Acupuncture and moxibustion for perinatal balance
Interview of Anu Lampinen
"Love is the most important thing"
On the occasion of the House of Midwives (aka Kätilötalo) relocating, I wanted to interview Anu Lampinen, a veteran midwife, one of the founding members of Haikaranpesä ward in Kätilöopisto Maternity Hospital. Anu Lampinen and her dear colleague Johanna Sarlio-Nieminen were rewarded in 2016 by the Finnish Midwifery Association and consecrated "Innovator Midwives of the Year".
The legendary Kätilötalo was luckily registered on Friday 13, December 2013 by four experienced midwives: Anu Lampinen, Johanna Sarlio-Nieminen, Katja Strandell and Hanna-Mari Aflatuni. The initial address was in Töölö. Many projects were born there, from Milky Mornings with Johanna, to Midwifery and Doula education, birth preparation for parents in different languages, etc.
Anu is now the one and only "lady of the house" and the house has moved in two different locations: in Kruununhaka (Hello Me) and Kamppi (Manipura).
Anu, everyone knows you as a midwife and breastfeeding counsellor but you are also an acupuncture and moxibustion therapist.
You offer acupuncture treatments during pregnancy, labour (if you are at a birth) and in postpartum.
How does acupuncture support these different stages and what are the common issues that acupuncture can solve? Acupuncture is a safe and gentle way to support these stages with very little side effects. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) philosophy says that needles move the qi, the life energy. Acupuncture help the body to find its own balance. And balance means health.
Most of the pregnant people that come to me have morning sickness, headache, constipation, insomnia, stress, edema, back issues, breech baby, need of induction or breastfeeding problems, like lack of milk.
During labour it can help with the pain and discomfort – even fear and anxiety. Certain points induce and speed up the contractions.
It seems that moxibustion is still confidential to the general public. Can you tell us a bit more about this therapy and its objectives surrounding birth?
Moxibustion belongs to Traditional Chinese Medicine protocol. While needles can move the qi, moxibustion can warm the points and the patient. Lack of warmth somewhere in the body is a disease in TCM diagnosis.
When the baby is not in the optimal position (breech, etc) the idea is that uterus is too cold. So we try to warm up the uterus with moxa. We reach the uterus via the Bladder meridian. So we moxa little toes.
In many other TCM diseases and recipes there is moxa included. Acupuncture and moxibustion: two components of the Traditional Chinese Medicine. How did you fall in love with TCM? Do you have other tools in your TCM bag?
I was a midwife in Kätilöopisto and was really interested in the question "What is a good birth?"
Studies show two things: the more we interfere, the more we need to interfere and the more we interfere, the less the birthing person feels their birth was good.
So how to help with pain and discomfort with less interference? One of my ideas was acupuncture. Off I went to the TCM acupuncture school in 1995.
In my bag there is also a gua sha comb. A tool to open membranes, ligaments and muscles - it even helps with inflammation, coughing and wheezing. A very gentle, yet powerful tool. It is to learn and do by yourself. I teach it also in my birth classes.
Any innovative projects in preparation?
Always. My dream is to start doing acupressure to newborns and teach some tools to parents too.
What is your motto?
"Love is the most important thing"
-it includes safety, good midwifery care, compassion and support when needed.