The acupuncture point LI 4 is one of a handful that also works well as an acupressure point - which makes it useful for home/self-treatment. Researchers in this months Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health conducted a study evaluating this commonly used point for pain in a specific application of limiting pain in the first stage of labor.
Researchers used a single blind model with 100 women who were all at the beginning stage of labor (3-4 cm dilation w/contractions). The 50 women in the acupressure treatment group were given acupressure at LI 4 for the duration of each uterine contraction over 20 minute periods. The control group received touch at this point without massage. Using the visual analogue scale before the intervention, immediately after, 20 and 60 minutes later, and then every hour afterwards the researchers judged the aid of this acupressure point.
The researchers founds significant differences between the groups in labor pain scores - with the acupressure group being much lower. They also found a shortened time of active phase duration and second stage duration (full dilation to birth) in the acupressure group. They concluded that acupressure at LI 4 is effective at decreasing pain and the duration of labor and no side effects were noted.
This post has the following associations:
Issues/Symptoms: women's health
Acupoints: li 4
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