeable immediately after treatment. Retrospectively (2–24 hours after birth), the women in the acupuncture group remembered having had less pain during labor and said they coped better with their labor pain compared with the standard care Compared to the women in the touch group, those in the acupuncture group remembered having coped better with the pain. The authors concluded that acupressure seems to reduce pain during the active phase of labor in women having their first baby and that that acupressure may be most effective during the initial phase of labor. Clinical Perspective This study reinforces a previous study that also found the use of acupressure on SP 6 (Sanyinjiao) reduced pain for women during active labour. While it is positive that these studies are exploring the use of acupressure as pain relief for women, it is very disheartening that they focus only on the use of a specific point. Clinical experience suggests that there are a variety of acupressure points that a woman may find useful. The reality of following up hundreds of women from clinical practice, after having taught them nine acupressure to use, has been that very few that found SP6 (Sanyinjiao) the most useful point for pain relief. It may be that there are greater benefits than those found in the study through letting women and their support people select the acupuncture points they find most suitable for the different stages of labour.

The Amazing Benefits of Prenatal, Labor and Postpartum Massage


by Hilah Zohar


To read more about each individual benefit listed (including references to the studies) you can read my Guide to the Benefits of Massage.

During pregnancy:

  • Decreases rates of complications during labor
  • Decreased rates of postnatal complications for the baby
  • Decreases rates of premature birth
  • Decreases stress hormone levels in mother
  • Increases oxygen and nutrients to the cells of mother and baby
  • Promotes easier breathing
  • Reduces swelling (edema) in the hands and feet
  • Decreases pain in low back, shoulders, neck, and hips due to shift in posture
  • Alleviates stress on weight-bearing joints due to additional weight of the baby
  • Alleviates leg cramps
  • Alleviates sciatic pain
  • Decreased insomnia
  • Helps prepare the muscles used during childbirth

Postpartum: Lymphatic, Visceral Manipulation (Gentle Repositioning of Organs)

  • Better milk production and easier breastfeeding
  • Helps to realign the pelvis after birth
  • Relieves soreness after birth
  • Faster recovery from a cesarean
  • Relieves stiffness, tension, and aches and pains associated with caring for a newborn
  • Realigns and lifts organs in their proper positions

Most of my prenatal clients purchase a prenatal massage package ($15 off 3 massages, $50 off 6 massages, or $100 off 9 massages) and see me throughout their pregnancy and postpartum period. Studies show the greatest benefit for those who receive regular massage during their pregnancy (although even one or two sessions can be hugely beneficial). These benefits are described below.

During prenatal massage, you will be able to lie comfortably on your side with the support of pillows and bolsters (except during the first trimester when you may lie face down). I will focus on your specific needs depending on your stage of pregnancy and your individual experience.

My postpartum massage focuses on physical recovery and rejuvenation after childbirth,through Lymphatic drainage massage, and organ repositioning.i will  gently reposition organs to their proper position, releasing any adhesion’s  that may have formed during pregnancy. Giving you some space to focus on how your own body is feeling, and to relieve stiffness, tension, and pain associated with caring for a newborn.