Acupuncture for nausea & vomiting in many forms has been one of the conditions that has been studied/proven many times over, and seems to be the most mainstream for acupuncture treatment right behind pain. Unfortunately, nausea & vomiting are conditions that are often associated with chemotherapy, pregnancy, or eating disorders, and even influenza. While sometimes unavoidable, the feeling of nausea and vomiting can be abated with acupuncture treatments. Here’s how acupuncture works for nausea and vomiting.
Acupuncture & TCM Treatment
In order to understand why acupuncture for nausea/vomiting works, we have to understand how & why nausea comes about in the first place.
Nausea comes from having the Chemoreceptor Trigger Zone (CTZ) and vomiting center in the brain stimulated.
Does Acupuncture Help Nausea?
Acupuncture treatment has anti-emetic effects that stem from the increase of beta-endorphins and ACTH hormones (adrenocorticotropic hormone), ultimately halting the CTZ and vomiting center. In addition, acupuncture affects the upper GI tract, lowering acid secretion and easing abnormal rhythms in the stomach.
Traditional Chinese medicine treatment includes a certain set of acupuncture points that are best suited for the treatment of nausea & vomiting in eastern medicine.
- Homemade Ginger Tea – use 2 inch long slices of fresh ginger and boil it in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes. Strain and sip slowly. Drink as often as need to keep nausea at bay, and can be sweetened with honey if the ginger is too spicy.
- Homemade Cinnamon Clove Tea – into 3 cups of boiling water add 2 cinnamon sticks and 1 teaspoon of ground cloves, steeping in the boiling water for 15 minutes. Strain and drink 3 cups a day.
Research on Acupuncture for Nausea & Vomiting
Acupuncture’s ability to boost energy flow, send the proper signals & hormones to the brain, and halt the chemicals in the body that create nausea is nothing short of miraculous; not to mention helpful to the world at large. Luckily, the western world has noticed its benefits for quite some time now for the conditions of nausea & vomiting. To date, there are more than three dozen randomized controlled trial studies that have been published in regards to the benefits of acupuncture point stimulation to treat and prevent nausea & vomiting.
Just to name a few, a meta-analysis conducted in 2013 reviewed acupuncture’s efficiency involving 30 randomized control trial groups, finding acupuncture to be efficient, safe, and economically wise for prevention and treatment of nausea & vomiting.
Another study in 2015 on acupuncture for the prevention of chemotherapy induced nausea found acupuncture to be effective while promoting better quality of life for chemotherapy patients.
Lastly, a study done in 2019 on acupuncture for vomiting induced by chemotherapy of lung cancer found it to have a positive effect on the prevention and treatment of it. To top it off, researchers are currently working on a systematic review & meta-analysis on acupuncture for prevention of chemotherapy induced nausea & vomiting launched just this January in 2020.
It is an exciting subject to keep up with in the field of acupuncture as much of the western world is on board with it. More large scale studies are on the way to add to the already positive outcomes received for acupuncture for nausea & vomiting.