Last update Nov. 29, 2022

Stimulation of acupuncture points of traditional Chinese medicine

Very Low Risk

Safe. Compatible. Minimal risk for breastfeeding and infant.

In traditional Chinese medicine there are several practices that stimulate certain key points of the body (acupoints) in order to cause changes in the physical functions of the body.

Acupoint Stimulation Methods:

  • Acupuncture: very fine needles are used in the skin
  • Electroacupuncture: low voltage electrical current is applied
  • Shiatsu, Acupressure: it is pressed with the fingers or various objects
  • Tui Na, tuina, Anmo: massage is done
  • Moxibustion: burning crushed dried leaves of the Artemisia abrotanum plant (Ladies love, Oldman wormwood, Southernwood)

They are mainly used to relieve pain associated with different diseases or situations. In breastfeeding they are used to increase milk production, treat hypergalactia, breast engorgement, pain or mastitis

No side effects have been reported in infants of mothers who follow these procedures.

Better onset, longer duration and increased production of breast milk have been published, most times in the immediate postpartum and/or after caesarean section, with acupuncture, (Pierdant 2022, Hajian 2021, Fan 2020, Neri 2011, He 2008, Wang 2007, Zhao 2006), acupressure (Rosetti 2022, Hajian 2021, Esfahani 2015), electroacupuncture (Maged 2020, Wei 2008), auriculotherapy (Chen 2017, Yu 2012, Zhou 2009), Tui Na (Lu 2019, Zhu 2018, Zheng 2012, Lu 2010) or moxibustion. (Fan 2020)

Acupuncture can cause galactorrhea. (Campbell 2005, Jenner 2002)

Acupuncture (Hajian 2021), acupressure (Farshidfar 2020) or massage (Farshidfar 2020) improved postpartum breast stasis or engorgement, but no evidence of efficacy of acupuncture, acupressure or massage has been found in systematic reviews. (Zakarija 2020, Mangesi 2016 and 2010)

Acupuncture did not improve the anxiety of preterm nursing mothers or the initial frequency of breastfeeding. (Haddad 2013)

Acupuncture to treat sciatic pain did not produce changes in milk production. (He 2018)

There is a lack of good evidence on the effectiveness and safety of auriculotherapy in breastfeeding, due to the low methodological quality of the included studies and the heterogeneity between the trials. (Boram 2020)

In many countries acupuncture is widely used for many indications in maternity units despite weak or no evidence to support its effectiveness. (Mårtensson 2011)

The quality of evidence for the efficacy of these procedures is very low. Large-scale, well-designed studies in the form of randomized controlled trials are needed to support current treatment recommendations.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

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References

  1. Rosetti MA, Spatz DL. Effects of Acupressure on Lactation: An Integrated Review. MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. 2022 Nov-Dec 01;47(6):345-352. Consulted on Nov. 29, 2022 Abstract
  2. Pierdant G, Westphal K, Lange A, Usichenko TI. Stimulation of Lactation Using Acupuncture: A Case Study. J Hum Lact. 2022 Aug;38(3):559-563. Consulted on Nov. 29, 2022 Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  3. Hajian H, Soltani M, Mohammadkhani MS, Sharifzadeh Kermani M, Dehghani N, Divdar Z, Moeindarbary S. The effect of acupressure, acupuncture and massage techniques on the symptoms of breast engorgement and increased breast milk volume in lactating mothers: A systematic review. Int J Pediatr-Mashhad. 2021;9:12939–50 Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  4. Boram L, Chan-Young K, Sun Haeng L. Effectiveness and safety of auriculotherapy for breastfeeding: a systematic review. J Tradit Chin Med. 2020 Oct;40(5):721-737. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  5. Fan ZL, Yang MF, Yin RP, Song LQ. [Exploration on the acupoint selection rule for the treatment of postpartum hypogalactia with acupuncture and moxibustion based on the set visualization analysis system]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2020 Oct 12;40(10):1138-42. Abstract
  6. Farshidfar B, Jafarpour H, Salimi Kordasiabi AH, Hosseinzadegan M, Jahanshahi M, Pirastehfar Z, et al. The Effect of Massage and Acupressure on Breast Engorgement: A Review. Int J Pediatr 2020; 8(5): 112275-32. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  7. Maged AM, Hassanin ME, Kamal WM, Abbassy AH, Alalfy M, Askalani AN, El-Lithy A, Nabil M, Farouk D, Hussein EA, Hammad B. Effect of Low-Level Laser Therapy versus Electroacupuncture on Postnatal Scanty Milk Secretion: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Am J Perinatol. 2020 Oct;37(12):1243-1249. Abstract
  8. Zakarija-Grkovic I, Stewart F. Treatments for breast engorgement during lactation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 Sep 18;9:CD006946. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  9. Lu P, Ye ZQ, Qiu J, Wang XY, Zheng JJ. Acupoint-tuina therapy promotes lactation in postpartum women with insufficient milk production who underwent caesarean sections. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Aug;98(35):e16456. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  10. Zhu Y, Liu Y, Quan X. [Application of acupoint massage in postpartum hypogalactia in puerpera]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2018 Jan 12;38(1):33-7. Abstract
  11. He BS, Li Y, Gui T. Preliminary Clinical Evaluation of Acupuncture Therapy in Patients With Postpartum Sciatica. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2018 Mar;63(2):214-220. Abstract
  12. Chen ML, Tan JY, Suen LK. Auricular therapy for lactation: A systematic review. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2017 Nov;29:169-184. Abstract
  13. Mangesi L, Zakarija-Grkovic I. Treatments for breast engorgement during lactation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Jun 28;(6):CD006946. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  14. Esfahani MS, Berenji-Sooghe S, Valiani M, Ehsanpour S. Effect of acupressure on milk volume of breastfeeding mothers referring to selected health care centers in Tehran. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2015 Jan-Feb;20(1):7-11. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  15. Haddad-Rodrigues M, Spanó Nakano AM, Stefanello J, Campos Pereira Silveira RC. Acupuncture for anxiety in lactating mothers with preterm infants: a randomized controlled trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:169184. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  16. Yu J, Zhou J. [Effect of auricular point sticking on lactation of puerperant]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2012 Abstract
  17. Zheng JJ, Zhao Y, Lu P, Wang XY. [Effect of Tuina at breast on postpartum lactation]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2012 Feb;32(2):159-61. Chinese. Abstract
  18. Neri I, Allais G, Vaccaro V, Minniti S, Airola G, Schiapparelli P, Benedetto C, Facchinetti F. Acupuncture treatment as breastfeeding support: preliminary data. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Abstract
  19. Mårtensson L, Kvist LJ, Hermansson E. A national survey of how acupuncture is currently used in midwifery care at Swedish maternity units. Midwifery. 2011 Abstract
  20. Mangesi L, Dowswell T. Treatments for breast engorgement during lactation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010 Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  21. Lu P, Qiu J, Yao F, Zheng JJ. [Effect of acupoint Tuina on lactation amount for parturient]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2010 Sep;30(9):731-3. Chinese. Abstract
  22. Zhou HY, Li L, Li D, Li X, Meng HJ, Gao XM, Jiang HJ, Cao LR, Zhu YL. Clinical observation on the treatment of post-cesarean hypogalactia by auricular points sticking-pressing. Chin J Integr Med. 2009 Abstract
  23. He JQ, Chen BY, Huang T, Li N, Bai J, Gu M, Yu M, He XP, Wang HY. [Randomized controlled multi-central study on acupuncture at Tanzhong (CV 17) for treatment of postpartum hypolactation]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2008 Abstract
  24. Wei L, Wang H, Han Y, Li C. Clinical observation on the effects of electroacupuncture at Shaoze (SI 1) in 46 cases of postpartum insufficient lactation. J Tradit Chin Med. 2008 Abstract
  25. Wang HC, An JM, Han Y, Huang LN, Zhao JW, Wei LX, Dong L, Zhai GR, Li XP, Yang AJ, Gu M. [Multicentral randomized controlled studies on acupuncture at Shaoze (SI 1) for treatment of postpartum hypolactation]. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2007 Abstract
  26. Zhao Y, Guo H. The therapeutic effects of acupuncture in 30 cases of postpartum hypogalactia. J Tradit Chin Med. 2006 Abstract Full text (in our servers)
  27. Campbell A, Macglashan J. Acupuncture-induced galactorrhoea--a case report. Acupunct Med. 2005 Abstract Full text (in our servers)
  28. Jenner C, Filshie J. Galactorrhoea following acupuncture. Acupunct Med. 2002 Abstract Full text (in our servers)
  29. Ayers JF. The use of alternative therapies in the support of breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 2000 Abstract

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