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Does holding a comb really work as pain relief?

Have you ever heard of the comb technique before as a pain relief method during labour? The idea is that gripping a comb in your hand hits various acupressure points, which are thought to stimulate oxytocin and endorphins.

The technique is based on the pain gate theory. This is the theory that your brain cannot fully focus on two sensations (or pains) at the same time. In other words, if your brain is telling you about the sensation of the comb in your hand, it’s less likely to be telling you about the pain in your uterus. Incidentally, this is exactly how a TENS machine works.

The evidence isn’t super conclusive on this comb technique. But if you want to give the comb technique a go, we say why the hell not. If it doesn’t work, no biggie. It’s just another option to have in your birth toolkit.