Chinese medicine texts featured sections dedicated to pregnancy as far back as the Ming Dynasty, which existed from 1368 to 1644.
The Standards of Diagnosis and Treatment of Women’s Diseases (Zheng Zhi Zhun Sheng – Nu Ke) from 1602 summarised the experiences of Chinese doctors of previous generations in the treatment of pregnancy problems and other gynaecological conditions.
Wu Zhi Wang adopted this book as a chief source for his Compendium of Therapy of Women’s Diseases (Ji Yin Gang Mu) in 1620, which became the authoritative text for subsequent generations of Chinese gynaecologists.
Each generation added to the previous to build a robust knowledge which has continued to be handed down.
While acupuncture has been used to treat a myriad of pregnancy related conditions for so many centuries, the existing scientific research into the effectiveness of acupuncture for these conditions is currently limited.
Acupuncture for breech presentation
The first mention of the use of moxibustion applied to the little toe for difficult labour happened in 1226, when the book Moxibustion Methods for Emergencies by Wenren Qinian was first printed.
Hospitals in China have used this technique to treat breech presentations for decades. However, clinical research to date, while promising, is not yet sufficient for this method to be incorporated into clinical practice guides for obstetricians in Australia.
Having said that, the New Zealand clinical practice guidelines do recommend it.
Consult your practitioner to discuss whether or not this ancient technique might be useful to you.
The latest Cochrane systemic review on moxibustion and breech presentation was in 2012 and found ‘limited evidence’.