Natural Morning Sickness Remedies: DIY Acupuncture / Acupressure

As an acupuncturist, it probably comes as no surprise that I would recommend acupuncture as the perfect remedy for morning sickness. I’ve been using acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting for years and there are many good points that can be used for that purpose.

One point that’s commonly recommended for morning sickness is called P6 (or Neiguan) and is located a couple of inches above the wrist on the inside of the arm. Many people even recommend Sea-Bands for morning sickness which are bands made to combat motion sickness and are designed to stimulate this point.

While P6 is a great all-purpose point for nausea, it’s not the best choice for morning sickness specifically.┬áThere is another point called KD27 (or Shufu) that is a much better (if lesser known) option. This is the point I credit with keeping me sane during my first trimester… While it didn’t completely eliminate my nausea, wearing tacks designed to constantly stimulate this point kept my discomfort to a minimum and relegated my morning sickness to the evening hours, allowing me to work comfortably all day. If I took the tacks off for too long, I’d be hit with all day queasiness that would make me want to curl up in bed all day and hide.

While I strongly recommend seeing an acupuncturist to locate this point properly (see www.POCAcoop.com to find a low-cost community acupuncture clinic near you), you can locate and stimulate these points on your own if that’s not a possibility.

How to locate KD27:
To locate the point, stand in front of a mirror and locate your clavicle (the horizontal bone that runs along the top of your chest and connects your breastplate to the top of your shoulders). Feel along the top of the clavicle toward the center of your chest until you feel the place where the clavicle meets the breastbone on each side. Now move your fingers down and slightly outward until you feel a slight indentation where the bottom of your clavicle meets the breastbone. Press around in this area until you find a a point that is more sensitive than the rest of this area. The sensitive point in this indentation is KD27.

How to stimulate Kd27:
There are several ways to stimulate this acupuncture point.

First, you can use basic acupressure techniques. When feeling nauseated, locate this point and use the tip of your index finger to rub it firmly, using a small circular motion. You can also press on the point, applying firm pressure for at least 30 to 45 seconds. Acupressure at this point may help relieve acute nausea, but will probably not do much to prevent feelings of morning sickness unless you are stimulating this point constantly throughout the day.

The next most effective technique is to apply seeds or beads that will keep constant pressure on the points. These seeds (commonly called “ear seeds” since they’re often used to stimulate points on the ear) are available through acupuncturists, or they can be ordered on Amazon. Traditionally the seeds used by acupuncturists are from the vaccaria plant and are attached to a paper or woven adhesive backing, similar to a band-aid. Some acupuncturists now use beads made of gold, silver, or even magnets instead of vaccaria seeds, although I prefer the traditional seeds myself. These seeds can be applied to KD27 and worn for extended periods, then replaced when the adhesive backing comes loose from the skin.

The third option, which is by far the most effective, is using tiny acupuncture tacks that pierce the skin and can also be worn long term. Similar to vaccaria seeds, the needles are attached to an adhesive backing and can be replaced when the adhesive starts to lose its stickiness. Although I highly recommend having tacks initially placed by an acupuncturist (you can replace them yourself after your initial treatment), they are also readily available on Amazon.

You may feel a small pinch when the tacks are first applied, but they are completely painless once in place. Although infection at the needling site is extremely uncommon (I’ve never seen an infection from acupuncture needles or tacks during my ten years in practice), the skin should be wiped clean with alcohol to remove bacteria before inserting the tacks.

Each of these methods can be used continuously until morning sickness begins to subside, usually around 12 to 14 weeks.

Have you tried using acupuncture or acupressure for morning sickness? Did it work? Let me know in the comments below!

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