The feeling we know as nausea – being sick to your stomach or wanting to vomit – is a common symptom that can be caused by several different reasons.
No matter why you feel nauseated, keep in mind that acupuncture is one method to alleviate discomfort. In this article, we will explore acupuncture benefits for nausea in detail.
Acupuncture Benefits for Nausea
Several studies show that acupuncture can help to relieve nausea.
A research in 2003 shows that acupuncture also impacts the upper gastrointestinal tract, reducing acid secretion and repressing gastric arrhythmias. Clinical research has found acupuncture to be effective for nausea, whether it’s due to motion sickness in travelers, morning sickness in pregnant women, or chemotherapy-induced nausea in cancer patients.
Another study in the same year assessed if acupuncture, along with ondansetron treatment, decreased nausea and vomiting associated with cyclophosphamide infusion in patients suffering from rheumatic diseases. 39 patients were provided acupuncture treatment in the ear or at point PC6 to reduce vomiting and nausea. The patients reported the seriousness of nausea and number of vomiting bouts at the beginning of chemotherapy and after four, eight, twenty-four, forty-eight, and seventy-two hours.
The results revealed that, unlike ondansetron, combined acupuncture-ondansetron treatment considerably reduced the severity of nausea and the number of vomiting bouts twenty-four and forty-eight hours after the participants had received acupuncture. The results of the study clearly indicated that combined treatment with acupuncture and ondansetron lowers the duration and severity of chemotherapy-induced nausea along with the bouts of vomiting as opposed to ondansetron alone in participants suffering from rheumatic diseases.
A study from 2002 undertook a single-blind randomized controlled trial to see if acupuncture decreased nausea, vomiting, and dry retching and improved the overall health nof pregnant women.
The trial was undertaken at a maternity teaching hospital in Australia, where five hundred and ninety-three pregnant women with symptoms of nausea or vomiting were randomized into four groups – ordinary acupuncture, sham acupuncture, no acupuncture (placebo), or pericardium 6 (p6) acupuncture. The treatment was given every week for four weeks.
The results showed that women who received ordinary acupuncture reported reduced nausea throughout the trial and reduced dry retching from the second week as compared to women in the control group. Participants who received p6 acupuncture reported reduced nausea from the second week of the trial and reduced dry retching from the third week as compared to participants in the control group. Based on these results, the researchers concluded that acupuncture is effective for women who undergo dry retching and nausea in the first few months of pregnancy.
Furthermore, a study published in the journal Autonomic Neuroscience in 2006 summarized existing knowledge about the impacts of acupuncture-point stimulation on vomiting and nausea. It concluded that there is good clinical evidence from over 40 randomized controlled trials that acupuncture has some effect in attenuating or preventing nausea and vomiting.
Last but not least, the Journal of Clinical Oncology published an article that assessed the effectiveness of acupuncture-point stimulation on delayed and acute chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in cancer patients. The review concluded that electroacupuncture was beneficial for chemotherapy-induced acute vomiting.
What Is Nausea?
Nausea is stomach discomfort and the sensation of wanting to vomit. It can occur before vomiting (or throwing up) the contents of the stomach through the mouth.
Signs and Symptoms of Nausea
Typically, when you are experiencing nausea, you feel sick to the stomach. According to Stanford Health Care, other signs and symptoms of nausea include:
- Urge to vomit
- A build-up of saliva in your mouth
Nausea is one of the most common symptoms that people experience. In some cases, nausea gets better on its own after a couple of hours or days and doesn’t come back.
Severe nausea that appears suddenly along with vomiting, diarrhea, or fever might indicate a gastrointestinal bug.
Some gastrointestinal infections, like Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Salmonella, can be dangerous in very young people and those with weaker bodies or immune systems
Some other possible causes of nausea include:
- Pancreas or liver problems, such as fatty liver disease or gallstones
- Neurological problems, like a traumatic brain injury
- Endocrine system issues, such as hypothyroidism
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Peptic ulcers
- Other disorders, like Meniere’s disease that can lead to dizziness
- Appendicitis, particularly if a person has stomach pain that starts in the center of the abdomen and shifts to the lower right side.
- Problems with the ovaries, such as a ruptured ovarian cyst or ovarian torsion
- A blockage in the intestines or stomach
- Migraine headaches
Nausea that lasts several weeks can be because of an underlying chronic disease. Nausea that lasts for a little while might indicate an infection. However, recurring nausea might be a sign of a chronic illness or food sensitivities.
In some rare cases, nausea might indicate a severe infection or a medical emergency.
If you are struggling with nausea and/or vomiting, you should surely opt for acupuncture to alleviate your symptoms.
At the American College of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) Main Clinic, we specialize in offering treatments for many different conditions. Call 713-780-9786 for an appointment. We also see patients at Houston Methodist Hospital Wellness Services. Call 713-441-5980 for an appointment.