In a recent study, acupressure wrist bands were effective in relieving migraine-related nausea, one of the most disabling symptoms associated with this headache disorder.

Researchers in Germany evaluated Sea-Band acupressure bands in 41 migraineurs who had experienced migraine attacks for an average of 26 years. The average intensity of pain was 7.1 on a 0 to 10 scale, and the average level of nausea was 6.2.

During the study, instead of taking anti-nausea medications, the patients wore Sea-Bands throughout their migraine attacks. Thirty-four patients (83%) reported that the bands reduced the nausea, which decreased to 2.9 on the 0 to 10 scale. Patients wore the bands, on average, for nearly 18 hours, with migraine attacks that lasted 21.5 hours. Typically, the patients experienced nausea relief after wearing the bands for 30 minutes.

Additionally, 85% of the participants reported that the Sea-Bands helped the migraine episodes pass more easily, and all but one of the patients said they would use the bands again.

“Acupressure wristbands are drug-free, and that is an important advantage in using this therapy for migraine nausea as they have no risks for interaction with migraine drugs or the side effects commonly experienced with antiemetics, such as dizziness or tiredness,” said study leader Zoltan Medgyessy, MD. Dr. Medgyessy is the deputy chief physician of the headache unit at the Berolina Clinic in Lohne, Germany.

Sea-Bands are knit elastic wristbands which are widely available over-the-counter for nausea due to a variety of causes, including motion sickness, morning sickness, and chemotherapy. The bands contain a small plastic tab that exerts pressure on an acupressure point located on the inner wrist and is widely recognized in Oriental medicine for controlling nausea.

Researchers noted that the study was small, but believe the findings were important because the bands were effective and may provide an important treatment option for migraineurs. They believe the results warrant a randomized trial comparing drug treatment to acupressure.

The study has not yet been published and, therefore, is considered preliminary. It was presented in June, 2013, at the International Headache Congress in Boston.