Morning sickness is one of the most debilitating aspects of pregnancy in the first and second trimester.
Acupuncture and acupuressure are commonly used treatments for morning sickness. Even if acupressure doesn’t work to relieve the symptoms, acupuncture can still work.
Chinese Medicine expert, Marie Hopkinson, explains there is a big difference between the two therapies:
Acupuncture can access the bodies Qi (Energy) in multiple places at once, while acupressure can only access it in one point at a time (as you press each one). While some treatments of self-acupressure can be powerful, there can be many reasons why acupressure doesn’t work for morning sickness.
Here are some of the reasons acupressure may not work:
1) Incorrect point location
One common reason is the point location is wrong. Neiguan Pc 6 (called Pc 6 because it’s the sixth point on the pericardium channel) is a common point for nausea. It’s used in treating travel sickness and you will often see the bands you can put around your wrist to supposedly stop the nausea. If the band is in the wrong place, or the tightness of the band isn’t sufficient to press the acupressure point then no effect will likely take place.
2) Not enough or correct stimulation of the point.
Points are deep in the body not on the skin. Another common reason why acupressure fails some people is that they don’t obtain the Qi (Energy) of the acupuncture points by the pressure. An acupressure practitioner (also called a tui na practitioner) is a skilled practitioner of Chinese Medicine (in China it’s a 5 year course) and they use around 28 different techniques, all with many hours of repeated, dedicated and specific training to be able to get the Qi (energy) of your body in the acupressure points. Not to say a layperson can’t get the Qi, there is just a bit more skill involved than finding a point and pressing on it.
3) Wrong point for the pattern.
In Chinese medicine, morning sickness doesn’t have a one-size-fit all diagnosis. When you see an acupuncturist they don’t do acupuncture points for morning sickness, they do points for your pattern of disharmony that are causing the morning sickness. Two common patterns are “Liver Energy invading the Stomach” and “Deficiency of energy and blood leading to weakness of the Spleen and Stomach energy”.
Essentially with nausea and vomiting, there is a mechanism of action problem with the Stomach Energy. Stomach Qi (Energy) should go down, when Stomach Qi goes up, we call it rebellious Stomach energy, rebellious Stomach Qi can cause nausea, vomiting, reflux, acidic regurgitation and even epigastric pain. There are other points used for different reasons why the Stomach Qi has become rebellious. Often a combination of points is needed to have a therapeutic effect (as with acupuncture) rather than one point at a time (possible with acupressure).
By the way, the location of Pc 6 Neiguan is 2 cun* above the crease of the wrist, on the inside (medial aspect) of the wrist.
*a cun is a measurement used in Chinese medicine, based on your body. 2 cun is is two fingers (of your fingers) spaced slightly apart. (1 Cun is the width of a thumb), so Neiguan, PC 6 is:
The point is that if you’ve tried acupressure for morning sickness before and it didn’t work, it does not mean that acupuncture won’t work. Also, that a more targeted or specific approach of acupressure could still be effective. It’s worth seeing a professional, qualified practitioner of Chinese Medicine if you are suffering with morning sickness in pregnancy.
Did acupressure or acupuncture work for your morning sickness? Please share in the comments below.
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