When I was pregnant with Bryan, Bruss and I sought out the help of an acupuncturist to help us turn him when he was breech. We used a combination of moxibustion (applying heat to the body) and acupuncture to stimulate my energy, in Chinese medicine it’s called “Qi”, to motivate him to turn head-down in time for his birth.
Although I believe it was a combination of acupuncture and chiropractic care that caused him to turn, I can vouch for the fact that we visually saw and literally “felt” the results from the moxibustion and acupuncture. Whenever they were doing the treatments, my abdomen looked like it was rippling. Even the student practioners would comment on the amount of movement they could see from Bryan.
I was recently introduced to Muki Ramsey, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M., by a friend of mine at a business luncheon. We hit it off immediately – his passion for his work and his effervescent personality were evident when we talked about our respective fields. We met for tea to continue the conversation we started at lunch, and he agreed to let me interview him so we could share the benefits of acupuncture during pregnancy with you.
Keep in mind that this is just a brief overview of the variety of ways he can help you during your pregnancy. His record for helping couples achieve fertility is outstanding as well, as is his ability to treat patients with a wide spectrum of health concerns. You can visit his website for more information.
SPB: How did you become interested in the field of Chinese medicine?
MR: When I was very young, I had severe allergies, and nothing ever seemed to help. Around the age of seven, I began having pains in my legs and arms. My parents didn't really believe in conventional medicine (nor could they easily afford it), so they just told me it was growing pains. But after I stopped growing, my symptoms only continued to get worse, and I started to collect new ailments, like insomnia, chronic fatigue, chest pains, IBS, and a whole host of other issues.
By the time I was in my late twenties, I was really starting to fear for my life. When my wife and I moved to Phoenix, I suddenly had the idea to study Chinese Medicine. The idea came from nowhere-- I had only ever had one acupuncture treatment, just for fun, and it didn't seem to help much. But I have always loved Eastern Philosophy, so much so that I earned a bachelors degree in this area of study, and so studying acupuncture seemed very much in line with my interests. Secretly, I really hoped that there was something to this strange medicine, and that it might help me with my illnesses. And that's exactly what happened.
As soon as I walked in the door, my amazing professors took one look at me and began giving me acupuncture treatments and herbal remedies. These really helped with all of my other symptoms, but my pains remained severe. After a time, I began to understand enough about Chinese medicine to understand what was making me sick and how to fix it. I began treating myself, and getting excellent results. By the time I graduated four years later, I was symptom-free and continue to be to this day. So, as you can imagine, I have a great feeling of gratitude for this wonderful, natural medicine.
SPB: What led you to pursue a career in acupuncture?
MR: Beyond what I explained above, it has always been my great passion to take care of people, to listen to their problems and concerns, and provide comfort in any way that I could-- even if only by being compassionate to their plight. I could always empathize well with people who suffered, since I had struggled with health issues my whole life. And I knew one thing about acupuncture, too-- that I could never be bored with this 5,000 year-old tradition, because there was always something more to learn, and I have always had a great love of learning. Finally, I will add that my mother was a midwife for much of my childhood, and I know she was a big influence in my pursuing a career in the healing arts. She certainly imparted in me an appreciation for the wonders of the birthing process.
SPB: What does acupuncture feel like?
MR: For the most part, you feel nothing when the needle goes in, other than a light tap on your skin. Sometimes you'll feel just a tiny little poke, but it's very mild. Once all the needles are in place, I will then stimulate them gently to get the Qi flowing. The patient will often feel a sudden "zinging" sensation, a heaviness, warmth, or mild ache at the needle. This goes away quickly, and the patient will then find themselves disappearing into a deeply relaxed state as the energy moves through the body in a healthy way. One of my patients said it was "like a massage for the inside of your body." I think that's a good way to describe it.
SPB: What are the different types of treatment do you offer to expecting moms?
MR: I often help expecting mothers deal with aches and pains, especially low back and hip issues. I can also help with morning sickness, and with establishing good nutrition for mother and fetus. I often help with encouraging the birthing process to start, and make sure it goes well. I can even help turn a breech baby when necessary.
SPB: What are the expected benefits?
MR: Helping the body feel relaxed and keeping the Qi moving correctly is very important in general, but especially so when you're pregnant. The impact on the health of the mother can sometimes be subtle-- an improvement in mood, energy, and sleep-- and other times dramatic, as when there is back pain or nausea. Postpartum depression can also be significantly improved.
SPB: Is there a "Pregnancy Protocol" or do have an ideal treatment that you practice on pregnant women?
MR: It's an interesting question, and the truth is, there's no such blanket or "dream" treatment for pregnant women, or for anyone. Traditional Chinese Medicine is very different from conventional medicine in that, regardless of whether the patients all have the same condition or symptoms, we always make sure the treatment we offer matches the needs of the individual patient, down to very minute details. Because everyone's body is different, and because there are hundreds of points to choose from, it is rare for one patient to get the same treatment as the next. That said, I always make sure the Blood and Qi are vital and flowing well, and that the Yin and Yang energies are properly balanced. But how this is accomplished always changes.
SPB: Are there any risks or side effects an expecting mom should be aware of?
MR: Yes. Acupuncture is very stimulating, and it's possible that a strong treatment and the use of points that are prohibited during pregnancy could promote an early childbirth. However, such a thing is very rare, especially if the practitioner has been properly trained. It's very important to get acupuncture from a licensed acupuncturist, rather than a physician from another wellness discipline who may have done a seminar or two on Chinese Medicine. Otherwise, the response is almost always very positive for the expecting mother.
SPB: Is there an ideal time for a mom to start acupuncture treatments?
MR: Before, during, and after! However, some practitioners are a little weary of doing acupuncture during the first trimester. Even though it's generally quite safe to do so, we don't like the liability! I tend to fall into that line of thinking. So it's best to do acupuncture before pregnancy, during the second and third trimester, and definitely in the post-natal recovery period.
SPB: If there is anything else you think our students should be aware of?
MR: I could talk on and on! But if you have specific questions, it's best just to contact me directly. I can be reached via my website, www.zenmedicinals.com
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.