Much attention has been given to the turning of breech babies using moxibustion (Fig. 9.7). Moxibustion is a way of stimulating acupuncture points with heat, which can encourage the fetus to turn. The technique employs a lighted moxa stick held near the point BL-67 on the little toe. It appears that by stimulating production of maternal hormones (placental oestrogens and prostaglandin) (Budd 1992) (Fig. 9.8), it encourages the lining of the uterus to contract, which in turn stimulates fetal activity. Certainly mothers on whom I have used moxibustion invariably report that they feel the baby moving almost immediately I light the stick, even if ultimately the baby does not actually turn, although no formal survey has yet been made. The reasons for not turning a breech, listed above, also apply to moxibustion.
Figure 9.7 Moxibustion for turning breech babies.
Figure 9.8 Hypothetical hormonal effects of moxa on Zhiyin point. (Reproduced with permission from Tiran & Mack 1995, p. 232.)
MOXA ON POINT 'ZHIYIN'
Increased placental oestrogens
Changes in prostaglandin levels
Increased myometrial sensitivity
Increased myometrial contractility
Increased fetal heart rate Increased fetal active movements
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