Acupressure for Nausea

Acupressure is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine based on the same concepts of acupuncture, which uses manual pressure instead of needles to stimulate pressure points. Just like acupuncture, acupressure is used to promote Qi, or energy, which flows in your body and helps improve health. One of the applications of this technique is acupressure for nausea, which relieves a common symptom that affects people of all ages.

What Causes Nausea?

Nausea is a symptom of “feeling sick” in the stomach, which makes you almost feel like vomiting. It is often triggered by various conditions, including certain smells, feelings, or diseases. Nausea may be induced by external factors like odors and foods, but it can also be caused by movement (motion sickness), hormonal factors (pregnancy-related morning sickness), indigestion, and feelings of nervousness.

In oriental medicine, nausea is considered to be a disturbance in the stomach and spleen, which are both abdominal organs. It is believed that cold and heat can have a negative influence on the stomach, and the flow of Qi is disturbed, causing nausea. In addition, poor dietary habits are believed to weaken the spleen, which leads to the formation of phlegm that congests the stomach and spleen, causing nausea.

Serious diseases can also cause symptoms like nausea and vomiting. Althoughacupressure may be effective in some cases, it is advisable to seek medical help if your nausea or vomiting persists or gets worse.

How to Apply Acupressure for Nausea: Two Most Effective Points

Acupressure is usually done by using the fingers to apply massage, but it may also include the use of the elbows, feet, or some blunt tools to stimulate pressure points in the body. It is often used to help relieve stress, reduce pain, and promote relaxation and circulation in the body. Its effects are based on these principles:

  • Acupressure increases blood circulation in a localized area of stimulation.
  • Acupressure promotes the release of natural painkillers called endorphins.
  • Acupressure promotes muscle relaxation because acupressure points coincide with motor points in the muscles.

There are many ways to apply acupressure for nausea. Here are the two most effective applications:

Pericardium 6 (P6 or PC6)-Nei Guan

This is considered the most important point in the management of nausea. Pericardium 6 (P6), Inner Gate, or Nei Guanin Chinese, is an acupressure point where stimulation activates a special meridian in the body, leading to harmony in the connection between vital organs. Acupressure on P6 can also calm the mind and help your body relax. And this effectively treats nausea, indigestion, stomach problems, and chest congestion.

Location:Nei Guan (P6) is located three finger breadths below the wrist on the inner forearm in between the two tendons.

How to apply: Take your thumb and index or middle finger and press firmly on the point on both sides of the wrist when you feel nauseous. Then gently, but firmly rub the point using a circular motion for several minutes. You may immediately feel relief, but it can sometimes take up to five minutes.

Stomach 36 (ST-36)-Zu San Li

Another point for acupressure for nausea is the Stomach 36 (St36), whose Chinese name is Zu San Li (Foot Three Mile). This is considered as one of the most powerful acupressure points in the body. Acupressure on Stomach 36 is believed to harmonize your stomach and strengthen digestion. Moreover, it can be used to improve immune system function and increase overall energy levels.

Location:Stomach 36 is located on the shin. It’s found about a hand length below the patella, just outside the prominent tibia bone (see picture below).

How to apply: Once you’ve located ST36, on one leg or on both legs simultaneously, use whichever finger feels best to apply moderate to deep pressure, in a tiny circular motion, for as long as you would like (start with 2-3 minutes). Notice how you feel. Acupressure for nausea is applied by massaging this point for at least four minutes.

Helpful Tips

  • Inhale deeply while performing acupressure on yourself.
  • To increase the effects, focus on the pressure point while applying stimulation.
  • For maximum effect, application of acupressure should be strong, but it should not be uncomfortable.
  • Perform acupressure for nausea on these points when you begin to feel sick, and maintain pressure until nausea subsides.
  • Drink ginger tea to help relieve stomach discomfort and reduce mild case of nausea.
  • Drink small amounts of warm water until you feel better if you feel thirsty, especially when nausea is accompanied by vomiting.

What Is the Theory Behind Acupressure?

According to traditional Chinese medicine, we have special points, the acupressure points, lying along invisible meridians (channels) in the body. These points are found on the same energy meridians that are targeted by acupuncture. The theory states that vital energy (a life force called qi) flows through these channels. It is believed that there are 12 main meridians that connect organs into networks, organized into a system of communication all over the body. These meridians arise at the fingertips and are connected to your brain, as well as to specific organs.

According to the theory, when a meridian is blocked, it is out of balance and illness can develop. Acupuncture and acupressure are among the different types of Asian bodywork therapies that can help restore the balance. Other forms of Asian bodywork therapies include medical Tuinaand Qigong. In Japan, Shiatsu is also recognized as a form of acupressure.

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