Most moms-to-be would agree – morning sickness is the worst part of being pregnant! If the usual remedies like eating small frequent meals, sipping club soda, and meeting your recommended intake of Vitamin B6 haven’t given you any relief from your morning sickness, you might benefit from acupressure.
Let’s look at the Pericardium 6 (P-6), or “Inner Gate” acupressure point for morning sickness, its effectiveness, and how to find and stimulate it.
How do I use acupressure for morning sickness?
Found in each wrist, the P-6 or Nei Guan (“Inner Gate”) pressure points are strongly associated with the workings of the internal organs. In traditional Chinese medicine, this pressure point is thought to be particularly effective in relieving digestive discomfort like nausea, stomachaches, motion sickness, hangovers, and hiccups. It may also help with symptoms like appetite loss, loose bowel movements, and abdominal cramps. Stimulating this pressure point also has a positive psychological effect, helping to relieve stress and tension.
According to some studies, stimulating the P-6 pressure point can help combat the main gastric symptoms of morning sickness like strong nausea, queasiness, and burping. In some cases, an improvement in appetite may also help you gain back weight lost due to morning sickness.
Acupressure for morning sickness: Finding the P-6 pressure point
Lay your hand flat with your palm facing upwards, and find the center of the crease where your hand meets your wrist. Imagine a line running from this point down towards your elbow. With your opposite hand, place three fingers along this imaginary line. Look at where the fingertip closest to your elbow falls. This is the P-6 pressure point. It’s quite easy to find and put your hand on it by following these instructions.
How to use acupressure for morning sickness
Apply a bit of force if you’re using your fingers. An effective method is to press down on with the fingers of your opposite hand intermittently for about 6-8 seconds at a time, and repeat this for 7 “sets” on alternating wrists. You can re-apply pressure in this way whenever you start to feel a bit sick.
2. Acupressure Wristband
In traditional East Asian medicine practices, people would bandage a grain of raw, unwashed rice to their wrists to prevent sea-sickness. As these “sea-bands” can also be used as morning sickness remedies, pregnant moms can now buy pressurized wristbands with a small, hard lump sewn into the inner side to continuously stimulate the P-6 pressure point.
These pressure-bands are not a medical devices, but they have been quite well-received outside of Asia and are now popular around the world. In fact, they often sell out so quickly it can be hard to get your hands on one!
3. Acupuncture and moxibustion
Acupuncture is able to stimulate pressure points with the application of small, thin needles. A similar method for stimulating the Inner Gate pressure point is moxibustion – a form of acupressure where bundles of dried mugwort leaves are burned close to the skin.
However, this isn’t really the kind of therapy you should be trying out on yourself! Instead, speak to a qualified Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner with experience in treating pregnant women. Before you go in for acupuncture or moxibustion therapy, speak to your physician to make sure it’s the right choice for you.
Making the Most of Acupressure for Morning Sickness
Based in traditional Chinese medical practices, pressure point therapy is a popular form of drug-free complementary medicine not just in East Asia but around the world. If you’ve never used acupressure before, or you’re not sure how, try pressing your P-6 pressure points to help you ride out morning sickness!
If you have trouble reaching the pressure points on your own, have your partner help out and press them for you. That doubles as a morning sickness remedy, and a great way for you to bond.