Timothy C. Hain, MD. Page last modified: October 9, 2011
Chicago Dizziness and Hearing offers acupuncture for Motion Sickness
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As is the case for acupuncture in most other contexts, the scientific literature suggests a modest effect, close to placebo. Acupressure, in particular, such as the "Sea Band", or "Relief Band", seems to be identical to placebo. More vigorous procedures, such as electroacupuncture have more reports of good response.
It seems possible (though unestablished), that an electrical stimulator such as a TENS unit might be helpful in preventing motion sickness.
Overall, we think that acupuncture has a small role in prevention of motion sickness. Other treatment methods are far more effective.
Acupressure is simply use of pressure rather than a needle or a shock applied at an acupuncture point. Most papers studying these devices say that they are placebos.
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Bruce, D. G., J. F. Golding, et al. (1990). "Acupressure and motion sickness." Aviat Space Environ Med 61(4): 361-365.
Ding, M., Y. P. Zhao, et al. (2006). "[Orientation taping magnetic granules at auricular points and Neiguan (PC 6) for prevention and treatment of 102 cases of motion sickness]." Zhongguo Zhen Jiu 26(5): 325-327.
Frey, U. H., M. Funk, et al. (2009). "Effect of P6 acustimulation on post-operative nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing a laparoscopic cholecystectomy." Acta Anaesthesiol Scand 53(10): 1341-1347.
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