Acupressure for Nausea and Vomiting

This past August, my family and I spent a week together in Huntsville, Ontario.  We swam, paddled, fished, golfed, rock climbed, played at the beach, visited with friends and roasted marshmallows.  All in all, a terrific summer getaway… until the very unfortunate bout of gastroenteritis we came down with at the end of our week. 

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At first, when my husband and I both woke up with the same queasy feeling at 1am, we figured it had been something we had eaten at dinner.  We managed through the night – although it wasn’t pretty or pleasant with only one bathroom and us running to and fro in between waves of nausea.  Our only solace was that our 6-year-old son, was sleeping peacefully and seemingly unaffected and completely unaware of what his parents were dealing with.  (His turn would unfortunately/fortunately come a few days later once we returned home, poor guy!)

Still feeling exhausted and lousy in the morning and really dreading the four-hour drive home, somehow we managed to pack up the car with a lot of help from our son and started on our way.  My husband and I agreed we would take turns to relieve the driver and stop as we needed – which we weren’t really sure how often we would need to do given the circumstances! 

On long car rides, I often sit in the back seat with my son to keep him company and help pass snacks etc. and sometimes this makes me feel a little car sick.  The feeling usually passes fairly quickly with a little manual pressure over the P6 acupuncture point (more on this later).  Luckily for this trip I had actually tossed my anti-nausea wristbands in my purse anticipating motion sickness and being stuck on the lovely highway 400. I hadn’t had to use my wristbands on the way up, but I certainly was happy to have them for the drive home.  Thank you Universe for looking out for me! We needed anything and everything we could think of to help us power through.  I wore my wristbands the whole way, and amazingly we only stopped once for a regular bathroom break (nothing crazy thankfully!) and to grab something to eat for our son.  I really think my anti-nausea wristbands helped me through a rather tricky situation!                         

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For those of you who aren’t familiar with these wonderful wristbands, here’s a little more info on them and how they work.  I first began using them while I was pregnant to help alleviate my morning sickness (which if you’ve ever been pregnant, you know can actually happen at any point during the day, or even last the entire day).  They were extremely helpful to me through my pregnancy but since that time have sat rather untouched in my bedside table.  Manual stimulation of the same acupressure points has been effective for the mild motion sickness I get from time to time in the car, but for anything more persistent or longer lasting, the wrist bands would definitely be the way to go. 

Here’s how to locate the points and stimulate them yourselves:

Looking at the palmar side of the hand, the P6 acupuncture point (aka Nei Guan) is located in the middle of your lower forearm, three fingerbreadths from your anterior wrist crease (see image below) and traditionally, this point has been used to alleviate many different symptoms, but most commonly those of nausea and vomiting. 

(Source: Anesthesiology 2005;102:1046)

(Source: Anesthesiology 2005;102:1046)

There’s a plethora of research on various patient populations (including chemotherapy patients, individuals recovering post-operatively, pregnant patients and those suffering from motion sickness) and how stimulation of the P6 point either by needle (acupuncture) or by hand/wristband (acupressure) can be very effective at alleviating nausea and vomiting.  I can tell you from my personal experiences, it has been quite a lifesaver!

Acupressure at P6 is a safe and easy option you can do yourself, have someone perform for you, or by way of the wristbands, that can make a big difference if you’re feeling a little (or a lot!) queasy.  I bought my anti-nausea wristbands from my local pharmacy.  There are many brands out there but all seem to have the same design and range in price from $10-15.  Some come with a special case or bag to hold the wristbands, mine did not and after seven years, they are still in good shape…and most importantly, they still work!

This blog post is not sponsored.  The content of this post or anything included on hollybeckley.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

-Dr.Holly Beckley

 

References:

Ezzo, Jeanette, Konrad Streitberger, and Antonius Schneider. "Cochrane systematic reviews examine P6 acupuncture-point stimulation for nausea and vomiting." Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine 12.5 (2006): 489-495.

Hu, Senqi, et al. "P6 acupressure reduces symptoms of vection-induced motion sickness." Aviation, space, and environmental medicine 66.7 (1995): 631-634.

Lee, Anna, and L. T. Fan. "Stimulation of the wrist acupuncture point P6 for preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting." Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2 (2009).

Smith C, Crowther C, Beilby J. Acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. Birth March 2002; 29(1):1-9

Smith C, Crowther C, Beilby J. Pregnancy outcome following women’s participation in a randomised controlled trial of acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy.Complementary Therapies in Medicine 2002 June;10(2):78-83

Steele NM, French J, Gatherer-Boyles J, Newman S, Leclaire S. Effect of acupressure by Sea-Bands on nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing 2001 Jan-Feb;30(1):61-70

Stern RM, Jokerst MD, Muth ER, Hollis C, Acupressure relieves the symptoms of motion sickness and reduces abnormal gastric activity. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 2001 July-Aug;7(4):91-4

Werntoft E, Dykes AK. Effect of acupressure on nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. A randomized, placebo-controlled pilot study. Journal of Reproductive Medicine 2001 Sep;46(9):835-9

 

Dr. Holly Beckley

I always knew I wanted to be in health care, helping people, and when I discovered Chiropractic and  how it could be used to help the body heal from injury, function at a higher level and prevent future  ailments with a non-invasive, drug-free and hands-on approach,  I knew I had found the right  profession for me.  I first completed my Honours Bachelor of Kinesiology Degree at McMaster University in 2002 and then attended the Candian Memorial Chiropractic College where I graduated as a Doctor of Chiropractic in 2006. Believing in the importance of ongoing education and wanting to be able to offer my patients the best care possible, I obtained my Certificate in Clinical Acupuncture from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 2010 and have been trained in Active Release Technique.  I enjoy learning new ways of helping my patients and regularly participate in continuing education programs. I truly enjoy working with patients of all ages to achieve their health care goals.  Whether it be to resolve an injury, to improve movement or flexibility or simply feel one's best, Chiropractic may be able to help you and I would welcome the opportunity to work with you.