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Acupressure: Stop Morning Sickness With Your Thumb

by Allison Hutton
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Morning sickness is one of the best known of the worst symptoms of pregnancy. Up to 80 percent of pregnant women experience some nausea during the ninth months of carrying a child. While the name is a misnomer since the queasiness is unlikely to be limited to merely the early hours of the day, it is definitely sickness. Some women merely feel adverse to eating much of anything, even former favorites, while others kneel to the porcelain altar many times a day.

Thankfully most women do not suffer for an entire pregnancy from morning sickness, although a few will. The majority will find themselves feeling unwell from the early weeks of pregnancy and will begin to feel more themselves by the time the second trimester begins.

There are all sorts of tips to stave off morning sickness, and often the simple measures will be sufficient. However, certain women have persistent bouts of nausea and vomiting and are desperate for help that falls short of a trip to the hospital for IV treatment.

What is Acupressure?

Acupressure is a type of traditional Chinese medicine that includes Shiatsu massage. Acupressure is founded on the belief that the body contains invisible channels of energy, a life force energy. These are divided into 12 major meridians and contain various major organs of the body. If something blocks the flow of energy to a segment of the body or an organ, illness occurs.

Acupressure attempts to restore balance to your body's meridians and allow the life force to flow properly. Practitioners of acupressure will apply pressure to set points on the body by applying pressure typically with their hands or fingers, or sometimes elbows or even feet.

During an acupressure session, a patient will lie on a massage table and expect about an hour of treatment. Most often, repeat sessions are required to completely restore a body's balance.

Acupressure for Morning Sickness

To alleviate morning sickness or nausea associated with pregnancy, the pressure point employed is the P6 or Neiguan acupuncture point. This point is located two or three inches from your wrist, on the palm side of your arm, between the prominent tendons.

A simple way to use this acupuncture point is with Sea Bands, a product intended for use to ease motion sickness. These wrist bands are elastic and contain plastic studs to stimulate the acupuncture point.

There have been a few positive studies showing that women who use Sea Bands, or acupressure, to fight off morning sickness, have positive outcomes compared to women who do not use them.

While the studies may not be large enough or plenteous enough to be definitive, the big plus is that you can give acupressure a try without worry over any health concerns for mother or child. Acupressure is considered perfectly safe for pregnant women, so you can experiment with the treatment.

If you opt to stimulate the acupressure point manually without the use of Sea Bands, you would need to find the point and apply pressure to it four times a day, for 5 to 10 minutes at a time.

An initial study was done in 1988 to look at whether pregnant women suffering from morning sickness could be helped by using acupressure to the P6 site. The study divided participants into 3 groups; the first used acupressure on the P6 or Neiguan point; the second group had acupressure applied to a different spot on the body; the third group received no treatment. Only the P6 group had a significant reduction in symptoms.

Another study was done undertaken in 2001, and this one looked specifically at the efficacy of Sea Bands for morning sickness. The findings were that Sea Bands significantly reduced morning sickness in participants while wearing the bracelets. The researchers also stated that Sea Bands are inexpensive, non-invasive, safe and effective.

One Mom says. "On a personal note, I found these to be very effective in both of my pregnancies. However, once I removed them, my morning sickness returned. You can also make your own wristbands by using Velcro or elastic strips, and round, protruding buttons. While this may not work for all women, it is a cheap method of attempting relief. If you have the extra money, you can also make an appointment to see a professional for acupressure."

Should you try this or other home remedies or lifestyle adjustments for morning sickness and continue to suffer, contact your health care provider if you are experience extreme vomiting and are unable to eat. Dehydration is one major concern in hyperemesis, or serious morning sickness. If you are struggling seriously, you may need medical intervention to protect your pregnancy.


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