Using moxibustion in primary healthcare to correct non-vertex presentation: a multicentre randomised controlled trial

Vas J et al, Acupunct Med 2013;31:31-38 Acupuncture in Medicine
Moxa applied to an acupuncture point on the foot was shown in this trial to be more effective than other treatments in correcting breech presentation between week 33 and 35 of pregnancy.



Objective: To compare the effectiveness of additional moxibustion at point BL67 with moxibustion at a non-specific acupuncture point and with usual care alone to correct non-vertex presentation.

Methods: This was a multicentre randomised controlled trial in which 406 low-risk pregnant women with a fetus in ultrasound breech presentation, with a gestational age of 33–35 weeks, were assigned to (1) true moxibustion at point BL67 plus usual care; (2) moxibustion at SP1, a non-specific acupuncture point (sham moxibustion) plus usual care; or (3) usual care alone. The primary outcome was cephalic presentation at birth. Women were recruited at health centres in primary healthcare.

Results: In the true moxibustion group, 58.1% of the full-term presentations were cephalic compared with 43.4% in the sham moxibustion group (RR 1.34, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.70) and 44.8% of those in the usual care group (RR 1.29, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.64). The reduction in RR of the primary outcome in women allocated to the true moxibustion group compared with the usual care group was 29.7% (95% CI 3.1% to 55.2%) and the number needed to treat was 8 (95% CI 4 to 72). There were no severe adverse effects during the treatment.

Conclusions: Moxibustion at acupuncture point BL67 is effective and safe to correct non-vertex presentation when used between 33 and 35 weeks of gestation. We believe that moxibustion represents a treatment option that should be considered to achieve version of the non-vertex fetus.