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Can acupuncture be used to help the symptoms of travel sickness?

Q: Can acupuncture be used to help the symptoms of travel sickness? My job involves travelling in the back of a vehicle and can be quite unbearable sometimes.


A: Although the use of acupuncture for the treatment of motion sickness has not been researched that thoroughly, there have been a relatively large number of studies of acupressure because of the prevalence of the 'Sea Band' type of acupressure devices. These make use of a well-proven link between the use of acupressure on a point on the forearm near the wrist crease and the reduction in nausea after surgery. The studies into nausea and motion sickness are less conclusive, with the best results achieved being usually only the increase in the delay before the onset of the problem.
That said, we hear enough anecdotal reports from members to suggest that there can be improvements but that it is difficult to predict which patients this might apply to. We do not think that treatment with acupuncture could do any harm, and a properly trained and qualified practitioner may be able to make sense of the symptom within the wider context of the understanding of the system in Chinese medicine. Motion sickness has been around since ancient times, and the Chinese had a clear understanding of certain presentations of it within their conceptual frameworks, and with this some very clear patterns of treatment to pursue. If the way in which your problem manifests is similar to these defined syndromes it may make a practitioner feel more confident in offering some hope of a reduction in symptoms, but sight unseen it is difficult for us to say. It would be best to seek advice from a brief face to face conversation with a BAcC member local to you.

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