Childbirth is depleting - all new mothers need time to rest and recover. Ideally, post-birth mothers will be able to rest at home and receive several healing Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments. At Phoenix Rising Acupuncture, we recommend three approaches to postpartum treatment: “mother roasting” moxibustion sessions, infant wellness massage, and a “closing the bones” ceremony (with aromatherapy), all of which we support with nutritional and herbal recommendations. Below I'll expand on what each of these treatments entail.
Mother Roasting (with moxibustion)
Moxibustion is a type of healing therapy that has been use in Chinese Medicine for centuries. The therapy uses a traditional Chinese medicinal herb that can come in varying forms depending on how the practitioner plans to apply it, but usually a tightly rolled stick of mugwort herb is lit on fire and begins to slowly smolder. The hot end of the moxibustion stick is then held over a specific acupuncture point to warm the area.
Moxibustion has warming, healing properties that are especially important in the postpartum period to move blood (prevent clotting and treat pain), facilitate recovery, and dispel pain and discomfort, all while gently encouraging the uterus to return to its original size.
“Closing the Bones” Ceremony
After the birth of a baby, it is paramount to help encourage the pelvic bones to return back to their normal width. If not, mothers will commonly suffer pelvic instability and leak qi, or lose energy, which could cause major health issues down the road. The "closing the bones" ceremony is just as it sounds: the new mama will be gently swaddled with appropriate essential oils diffusing from relaxation and healing.
Infant Wellness Massage
Infant massage is a delightful and meaningful way to physiologically and psychologically bond with your baby. Evidence of the earliest infant massage dates back to ancient India. Both in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine, massage has been used as a way to enhance circulation, eliminate toxins, improve digestive function, and boost overall wellness and well being. Over 100 studies confirm the wide range of massage benefits for common infant maladies from gas and colic to sleeping problems, and bonding with your baby through mindful touch on a regular basis. Infant massage has countless measurable benefits including relieving symptoms associated with traumatic birth, overall physical and emotional well-being, and increasing mental stimulation.
Chinese herbs are also a great way for mothers to help ease the transition to motherhood. DAO Labs recently launched a PostPartum Bundle which pairs two formulas traditionally used during postpartum recovery: Mental Tranquility (based on Gui Pi Tang) and Women's Formula (based on Si Wu Tang). Childbirth is depleting, and these two formulas work together to nourish and rebuild the Qi and Blood that are lost during childbirth and the immediate postpartum period. These deficiencies can manifest in sleeplessness, stress, worry, low milk supply, and moodiness. This classic pairing of Chinese herbal formulas is used widely by acupuncturists and doctors of Chinese herbal medicine during the postpartum period for improved recovery, less anxiousness, better mood, more sleep, and increased energy.