Research: HELMENREICH and co-workers,

Listed in Issue 141


HELMENREICH and co-workers, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston School of Nursing [corrected] USA, have meta-analyzed trials of acupoint stimulation for nausea and vomiting in pregnant women.


The aim of this study was to use meta-analysis to examine the effects of acustimulation on the prevention of nausea and vomiting in pregnant women.


Meta-analysis of effects of acustimulations (ie, acupressure, Acupuncture, and electrical stimulation) on the prevention of nausea and vomiting was conducted. 14 trials, 8 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), with one RCT having two treatment modalities with four groups, and 6 crossover controlled trials (N = 1655) published over the last 16 years were evaluated for quality according to established guidelines. Relative risks were calculated from the data provided by the investigators of the original trials.


Before the treatment, 100% of the women (13 trials, n = 1615 women) were nauseated, and 96.6% (1599/1655) reported vomiting. After the treatment, compared with the controls, Acustimulation (all modalities combined) reduced the proportion of nausea (Relative Risk = 0.47, p < .0001) and vomiting (Relative Risk = 0.59, p < .0001). Acupressure methods applied by finger pressure or wristband reduced nausea and vomiting. The electrical stimulation method was also effective in reducing nausea and vomiting. However, the acupuncture method did not show effects. There was a placebo effect when compared with controls in reducing nausea (three trials, Relative Risk = 0.63, p = .0479) and vomiting (five trials, Relative Risk = 0.67, p = .0084).


This meta-analysis demonstrates that acupressure and electrical stimulation had greater impact than the acupuncture methods in the treatment of nausea and vomiting.


Helmreich RJ, Shiao SY, Dune LS. Meta-analysis of acustimulation effects on nausea and vomiting in pregnant women. Explore-The Journal of Science & Healing 2 (5): 412-421, Sep-Oct 2006.

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