Acupressure May Help Relieve Morning Sickness

New York (Reuters Health) – Pregnant women who suffer from nausea and vomiting may find relief through the traditional Chinese technique of acupressure, o r its modern variation, acustimulation, according to two studies published in the September issue of The Journal of Reproductive Medicine.


In both studies, women received pressure or electrical stimulation on an area above the wrist on the inside of the forearm known as the Neiguan, or P6. Stimulation of this point is thought to relieve nausea and vomiting related to morning sickness, as well as from chemotherapy and motion sickness. Researchers divided a group of 60 pregnant women with nausea into three groups: the first given a wristband with a button that put pressure on the point P6, the second given a wristband that put pressure on a placebo point, and the third received no treatment at all. For the first six days of the study, the P6 and placebo groups both reported improvements in nausea, but only in the P6 group did the relief last for the full 14 days of the study.

Fifty to 90% of pregnant women experience morning sickness or a more severe condition, hyperemesis gravidarum, in which they vomit several times a day. Many of the drugs typically used to treat nausea and vomiting can cause birth defects, noted Dr. R. Nathan Slotnick, author of the second study. This leaves women who experience severe morning sickness–who may be at risk for dehydration, nutritional deficiencies and electrolyte imbalances–with few options. “The cost of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy in terms of medical care and work time loss are staggering,” Slotnick said.

For more information on these studies, please refer to the Journal of Reproductive Medicine 2001; 46:811-814, 835-839. For more information on acupressure and acupuncture, please contact Pacific College of Oriental Medicine at (800) 729-0941.

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