Acupressure has a long history of use in many parts of the world, dating back thousands of years. In the 17th century, Jesuit missionaries returning to the West brought stories about the practice, and in 1928, acupuncture documents were translated by a French scholar, thus exposing the West to this form of healing. In the 1970s, President Nixon’s visit to China marked the United States’ introduction to acupressure. Acupressure offers a wealth of treatment options for women's health issues, including uterine conditions.
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In Chinese medicine, masses, such as tumors and cysts, result when chi, the life force energy, becomes stagnant. Unblocking the flow of chi in the liver and other meridians constitutes the solution. Treatment of LV3, on the top of the foot between the great toe and the second toe, and LV, in the rib interspace directly below the nipples is recommended by Info-Junction.net. Additionally, CV4, between the pubic bone and the navel, and SP6, about three thumbs width above the inner ankle bone are used to draw energy away from the uterus and get the energy moving properly through the meridians.
Dr. H. Bhojraj B.E. (Hons), M.D. (Acu), recommends activation of the spleen, which controls the uterus, to reduce pain and excessive bleeding during menstrual periods. The points SP6, on the inside of the ankle, and SP8, on the inside of the knee, are helpful. Additionally, LV3 and CV4 are advisable for this purpose. In amenorrhea, or lack of period, the kidney becomes involved since it is responsible for regulating the hormones estrogen and progesterone. The point K3, located below SP6 on the inside of the ankle, in conjunction with SP6 and SP8 can initiate the menstrual cycle.
Some acupressure points are particularly useful for prompting contractions during labor and delivery. These points may feel uncomfortable until the proper time arrives for them to be activated, at which time they will feel appropriate and helpful, according to Debra Betts, N.Z.R.N., M.B.A.A., N.Z.R.A. GB21, at the highest part of the shoulder muscle, is used in the initial stages of labor to initiate contractions and also after delivery to initiate the flow of breast milk. BL32, at the dimple of the sacrum, is used in the later stages of labor and has a slightly anesthetizing effect.
Betts distinguishes between simply contacting a point and applying sufficient pressure to have a stimulating effect. Fingertip, elbow or knuckles can be used, or a blunt instrument such as a pencil eraser. Firm steady pressure will bring up deficient energy and is referred to as "tonifying." A point can be held in this manner for up to two minutes, then released and repeated as needed. To move blocked energy, a circular or "dispersing" motion is used. To bring down excessive energy, the palm of the hand is used in a stroking or calming motion.
Cautions and Contraindications
Acupressure is relatively safe and is best used in conjunction with other appropriate forms of therapy. In emergency situations, medical care should be sought. Certain points are particularly contraindicated in pregnancy, including those that initiate uterine contractions. In places where there is damage to the skin or growths, such as moles or warts that overlie acupressure points, those points should be avoided.