Acupressure is practiced by many massage therapists, and research studies have indicated that it benefits people in various ways, from pain relief to relaxation.

A new review shows that acupressure and acupuncture may have a role in reducing pain, increasing satisfaction with pain management and reduced use of pharmacological management in laboring women.

Researchers from the Centre for Complementary Medicine Research, University of Western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, set out to examine the effects of acupuncture and acupressure for pain management in labor.

“Many women would like to avoid pharmacological or invasive methods of pain management in labor and this may contribute towards the popularity of complementary methods of pain management,” the authors noted in an abstract published on www.pubmed.gov.

The authors looked at published and unpublished randomized controlled trials comparing acupuncture and acupressure with placebo, no treatment or other non-pharmacological forms of pain management in labor. The researchers included all women whether primiparous or multiparous, and in spontaneous or induced labor.

The outcome measures included pain intensity, satisfaction with pain relief, use of pharmacological pain relief, relaxation, caesarean section rate, augmentation with oxytocin, length of labor and anxiety.

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