Does Acupuncture Really Induce Labor?

The summer has been the top season for birth, so recently, at Oriental Acupuncture Clinic,  more and more pregnant women come for acupuncture for labor preparation. At the same time, we got lots of questions about it. Here's are some of the FAQs about the acupuncture for inducing labor:

 Does Acupuncture Really Induce Labor? 

Acupuncture to induce labor is a subtle but effective treatment option to prepare baby and mom for a safe and smooth delivery.It is also considered as “labor preparation” because it naturally preps the mom and baby for the birthing process by relaxing the nervous system and reducing stress and anxiety, while stimulating hormone release and uterine contractions. Many of the acupuncture points we are unable to use during pregnancy due to their stimulating effects on the body are the exact ones we do use during labor induction. Some of these points are in areas that by this time in the pregnancy are already sore like the upper shoulders and low back. Because it is not a strong medication or harsh manual process, the treatment feels good and is quite relaxing.  The extra boost of rest is important for the energy needed for labor and delivery.

 How Quickly Does It Work? 

Acupuncture works differently for every person and every situation. Sometimes the mom and baby are completely ready to go and just need that one special “push” to get things going. But in most cases, it needs 2-7 treatments in 1 to 2 weeks. The study showed that 70% of the women who received acupuncture went into labor on their own, compared to 50% who received standard care.  The research also showed that using acupuncture to stimulate labor in overdue mothers to be had a success rate of 88%.

Is Induction Acupuncture Safe For Me And The Baby? 

Absolutely,  we always say the worst thing that can happen is that nothing happens. (And by ‘nothing happens’, that’s usually no contractions but a better night’s sleep and less pain and discomfort), compared to the Western methods to induce labor such as manual “breaking of the water,” manual “sweeping” of the membranes around the cervix, and the use of drugs like oxytocin (Pitocin), or hormones such as prostaglandins or relaxin. These drugs are quite effective but can cause very strong contractions and speed up the process before the baby or mom’s body is ready. The use of drugs often leads to a cascade of additional interventions such as epidurals, episiotomy, vacuum delivery or C-section. Side effects from the drugs can include dizziness, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. And, the recovery time after C-section and episiotomy is also typically longer than natural births.

Acupuncture for inducing labor, this natural release of hormones creates a gradual onset of labor, often leading to a smoother, less painful, less stressful and faster delivery. 

What If I Have An Existing Medical Condition, e.g. High Blood Pressure Or Gestational Diabetes? 

Every relevant pre-existing medical condition will be asked after in your initial visit and will be represented in the diagnoses, these conditions often respond very well to acupuncture as well, so if there are early signs of such conditions we can help with the management of the symptoms. Acupuncture has been shown to be a very effective complementary medicine often improving the response to the standard medical treatment.

 Is Induction Acupuncture Suitable For Someone Who Has Had A Previous Caesarean?

Yes. If this person is seeking to have a VBAC(Vaginal birth after caesarean )
then acupuncture should form a part of their strategy. Acupuncture can be started at any stage and different Dr’s (CHM) will have different opinions and preferences. As it constitutes a treatment for the scar, it’s better to get the sessions underway earlier rather than later if the option is there! 


Can I do Acupressure At Home?

Yes. There are a few easy-to-get-to and easy-to-remember acupuncture points you or your partner can stimulate to help with the process. Usually pressing 3-5 minutes per point, per side, 2 or 3 times per day.

  1.  Large Intestine 4 (LI4 He Gu 合谷穴): Locate the webbing between your index finger and thumb on one of your hands. You will be focusing on the fleshy area towards the middle of your hand. Use the opposite hand to grab the fleshy part with your thumb and index and squeeze in little pumps for a few minutes. Repeat on opposite hand.
  2.  Gall Bladder 21 (GB21 Jian Jing肩井穴): Locate the area at the top of your shoulders, directly in the middle of your upper trapezius. It’s the area where most people have tension from life and hours at the computer. To get a good amount of pressure, I recommend that the patient sit in a chair where someone can easily stand behind them. The person standing can use an elbow to press down at the top of the shoulder with as much or little pressure that the woman desires. Repeat on the other shoulder.
  3.  Spleen 6 (SP6 San Yin Jiao 三阴交穴): Put your four fingers together so there is no space in between them as if you were waving. Locate your ankle bone on the inside of your ankle, put your pinky on the bone, and SP6 is where your index finger lies on the fleshy part just under your shin bone. Repeat on both sides.
  4. Bladder 67 (BL67 Zhi Yin 至阴穴):This point lies on the little toe, just on the outside aspect of the toenail.Usually acupuncture on this point is contraindicated in pregnant women, but it is a well known empirical point for turning a malpositioned fetus during labour through the use of moxa.
    Need an experienced acupuncturist for inducing labor, book appointment online at Oriental Acupuncture Clinic or call 416-800-3978 for your appointment. 

Cupping therapy FAQs

Since last Summer Olympics the top-notch Olympians, like Michael Phelps,Stephanie Rice used cupping therapy to treat their sore muscles, at Oriental acupuncture clinic, we have received more and more calls inquiring about cupping therapy.


Cupping therapy is not only one of the oldest and most used natural medical treatment in China. but also in Egypt , ancient Greece, the middle ease countries( where it's practiced as wet cupping called Hijama - meaning suction in Arabic) and all over Europe. Below are some FAQs about cupping therapy:

What types of cup are used for cupping therapy?

In ancient times, Animals Horns, Bamboo and pottery (clay) cups were initially used. Nowadays, glass or plastic/silicone cups are the most common types used in clinical practice.


What's the Most Common Cupping Therapies?

  • Fixed Cupping: a single or multiples cups are placed on a painful area or acupuncture points and are retained for 5 to 15 minutes. To expel pathogens(ie: 1 cup on Du 14 Da Zhui 大椎穴). To help respiratory issues such as asthma and bronchitis (ie: many cups on upper Back-Shu points such as BL 13 Fei Shu 肺俞穴). To calm the mind for anxiety (ie: cup BL 15 Xin Shu 心俞穴. To relieve menstrual pain (cup the lower abdominal region).

  • Quick Cupping: Placed on an acupuncture point and removed immediately, then repeating this process many times for 1 to 3 minutes. This is used for people who are deficient and weak.

  • Moving Cupping: Oiling a large area and moving the cup back and forth while the suction is in effect. Often used for fascia release and lymphatic draining. Or for muscular pain or to improve blood circulation.

  • Needle Cupping: Placing a cup over a needle which has been inserted on an acupuncture point. To enhance the action of a point. 

  • Wet Cupping (Blood letting cupping): placing the cup over an acupuncture point that has been pricked by a lancet needle prior to cupping it, and then drawing blood from the body with the cup. Used mostly to detoxify.

What can cupping therapy do for my body?
  • Moves Blood & Qi and breaks up obstructions

  • Detoxifies

  • Relieves Acute or Chronic Pain

  • Expels External Pathogens

  • Releases fascia, helps lymphatic drainage, and improves circulation

  • Relief of Inflammation

  • Loosened Adhesions

  • Stretching Muscles and Connective Tissue

  • Breaking up and Expelling Congestion

  • Strengthening the Immune System

  • Sedating the Nervous System

Cupping therapy can help many conditions:

  • Arthritis & Rheumatism
  • Common cold, asthma, bronchitis, and allergies etc. respiratory Problems
  • Anxiety , Depression, Insomnia, stress and long standing emotional trauma.

  • Headaches, Neck Pain, muscle tension and stiffness, arthritis, sports injuries

  • Sciatica & Back Pain

  • High Blood Pressure

  • Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Are there any adverse side effects?


Nausea, headaches, and light dizziness are common during detoxification initiated by cupping therapy for some people who lack of "Qi" or energy.  Please remember these side effects are most intense when beginning to receive cupping treatments, and lessen dramatically as your body becomes accustomed to cumulative treatments.There are no adverse side effects.The most common misunderstanding or concerns about Cupping therapy, is the marks that sometimes result.

When injuries occur deep in the muscle, bleeding often occurs causing deep bruises. There will also be edema in the area involving the coagulation of sticky proteins. The combining presence of these elements usually results in stagnation of circulation to the area - resulting in pain, dysfunction, and chronic conditions.

The vacuum formed by Cupping draws up the old non-circulating stagnant blood and sticky fluids from the area, bringing them up to the surface and away from the injury so that healthy free circulation can be restored to the affected area, thus creating space for oxygen, living cells and nutrients for faster recovery.

Where there is dead, static blood, lymph, cellular debris, pathogenic factors, and toxins present in the body, Cupping can leave marks which indicates that the stagnation or disease has been moved from the deeper tissue layers to the surface.

The color and pattern of the marks depend on the level of stagnation in the area, and range from a bright red to dark purple, usually lasting 3 days to a week - sometimes longer if the person is very sick or sedentary. If there is no stagnation present, there will be only a pink marking which disappears in a few minutes to a couple of hours.



If the person receiving treatment sweats a lot on a daily basis - no marks may ever occur.People who live/work/play in toxic environments (or were exposed to a heavy dose of toxic material) may consistently mark.

Sites where there is old trauma or injury may require multiple Cupping treatments to remove all stagnation. You will find in follow up treatments the marks will be progressively lighter as the pathogens are systemically removed from the body.

Once people understand what these marks are, and feel the results - the concerns disappear.

Shoulder pain, neck stiffness patient after moving cupping treatment felt instantly relief of the pain and stiffness, the cupping marks / skin reaction showed below: 

Is cupping suitable for everybody?

NO, Cupping is NOT recommended on sensitive skin, ulcer or broken skin, on the lumbar and abdominal region of pregnant women, or on people with excess hair (especially moving cup or fire cup). 


Can I have bath or shower or go swimming after cupping?

After cupping treatment, you should avoid exposure to cold, wet, and/or windy weather conditions, swimming, hot showers, baths, saunas, hot tubs and aggressive exercise for 24 hours.

Also keep in mind, Prior to your cupping session, it is beneficial to drink lots of room temperature water, get plenty of rest, avoid caffeine, alcohol, sugary foods and drinks, and eat less or no processed foods, dairy, and meat a few days prior to session.  This will assist the body in adjusting, flushing, and processing the treatment. Any questions and concerns about cupping therapy, please feel free to call Oriental Clinic @ 416-800-3978 for free consultation.



夏季养生七不宜,不可不知

“夏不坐木,冬不坐石”,时下正是盛夏时分,酷暑难挡,人们为求得一丝凉爽,往往忽视了防病保健,而诱发各种不适感,甚至导致病痛发生。因此,消暑也要讲科学,切不可掉以轻心。
不宜坐木
俗话说:“夏不坐木,冬不坐石”。世间一切万物都是盛久必衰,衰久必盛。天气最炎热的时候,也正是阴气初生的时候。故不能过于贪凉快,而应当让机体出汗降温。另外,夏天气温高,湿度大,木头,尤其是久置露天里的木料,椅凳等,露打雨淋,含水分较多,太阳一晒,温度升高,会向外散发出湿热,使人易患皮肤病、风湿和关节炎等。
不宜多吃冷食
在炎热的夏季,如果胃肠受到大量冷食的刺激,会加快蠕动,缩短食物在小肠里的停留时间,影响人体对食物营养的吸收。同时,由于夏季气温高,体内热量不易散发,胃肠内的温度也较高,如果骤然受冷刺激可导致胃肠痉挛,引起腹痛。
不宜“快速冷却”
炎夏,人们外出归来为尽快消汗除热,往往喜欢冲冷水浴来“快速冷却”,但由于人在阳光下吸收了大量的热量,如此“快速冷却”,使全身毛孔迅速闭合,使热量不能散发出而滞留体内,引起高热,还会因脑部毛细血管迅速收缩而引起供血不足,使人头晕目眩,重者还可引起休克;而且此时人体抵抗力降低,感冒就会“乘凉而入”。因此,最好的方法是先将身上的汗擦干或待汗发散干之后再冲洗。同样的道理,夏天出汗多,有人一下子喝进很多水,会增加心脏负担,使血液浓度下降,甚至可出现心慌、气短、出虚汗等现象,渴极了应先喝少量的水,停一会儿再喝。
不宜夜晚露宿
盛夏时节,身上的汗腺不断向外分泌汗液,以散发体内的热量,睡着后,机体处于放松状态,抵抗力暂时下降。此时如果正值夜晚,气温下降,再遇冷风袭来,露水加身,容易导致头痛、腹痛、关节不适,并引起消化不良和腹泻。夜晚露宿还易被蚊虫叮咬,可能染上疾病,如大脑炎等病。
不宜缺少午睡
夏季昼长夜短,气温高,人的新陈 代谢旺盛,消耗量也大,容易疲劳。加上夜间炎热,睡不安稳,导致睡眠不足。因此,中午睡上一两个小时,对健康大有裨益。可使身体各系统得到休息,也是防止中暑的一项好措施。
空调不宜开得太大
空调能给人带来舒适的环境。但如室内外温差太大,使人对室内外温度变化难以适应而容易“伤风”“感冒”,而且如室内外温差太大,不注意室内通风换气,会使室内空气混浊,致使各种病原微生物孳生。若人的机体抵抗力降低时,就容易患病。因此,夏天使用空调温差不易太大,最好在摄氏5-8度之间,最大不能超过10度。
不宜戴过深或过浅的太阳镜
太阳镜能避免紫外线对眼睛的损伤,但如镜片颜色过深,会因视物不清而影响视力;如镜片颜色过浅,紫外线仍可透过镜片损伤眼睛。因此,夏季选择太阳镜应允许15%-30%之间的可见光线穿过灰色或绿色的镜片,不但可抵御紫外线,而且视物清晰度最佳,透视外界物体颜色变化也最小。