Hemorrhoids (or piles) are a nuisance during pregnancy. They can occur at any time, but most commonly emerge after the first trimester. The combination of hormones, increased blood volume, additional circulatory pathways, and pressure on the pelvic veins contribute to hemorrhoidal eruptions and discomfort.
Two acupuncture points used in traditional Chinese medicine for hemorrhoids are Supporting Mountain (UB57) and Taking Flight (UB58). See Figure 1. A safe and natural medical alternative, these two as well as almost all other acupuncture points can work alone or harmoniously with conventional care during the entire antepartum period. The drug-free solution that acupuncture provides will relieve the medication-related fears and side effect risks that concern many pregnant mothers in seeking medical care. Natural medicine should always be sought out first during the prenatal period, since the treatment is more gentle to the body and the side effects are few to none. If alternative care does not produce desired results, then one may need more potent treatments with the acknowledgement that related side effects/harms could be associated.
Another benefit of treating the points Supporting Mountain and Taking Flight, are in the quick relief of hemorrhoidal pain. In the clinic, as little as one treatment has proven beneficial in swelling reduction and reduced rectal bleeding. In the same fashion as acupuncture, acupressure on these two acupuncture points can also provide abatement of the inflammation or rupture. Thus, the mother-to-be can perform acupressure on herself using her thumbs or a firm object to massage the target area. This may also be a good time for her partner to lend a helping hand. Since UB57 and UB58 mirror the two sides of the body, both the left and right points can be treated a few times a day until the symptoms resolve.
A self- massage technique using the Sciaticare Ball, a versatile self-massage tool for pregnancy related aches and pains, is shown in Figure 2. Place the Sciaticare Ball between the acupuncture point and a firm surface. Allow the weight of the lower leg to apply pressure to UB57 or UB58 and rock the lower leg back and forth over the Ball. The pressure on the acupuncture point should feel like a deep massage. Perform technique for 1-3 minutes per point and repeat 2 to 3 times daily. Daily use of the Sciaticare Ball is recommended to help alleviate this in addition to some of the other symptoms associated with pregnancy discomfort.
For those that do not believe in acupuncture as a true medical system, a partial Western medical explanation of stimulation of UB57 and UB58 is provided here. Although some Western doctors and Eastern doctors may disagree, there is data confirming much of the reasoning below. This is one reason (of possibly many) for the acupuncture points’ continued successes in the treatment of hemorrhoids.
Both UB57 and UB58 penetrate the soleus muscle and elicit a response from this densely innervated muscle. This muscle plays a strong accessory role to the heart with its operation as a second pump for the circulatory system. When supple and relaxed, the soleus delivers an effective venous pumping action with every muscular contraction. As the additional weight and strain on a pregnant woman’s body can tighten and constrict the soleus muscle to reduce the effectiveness of this auxiliary pump, blood and lymph flow back to the heart can be impeded. Other pregnancy symptoms that are related to the circulatory restrictions can be seen in hypertension, edema, varicose veins, and fatigue. Stimulation of Supporting Mountain and Taking Flight points relax the soleus muscle spasms and tension, which then improves fluid flow through the lower legs. The result is a relaxed and supple soleus muscle that can more easily pump blood back to the heart with every walking step. The reduced pressure in the venous system decreases the enlarged veins and clears up the problem. A healthy functioning soleus muscle also serves to lower blood pressure, reduce edema and swelling, and ease systemic blood flow.
NOTE: These acupuncture points have proven themselves in the clinic and are backed by a few thousand years of empirical evidence. One does not have to believe in acupuncture for it to work, nor does one have to hold it in the light of the flawed clinical trial methodology and experimentation that propose to scientifically prove or disprove every medical treatment through separation of part from whole. Present scientific methods do not capture (and for this reason, can not confine) all the variables that true medicine represents, both alternative and conventional. Consequently, we as a species, have not and do not fully understand the entire human body model and its processes, either dissected or as a synergistic system. The idea presented here is but one of many considerations of why these two acupuncture points work from a Western scientific model, and should therefore be understood as just that, until proven in an all-encompassing study to be either positive or negative.
- 5 Ways to Simply and Effectively Treat Common Pregnancy Aches and Pains (augustpoint.wordpress.com)