Richard G. Petty, MD

Acupuncture and Acupressure for Morning Sickness

Although I am most definitely of the male persuasion, I know that morning sickness can be an awful problem, though there is some evidence that it is an attempt by the body to rid itself of toxins that could otherwise harm the baby.

I have had a longstanding interest in the use of acupuncture and acupressure for the treatment of nausea and vomiting, whether pregnancy related or caused by infections, anesthesia or chemotherapy. Over twenty years ago my committee at the Research Council for Complementary Medicine helped fund research on the topic at the University of Belfast, and I have used both acupuncture and acupressure to treat many hundreds of people with nausea and vomiting. Before I left England, we were planning to do a clinical trial of acupuncture on morning sickness at Queen Charlotte’s hospital in London.

So I was delighted to see a meta-analysis published in the journal Explore.

The authors identified 14 eligible trials that had been completed over the last sixteen years, involving a total of 1615 women who had been treated with either acupressure, acupuncture or electrical stimulation at acupuncture points.

The conclusions were that these methods may reduce nausea by more than 50% compared with controls and vomiting by around 40%. These figures look about right, though acupuncture and acupuncture are very “operator-dependent:” some therapists get better results than others. What was interesting was that the effect was all due to acupressure: acupuncture was not shown to be effective, but acupressure was.

The analysis also points out a potential weakness in other meta-analyses. It is not wise to lump all acupuncture and acupressure together, since each may work somewhat differently.

As a sidebar, when we use acupuncture or acupressure, we always tailor the treatment to the individual, but the most commonly used points are Liver-3 on the top of the foot between the big toe and second toe, and Pericardium-6, which lies on the inside of the forearm, about two inches above the wrist.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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