What is moxa therapy?
Moxa therapy is part of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a treatment with a moxastick of an acupuncture point on the body. A moxastick looks a lot like a big cigar. When you light it, it spreads an intense heat radiation over the acupuncture point that is very pleasant and absolutely not painful.
Breech presentation statistics
About 3.5% of babies born are in a breech position just before delivery. Sometimes the gynecologist tries to turn the baby in the abdomen. This can be annoying for the expectant mother. 80% of women who are pregnant with a breech baby give birth by cesarean section. Most think that's a shame: they would like to experience a natural birth. That is why more and more women are using a treatment method called moxa therapy. Moxa therapy is completely painless and can be performed at home. And most importantly: scientific research has shown that moxa therapy increases the chance that the child will turn spontaneously from 50% to 75%.
The safety of moxa therapy?
The four studies detailed on this site show that there are no adverse effects or side effects of moxa therapy. The moxastick itself is naturally warm. It should never be held against the skin, but at least one centimeter away from it. If the treatment is carried out carefully, it is risk-free.
Moxa therapy for breech presentations: the Dutch facts
Three thousand years ago, Chinese acupuncturists first treated pregnant women with moxa therapy. Much scientific research has made acupuncture increasingly known and trusted in the West. The JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) published a 1998 study on moxa therapy in pregnant women in the West.
About two hundred thousand babies are born every year in the Netherlands. Just before delivery, seven thousand babies (3.5%) are in a breech position. Most of these are delivered by cesarean section to avoid the risks of a natural breech birth.
The study in the JAMA has contributed to the increasing interest in this treatment method in the Netherlands. The study stated that the chance that a baby will turn spontaneously, with moxa therapy during the 33rd to the 36th week, is increased from 50% to 75%. if the mothers receive moxa therapy between the 33rd and 36th week. So 1750 more women can have a natural birth.
Moxa therapy for breech presentations: the treatment
Pregnant women with a breech baby can start moxa therapy from the 33rd week. The acupuncturist warms the side of the little toe, in acupuncture terms Bladder 67, for fifteen minutes with a moxastick. This treatment is very simple and can also be carried out at home with the help of the partner. This is because pregnant women can no longer easily reach their little toe during that period of pregnancy. The moxa therapy should be repeated daily for two weeks.
How does moxa therapy work?
There is a western physiological explanation for the effect of moxa therapy and an eastern one from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
According to the TCM, heating energy (aka Yang) enters the small pelvis when you heat Bladder 67 (aka Zhi Yin) on the side of the little toe. The warming energy in the small pelvis provides movement. The uterus is also located in the small pelvis. Due to the movement in the small pelvis, the baby also becomes mobile and he (or she) starts to turn.
According to Western medicine, moxa therapy improves blood flow to the uterus. As a result, it matures better and there is a greater chance that the child will turn spontaneously. In addition, stimulates moxa presumably the adrenal gland and the hormones the adrenal gland produces affect the muscle tissue of the uterus. This would make the baby more mobile and eventually able to turn.
Moxatherapy helps with many physical and mental complaints. This is due to the relaxed feeling that the therapy immediately provides. And then it stimulates your muscles. This works well if you have problems with, for example, digestion, cramps or lack of energy. And it works very well for sore and stiff muscles and rheumatic complaints.
All the benefits of moxa therapy at a glance:
- The treatment is very safe for the expectant mother and for the unborn child. The spontaneous rotation is provoked; there is no direct contact with the baby.
- The treatment is not burdensome for the mother. The external version performed by a gynecologist at the 36th week can be very taxing.
- There are no known side effects.
- In 75% of the cases, the unborn child turns spontaneously in the womb, provided the treatment was carried out between the 33rd and 36th week of pregnancy.
- Moxa therapy increases the chance that the expectant mother will give birth naturally by 75%.
- The treatment can take place at home because it is very easy to learn.
- The treatment is cost effective. If a baby doesn't turn in the womb, he (or she) will likely be born by Caesarean section. A caesarean section costs about €6000