Acupressure at the SP6 or LI4 points during childbirth results in decreased length of labor and severity of labor pain, according to a recent systematic review.
The study, “An evaluation of acupressure on the Sanyinjiao (SP6) and Hugo (LI4) points on the pain severity and length of labor: a systematic review and meta-analysis study,” focused on a total of 16 published studies. Each study looked at the effect of acupressure on labor pain and length of labor.
Ten of the selected studies used the SP6 point for the acupressure intervention. These 10 studies involved a total of 1,100 subjects, and each of them employed a standard-care control group and a non-therapeutic touch group for comparison to the acupressure group.
The other six studies selected for review used the LI4 point for the acupressure intervention.
Acupressure: Duration of Labor
These studies involved a total of 552 subjects, and all of them employed a non-therapeutic touch group for comparison to the acupressure group. In addition to the non-therapeutic touch group, two of these six studies employed a standard-care control group for comparison as well.
Results of the research showed women who received both SP6 and LI4 acupressure during labor experienced less pain immediately after the intervention compared to women in the control groups.
The active phase and second stage of labor was shorter for women who received either form of acupressure as well. However, only those who received SP6 acupressure experienced an overall decrease in labor length.
Along with these promising results, the authors of the review also discovered a number of shortcomings in the existing research on acupressure during childbirth.
For example, they report that not enough data has been collected on factors such as the cost of providing acupressure during labor, potential adverse reactions and optimal protocols.
“This systematic review found the data to be limited on the ideal acupressure intervention and corresponding controls, the best timing of outcome measurements, and additional staff and essential teaching,” state the study’s authors.
“We have no complete data on the charges associated with providing acupressure during labor, and adverse reactions were often not monitored. Future studies should be planned to address these problems.”
Authors: Fatemeh Najafi, Molouk Jaafarpour, Kourosh Sayehmiri and Javaher Khajavikhan.
Sources: Department of Nursing, Psychosocial Injuries Research Center and Imam Khomeini Hospital, Ilam University of Medical Sciences, Iran. Originally published in the January-February 2018 issue of the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 23(1), 1-7.