photo courtesy: Bob Wong @artofacupuncture
The use of moxibustion applied to the little toe for difficult labour was first mentioned in the Moxibustion Methods for Emergencies by Wenren Qinian in 1226. In Chinese hospitals this technique has been used to treat breech presentations for decades, however the research to date, although promising, is not yet sufficient for this method to be incorporated into clinical practice guidelines for obstetricians in Australia. Consult your practitioner to discuss whether or not this ancient technique might be useful for you.
The latest Cochrane systematic review on moxibustion for breech presentation was conducted in 2012 and found "limited evidence".
While Vas et al 2012 concluded "moxibustion may be more effective than observation or postural methods alone for correcting non-vertex presentation and did not appear to increase complications. The authors suggested the findings should be interpreted cautiously due to heterogeneity between studies". Other research papers did not have the same findings so the research evidence base is regarded as “mixed".
New Zealand Evidenced based best practice guidelines for care of women with breech presentation includes offering women moxibustion therapy.
Please note that under national law claims of efficacy of treatment are required to be made with reference to evidence of a high standard. Traditionally acupuncture and moxibustion have been used to treat a wide variety of conditions however not all have been able to demonstrate evidence of efficacy within the constraints of clinical trials.
For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Nicole Trudgeon (Chinese medicine Practitioner). Nicole is a practitioner of acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine (AHPRA registered) at her Booragoon clinic and is a Chinese Medicine Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Perth campus.