More and more, people are searching for holistic methods to deal with everyday health problems rather than seek out pharmaceutical or surgical solutions. This shift in choices for healthcare has many people researching medical roots and therapies that date back centuries. One of the most popular holistic often referred to as ‘alternative’ health options for pregnant woman is acupressure and acupuncture.
Pregnancy often brings with it aches, pains and discomforts from morning sickness to backaches. For each of the problems that a woman may experience, there is a cure. Acupressure and pregnancy are becoming a common duo mostly because they offer a drug free, safe and effective method at treatment the many ailments of pregnancy. It is important to understand how acupressure works before seeking treatment. Unlike its needled cousin acupuncture, acupressure uses gentle pressure on various trigger points along the body to realign the nervous system so that total wellbeing can be obtained. These pressure points help the human body to release endorphins which are essential to battle inflammatory aches and promote healing.
Both acupressure and acupuncture for pregnancy are rooted in a form of Chinese medicine that dates back at least 2,000 years. The human body has lines of balance, referred to as meridians. Along these meridians are energy pathways or nerve frequencies. The theory is that when pain, illness or dis-ease is experienced in the body it is because the nervous or electrical pathways have a blockage. It is similar to a water hose having kinks. When the kinks are corrected the water flows through with ease. Acupuncture works on specific points some along the spine and others along the nervous pathway to relieve pain, tension or ‘blockages’ that are resulting in the pain. This energy pathway is what Chinese practitioners refer to as ‘chi’ and is associated with total body balance. When chi is not in balance, the human body can become sick or experience pain.
Some of the things that women have successfully used acupressure during pregnancy for include infertility, morning sickness, swelling, back aches, cramping, pain from contractions and even the induction of labor. Many childbirth centers today teach woman and their partners how to safely and effectively use acupressure during pregnancy so that they are able to find relief in the comforts of their own home without having to visit a doctor. For many women who experience hormonal headaches or mood swings acupressure has been known to give immediate and long lasting relief without the woman being forced to take medications that may harm their baby. Some practitioners even use it to help pregnant woman dealing with toxemia or gestational diabetes. In several studies it has been the #1 choice for women who suffer from severe and damaging bouts of vomiting that can occur in the first trimester. It has also been proven to be beneficial for woman experienced miscarriage or first trimester bleeding.
The benefits to acupressure and pregnancy are two fold. Not only does the acupressure help to reduce maternal discomfort but it can also help the developing fetus. Maternal toxins are often a root cause in child hood illness and since each organ of the baby is developing at specific times, acupressure done by a trained professional can help to clear out these toxins so organ and cell development in the fetus occurs without a conflict. Similarly, when stress caused by pain, discomfort or illness is experienced by the mother chemical reactions in the human body are produced that can have a detrimental effect on the fetus. Acupuncture during pregnancy can help relieve and eliminate these stressors and most often the relief is felt immediately during treatment.
Choosing an acupressurist is important. Considering that acupressure can be used to specifically induce labor, it is vital that your practitioner be completely trained. Most locales require acupressure and acupuncture practitioners to obtain certifications on a state level. You should also ask your OBGYN for any recommendations for therapists who specialize in pregnancy disorders. Typically, a session can last anywhere from 10 35 minutes. Acupressure is very comfortable and although it doesn’t mimic a massage, applied pressure should be stern but not painful. Most women will experience an energizing sensation throughout their entire body during a session.
If you haven’t done so already, finding a class that will teach you how to self apply acupressure during pregnancy can offer you a comprehensive and immediate partner should you become bothered by pregnancy woes. Knowing how to help your throbbing feet, safely get rid of a headache or eliminate morning sickness during pregnancy can empower you to completely enjoy this part of your life without worrying about harming your baby with toxins in the forms of NSAIDS. The right touch is essential and knowing where the trigger points in your body are is a great way to stay healthy and comfortable during pregnancy. Many classes and practitioners also help couples learn how to work together using acupressure to help make labor and delivery more comfortable for mom and baby.
Acupressure and pregnancy are definitely beneficial partners. Still, it is vital for a pregnant woman to consult her doctor with any unusual, specific or new problems that may be experienced. Acupressure is effective at restoring balance in the body and can often alleviate the symptomatic responses such as heartburn, nausea, weight gain or swelling but shouldn’t be used to treat illness. In fact, consulting your doctor and combining any recommended treatments with acupressure designed specifically for the pregnant woman is the best way to remain healthy during pregnancy.
Even post-partum, acupressure is beneficial. Not only can help eliminate heavy bleeding after delivery but it has been proven successful in reducing the incidences of post partum depression or the baby blues. Similarly, for mothers who are interested in nursing, it can help stimulate lactation and ensure adequate milk supply. As the uterus contracts post partum returning to regular size, acupressure has helped to facilitate this event making it less painful and more efficient. A study in the Academy of Obstetrics also showed that woman who had regular acupressure sessions after delivery were 5 times more likely to commence normal menstrual cycles even if they had been irregular before childbirth.
Western medicine definitely has its uses and benefits and few people would question that. However, during pregnancy it is always important to consider the risks associated to the fetus from medications or pharmaceutical therapies. Once you do, you will see that in many ways, acupressure and pregnancy are definitely two things that were made for each other.