Acupuncture for Nausea and Vomiting: What You Need to Know


Tummy troubles can usually be resolved in a number of familiar ways, but acupuncture for nausea and vomiting may be somewhat of a novelty. Nausea and vomiting aren’t usually ailments in themselves, and are commonly symptoms of another issue entirely. Your acupuncturist will diagnose and treat the pattern of disease behind nausea or vomiting by restoring balance in your qi.


acupuncture for nausea
Photo by Issam Hammoudi


Nausea and vomiting in a nutshell

Oftentimes, nausea and vomiting come hand in hand. However, this isn’t always the case. Nausea is a feeling of stomach unease that usually precedes vomiting. Vomiting, meanwhile, is the expulsion of stomach contents through the mouth. Nausea doesn’t always lead to vomiting. The two are not diseases or ailments in themselves, but are likely symptoms of underlying issues. The cause may sometimes be immediately obvious, but there are also times when you may need to see a doctor to figure out what’s wrong.


Acupuncture for nausea and vomiting can be a viable treatment option. When you see your doctor for your symptoms, you can also discuss undergoing acupuncture with them.


Possible causes

There is a whole host of reasons why you’re vomiting or experiencing nausea. It may be due to things like motion sickness, emotional or mental stress, or an adverse reaction to certain odors. Medical issues such as morning sickness, extreme pain, a concussion, a heart attack, cancer or cancer treatments, a tumor, gastritis, an ulcer, bulimia, the stomach flu, meningitis, appendicitis, or gallbladder disease can also induce nausea and vomiting. Overeating, food poisoning, food allergies, the ingestion of toxins, or drinking too much alcohol can also be possible causes.


Vomiting is an inconvenience at best, but in certain situations, it’s largely harmless. However, there are also times when it can be indicative of another, perhaps still-unknown, problem. Dehydration can also become an issue, especially if you don’t take the necessary steps to keep yourself hydrated.


You should also make sure to call your doctor if you think that your nausea and vomiting may be due to pregnancy. If you’ve been having diarrhea as well as vomiting for over 24 hours, and you’ve been exhibiting signs of dehydration as well, you may need medical attention. You’ll definitely need to see a doctor if you’ve been vomiting up blood, you have an intense headache, your stomach is in extreme pain, or you have a rapid pulse or breathing.



Acupuncture for nausea and vomiting

Vomiting isn’t an easy thing to deal with, especially when it becomes disruptive. It can cause issues in your personal and professional life, and it can also make recovery from surgery more unpleasant than it already can be.


There are a number of treatments and remedies that can help you with nausea and vomiting, but these can also work well with acupuncture. Acupuncture can be an alternative treatment, but it can also be a complement that can fit in well with treatment regimens.


Of course, some may find acupuncture to be a little intimidating or confusing. The needles may also give some people pause. However, the needles used in acupuncture are finer than the needles used for giving shots, and they won’t be painful upon insertion.


What acupuncture is like

Acupuncture is a vital part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). According to the principles of TCM, a life force called qi (pronounced “chee”) flows through each individual along markers in the body called meridians. When qi flows normally, the individual has good physical, mental, and emotional health. However, when the flow of qi is disrupted or gets blocked around certain meridians, it can result in ill-health.


Thus, the restoration of the normal flow of qi is important. Acupuncture helps restore this flow with the use of fine needles. The needles are inserted into the acupuncture points that correspond to the individual’s symptoms. This results in the stimulation of those acupuncture points, which in turn results in the restoration of the proper flow of qi. Some symptoms may take more than one session to be fully treated.


Acupuncture for nausea and vomiting is generally low-risk and safe, but you have to make sure that you go to a skilled and licensed practitioner. Fortunately, the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic has just that. Our owner and Licensed Acupuncturist, Tram Pham, has a Master’s Degree in Chinese Medicine from Yo San University in Los Angeles. She also has years of experience in treating patients under the guidance of TCM’s ancient modalities and principles.


How acupuncture can help

TCM and acupuncture have garnered interest and attention from the scientific community over the years. Research has found that acupuncture in particular can be helpful in treating nausea and vomiting in pregnant women. It can also be helpful for people who are experiencing the post-operative effects of surgery.


Researchers have found that the insertion of just one needle into an acupuncture point called the Neiguan or P6 point can significantly reduce the chances of patients experiencing nausea and vomiting after surgery. There is also evidence that acupuncture may even help lessen the need for anti-vomiting drugs.


Acupuncture has also been found to be helpful in reducing nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness and pregnancy. However, whatever the reason for your nausea and vomiting is, it’s important to first consult with your physician before you book an appointment for acupuncture.


acupuncture in Santa Barbara


Acupuncture at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic

Acupuncture for nausea and vomiting is safe and effective at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic. The clinic was founded in 1986 by Dr. Jean Yu, flourished under the leadership of the late Dr. Han, and was passed to Tram in 2016. Since Tram took over the clinic, she has been continuing the tradition of providing Santa Barbara with all-natural and holistic healthcare.


Book an appointment with us by calling us at 805-563-0222 or emailing us at You can also have a consultation with Tram over the phone or via video call. Contact us today and begin your journey to balanced health!