acupuncture for nausea and vomiting

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we frequently use acupuncture as a complementary treatment to relieve musculoskeletal pain and restore function. Acupuncture can also be used to relieve the misery of nausea and vomiting. 

Acupuncture, practiced in China and other parts of Asia for thousands of years, is based on the principle that Qi, the energy source that feeds the body, must flow uninterrupted for individuals to remain healthy and pain-free. 

Performed by highly trained professionals, like the doctors at Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, acupuncture unblocks the flow of Qi and restores health. This is accomplished by inserting hair-thin needles along carefully charted meridians (pathways) of the body. Acupuncture can be very effective in treating nausea and vomiting and, unlike other therapies, has no side effects.  

Causes of Nausea and Vomiting

Unfortunately, everyone experiences nausea and vomiting sometimes, but in most cases, it is of limited duration. Because ongoing vomiting can lead to serious consequences (e.g. dehydration, tears in the esophagus, damage to tooth enamel), doctors use a variety of methods to control it.

Ongoing or episodic nausea and vomiting may commonly occur postsurgically or due to:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Allergies
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Pregnancy (morning sickness)
  • Chemotherapy

Nausea and vomiting are not only unpleasant and debilitating; the loss of vital fluids and electrolytes in extreme cases can be life-threatening. For example, a small percentage of pregnant women have a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum which is a severe form of morning sickness accompanied by weight loss, dizziness, and dehydration. Left untreated, this condition may threaten both mother and child.

How Acupuncture Helps Control Nausea and Vomiting

Although many pressure points may be targeted to relieve nausea and vomiting, most acupuncturists seem to favor using the P6 or Neiguan point, which is located on the inner wrist. It should be noted that acupressure (which does not involve the use of needles) has also been used for this purpose, sometimes in conjunction with acupuncture. Since the P6 point is easy to reach, patients can be instructed to apply acupressure themselves between acupuncture treatments.

Acupuncture has a positive impact on reducing nausea and vomiting because it:

  • Increases the production of endorphins to reduce stress and promote relaxation
  • Stimulates the production of ACTH hormones to inhibit nausea and vomiting.
  • Lowers acid secretion of the GI tract and eases abnormal stomach rhythms
  • Boosts energy flow throughout the body

Scientific Proof that Acupuncture Alleviates Nausea and Vomiting

Many studies, including one by Memorial Sloan-Kettering, have shown that acupuncture point stimulation can be successful in treating or preventing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and result in a much-improved quality of life. 

Other studies demonstrate the positive effects of acupuncture on postsurgical patients. For instance, in 2013 the Public Library of Sciences reported that a statistical analysis of 1200 patients determined acupuncture to be a safe, efficient, and cost-effective prevention and treatment method for postsurgical nausea and vomiting.

This is important because postoperative nausea and vomiting, most often caused by the body’s response to anesthesia, is a common problem. Severe postoperative nausea and vomiting can [1] lengthen hospital stays, [2] prolong recovery time, and [3] result in serious complications due to nutrient depletion. Though gentle and even relaxing for the patient, Acupuncture is a strong weapon to fight postsurgical nausea and vomiting.

Moreover, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have reported the efficacy of acupuncture in reducing nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. While medications that treat nausea caused by anesthesia, chemotherapy, or pregnancy, may also be helpful in alleviating these symptoms, unlike acupuncture, these drugs can be expensive and may cause troubling side effects.

The Advantages of Acupuncture Over Other Treatments for Nausea & Vomiting

Whether nausea and vomiting are interfering with the joyful expectation of your pregnancy, the pace of your recovery from surgery, or the beneficial aspects of your chemotherapy, acupuncture can help. The advantages of acupuncture treatments are clear. Acupuncture:

  • Has no side effects and is non-addictive
  • Can proactively lessen nausea and vomiting
  • Increases blood circulation to increase healing
  • Stimulates production of endorphins (natural painkillers)
  • Relaxes muscles whose tightness can worsen symptoms
  • Is covered by some health insurance policies for alleviation of nausea & vomiting

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, we are focused on relieving painful symptoms wherever they originate. Our licensed acupuncturists are well-credentialed and highly skilled; they also have the experience and know-how to administer the treatment precisely and effectively to provide relief from the misery of nausea and vomiting. 

Contact Our Experienced Acupuncture Specialists Today

Now that you know the proven benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of nausea and vomiting, don’t let these distressing symptoms interfere with your enjoyment of life. The acupuncture specialists at Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine are well-prepared to help alleviate your symptoms and give back your sense of control. 

As more and more large-scale studies are underway to add to the data touting the benefits of acupuncture, be proactive about your own health care. Contact us now to make an appointment with one of our competent, compassionate acupuncture professionals.