Old Wives Tale Tests: pedicure

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Old Wives Tale:

Getting a pedicure (and complimentary acupressure leg massage) will trigger labor

Location of test: Pro Nails in Spottswood/Target shopping Center


The theory goes that there exists points on the feet and legs that when stimulated can cause labor to begin. Perhaps this is due to massage releasing oxytocin into the bloodstream, the "cuddle" drug that also regulates orgasm, nursing letdown and yup, contractions. The Chinese believe that acupressure and acupuncture move the chi (or life force) throughout the body, so maybe stimulating these points would be akin to hotwiring a car to get it started. I figured this test was a win, win. If it works, I get a baby. If it doesn't work, I get a relaxing massage and cute toes...about the only thing cute on my body at this point. I didn't share my theory with my pedicurist, afraid that I might somehow sway her usual technique and skew the results.

I wish I had been more forthcoming.

I saw her grab the pink lotion bottle and I closed my eyes, ready for some relaxation. She started in with about 10 brisk punches to the soles of my feet. Let me repeat - for no immediately clear reason she was PUNCHING ME IN THE FOOT. BALLED FISTS. REPEATEDLY. I about dropped my OK! Magazine into my foot bath as I tried to steady myself and make sure that I hadn't somehow mistakenly offended her. I just tried to hold on until she worked out whatever she needed to get out of her system. Finally finished with the Mike Tyson to my arches, she grabbed hold of the webbed part of my toe between the big toe and his neighbor.

Good, I thought. That is a spot acupuncturists typically avoid for fear of triggering labor. She squeezed down. Hard. While the baby didn't move, I thought my heart might explode due to the amount of adrenaline flooding my bloodstream. After a few hearty squeezes, she let go of the toes and dove into the fascia on my arches. Now I've had significantly painful bodywork performed in the past. Due to a really nasty neck injury years ago, I underwent multiple sessions of rolfing, bodywork that purports to realign the body only using the practioner's hands. Imagine having someone massage you with a giant nail.

I think my pedicurist might have taken some classes.

The fascia on anyone's feet are already sensitive because they are a big bundle of nerves. But having a good 40 extra pounds flattening them down repeatedly made them in no mood to be messed with. Instantly it felt like someone lit a match and held it up to my foot. I think I may have actually whimpered because we made eye contact and she quickly moved onto the other foot. About 30 seconds later, she finished the "massage," dumped my feet back in the bath and left to file a report to Guantanamo. Or get my nail polish. I don't remember. But hey! The color is cute.



Negative. Most likely the pressure points need to be stimulated for longer stretches, not just periodically slapped around. One Braxton Hicks contraction in the 12 hours since treatment.

Up next: the spicy food test


  1. I always liked mine to stay in as long as possible, because I believed they would be quieter there. Of course they all come out at some point ... kicking ... screaming ... all ishy and squishy and ... oooooh! that is the part I was sad about after the arrival of my third. That I would not hold another ishy squishy fresh from the womb baby ...

    Your toes look great. I carried one of mine for a solid extra month, but like i said, I was never in a hurry ... I think the only things that really work are rather unmentionable here, on your beautiful blog ... so I'll wait for you to announce them if you decide to.


  2. Things that have made me go in labor:

    Having sex. Don't stay up til 1;00 am and then decide to have sex and then wake up an hour later with your water breaking. You'll be tired.

    With G, I picked the day i wanted to have her the Sunday about two days before my due date. I spent a good hour or so cleaning and vacuuming the van inside and out and took a walk. At the least sign of contrax, I hooked up to the breast pump. Intermittent pumping for a few minutes at a time a few times per hour did the trick. had her that night.

  3. i will excuse the fact that you posted a picture of your feet on the internet since it was in the pursuit of science!

    a lenny's sandwich with extra hot sauce is what finally got jiro moving.

    but seriously--i saw that baby's foot in the video. he wants to come out! he's just pushing the wrong way!

  4. @Karen - Good god woman! A month over??
    @Sassy - if both of us felt like our heads weren't about to explode from the cold/allergy crap all week, doing the deed would be at the top of the list. V. curious about the pump trick.
    @Stacey -I may have to hit Lenny's tomorrow. And I concur - may have to send in a team to lead the pumpkin out. If he/she doesn't get a move on, that's exactly what's going to happen!

  5. Oh, remember? I willed it. Anyway, I can't be entirely sure as it was one of those pregnancies whereby I didn't know how pregnant I was for a bazillion reasons. The day before she actually came, I begged and begged her for one more day (!) because I was plasticked into the kitchen with only a potty to pee in -- a drywaller was SANDING the rest of the house and I was having her at home, as I really didn't prefer the experience I had with the first at the hospital. Midwives went home next afternoon with chicken cordon bleu dinners (she was born at 4pm) and covered in drywall dust, don't ask.

    Hang in there beautiful! I'm emailing you with my other never-fails thingie ... your blog, you can decide what is TMI and what's not ...

    (Oh, and that word I have to type to verify I am not a robot? Fudshoot. Whatever significance that might be!)