Though it has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, the use of acupressure for nausea has only recently been introduced to Western medicine. It is often met with distrust by Western doctors, though recent studies have shown it to be somewhat effective in treating the nausea associated with anesthesia. Anecdotal reports by many patients also confirm that using acupressure for nausea is an effective treatment for morning sickness, motion sickness, and other causes of nausea.
Studies have shown that using acupressure for nausea is an effective treatment. A review of acupressure treatment conducted in 2009, by Dr. Anna Lee from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, evaluated the results of several acupressure studies which involved nearly 5,000 patients among them. The accumulated results of all these studies have shown that approximately 25 out of every 100 people who have undergone surgery benefit from the use of acupressure for nausea.
Using acupressure is an alternative treatment to anti-nausea medication. Acupressure treatment is non-invasive and does not produce any side effects itself. It is simple, easy to administer, and does work for many patients, generally showing results after a few minutes. A patient can try using acupressure for nausea and, if it does not work, move to another type of treatment.
There are two pressure points that are used in acupressure for nausea. The most effective location is called the pericardium, or P6 point, which is located on the center of each wrist. The point can be easily found by placing the index, middle and ring finger on the opposite wrist, with the edge of the ring finger against the seam in the wrist joint. The pericardium point is located immediately below the index finger. The other point is located on the outer side of the shin bone, approximately four finger widths lower than the knee cap.
Studies evaluating the effectiveness of acupressure have utilized the P6 point. It can be stimulated by patients using the pressure of their own finger or they can wear a tight-fitting band around their wrist with a small round bead over the acupressure point. For the best results, patients are asked to stimulate the points on both wrists.
Relieving nausea after surgery is the only condition for which acupressure has been formally evaluated. There are reports, however, that acupressure relieves nausea from other causes as well. Morning sickness, hangovers, and motion sickness have all been reportedly been relieved through the use of acupressure.