I regularly give acupuncture to pregnant women who are past their due date who want to avoid a chemical induction. The primary point pair we use to induce labour using acupuncture are L.I. 4 (Hegu) and Sp. 6 (Sanyinjiao). Now Iranian researchers have performed a study which suggests that massage at Sp. 6 may help with cervical ripening.
Acupressure for cervical ripening trial:
In a randomised trial, 150 primigravid (pregnant for the first time) women with term pregnancies were randomised to one of three interventions: acupressure at Sanyinjiao SP-6 performed by a researcher, self-applied acupressure at Sanyinjiao SP-6, and routine care only. For both active intervention groups acupressure was applied at Sanyinjiao SP-6 for 20 minutes, once a day for five days. At 48 hours after beginning treatment, cervical ripening scores were found to be significantly better in the researcher-performed acupressure group and self-performed acupressure group, in comparison with the control group. At 96 hours and at the time of hospital admission, there were no longer significant differences between three groups, although the acupressure groups still showed more cervical ripening than the control group.
Researchers didn’t report if the acupressure groups went into labour earlier than the control group.
The researchers concluded that acupressure at Sp. 6 is safe and can assist cervical ripening at term and could be recommended to women to perform themselves at home.
This is an interesting study and I think it would be great for acupuncturists to recommend the procedure to their patients.