Brighton & Sussex



A two year study carried out between February 2004 – January 2006.

PARTICIPANTS: 76 pregnant women from various acupuncture practices in the UK, with a third trimester breech presentation.

INTERVENTIONS: the acupuncturist taught the women how to apply moxibustion (sticks of compressed dried herbs called Artemisia Vulgaris) treatment at home by stimulating the acupressure point on the outer edge at the base of the little toe nail for seven days twice a day (morning and afternoon). If the breech presentation persisted after treatment, ECV -external cephalic version- where an obstetrician tries to manually turn the baby, was carried out towards the end of the pregnancy. The obstetricians offered this during the routine antenatal hospital visits.

FINDINGS: the results show that following treatment with moxibustion, 31 (40.8%) of the breech presentations spontaneously turned to cephalic presentations, and a further 33 (43.4%) breech presentations were turned by ECV. Women who involved other people in the administration of moxibustion were twice as likely to be successful.

KEY CONCLUSIONS: moxibustion creates a better chance of vaginal birth for expectant mothers. Of the women who were successful in turning their babies using moxibustion, 88% went on to have a normal birth and 12% had a caesarean section. Moxibustion treatment also significantly increases version from a breech presentation to a cephalic presentation where there are fewer side effects reported. (

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