Effective Solutions for Nausea and Vomiting
Can acupuncture be an effective treatment solution for nausea and vomiting (and the side effects of chemotherapy)?
YES! There is a growing body studies and clinical evidence that proves how effective acupuncture can be for treating nausea and vomiting. Acupuncture’s popularity for treating nausea and vomiting is being fuelled by a combination of both its effectiveness and its lack of side unwanted and harmful side effects.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO)
Acupuncture has been proved – through controlled clinic trials – to be an effective treatment for nausea and vomiting.
The World Health Organization has cited 104 different conditions that acupuncture can treat including migraine, sinusitis, the common cold, tonsillitis, asthma, addictions, myopia, duodenal ulcer, gastrointestinal disorders, neuralgia, sciatica, and osteoarthritis.
Acupuncture has also been found to be effective in the treatment of a variety of rheumatoid conditions, hormonal imbalances, depression, anxiety, and other disorders.
One important use is like a natural pain relief, stimulating the release of endorphins and enkephalins (the natural pain-killing chemicals).
Nausea is a symptom rather than a disorder. The sensation leads a person to have the urge to vomit. A variety of factors may cause nausea including migraine headaches, allergies, excessive alcohol consumption, and food poisoning. It is likely that we have all felt this symptom at one time or another, the feeling is most commonly experienced by infants, young children and pregnant women. Pregnant women often suffer nausea as a symptom of morning sickness. Cancer patients sometimes experience nausea as a side effect of chemotherapy.
The main concern is dehydration, a loss of bodily fluids
The rate at which dehydration can occur depends on several factors, including the height and weight of the person, the degree at which the person vomits, and whether or not diarrhoea is also present. No matter the cause, it is important that people who have vomited consume as much fluid as possible without further upsetting the stomach.
How can acupuncture assist nausea and vomiting?
To date, more than three dozen randomized controlled studies have been published showing that acupuncture point stimulation can treat or prevent nausea and vomiting.
While most acupuncture treatments are tailored to individual patients and are highly dependent on practitioner preference points, most acupuncturists and doctors of Oriental medicine appear to prefer using the P6 or Neiguan point, which is located two cun below the distal wrist crease on a patient’s lower arm. (A cun is a Chinese measurement equalling the width of the middle joint of the patient’s thumb; two cun equals approximately the width of three fingers.) Acupuncture treatment area: The point Master of the Heart 6, called also pericardium 6 is famous for relieving nausea; acupressure and Chinese herbals are very effective too.
Acupressure has been employed to relieve the symptoms of nausea and vomiting, sometimes in conjunction with acupuncture, sometimes as a stand-alone therapy. Many practitioners prescribe acupressure bracelets, which apply pressure to certain points without the use of needles. And because the P6 point is easy to reach, many patients can be instructed to apply acupressure themselves to help reduce nausea.
- Carlson CP, Axemo P, Bodin A, Carstensen H, Ehrenroth B, Madegard-Lind I, Navander C. Manual acupuncture reduces hyperemesis gravidarum: a placebo-controlled, randomized, single-blind, crossover study. J Pain Symptom Manage Oct 2000;20(4):27
- Knight B, Mudge C, Openshaw S, White A, Hart A. Effect of acupuncture on nausea of pregnancy: a randomized, controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol Feb 2001;97(2):184-
- Lee A, Done ML. The use of nonpharmacologic techniques to prevent postoperative nausea and vomiting: a meta-analysis. Anesth Analg Jun 1999;88(6):1362-
- Mann E. Using acupuncture and acupressure to treat postoperative emesis. Prof Nurse Jul 1999;14(10):691-4.
- Mayer DJ. Acupuncture: an evidence-based review of the clinical literature. Annu Rev Med 2000;51:49-63.
- Schlager A, Offer T, Baldissera I. Laser stimulation of acupuncture point P6 reduces postoperative vomiting in children undergoing strabismus surgery. Br J Anaesth Oct 1998;81(4):529-32.
- Vickers AJ. Can acupuncture have specific effects on health? A systematic review of acupuncture antiemesis trials. J R Soc Med 1996;89:303-311.
Acupuncture benefits the side effects of chemotherapy
According to Chinese medicine theory, acupuncture helps restore balance and a healthy energy flow within the body. Studies indicate that acupuncture may provide a number of medical benefits including the reduction of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
Chemotherapy is a treatment for cancers that involves administering chemicals into the body that are found toxic to malignant cells. Chemotherapy, often successful in treating malignant cancer cells, often produces intense side effects in the body.
According to a review published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology,
certain types of acupuncture-point stimulation may relieve chemotherapy-induced nausea or vomiting. Despite significant progress over the past decade in controlling chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, more than half of all patients receiving chemotherapy still suffer from these side effects. Furthermore, nausea may persist when vomiting is controlled. These symptoms can be severely debilitating and often lead patients to refuse further courses of chemotherapy.
The acupuncture point deemed to be associated with relief of nausea is P6, which is located on the wrist. This point can be stimulated through a variety of methods, including manual acupuncture (insertion of needles), electro-acupuncture (passing electric current through the inserted needle), non-invasive electro-stimulation (application of electric current without a needle), or acupressure (pressure applied by the fingers or an elastic wristband).
Patients receiving high-dose chemotherapy found that electro-acupuncture treatments combined with anti-nausea medication were more effective than medication alone in controlling their chemo-related vomiting, according to a study reported in the (Dec. 6 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association). According to cancer experts, the study adds to the evidence that non-traditional therapies can be helpful to patients suffering from side effects of chemotherapy. An increasing number of well-designed studies are focusing on complementary and alternative therapies.
Additional support for acupuncture to assist in alleviating the side effects of chemotherapy was offered at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, in December of 2000.
The San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium offered the following ‘take home message’: “Acupuncture may help curb nausea, one of the most feared and debilitating side effects of high-dose chemotherapy. It may provide additional relief of nausea beyond what medication alone can do”.
David Rosenthal, MD, Chair of the American Cancer Society’s
(ACS) national advisory committee on complementary and alternative medicine agrees that more research is merited. “The effects of this treatment might vary between different chemotherapy patient populations,” he says. “You would also like to know if the benefit is enough, not only in efficacy but in efficiency.” “Still,” he says, “Patients are finding that acupuncture can sometimes be effective in dealing with pain, nausea, and treatment of mucositis (ulcerations in the mouth).” Acupuncture treatment is being provided at many cancer centers, including the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, where Rosenthal is in charge of integrative therapies. “We began offering acupuncture a month ago and the appointments are already filled.” Rosenthal says.
- Ezzo J, Vickers A, Richardson MA et al. Acupuncture-point stimulation for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Journal of Clinical Oncology . 2005;23:7188-7198.
- Milburn Jessup; Andrew Stewart; Frederick L. Greene; Bruce D. Minsky. Adjuvant Chemotherapy for Stage III Colon Cancer: Implications of Race/Ethnicity, Age, and Differentiation. The Journal of The American Medical Association 2005;294:2703-2711.
- San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Acupuncture to Control Nausea from Chemotherapy. BreastCancer.org December 2000.
Acupuncture is both a viable and popular alternative to effectively help you with nausea and vomiting – without unwanted side effects.
Renew You Clinic’s Acupuncture Practitioner, Lily Wu, was an Acupuncture Doctor in China for 13 years in a hospital setting and 12 more here in Canada. She has an extraordinary amount of experience with Chinese medicine which makes her quite a find for those seeking a highly qualified acupuncturist in the Hamilton or Stoney Creek area with loads of both practical and clinical experience. She gets great results.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)>> For more information about how acupuncture can help you, please contact the clinic. Call today!