Acupressure for Nausea

Whether due to pregnancy, motion sickness, or even chemotherapy, nausea can be a debilitating symptom. Acupressure can effectively suppress nausea with rapid results. Fortunately, many acupressure techniques can be self administered to provide relief from sudden illnesses, like nausea.

What is Acupressure?

Acupressure is a method of Traditional Chinese Medicine massage. It is based upon the same foundational concepts of Acupuncture, but uses finger pressure instead of a needle to stimulate acupressure points. Acupressure is able to adjust the flow of Qi, or energy, in your body and improve your health.

Acupressure stimulation has been shown to have several observable effects:

  • Acupressure can increase local blood circulation in the area of stimulation.
  • Acupressure can cause the release of endorphins, which are our body’s natural painkillers.
  • Acupressure points may coincide with the motor points of muscles, and acupressure on these points can cause the underlying muscle to relax.

Acupressure usually involves the use of the fingers, but also includes the use of elbows, feet, or other blunt tools to stimulate acupressure points. Acupressure can be a great tool to help manage stress, relieve pain, and harmonize the flow of Qi in our body.

What Causes Nausea?

Nausea is symptom that may be triggered by a large number of conditions. Usually, nausea is induced by an external influence on our body, such as motion sickness, poisoning, or indigestion. Other common internal causes of nausea include nervousness and pregnancy-induced morning sickness.

From an Oriental Medicine perspective, nausea is related to a disturbance in our Spleen and Stomach, the primarily digestive organs. When Cold or Heat invades our Stomach, the Stomach Qi can rebel, rising upward to create nausea. Poor dietary habits can also weaken our Spleen leading to the development of phlegm; this phlegm can congest our Spleen and Stomach causing nausea.

Some serious diseases may manifest symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. If you are regularly experiencing nausea or have uncontrolled vomiting, please seek medical attention as soon as possible.

How Can Acupressure Help Nausea?

There are several acupressure points that can help us manage nausea with immediate relief. While it is best to use acupressure charts map out the locations, we’ll provide a good description of the location of these acupressure points to help you find them on your body.

The most important point for management of nausea is called Pericardium 6 (P6). In Chinese, it is referred to as Nei Guan, or Inner Gate. Acupressure stimulation of Pericardium 6 activates an extraordinary meridian in your body that harmonizes the connection between your vital internal organs. In addition, acupressure on P6 can calm your mind, helping your body to relax.

Pericardium 6 is located on the inner side of your wrist. To find the acupressure point, place your first three fingers together, and lay them at the crease of your wrist. The acupressure point is located between the two tendons in the middle of your wrist, right where the edge of your index finger crosses these tendons. Feel around in this area for the most active point and apply steady pressure with your finger.

A secondary point to enhance the effect of our acupressure treatment is called Stomach 36 (St36). The Chinese name of the acupressure point is Zu San Li, or Foot Three Mile. Stomach 36 is considered one of the most powerful points in the body and it is very effective at harmonizing your Stomach and strengthening digestion. In addition, acupressure on Stomach 36 can be used to improve our immune system and overall energy level.

To find Stomach 36, place all four of your fingers together at the lower outside edge of your knee cap. The acupressure point is located between the outer edge of your shin bone and your leg muscle, where your fingers and shin bone meet. Apply pressure to a larger area about the size of quarter, focusing the pressure on the most sensitive spot you find.

Acupressure should be applied to both sides of your body on these points, starting with Pericardium 6, until your nausea subsides. There are also several acupressure products available that apply steady pressure on Pericardium 6 through wrist straps used to prevent motion sickness.

Helpful Tips for Acupressure for Nausea

  • Breathe deeply when performing acupressure on yourself.
  • Focus your attention on the acupressure point as you apply stimulation to increase the effects.
  • Acupressure stimulation should feel strong, but should not be an uncomfortable level of pressure.
  • Perform acupressure on the points when you first begin to feel nausea, and keep applying pressure until the nausea subsides.
  • Drinking ginger tea can help calm your stomach and reduce some mild cases of nausea.
  • If you are also thirsty while experiencing nausea or have lost fluids due to vomiting, drink warm water in small amounts until you feel better.
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