I spent last weekend in Richmond adding a big new tool to my doula toolbox. ToLabor sponsored a training for doulas to gain skills in acupressure for pregnancy and labor. This was a whole new realm for me—in general doula training we learned an acupressure point or two, but this took it many levels beyond that.
What an awesome weekend! Our teacher, Keith Bell, is incredibly knowledgeable. The first half of Saturday he wowed us with his wisdom about Traditional Chinese Medicine—the theory of yin and yang, the different ways Qi (or chi) moves through and affects the body, and how acupuncture and acupressure can alter what Qi is doing.
And then we practiced—a lot. We spent lots of time just learning to find the acupoints on each other. Then the whole of Sunday was devoted to learning acupressure protocols for various situations. There is a general protocol that we learned to do on mothers in the last few weeks of pregnancy, plus specific protocols for preventing and treating problems that can come up during labor or postpartum, everything from hemorrhoids to depression.
I was pleased to find that it wasn’t as tough as I’d expected to find the points. And I’m excited to practice. There is good evidence that acupressure helps women cope with labor and helps labor proceed more smoothly. What doula wouldn’t love for her clients to have smooth, manageable labor? Or to be able to offer concrete help when laboring moms become fatigued?
One of my favorite ideas from the weekend: Qi follows thought. Our thoughts become reality; energy goes where we mentally send it. Moms, send your cervix some thoughts of openness during labor and see what happens!