Acupuncture for nausea and vomiting: an update of clinical and experimental studies

Auton Neurosci. 2006 Oct 30;129(1-2):107-17. doi: 10.1016/j.autneu.2006.07.015. Epub 2006 Sep 1.


The objective of this overview is to summarize existing knowledge about the effects of acupuncture-point stimulation on nausea and vomiting. Systematic reviews on postoperative nausea and vomiting, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting exist. Several randomised trials, but no reviews, exist for motion sickness. For postoperative nausea and vomiting, results from 26 trials showed acupuncture-point stimulation was effective for both nausea and vomiting. For chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, results of 11 trials differed according to modality with acupressure appearing effective for first-day nausea, electroacupuncture appearing effective for first-day vomiting, and noninvasive electrostimulation appearing no more effective than placebo for any outcome. For pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting, results were mixed. Experimental studies showed effects of P6-stimulation on gastric myoelectrical activity, vagal modulation and cerebellar vestibular activities in functional magnetic resonance imaging. There is good clinical evidence from more than 40 randomised controlled trials that acupuncture has some effect in preventing or attenuating nausea and vomiting. A growing number of experimental studies suggest mechanisms of action.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperemesis Gravidarum / prevention & control
  • Nausea / prevention & control*
  • Nausea / psychology
  • Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Vomiting / prevention & control*
  • Vomiting / psychology