Survive Motion Sickness with Acupuncture

Written By: Ellice Yang R.TCMP

If you’ve ever been riding in a car while reading a book and felt dizzy, tired and even nauseous you know what motion sickness is like.  It doesn’t have to be in a car but on a boat or even during an activity like skiing where you may have felt this sudden sense anxiousness and vomiting.  Why does this happen?  Well, from a western medical perspective, the explanation is that our brain receives inconsistent information from what we are seeing and feeling (inner ear and muscle receptors).  So when you’re reading a book and sitting in a moving car, your visual and muscular receptors tell the brain that  you are still but your inner ears dectect motion.  The brain tries regulates these mixed signals and as a result you feel dizzy, nauseous, tired and even anxious.

From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective, nausea occurs due to irregular flow of Qi.  This can be caused by many things such as emotional stress, irregular diet and other long standing disease.  The good news is that current research supports the efficacy of not only acupuncture but acupressure on an acupuncture point called PC6 (2 finger breadths above the center of your wrist) to greatly diminishes the symptoms of visually-induced motion sickeness.  You may have heard of Seabands or Acubands, well this is the point that it stimulates to relieve nausea.  Most of the research done on acupuncture and motion sickness is focused on this specific acupuncture point called PC6.  PC6 has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat nausea and recently it is an empirical point to treat motion sickness.

If you do suffer from motion sickness, acupuncture isn’t only useful for symptomatic relief but can treat the root of the problem, which requires several treatments, 1-2 times a week.  This could mean a whole new outlook on life for those who can’t travel or enjoy certain activities due to motion sickness.