Morning Sickness: Is Acupuncture Effective?

Acupuncture treatments have been found to relieve symptoms in women hospitalized for severe pregnancy vomiting (hyperemesis gravidarum).

Researchers randomly assigned 33 women to acupuncture treatments at a specific point (PC6) on the underside of the wrist, or to sham treatments at a different spot. After two days, all treatments were stopped for an additional two days to allow any effects to dissipate. Then the groups were reversed for two more days of treatment. Before treatment all women were vomiting. On day three, only seven out of seventeen women (41 percent) receiving active acupuncture were still vomiting compared with 12 out of 16 (75 percent) receiving sham treatment. After the active and sham groups were switched, more of the women receiving active treatment stopped vomiting. Women also reported experiencing less nausea.

Other trials of acupuncture, acupressure, and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) have reported that stimulation of the PC6 point relieved nausea and vomiting due to pregnancy, chemotherapy for cancer and during postoperative recovery.

Carlsson CP et al. Manual acupuncture reduces hyperemesis gravidarum. A placebo-controlled, randomized, single-blind, crossover study. J Pain Symptom Manage 2000;20(4):273-79.

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