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 a licensed and experienced acupuncturist for acupuncture for inducing labor , book appointment online at Oriental Acupuncture Clinic or call 416-800-3978 for your appointment. 

Cupping therapy FAQs

Since last 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 east 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.Fire Cupping: 

  • Fire cupping uses a flame to create suction in the cup - you'll see a flame in the cup - and then, we'll apply the cup to the body                        

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 Acupuncture Clinic at 416-800-3978 for free consultation.
Cupping is very similar on the muscles as a deep tissue massage.  The pulling force of  the suction  places a stretch on the muscle  when massaged  with a cup.  It elongates  the muscle and  helps break down adhesions in the tissue.  This intern  increase  circulation  and  blood  flow to decrease  pain.
Recommendations for treatment: Cupping massage can be used 1 - 2 times a week when clients are first introduced to cupping  treatments  for a specific condition . It is recommended  to come for a 30 min session 1 time a week for the first 4 weeks. Then spread  the  treatments  out to 2 times a week . If the client is responding well to the treatment. eventually the client will only need 1 treatment a month to feel the benefits.


The goal of cupping is to activate the body's self-healing. The suction from the cups creates negative pressure. Which cause strong irritation to the area. This activates the bodies local and general healing powers, creating a anti-inflammatory effect which in turn supports rapid recovery from any disease caused by inflammation.    This is stimulates the lymphatic system, increases blood flow to the muscles and skin to loosen adhesions. The increase in circulation to the area allows for a faster elimination of pain causing substances and as a result pain is reduced.


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。