Moxibustion for Cephalic Version of Breech Presentation

J Midwifery Womens Health. 2018 May;63(3):309-322. doi: 10.1111/jmwh.12752. Epub 2018 May 18.


Moxibustion, a form of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), is the burning of the herb moxa (Folium Artemisiae argyi or mugwort) over acupuncture points. It is often used in China to facilitate cephalic version of breech presentation. This article reviews the history, philosophy, therapeutic use, possible mechanisms of action, and literature pertaining to its use for this indication. For moxibustion, moxa can be rolled into stick form, placed directly on the skin, or placed on an acupuncture needle and ignited to warm acupuncture points. Studies have demonstrated that moxibustion may promote cephalic version of breech presentation and may facilitate external cephalic version. However, there is currently a paucity of research on the effects of moxibustion on cephalic version of breech presentation, and thus there is a need for further studies. Areas needing more investigation include efficacy, safety, optimal technique, and best protocol for cephalic version of breech presentation.

Keywords: Traditional Chinese Medicine; artemisiae argyi; breech presentation; malpresentation; moxa; moxibustion; mugwort.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points
  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods*
  • Breech Presentation / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional / methods*
  • Midwifery / methods
  • Moxibustion / methods*
  • Moxibustion / nursing
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Version, Fetal / methods*
  • Version, Fetal / nursing