A recent study from the Journal of the British Medical Acupuncture Society reported that moxabustion (moxa) can be used on acupuncture points to effectively and safely turn babies that are breech in the womb.

Moxa is an acupuncture treatment protocol that involves burning the herb artemesia argyi, commonly known as mugwort, directly or indirectly onto acupuncture points to elicit a physiological response. Generally speaking, it is indicated in cases of stagnation that impair the flow of qi and blood, and thus is commonly used to alleviate pain. However moxa at the acupuncture point Zhiyin BL-67, translated as Reaching Yin, is traditionally indicated to turn a breech baby into the normal, head-first delivery position.

In a multi-center randomized control trial conducted in Spain, 406 low-risk pregnant women showing breech presentation at 33-35 weeks gestation were given moxa treatment at various acupuncture points, including Zhiyin BL-67. The study showed that if a baby presents breech between 33 and 35 weeks of gestation, moxa applied at Zhiyin BL-67 had a 58.1% efficacy in turning the baby to a normal, full-term presentation while producing no adverse effects.

(Using moxibustion in primary healthcare to correct non-vertex presentation: a multicentre randomised controlled trial. Acupunct Med. 2012 Dec 18. [Epub ahead of print]).