Acupuncture for Breech Presentation- Myth or Very Possible???

moxa breech

With an all time high rate of 32.8% for cesarian birth in our country, Acupuncture has recently gained popularity as a method of turning a breech baby or inducing labor naturally.  This article seeks to demystify this ancient approach as I have seen it work time and time again. Traditionally, the point named Zhi Yin or UB-67, located on the lateral side of the pinky toe is used to turn a baby in breech presentation. Zhi Yin translates to “Reaching Yin.”  For those of you with some working knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine, one can understand how a fetus would be the utmost Yin (fluid, soft tissue, or very center) of a woman’s body as the fetus does not obtain its own Yang energy until it takes its first breath outside of the womb.

To offer assistance with breech presentation, often only one acupuncture appointment is needed. Typically the mother is instructed to continue using a technique called moxabustionat home for 10-20 minutes a day until her next sonogram or physical examination. Moxabustion is a technique that involves burning of an herb called mugwort to gently stimulate an acupuncture point. Exceptions to this treatment are when there are structural hindrances in the mother’s body, low levels of amniotic fluid, dehydration or what we sometimes call blood deficiency in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Points and techniques are chosen to address the blocks first before attempting to needle or moxa the point that coerce the baby to turn into the proper head down position.  When the mother is properly hydrated it increases the volume of amniotic fluid allowing the baby to turn with ease.  When the mother is properly nourished, the blood supply in the uterus is ample allowing the baby to turn and calmly remain in the head down position instead of becoming what we refer to as “restless” and moving in and out of position.  Helpful food choices that prime a pregnant woman’s body for optimal conditions for a fetus to turn can include coconut water, fruits high in water content, eggs, avocados, red meat, red raspberry leaf tea, and fatty fishes that are high in omega-3 like salmon and tuna.

Although babies can be successfully relocated to the proper position up to the moment before birth, it is optimal to seek out treatment around week 33-34 of your pregnancy if you know your baby is not in the correct position. This ensures that all significant blocks to turning are addressed and allows more time with the baby’s head against the cervix to help release proper hormones needed for a smooth birth.


Ahhh, fall is here. Even in steamy, swampy Florida you can feel the crispness in the air in the morning. It begins to intrude upon on all your senses. The taste of yummy pumpkin lattes, dry air hitting your skin, seeing leaves change, the smell of bon fires now and again, and the sounds of sickness, uggghh. That’s right, with the change of seasons we also welcome the science experiment that the town becomes as soon as school returns to session that last week in August. It’s as Florida, were a giant petri dish incubating all summer and then wham, everywhere you turn you can hear and see sick people out and about sneezing, sniffling, and hacking. What’s one to do? With the economy in throws, most people that are lucky enough to have a job aren’t about to call in sick for themselves or to keep their sick kid home from school and so the contagion begins.  Be diligent!!! Wash your hands more than normal. Try not to touch things when you are out and about if at all possible and certainly don’t touch your face or mouth after touching something unless you want a sick day of course.

So far this year the cold and flu’s that are going around seem to have an element of dryness with them as well as intense fatigue. There’s a burning in the throat as a warning sign 2-3 days prior to full blown illness. If you find yourself more tired than usual, try to rest. Make nourishing moistening soups like vegetable beef, tomato, and chicken and rice with lots of garlic. You can even freeze them in portion sizes so if you do fall victim to this season’s cold and flu you are able to easily feed yourself a nourishing meal without much effort. If you are already familiar with the netti pot you may want to increase your time together to stay ahead of the dryness. Simple saline will do, but a garlic wash is also helpful for the brave who are prone to instant sinus infections.

Herbal medicines can be of great benefit to nip a cold in the bud before it becomes full blown.  ACF, by buried treasure available at Art of Acupuncture and  most health food stores is my secret weapon when I find myself treating the sneezing masses. The trick to it is to double the frequency of dosage and to continue taking 24-48 hours past feeling well to ensure the pathogen has truly left your terrain.  They also make a pediatric version without white willow bark (natural aspirin) incase of fever. Gan Mao Ling is another favorite if you happen to know a Chinese herbalist. You can take it at bottle dosage preventatively or double the frequency if you suspect you are in-fact fighting something. Again take it a day or two past feeing better. I never get on a plane without a dose of Gan Mao Ling just to make sure I don’t ruin my vacation. As always, if you are a current patient of ours and you suspect your sick, call us and leave a message with your symptoms and we will set out custom herbs for you to stay ahead of the plague, no appointment necessary. Don’t forget to follow the golden rule of illness. For every day that you have a fever please stay home for 24 hours. The person next to you on the bus or in the grocery store that you might infect may not handle the cold or flu as easily as you!