Acupressure was found to be just as effective as intravenous medication, without the unwanted side effects, in reducing nausea and vomiting among patients who had undergone a cesarean section, according to recent research.

The study, “Effect of Acupressure on Post-Operative Nausea and Vomiting in Cesarean Section: A Randomised Controlled Trial,” involved 102 women between the ages of 18 and 35 who had elected to have a cesarean section.

The women were randomly assigned to one of three groups, with 34 women in each group. One group served as the control group and received no anti-nausea medication or intervention prior to the cesarean surgery. Another group was assigned to receive 10 milligrams of metoclopramide intravenously just before receiving spinal anesthesia. The third group was assigned to receive acupressure immediately prior to the spinal anesthesia.

In the acupressure group, bands were applied at the P6 points on both wrists of each patient. These bands were applied gently and comfortably and tightened to the point that a piece of paper could not be placed between the bands and skin. Six hours later, the bands were removed.

The main outcome measure in this study was the number of incidents of nausea, retching and vomiting experienced during and six hours after the cesarean section. This was recorded by a trained investigator who was blind to each woman’s group assignment. The women who did experience nausea rated the severity on a scale from zero to 10.

Results of the research revealed that the incidence of nausea and vomiting was significantly higher in the control group as compared to the metoclopramide and acupressure groups. The occurrence of nausea, retching and vomiting was found to be equal among subjects in both the metoclopramide and acupressure groups.

“In parturients who underwent cesarean deliveries, which were performed under spinal [anesthesia] in this study, metoclopramide and acupressure were found to be similarly effective in reducing emetic symptoms (nausea, retching and vomiting),” conclude the study’s authors. “Use of acupressure has been recommended to reduce [postoperative nausea and vomiting], considering that it doesn’t have side effects and because it is cheap.”


Authors: A. Direkvand-Moghadam and A. Khosravi.

Sources: Prevention of Psychological Injuries Research Centre and Immunology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Ilam University of Medical Sciences, Ilam, Iran. Originally published in October 2013 in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, 7(10), 2247-2249.