The Large Intestine 4 pathway moves from the tip of the forefinger up to the face and circles the teeth; it bifurcates at the shoulder to move downward wrapping around the entire colon. At term pregnancy the colon practically encircles the upper portion of the uterus.
The exact point of LI4 is located on the medial aspect (side) of the first metacarpal (see photo) The skin located directly over this point is part of the outer part of the and and is thin. Ice massage over this area can cause breakdown of skin integrity due to cold temperatures and friction. However, the skin between the thumb and forefinger (see photo) is part of the thick hard, and horny texture of the palm and can withstand the intermittent friction and cold temperatures used in this technique.
A study was done by this author in 1992 using a small number of laboring women with overall 25 percent reduction of early labor pain. The hypothetical questions was developed: If ice massage of the web of the skin between the thumb and forefinger can reduce dental pain,will ice massage used in this manner also reduce labor pain.
The application of ice massage to the skin is noninvasive, no drugs used, and is comparable to applying a hot water bottle or powder for effleurage, and was considered no threat to the mother or the baby.
A second larger study was carried on in 1999-2002. "Ice Massage For The Reduction of Labor Pain was published in the Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health Sep/Oct 2003. In November 2003, the paper was selected by Medscape (WebMD Health Professional Network) as best in materal health journals for the week and printed in its entirety on the internet. In 2009 it was included in Midwifery Best Pratice, Vol 5.
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