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Moxa for Breech Presentation

A smoldering herb known as moxa is burnt at a point at the end of the little toe. This point, when stimulated with moxa, has a powerful effect on relaxing the muscles of the uterus allowing the baby to turn.

The moxibustion is applied with a moxa stick of compressed herbs about the size of a cigar. The end of the stick is lit and the herbs start to smolder. The point is warmed on both sides for about 15 minutes. The heat that is generated radiates into the point and stimulates its actions on the uterine muscles.

Ideally treatment is started at week 34 of the pregnancy and the best results are often gained before week 37 as after this stage there is so little room for the baby to move. Moxibustion is a safe and gentle way of attempting to turn babies. Usually only one or two treatments are needed. One of our acupuncture team will apply the moxibustion and then show you how to stimulate the points at home. Your practitioner will provide you with moxa sticks to use at home.

There are several research papers and clinical trials on the use and efficacy of Moxibustion for breech presentation. This is an extract from a 2013 randomised controlled trial. Moxibustion for breech presentation: significant new evidence Caroline A Smith, Centre for Complementary Medicine Research, University of Western Sydney,

Published Online First 31 January 2013
Extract: Vas and colleagues 1 report on a clinical efficacy trial evaluating the role of a single acupuncture point, Bladder 67 (BL67), compared with sham acupuncture (Spleen 1 (SP1)), and usual care only in cephalic version at birth for babies in a breech presentation. This well-designed randomised controlled trial demonstrated a higher rate of cephalic version at birth for women receiving moxibustion compared with sham moxibustion and the usual care group. No adverse effects were reported. Studies of sham moxibustion are few, and, in the context of breech presentation, the findings from this trial are significant, addressing the question does moxibustion at BL67 have a specific effect resulting in cephalic version of the fetus.


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